News and Events
After several months of planning and much excitement, the Kemmerer Village Prom took place on Saturday, May 4. This year’s theme was "Enchanted Forest" and for one night the Margaret J. Dick Campus Center Dining Hall was transformed into a dance hall complete with a fairytale castle. All of the girls and boys came dressed to impress, with the girls getting to show off their beautiful gowns and the boys looking handsome in their formal attire. There were more residents that participated in this year’s event than ever before and it has become a great incentive for the kids to finish out the school year on a strong note.
Before the dance our teens were served a special meal from the kitchen staff and were then able to have pictures taken entering the dance floor by one of the several helpers that came out to campus. Volunteers showed up early in the morning to fix hair and make-up and stayed late for the night of fun. On behalf of the Prom Committee and all of the Prom attendants, we would like to thank those who donated their valuable time and resources to ensure that the KV youth were able to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event. Thank you all very much!!!
On the cold morning of Jan 3, 2013 during their winter break; 11 residents woke up early to take part in an incredible opportunity to work on an oil painting under the instruction of Bill "Ridley" Bayer. Our residents enjoyed the opportunity to learn some of the techniques Bill uses in his beautiful landscape paintings.
Along the way they also discovered some strengths, talents, and interests of their own. Furthermore, they were able to build confidence in their abilities, increase self-esteem, learn new ways to express themselves and learn ways to cope with stress, anger and frustration. We are truly blessed and grateful for this opportunity.
On Halloween, the residents of Kemmerer Village participated in a celebration of creativity and the imagination. The event was the 2012 Kemmerer Village Halloween Party. Inside the gymnasium, boys and girls dressed up and engaged in different games and contests. There was also an assortment of refreshments provided during the party, such as soda, dirt cake, fruit punch, pizza rolls and chips.
The costume contest began the night as the residents came out and showed off their costumes in three different competitions. The first category was 'Most Creative'. Coming in at 3rd place was Brent, 2nd place Melody, and 1st place was Matthew with his impersonation of Elvis. In the second contest, it was the 'Scariest Costume'. In 3rd place was Joe, 2nd place was Katy, and in 1st place was Baylee with her undead bride costume. The last contest was 'Funniest Costume'. In 3rd place was Philip, 2nd place was Caleb dressed as a mime, and 1st place went to Rachene who dressed up as an old timey nurse with oversized glasses.
There were also some games that the kids got to participate in such as 'The Apple Grab', 'Bean Bag Toss', and the 'Fear Factor' game. Bailey won the Apple Grab contest by getting the largest and most bites of the apple hanging from a string. Willie won the Bean Bag toss. And Philip was the only resident to guess each item in the Fear Factor game, where the residents had to put their hands in a box, purposely mislabeled, to inspire fear into what they were grabbing.
For the second half of the party, residents who were eligible to stay enjoyed snacks and drinks while being able to dance to a live DJ on the gym floor courtesy of Mr. Brett Beck. The party went really well and everyone enjoyed themselves. We would like to thank all Kemmerer Village staff who helped ensure that the residents had a good time.
KV Rec Staff
Championship Flight 1st Place
Championship Flight 2nd Place
Championship Flight 3rd Place
"A" Flight 1st Place
"A" Flight 2nd Place
"A" Flight 3rd Place
The 19th Annual KV Charity Golf Tournament was held on September 7, 2012 at Oak Terrace Golf Course in Pana. One hundred forty four golfers participated in a shot gun start at 8:00 a.m. Entry fee of $75.00 included 18 holes, cart, lunch and prizes. All proceeds go to benefit the Children of Kemmerer Village. We give a big thank you to all the golfers who participated in this year's tournament.
