Many thanks to our Summer Camp Coordinator Team

Coordinator team

Thank you to our coordinator team – (first row left to right in photo) Olivia Cruthis, Bailey Avise-Rouse, Rylee Hodges-Stone, and Catie Goetter, and (second row left) Ryan Goetter for coming out to power wash, scrub, and move equipment. More importantly, we are grateful to them for making sure we could serve more than 350 campers this summer at DuBois Center! Without their hard work and dedication, this summer could not have been successful. Thank you for your many efforts!

Hayley Elliott (in photo second row right), Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry

Rainbow Camp and thoughts on marking a change in season

Canoes2

We were lucky to welcome the Sixth Rainbow Camp to DuBois Center on Saturday, August 7. From activities like horseback riding, archery, crafting and canoeing to conversations at a shared table, more than 40 of us enjoyed a day of fellowship, nature, the taste of the first honey from the DuBois Center bees, and camp fun. We look forward to welcoming even more people to Rainbow Camp in 2022 as we continue to draw the circle of God’s love ever wider.

HoneyTrail ride2

Rainbow Camp 2021

Our Rainbow Camp coincided with our coordinator wrap up of the season, where our summer leadership team comes to debrief and do the manual tasks associated with transitioning from summer to fall. These moments of transition are always bittersweet when you are a year-round camp director. On the one hand, you get to really sleep for the first time in almost three months. On the other, you are saying goodbye (for now) to people who have profoundly impacted you despite only knowing them for a short time. I’d like to share a brief excerpt from our closing circle at Rainbow Camp. While words fail to express my gratitude for your hospitality, I hope you hear it in the spaces between the words.

“One of my favorite things about outdoor ministry is that, over time as you move through a space, it begins to move through you. And so, Rainbow Camp is also the close of our summer season. It’s been 4 months and two days (but who is counting) since I started as Acting Director for Outdoor Ministry. I find it difficult to really put into words the way this space has moved through me this summer. In a large part, I find it difficult because in addition to the beautiful place, it is also these beautiful people who have had this profound impact on me. When you ask an individual to do all the things that are required to reopen a camp, the result is chaos and failure. But when you ask a team to do it? You experience a summer like the one we have had. Sure, things were often haywire; we were understaffed; things could’ve easily fallen apart at any moment; but instead, now we are here, in this beautiful moment, celebrating not only our camp community, but my community as well. I wasn’t sure as an out, loud, queer person what this job might be like, but with a staff like the one we have, who were endlessly supportive and adaptable, even the hardest moments felt joyful, peaceful, important. It is this sort of connectivity and love reflected in my staff that reminds me of the best experiences I have had as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. That moment when everything has fallen apart, but your chosen family picks up the pieces, that’s what camp, and being a queer person, is for me. So, I want to say thank you, whether you’ve shared this space with me for months, or you’ve just been here in this space today. I hope it moved you. I hope it changed you. And I hope you leave feeling a little better than you did when you got here.”

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry

Recognizing our Kitchen and Maintenance Staff

Kitchen staff

In the world of summer camps, there are often very public personalities, but it’s the behind-the-scenes jobs that keep us all afloat. We could not have had a successful summer season without our kitchen staff, led by Jason Pauley our Food Service Coordinator, and our maintenance team, Tom and Josh. We are so grateful for those that choose to serve our camp with their various talents and skills.

If you would like to send the kitchen staff or the maintenance team a thank you card, mail can be received for them at our camp address.

Thanks to our volunteers!

Volunteers

In a summer like no other, many folks stepped up to help us pull off the incredible camp programming we have accomplished this summer. Over 350 youth were able to come to camp this summer, many of whom did not get to go to a camp in 2020. So many folks have given one, two, three, and even four weeks of their time to support the mission of DuBois Center and support us in this unprecedented summer. It has truly been an honor to watch those who love this camp come through for our programs this year and choose to be here. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Thank you for answering our calls.

If you or someone you know loves youth, nature, crafts, swimming, or horses, consider joining us as a volunteer or staff member in 2022!

Praise for Our Summer Staff’s Efforts

Sawdust

When you become a part of a new organization, it is often difficult to determine what the “backbone” of support for that organization is. Often, the backbone shifts depending on the situation. In an unprecedented time, a small but mighty team of 13 individuals said, “I’m in!” to making summer camp happen for our campers this year. Faced with the challenge of being about 7 staff members too short, and many other challenges that come with reopening a facility after almost two years, they have maintained incredible attitudes, displayed remarkable flexibility, and perhaps most importantly, displayed God’s Kindness, Love, and Inclusion to the youth of our churches and area.

Joined by many volunteers, they have served over 200 youth at our camps, helped secure new business by extending welcome and kindness to guest groups on site, and even done many manual labor tasks around the property as needed. They have done this all while following our guidelines to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread at our facility and helping keep our campers and their families safe. If you know someone who is on our 2021 summer staff or has given a week of their time to volunteer and assist us in pulling off this unprecedented summer, please send them your gratitude! They have taught me many lessons this summer in having grace under pressure and living into our most flexible natures. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Photo shows counselors from left to right Kermit (aka Leah Hill), SharkBait (aka Ryan Goetter), and Minnow (aka Bailey Avise-Rouse). They are shoveling sawdust to replace dirty sawdust which had been removed from the barn stalls.

