Virtual Campfire #2


Our first ever virtual campfire aired last Thursday night at 7pm and is now available to view online. Join us “live” this Thursday at 7pm for the second edition – even more staff and volunteers will be joining us. This week’s campfire will be packed with songs, skits, stories and family fun. We are adding a segment with silly jokes and riddles!

You can share your favorites by submitting them in video or written form to our YouTube email address – Be sure to keep the jokes clean and positive! No put-downs allowed! Remember to SPEAK LOUDLY! All submissions will be reviewed for appropriateness and some may be saved for later editions. Your submission implies consent for DuBois Center to use the submission in items produced and shared by DuBois Center.

If all goes as planned, we hope to join together around the campfire on these Thursday nights – June 18 and 25, July 2, 9 and 16. Each of these, except the last one, would have been the nights of our closing campfires this summer. We hope you’ll join us. Watch for details. The link will be available each Thursday.

A Salute to Week #1

Trekkin It

This week on Facebook and Instagram, we are celebrating DuBois Center 2019 campers and leaders from Week #1. Many were registered and excited about returning this summer… before the health crisis struck. We MISS YOU and have a bunk with your name on it for next summer!

A big thumbs up to our Just You & Me, Quest, Settler, Horsin’ Around and Trekkin’ It campers! If you haven’t already done so, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to stay connected.





Just You & Me


Horsin' Around

Virtual Campfires


Miss the crackle of the campfire? Singing silly songs with your counselors? Making s’mores with friends? Listening to inspiring words from chaplains? Praying together under the stars? SO DO WE!!

It won’t be the same, but staff and volunteers are working on creative ways to share some of these favorites with campers and their families via virtual campfires. The first release is scheduled for 7 pm on Thursday, June 11. That would have been the first closing campfire of Summer 2020. We hope you’ll join us.

Graduation Edition – Amani


Four of our 2019 Summer Program Staff are graduating this month! Since graduations will be so different this year, we wanted to celebrate this milestone with them here.

Mtipe Koggani AKA Amani graduated from Eden Theological Seminary on Friday night, May 15. It was a virtual ceremony – which was different – but it did allow friends and family from around the world to join him! Hailing from Tanzania, Mtipe graduated with a Masters of Theological Studies. Due to the current health crisis, his plans are still in the works. He was accepted at Princeton University Graduate School, but is also exploring the possibility of a one-year commitment to Deaconess Anne House in St. Louis, which is part of the Episcopal Service Corps.

Mtipe is a gifted musician who sings, plays the piano and now the ukulele. He brought his years of successful experience working with children, youth and young adults in ministry settings to DuBois Center. Mtipe’s goal for his time at camp was to immerse himself in another culture and work with young people from backgrounds very different than his own. Though nervous at first, especially about the horses and the lake – he embraced the experience. He even learned to ride and swim at DuBois Center and now enjoys both immensely! In fact, one of his favorite memories from last summer was a dock to dock swim – which he completed. He also loved playing on the water mat with campers and staff!

Mtipe worked with every age group at DuBois Center from the youngest campers and their adults in Just You & Me Camp to high schoolers in X-Plore and related well to all of them. Mtipe is one of the most positive, gentle and kind people I have ever met; many, many others echoed this sentiment as well. His camp name is Amani, which in Swahili means peace. This is especially fitting for two reasons – PeaceWorks was our theme last summer and Mtipe embodies the word.





Graduation Edition – Minnow


Four of our 2019 Summer Program Staff are graduating this month! Since graduations will be so different this year, we wanted to celebrate this milestone with them here.

Bailey Reichert AKA Minnow will be graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and a minor in Psychology. Illinois Wesleyan has postponed graduation until August, so she is hoping to actually walk with her class – live and in person. Bailey is moving to Carbondale and plans to finish some prerequisite courses before applying to an accelerated nursing program. After a year in that program, she will have a second Bachelors – this one in Nursing.