A Very Special Thank You to the following businesses who contributed to offset the tournament cost:
Major Sponsors were: The Kemmerer Village Board of Directors, Wood & Co. Investments of Denver CO, First National Bank of Pana, Hickory Point Bank Agricultural Services, McGuire, Yuhas, Huffman & Buckley, P.C., Craftmasters/Micar Co. all of Decatur, 1st National Bank and G.A.B. Electric all of Assumption, Diss, Inc./ Neikes Floor Covering and Meyer, Austin, & Romano all of Taylorville, Hunzeker Service Agency, Clifton Gunderson and Central States Media, all of Peoria, Drummond Company of Birmingham AL, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals, Mutual Of America of St. Louis, Hillsboro Energy of Hillsboro, The Illinois Coal Association, American Central Insurance all of Springfield, Hurford Architects, Inc. of Glen Carbon, RBC Wealth Management of Minnetonka MN
Feature Hole Sponsors were: Pizza Man, Morrell Auto Service, Oak Terrace all of Pana, FBS/Wareham's, Beavers and Graham, Lakeshore Golf Course, Angelo's of Taylorville, Moweaqua Golf Course and Forston's Barber Shop of Moweaqua, Nokomis Auto Body, Rutledge Youth Foundation and E.L. Pruitt Co. of Springfield, Maverik Marketing, Illini Pharmacy, May Cocagne and King, P.C., Central Illinois Auctions and Vandevanter Engineering all of Decatur, Mutual Of Omaha of St. Louis, Gordon Foods of Bloomington, Indian Springs Golf Course of Fillmore, Timber Lakes Golf Course of Staunton, Angus Links Golf Course of Windsor, Consolidated Communications of Mattoon, Friends of Andy Manar of Bunker Hill.
Winners in the Championship flight were: First Place Anthony Sloan, Tyler Bramley, Brian Barnes, and Mark Strain. Second Place Paul Worthey, Hal Patton, B.J. Russell, Joel Baker. Third place Steve Goetz, Josh Aldridge, Brad Durbin and Andy Wagner. (Determined by score card playoff.)
Winners in the "A" flight were: First Place Shawn Damery, Vinnie Zuber, Tracy Denton, Doug Meyer. Second Place Joe Morrell, Jim Sneddon, Tate Clark, Gary Willis. Third Place Tyler Sims, Matt Shasteen, Jim Harnsberger, Matt Crockett. (Determined by score card playoff.)
Our Early Bird Drawing Winners were Theola Brackett, Joey Hadley, Steve Milling and Steve Unser.
The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and a cool crisp breeze swept through the air on the morning of September 8, 2012 at Kemmerer Village. The Kemmerer Village residents geared up in their running shoes and their aqua blue Walk For the Cure t-shirts. Seeing determination on everyone's faces and hearing words of encouragement throughout the day was a big part of what made this day memorable.
Everyone walked/jogged/ran a total of 1,225 laps, which equates nearly 135 miles. This year's Walk-A-Thon was the most successful yet in that not only was this the most laps ever ran by the residents, but we raised a grand total of $3,000, which is the highest we've raised in a Walk-A-Thon thus far. All of our proceeds will benefit the St. John's Children's Hospital in Springfield. Within the next two weeks, a few of our residents will be visiting the St. John's CHildren's Hospital to deliver the funds we raised.
First and foremost we would like to thank our sponsors for this year: Davis Hardware (Moweaqua), Shelby County State Bank (Moweaqua), Ayars Bank (Moweaqua), Moweaqua Foods, Seitz Funeral Home (Moweaqua), Caseys General Store (Moweaqua), Dr. Page's Office (Moweaqua), Dewitt Savings Bank (Moweaqua), Assumption Veterinary Clinic, GSI (Assumption), First National Bank (Assumption/Pana), Hubbert Motors (Pana), Bob Ridings (Pana), Nohren's Hardware (Pana), Road Runner Lawn Ornaments (Pana), Tres Compadres (Pana), Holthaus Heating and Appliance (Pana), Downs Motor Inc. (Pana), Pana Bowl, National Bank of Pana, Hair Designs II (Pana), Pana Animal Hospital, Myers Services (Pana), The New You (Pana), LakeLawn Inn (Pana), Morrell Auto Service (Pana), Pizza Man (Pana), Wilborn Creek Power Sports/Towing (Pana), Karla’s Kollectibles (Pana), Tangles (Taylorville), The Glass Cutters (Taylorville), Butch’s Lawnmowers (Taylorville), The Next Step Salon (Taylorville), Perona’s Auto Body (Taylorville), Northside Veterinary Clinic (Taylorville, Custom Designs (Pana) and Kemmerer Village.
