As we close in on summer planning, we are still in need of very special staff members and volunteers! We need camp nurses and medics (RN, LPN, CNA, EMT, NP, and MD welcome) for several more weeks this summer, but especially the week of June 19 – 24 and June 26 – July 1. Camp healthcare staff can be a paid position if you can dedicate to a full summer, or a volunteer position for camp scholarship of someone you know.
Please reach out to Hayley via email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering or working as healthcare staff this summer!
Many of you have known me my whole life, but allow me to introduce myself. I’m Rylee Hodges-Stone and I grew up at DuBois Center. I’m now serving as Program Director and I’ve spent the off-season months reevaluating, revamping and creating programs. We’re now offering updated versions of popular middle-school specialty camps for high school age campers, we’re bringing some beloved camp themes back out of retirement, and we’re finding every way we can to better utilize our magnificent site with every activity.
Here is a picture of me at DuBois Center as a brand-new half-week camper. I was granted special exception to attend camp a year earlier than my grade level would allow. I begged my pastor, the late Gretchen Sterrett of New Baden Zion UCC, to write a letter explaining that I was the oldest kid in my class, and that I was certainly “mature enough to go.” She cut a deal with me: if I would work the chili and fish dinners to earn my camp scholarship, she’d get me in. I kept up my end of the deal, serving lemonade and helping with dishes at what must have been ten thousand dinners, and she kept up her end and got me into my home, The DuBois Center, just in the nick of time.
From deal-cutting half-weeker to dedicated horse camper to barn assistant to coordinator and now to Program Director, I’ve never lost my drive to serve all the lemonade it takes to get the job done. In this new position of management, I’ve created a goal for my staff: to better utilize staff training time, with a clear focus on establishing relationships, creating a strong love for DuBois Center and learning how to work as a team. This time needs to be spent fully devoted to certifying our staff on the key skills that are required every day of summer session. It’s crucial that we spend this limited time facilitating our staff’s familiarization with the site, the equipment, the job and the team – and maintain the flexibility to adapt to our diverse staff’s needs.
Even after this densely packed training ends, for seven weeks straight our staff members spend an average of 130 of the 168 hours in a week at DuBois Center. This leaves less than 48 hours for all personal needs to be met between sessions – this is a huge ask of every summer staff member and we owe it to them to do all we can to set them up for success. Our staff deserves excellent support because they work hard to create excellent experiences for our campers: summer camp is often the best week of a camper’s entire year.
2020 was not only our first year out of operation in decades, it also marked the departure of Shirley Asmussen, the long-serving director I had known as a camper. With all the chaos, it’s no wonder that many tasks have piled up – and they have piled up higher than our staff can handle without your help. Our summer staff arrive ready to fully commit to facilitating a safe and fun experience for each and every DuBois Center camper – your assistance with these tasks in the coming months means directly supporting our staff’s ability to keep their attention focused on the campers. I am asking for your help. Volunteer assistance with site preparation is needed before we can open for the 2022 Summer Session.
I’ve scheduled a volunteer day and a volunteer retreat for the spring of 2022:
April 23rd – Volunteer Day
May 21st – 22nd – overnight Volunteer Retreat
All of the work can be done at an entry-level skill set, no special expertise or tools necessary – if you can push a broom, pull a weed, or dust a cobweb, we need your help! Ready to pitch in?
I love DuBois Center. I loved being a camper, and it means the world to me to be able to welcome new generations of campers, and even second and third generation campers back to our camp for fun, adventure, worship, and growth. We all need each other, and right now we need you. DuBois Center is so unique among area camp facilities for its strong legacy of families, communities and congregations working together to “pay it forward” and keep our doors and arms open.
I invite you to remind yourself why DuBois Center is a part of your life, to be in God’s place and help set up another generation of great camper experiences. Anyone that wants to help DuBois Center is welcome.
Best, DuBois Center Program Director, Rylee Hodges-Stone
Thanks to Tom Krueger for choosing to complete an Eagle Scout Project on site – building ADA ramps at the Deer Run Cabins! Continuing to increase the accessibility of our site is just one way we live out our call to welcome all people to enjoy God’s creation here at DuBois Center! Tom and a crew completed this project on Saturday, July 17. Thank you, Tom!
If you would like to volunteer time or resources to aid us in continuing to increase the accessibility of our property and program, please reach out or watch the Weekly Connection and the DuBois Center website/Facebook Page for information on how to volunteer in the future.