Blessings,

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministries

Volunteers needed – July 11 – 16

Creek Walk

We are still in need of a few more volunteers to make our summer at camp complete! For July 11 – 16, we need six female volunteers and three male volunteers to counsel. We are expecting an overly full house of campers next week, which is exciting but cannot happen without these additional volunteers. Volunteer counselors must be 18 or older!

If you or someone you know is interested in giving back to the youth of our churches and our region, please fill out our volunteer application, found here, and email it directly to Hayley at director@duboiscenter.org.

We appreciate your support in our summer like no other!

An Excellent Start – Volunteers Still Needed

Amani3

Already it has been a fabulous summer at DuBois Center. After a complete shutdown last summer, we all pulled together to be able to give over 200 children and youth the “DuBois experience” through summer camps. This would not have been possible without the extra networking support we received from you in regards to staffing for the summer season. While we have had enough staff to cover all of the responsibilities thus far, as we look to the remaining camps and retreats we will offer in the weeks ahead, we are still in need of additional volunteers to enhance the experience of our campers and guests.

Specifically, we would like to have some more volunteer counselors (both male and female) for July 11th through July 17th. We would also like to have a few more lifeguards for July 23rd through July 31st. Extra volunteers would allow certain staff and counselors to get more breaks than they have had. It would also alleviate the incredible workload of our new Director, Hayley Elliott, who has jumped in and moved mountains to make sure we were able to open the camp this summer and offer the life-changing camp experience to so many. Please help us share the word that these volunteers are still needed. All persons must be at least 18 years old for these positions.

For all who are interested in helping DuBois Center continue to be a place of extravagant welcome for all of God’s children, please reach out directly to Hayley Elliot at director@duboiscenter.org or call or text Hayley on her direct line at 828-707-4022.

Again thank you for your continued support of DuBois Center.
Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister

What Pride Month and Camp Have in Common

This Is Our Prayer

Every year in June, we celebrate Pride month, a special time to recognize the lives, achievements, and history of the LGBTQIA+ community. I first attended a pride event in 2014, when I was not quite “out of the closet” and was longing for a place to be included – a theme we explore in our summer camp curriculum “This is Our Prayer”. What I found at this event was shocking to me – I learned that I was part of a community that was celebrating their wholeness, accepting people wherever they were on their journeys, and telling the world that they would no longer be treated as second class citizens simply for being who they were created to be. For many years, I had struggled with a cognitive misperception of Pride, believing fully that “pride goes before the fall”. What I have learned in my continued journey as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is that the Pride we celebrate has nothing to do with arrogance, but instead is about rejecting the shame that many of us were taught to feel about the people that we are. Pride is about celebrating our stories, and the immovability of our community.

At my first pride event, I realized that feeling of acceptance for being exactly who I am had been rare in my life up until that point, but that the first place I had ever felt it was summer camp. Camp allows kids the space to bring their goofy, whole selves to every activity, conversation, and cabin. In a world that can sometimes shame kids for their curiosity and behavior that does not conform to a societal “norm”, camp is a place where we celebrate each other’s quirkiness.

I am forever grateful that I stumbled into that first pride event in 2014, and that I found open and affirming churches shortly thereafter with whom to attend Pride events every year since. I am also grateful to spend Pride month in 2021 at DuBois Center, celebrating every camper that comes through our gate.

At DuBois Center, we are working each day to build a more comprehensively inclusive environment. From frank conversations including subjects from the way things have been named in the past that may create exclusion to planning for a busy Rainbow Camp on August 7, we are looking forward to leveling up our inclusive practices.

I am looking forward to joining you all in the journey toward celebrating the wholeness of God’s human creations!

Hayley Elliott, Acting Director.

Camp Names

Summer staff 2021

When we are born, our parents give us the name that they see for us. Sometimes, those names are passed down through a family. Sometimes, it is the gut feeling they have. For my family, my parents workshopped the name “Hannah” for me throughout my parents’ pregnancy, and when I was born, they decided to go with “Hayley” instead, thinking that it fit a little better of who I was becoming before their eyes.

For some of us, the name and identity we were assigned at birth do not sit well as we begin to develop, so we choose a different name. For some of us, we choose to take or hyphenate our spouses’ name upon marriage. All in all, it is not very often that we engage in the practice of choosing our own names.

At camp, our staff go through a renaming process, where each gets to live into a chosen name. Some of them come from legends and jokes; some of them come from hobbies and interests; and some of them choose us. For example, I became “StingRey” as I was first stung by a bee at an open house event at DuBois Center. I think stingrays are cool animals, and Rey from Star Wars is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.

We welcome Fog, Nala, Kermit, Bubbles, Ringo, Thunder, Gizmo, and Lemon to our counselor team this summer, and welcome Sharkbait, Simba, Mango, and Kiwi to our leadership team!

Campers are here!

Getting acquainted

This week, we welcome Just You and Me, Horsin’ Around, and Quest to DuBois Center! Campers will engage in horse activities, Blast, fun on the water, archery, creek walks, and more while they spend their week here. We are actively working to make sure our campers enjoy a safe, fun summer!

We still have some slots available for campers to enjoy DuBois Center this summer, so register online today!

Simba and Mango