We would also like to thank all of those from the communities, as well as the staff at Kemmerer Village for contributing to this cause. Our goal is to not only help those at St. John’s, but to impact the youth at Kemmerer Village to reach out to those in need and learn the skill of empathy. Thank you and God bless everyone who helped make this event successful.
by Tyler Orem
Residents of Kemmerer Village piled into two vans on Saturday, July 21, to make a journey to the capital. Excitement, nervousness, and the radio volume were all running high in the crammed space of the vehicles—filled with people, coolers, and softball gloves. It was time for the Illinois Inter-Agency Athletic Association's (IIAA) state softball tournament at Lincoln Park in Springfield.
In existence since the 1970s, the IIAA is a nonprofit organization serving residential treatment centers and children's homes across the state. Much like a statewide high school athletic association, the IIAA organizes dual matches, tournaments, and community events. Their activities include softball, flag rugby, swimming, soccer, volleyball, dodgeball, basketball, bowling, track and an association-wide picnic. Further, to broaden the talent pool, the association facilitates an arts and crafts display and a creative writing publication.
Unlike traditional athletic associations, the IIAA's main focus is therapeutic recreation. In other words, sport is used as a means to help children with traumatic and violent histories to discover skills, practice focusing, work in a team, engender self-esteem, use energy positively, and learn healthy peer interactions. Of course the challenge of physical competition is invigorating for the participating youth. The real goal of IIAA events, however, is to have lasting results in children's lives off the field and outside of the pool.
With these therapeutic goals in mind, ‘victory' is much more profound than simply scoring the most points. Yes, referees keep scores and coaches stats, but a team need not be full of the best athletes to carry the day. The highest honor in any IIAA tournament is that of receiving a sportsmanship award. Positive attitudes, teamwork, acceptance of calls and results, anger control, and humility are all taken into account in determining a team's success at any given event. Judging by the supremacy of ‘might makes right' attitudes in sports today, athletic associations at every level across the country would do well to take a look at the IIAA's indices of victory.
What is the outcome of this fusion of athletic competition and dynamic therapeutic treatment? On July 21, the result was a gathering of teams representing treatment centers and children's homes from across the state. Residents cheered on their teammates and gave respect to their opponents. Coaches shouted out encouragement for well made plays and good attitudes alike, regardless of whether or not the players were from their own team. Every team was ensured an equal number of games, and every team put forth great effort even though surrounded by the humid heat of July in central Illinois.
The Knights of Kemmerer Village had a great day in Springfield. The Lady Knights took on the Norman C. Sleezer Youth Home and Baptist Children's Home while the boys played Onarga Academy and Peoria Children's Home. Both teams represented Kemmerer Village at its finest. The residents maintained positive attitudes, coped well with the anxiousness and energy of sport, won all of their games, and had a good time to boot! Four new trophies will be gracing the Recreation Center at Kemmerer—two for winning games, and most importantly, two for sportsmanship.
In the words of one female resident, "I am so proud of us!"
"Tonight was the best experience I have EVER had in my life" ~ Bailey P, Marsch Cottage
Prom this year was AMAZING. Our theme was "Moonlight Masquerade", and all of our residents and staff met at the Kemmerer Village dining room which had been transformed into our setting for prom. Many more residents were eligible for this year's events, and each and every one had a wonderful time.
Each resident was able to have formal wear for our event, be served dinner by a staff member, and enjoy favors that were provided thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedules and lives to donate clothing and money to our event. On behalf of our residents and our prom committee, we want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who tirelessly give to our residents to ensure that they are able to participate in what, to other kids, are merely expected events in their lives.
Most of our residents have never in their lives had a chance to live in a safe environment and share rites of passage with peers of the same age. Our donors and friends are the ones that make this possible, and we recognize each and every one of you for taking part in making our residents a success. Thank you so very much.