As I spent my first days on site at DuBois Center over the last weekend, I could not help but be reminded of one of my favorite poems by Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”, which reads:
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I remain encouraged that in this time of unrest and uncertainty that DuBois Center offers something to our slice of the world that is always needed: rest, and the peace of wild things.
If you are interested in becoming more involved with the ministry of DuBois Center, now is a great time! We have many ongoing projects as we prepare for a summer quite unlike any other, including ways to be involved as a volunteer, staff member, or as a financial donor. One ongoing project is the office remodel, details of which are located on our website.
Lastly, I hope that many of you will be able to come out for our open house on April 25 so that I can meet you and we can celebrate what God is doing at and through DuBois Center. Details for this event are on the website. Register by emailing DCInfo@duboiscenter.org.
I pray you experience the abundant blessings of creation and Creator in the coming week!
Hayley Elliott, Acting Director of Outdoor Ministry.
Service! Fellowship while Distancing! Quality Time Outdoors!
It’s snowing leaves at DuBois Center, and that means it’s time to rake, blow and burn. Many hands make the task easier, faster and more fun. So, gather your youth, family or fellowship group and spend an autumn day, morning or afternoon at camp. You are welcome to bring a picnic meal or roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire. If you have rakes or leaf blowers – bring them!
Join us to Embrace a Space! Is there a special spot at DuBois Center that you really enjoy or that brings back great memories? Are there specific work tasks that you especially enjoy? Individuals, families and groups are invited to make a commitment to a space at camp and return throughout the length of the commitment to work on that plot of earth, building or area.
The possibilities are nearly endless. Consider weeding and pruning the Rustic Chapel, painting the little hidden deck near Oak Lodge, or cleaning the Craft Grotto. Thinking bigger? Take on a building (a cottage) or a series of them (the cabins in Fish Ridge). All our buildings would appreciate some extra TLC! Over the decades, volunteers have been a significant piece of the ministry of DuBois Center.
With limited maintenance hours in general, and especially during the COVID-19 shut-down, there is a significant need for willing and able workers. Currently we have projects for individuals, family groups and small teams who agree to follow camp rules related to wearing masks and practicing good physical distancing. For more information, contact us at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618- 787-2202.
You may recall that in November, a strange sink hole was discovered in the Rustic Village. That sink hole was actually the old septic tank caving in on itself. In early July, a new septic tank, connecting pipes and drain field were installed. The work left a large portion of the playing field unusable… at least for playing.
Last week property committee member and volunteer Mark Beckmeyer loaded up his tiller, some seed and fertilizer and spent a steamy day at DuBois Center. Knowing the critical need for a good, flat playing surface, he did most of the work in twos. First, he fertilized the ground in one direction and then in the other. Next, he tilled the area; then harrowed it – again going in one direction and then the other. Two passes with the push seeder came next and then another two full rounds of harrowing. The field looks amazing. Now we wait for gentle rains.
THANKS to Mark and all our volunteers and donors! We couldn’t do it without you!
Consider a week (or even a few days) at DuBois Center and join our 2020 Summer Camp team! WANTED: fun, engaging and caring volunteers to serve as nurses, chaplains, photographers, cabin counselors, time-off counselors, activity specialists and barn helpers. Minimum age is 18 for most positions; young adults and older adults are welcome. Give of your time and talent, make a difference and gain a wonderful sense of satisfaction!
For more information, check out the volunteer page of our web site or contact DuBois Center at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202.
Band-Aids – YES, but so much more! One setting for ministry at DuBois Center is our health center. Volunteer nurses, most of whom are RNs, are a vital piece of our summer camp program. Serving as a camp nurse can be a very rewarding mission experience that is similar, yet very different than most traditional nursing positions. Responsibilities include reviewing camper medical forms, conducting health screenings, receiving and administering medications, providing first aid and basic medical treatment, and documentation. But when you really get down to it, nurses spend most of their time removing ticks, soothing rashes, distributing medications and providing extra TLC for homesick and nervous campers.
If you are an RN, please consider serving with us for a full or partial week. The living quarters do have AC, and there is often time to join us for worship, explore the woods or just sit back and read a book. For more information, contact Shirley at dcinfo@DuBoisCenter.org or 618-787-2202.
Because we affirm the value of all God’s people, the Illinois South Conference of the United Church of Christ does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, ability, national origin, religious background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. To the extent possible, we endeavor to accommodate those with a variety of physical, mental, emotional, medical, or dietary needs.