Bailey attended summer camp at DuBois Center in 2016 and then spent most of the summer of 2017 volunteering as a counselor. She joined our summer staff team in 2018 and returned in 2019 as our Waterfront Coordinator. When asked about a favorite memory from last summer, she couldn’t pick just one. She especially enjoyed returning to the rustic cabins for a week of counseling during High School Week and the evening of wacky relays at the waterfront. Bailey loves to sing, dance and act! Spending time with the horses and at the waterfront are two of her favorites activities, but she’s also a fan of candle times, crafts, creek walks, water games and almost anything DuBois! One of the many gifts Bailey brought to our staff was her organizational skills.

In addition to a heavy course load and work schedule, Bailey served on the Executive Council of her sorority – Kappa Delta – for three years and as the president for 2019. These experiences only served to strengthen her administrative and leadership skills. Bailey’s attention to detail, creative program planning, and the care she extended to campers and staff were an asset to our team.





Our Decision – Fallow Ground


Here in the Midwest, fallow ground is a familiar concept. It refers to land that has been plowed but not seeded for one or more growing seasons. It is a ritual that helps restore the land’s fertility.

Leaders of the Illinois South Conference and DuBois Center have spent the last month planning and preparing with great hope, while simultaneously reviewing current data to determine if we can safely serve children at camp this summer. The favorites bar on my monitor is littered with links to the Illinois (IDHP) and Missouri Departments of Public Health, John’s Hopkins University, the American Camp Association, the CDC and others.

Latest projections and models show that COVID-19 may peak as late as the end of June in southern Illinois, although no one knows for certain what the current staged lifting of restrictions might bring. Our #1 priority at DuBois Center is the health and safety of our campers, guests and staff. After long and careful deliberations, leaders of the Conference and DuBois Center have come to accept that we cannot provide our summer camping programs as planned. Try as hard as we might, we just can’t envision being able to offer a safe experience for children and youth this season.

At a regularly called meeting of the Illinois South Conference Council, after prayerful and tearful consideration, it was decided that this summer will be a season of fallow ground for DuBois Center. The vote was unanimous, though made with heavy hearts. Currently scheduled programs for June – August 9, 2020 are being postponed until summer 2021. The ground was plowed and harrowed as brochures were sent to eager families, potential staff were interviewed, and plans were set in place. But the seeds, our blessed campers and leaders, will not be sown at DuBois Center this summer.

The situation in our state and region may change, but we felt it was important to be proactive and make a decision sooner rather than later. New protocols for groups related to distancing, cleaning, safety in sleeping areas, food service, life-guarding and participation in cherished activities are being established, but they need to be in place and practiced before camp can open. This is just not possible for DuBois Center by June or even July.

We are taking some time to grieve this decision and the loss of a summer of joy at camp. During the coming weeks, a team of creative volunteers will be exploring ways that our campers and their families can stay engaged with DuBois Center. Watch for news by the end of May.

We realize that finances are tight for many right now. That was one of our primary reasons for implementing a Register without Risk policy. However, before making a decision about the fees you have already paid, I hope you will consider all the options outlined in the attached document. Yes, you may still request a refund, transfer to a DuBois Center event in the fall, or donate the fees paid to camp. In addition, you may also transfer your payment to Summer Camp 2021. There is no rush to decide, so please take your time. No actual refunds will be made until early June. We want to ensure systems are in place and avoid wasting valuable staff time.

As you may be aware, our spring and summer programs take significant effort and resources to create, much of which is expended months before the first camper or guest arrives. Some of the expenses continue regardless – insurance, basic utilities, animal care, and critical maintenance and office work. The loss of this year’s spring and summer seasons is tough on our hearts, but it is also challenging financially.

DuBois Center is resilient, but we do need your prayers and support. If you are able to make a donation at this critical time, it will go a long way to help DuBois Center withstand the loss of spring and summer revenue. Links to online giving can also be found at or and the mailing address for DuBois Center is included below.

In 2020, DuBois Center and the Illinois South Conference celebrate 55 years of ministry and our work has only just begun. We believe in an Easter God, a God of joy and hope and peace. We enter this summer of fallow ground giving thanks to our loving Creator who truly does make all things new again.

Sending prayers to you, your families and communities.