Southeastern Presbyterian Women held their Spring Gathering at Kemmerer Village on Saturday April 21. Assumption Memorial Presbyterian ladies hosted the meeting. Kemmerer Village kitchen staff served a delicious sandwich and salad luncheon.
Phyllis Warnick welcomed those attending. Alice Christenberry thanked the ladies for all the support they provide for the children at Kemmerer Village. The group then viewed the new Kemmerer Village video "Helping Today's Child". We would also like to give a big thank you to Pastor Tom Mulch for his help with the video and sound equipment.
Barbara Keagle and Florence Beck assisted with music and singing. Also the Decatur First Presbyterian Bell Choir provided beautiful, joyful music to the delight of all attending the meeting.
Kathi Newbert spoke on Missions and her future trip to Honduras. Yarn and Knitting needles were collected for Kathi to take on her trip.
Donations for Kemmerer Village youth were also received: prom clothes, quilt/comforter, General Mills Box Tops and Campbell's UPC/Logos.
Pauline Rowels led the election and installations of new officers. Officers for the coming year are:
Moderator ... Phyllis Warnick
Co-Moderator ... Jane Hopkins
Pauline Rowels ... Secretary
Florence Beck ... Treasure
Janice Shiffer ... Newsletter
Betty Springs ... Development of Missions
Kathi Newbert ... Communications
Rev. Carol Phillips conducted worship, Celebration of the Saints Triumphant and Communion.
After the meeting a tour of the Kemmerer Village Equine Center was provided by Alice Christenberry and Annie Peterson. Annie often works with Amber Miller the Therapist and Director of the Equine Program. She gave several examples of how the horses were used in therapy to help the young people at Kemmerer Village. Also two of the full size horses (Frank and Legacy) along with six of the miniature horses provided entertainment at the arena.
For the past two years, the staff at Kemmerer Village have gone above and beyond for our youth to provide them with a positive and uplifting experience at prom. For many of our youth, this is something they will experience only while in our care. We want to continue to make it great for our kids. We have been blessed by donations from the community, and especially our Kemmerer Village Auxiliary, who tirelessly support many of our special requests for our young people. We have been fortunate to be the recipients of several formal dresses for our girls and are still in need due to the changes in styles, the differing sizes of our girls, and the volume of young people attending. We are also in need of dress shoes in good condition for young men and young women, as well as dress slacks, dress shirts, and ties for our young men. Monetary donations would also be very helpful to make necessary purchases of clothing items and decorations for this year's theme, "Moonlight Masquerade". We thank you for your generous efforts to help us make this a memorable experience for our young people.
For more information on how you can help, contact the Development Office (217) 226-2130
In May of this year we will begin our 98th year in this ministry. We just recently completed a new video Helping Today's Child. We have had a very positive response from everyone who has viewed the video. The DVD is 16 minutes long and includes Kemmerer Village staff and children sharing information on our programs and how we are helping children today. If you would be interested in viewing the DVD please contact Alice Christenberry at 217-226-2132 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prom Dresses and Accessories
Pastels (Non Toxic)
Markers (Non Toxic, Not Permanent)
Large (Fat) Markers
Large Rolls of Paper ( Art Paper)
Lots and Lots of Glitter Glue
Water Colors (Paints)
Paper for Painting (Lg. Sketch Pads)
Lots and Lots of Stickers
Lots of Beads (No Glass)
Hemp String (The thin kind)
At least 6 sets of Gel Pens
Plastic table cloths
Things to paint (wood, Styrofoam, felt, etc.)
Games - A couple of each of these
Apples To Apples
Trivial Pursuit (Not the Adult Version)
Kickballs (Red Rubber)
Bean Bag Toss
Baseball/Softball Mitts (both left and right handed)
Gift Certificates or Gift Cards
WalMart • J C Penny • T J Max • Phone Cards • Pizza Hut • McDonalds • Sears
Hickory Point Mall, Forsyth & White Oaks Mall, Springfield, IL
Sheets for twin beds
Towels (used and new)
Coats (a supply of coats are kept for new residents)
The 18th Annual KV Charity Golf Tournament was held on September 9, 2011 at Oak Terrace Golf Course in Pana. One hundred thirty six golfers participated in a shot gun start at 8:00 a.m. Entry fee of $75.00 included 18 holes, cart, lunch and prizes. All proceeds go to benefit the Children of Kemmerer Village. We give a big thank you to all the golfers who participated in this year's tournament.
A Very Special Thank You to the following businesses who contributed to offset the tournament cost:
Major Sponsors were: The Kemmerer Village Board of Directors, Wood & Co. Investments of Denver CO, First National Bank of Pana, Hickory Point Bank Agricultural Services, McGuire, Yuhas, Huffman & Buckley, P.C., Craftmasters, Pepsi Refreshment Services all of Decatur , 1st National Bank and G.A.B. Electric all of Assumption, Diss, Inc./ Neikes Floor Covering and Meyer, Austin, & Romano all of Taylorville, Hunzeker Service Agency, Clifton Gunderson and Central States Media, all of Peoria, Drummond Company of Birmingham, Alabama, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals of St. Louis, Wright Automotive, Hillsboro Energy of Hillsboro, Bill and Marilyn Hopper of Taylorville, The Illinois Coal Association, American Central Insurance all of Springfield.
Feature Hole Sponsors were: Pizza Man, Morrell Auto Service, Oak Terrace all of Pana, FBS/Wareham's, Angelo's of Taylorville, Moweaqua Golf Course Nokomis Auto Body, Rutledge Youth Foundation of Springfield, The Micar Company , Maverik Marketing, Illini Pharmacy (Rambo), Sam's Club all of Decatur, Mutual Of Omaha of St. Louis, Gordon Foods of Bloomington, Indian Springs Golf Course of Fillmore, Timber Lakes Golf Course of Staunton, Piper Glen Golf Course of Springfield, Angus Links Golf Course of Windsor.
Winners in the Championship flight were: First Place Brett Shuff, Mike Holland, Kirk Campbell, Mark Canada Second place B.J. Russell, Brennan Murphy, Paul Worthey, Joel Baker. Third place Greg Zimmerman, Greg Lipe, Bob Noyes Chad Zimmerman (Determined by score card playoff).
Winners in the "A" flight were:
- First Place: Jim Giles, Whitey Patton, Kurt Schinzler, Rod Phillips
- Second Place: Brian Beube, Mike Beube, Mike Steers, Brad Beube
- Thrid Place: Pete Goetner, Paul Dalbey, Thomas Boelens, Jim Whitehair
(Determined by score card playoff)
Whitey Patton won the 50/50 drawing and Our Early Bird Drawing Winners were Jim Modla, Greg Chambers, Tom Weiss, Ron Saathoff!
The 2nd Annual Kemmerer Village Walk-A-Thon took place on a breezy sunny morning on 9/17/11. Over 1,000 laps were walked by all of our residents totaling 121 miles. Every resident on campus had multiple pledges from staff and/or from individuals in nearby communities. Watching our youth walk/jog/run as many laps as they could to raise as much as they could for this cause was heart warming. Everyone put out a lot of effort on this day as each resident had an hour total to get in as many laps as possible. We raised a total of $785.25. All proceeds will benefit the St. John's Children's Hospital. A few residents will travel with staff to the St. John's Children's Hospital within another week or so to deliver the proceeds to the hospital. Our youth will get a chance to learn about the St. John's Children's Hospital and will get a chance to meet some of those who are a part of the St. John's Children's Hospital Organization.
I wanted to take a moment to just thank you for everyone's contributions and efforts in making this Walk-A-Thon a successful one. This wouldn't had been possible if it wasn't for each and everyone of you stepping up to the plate to help our teens make a difference in the lives of others. This event really helped our teens build empathy and altruism toward others. We hope to continue to make our community outreach program at Kemmerer Village successful.
The Kemmerer Village resident's and staff participated in a coat and blanket project to benefit the Helping Hands Shelter in Springfield, IL which serves homeless persons. Therapeutic Recreation Staff Brandon Smith organized a group of our residents to collect donations of coats and blankets throughout the month of December, which were then delivered to the Springfield Shelter the week of Christmas. The donations were collected from Kemmerer Village employees, their families and friends. the efforts of Brandon, our residents and staff resulted in 159 coats and blankets being collected.