Shirley Asmussen AKA Kayak,  Director of Outdoor Ministries

This letter is being sent with the full support of the Illinois South Conference Council.

Dr. Jill Baker, Conference Moderator
Rev. Christy Eckert, Conference Vice-Moderator
Mr. Dwight Asselmeier, Conference Treasurer
Rev. Ivan Horn, Conference Secretary
Rev. Shana Johnson, IL South Conference Minister
Rev. Rosemary Captain
Ms. Virginia Ilch
Rev. R.J. Morgan
Rev. Mike Southcombe
Ms. Barbara VanAusdall

For a printable copy of the letter and refund options, click here.

They’re Back!

Shark Bait and Sparrow

And YES, that is a very good thing! Returning to leadership roles at DuBois Center this summer are Kristian Avise-Rouse, Ryan Goetter and Bailey Reichert. Their camp names? Sparrow, Shark Bait and Minnow!

Bailey will be back at the lake serving as our Waterfront Coordinator. Kristan and Ryan will be serving as Village Coordinators, providing support and supervision for our cabin counselors.

Kristian (right) is graduating this spring with a degree in music education. He recently accepted a position at Pinckneyville Junior High School as the Director of Bands. He will also be taking the lead with the choir and musicals at the high school. The music programs at the two schools have had a collaborative design for years, and Kristian is excited to have this expanded opportunity. At camp Kristian can be seen at the teams course, in the chapels and cabins, around the barn and at the waterfront – he loves it all. This will be Kristian’s fifth summer on staff.

Ryan (left/kneeling) is completing his first year as the music teacher and band director at Du Quoin Middle School. He’s been honing his ukulele skills while introducing students to the instrument. Ryan is a new homeowner and is staying busy working around the house and yard. It was great to have him in the area this past year. Living just 20 minutes from camp, Ryan was able to assist with evening activities for Nature’s Classroom and a variety of hosting and office tasks. We especially appreciated his guitar and voice during campfires. This will be Ryan’s sixth summer on staff.

Bailey finishes her online classes and exams this week! She is graduating with a degree in biology and minor in psychology and plans to head to nursing school in January. She is excited to get back to DuBois Center and build on her first year as the skipper of the waterfront. In addition to being a “minnow,” Bailey is a horse lover who is a fan of candle time, vespers on the beach and just connecting with the campers. She hopes to sneak in a week of counseling sometime during the summer. This will be Bailey’s third summer on staff.

A Few Good Men — Summer Jobs – Apply Now!

Fun in the Lake

DuBois Center is in search of a few good men to round out our summer staff roster. We have solid applicants for the female cabin counselor positions, but not for their male counterparts. If you or someone you know enjoys working with people, has a heart for ministry and is looking for a resume-building summer job – look no further! Check out the Summer of Service flyer and consider whether serving outdoors with a dynamic team might be just the opportunity.

Believe it or not, working at camp is a REAL JOB with tangible benefits. Click here to read further about the benefits of working at camp. Questions? Contact Shirley at or 618-787-2202. Application packets are available online or can be sent by mail upon request.

Horse Camps – Ready to Ride?

Horse Campers spend more time with the ponies, but still have time for other camp favorites like swimming, 9-Square, vespers and crafts. If the weather cooperates, they have the option to ride each day. Some mornings, these horse enthusiasts are up and at ’em long before breakfast to feed, groom and tack the herd. An early morning ride – in the cool of the day – is a great reward for early morning chores! Later in the day, the stalls need to be mucked out. Horse campers take turns, and actually have fun while learning about the responsibilities of caring for horses.


Younger campers can hop aboard the Pony Express for an introduction to horse camp. Older ones can choose from a variety of sessions. Ready to register online? Click here. For more information, check out the brochure online. Contact DuBois Center at or 618-787-2202 to have one mailed to you.


PONY EXPRESS (completed grades 4-6)
            July 19-22
HORSIN’ AROUND (completed grades 5-7)
            June 7-12*, July 12-17
SADDLE ‘EM UP (completed grades 7-9)
            July 5-10, July 12-17
WRANGLERS (completed grades 8-12)
            June 21-26


* This session, June 7-12, is nearly full.