The Coat and Blanket Collection is the latest activity that was completed as part of Kemmerer Village's Community Outreach program. We believe this program helps to teach our residents the importance and value of helping others in need, and the personal gratification that can come with that.
Once a Kemmerer kid, always a Kemmerer kid was the atmosphere at the reunion held for former Kemmerer Orphan's Home and Kemmerer Children's Home residents on Saturday, August 14 at what is now Kemmerer Village in Assumption, IL.
Pat Hill McLaughlin, a Kemmerer Village resident from 1964 to 1972, organized the reunion for people who lived at Kemmerer Village when the home was an orphanage from 1914 to 1983, rather than the alternative school, which Kemmerer Village is today.
McLaughlin said there was no definitive list of people who went to Kemmerer when it was a children's home, but she used AT&T white pages to find former residents and then asked them whom they remembered.
On Saturday about 50 former residents, teachers, and community members, some arriving as far away as California and West Virginia, gathered in the gymnasium and greeted old friends with smiles and tears.
"Kemmerer is a place where we were allowed to be a family. These people are not my friends, they are my family and that is why I step up and always organize a reunion," McLaughlin said.
Mike Havera, Kemmerer Village Administrative Director, provided tours of the old administrative building (original orphanage) and cottages where many of the attendees grew-up, as well as the new facilities.
Tessa Giles, a former house-mother, attended the reunion with her two daughters, Melissa Giles Zuber and Tricia Giles Stewart, all of Assumption. Giles and her husband, Jerry Giles, raised their two children, who at the time were six and ten, along with 12 other girls as a family in the Buchanan Cottage from 1974 to 1979.
Debbie Spencer Hoffman, one of the twelve girls who lived in the Buchanan Cottage, traveled from Virginia to reunite with Giles, Zuber and Stewart at the Kemmerer Village reunion.
"Jerry and Tessa loved each and every one of us and gave us healthy guidelines and rules to live by that so many of us desperately needed," Hoffman said. "You don't realize until you get older how much they (Zuber and Stewart) sacrificed to share their parents with 12 orphans in the cottage."
Hoffman said the Giles treated everyone fairly, and if one of their daughters did something wrong they were in trouble and sitting in the hard chair too.
"It was like having ten sisters," said Zuber and Stewart. "we would all watch TV in the evening, and everyone of us would run to get your spot. All of us were in every chair, couch, or empty spot on the floor."
Sandra Green Tebrigge, another former resident who attended the event, holds the record for longest stay at Kemmerer Village. Tebrigge lived there for 15 years from 1962 to 1977. Tebrigge said she was four years old when her father dropped her off at Kemmerer Village, and she shifted in and out of foster homes during the holidays but never got adopted.
"If Kemmerer hadn't been here, I don't know where I would be today," Tebrigge said. "This is like one big family; everyone takes care of everyone."
Dorman Shirey, 91, of Sullivan, IL., was the oldest former resident of Kemmerer Village in attendance. Shirey said he was treated very well during his time at Kemmerer.
The Kemmerer Village Women's Auxiliary helps to provide additional funding and support for specific needs of youth who are served by Kemmerer Village. The Women's Auxiliary serves as the "heart and hearth" of the Kemmerer Village mission; helping to provide such basic and practical things as bed sheets, bed comforters, shoes, graduation gifts, sponsoring our KV "Prom" and special off-campus outings to name just a few things. Without the support of the Auxiliary, most of our youth would not have had the opportunity to experience these type of things. The Kemmerer Village Women's Auxiliary has provided these types of services to generations of young people.
We encourage you to join the Women's Auxiliary by either attending our meetings, which are held on-campus the first Wednesday of every March, May, September and November; or by contacting us by phone or email (217-225-2132) or Alice.Christenberry@kv.christian.k12.il.us and Jessica.Webb@kv.christian.k12.il.us