Director Dustin Huber hits target at adventure center

He calls facility a 'hidden gem'

By Mondell Keck

The Brookings Register

Posted 4/15/24

BROOKINGS — When you spend years pouring your heart and soul into something, it tends to leave a lasting impression on you — and that certainly holds true for Dustin Huber, the outgoing …

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Director Dustin Huber hits target at adventure center

He calls facility a 'hidden gem'


BROOKINGS — When you spend years pouring your heart and soul into something, it tends to leave a lasting impression on you — and that certainly holds true for Dustin Huber, the outgoing director of the Brookings County Outdoor Adventure Center.

“When I took this job, I believe that the county saw a great asset in this place,” he told the Brookings Register in a recent interview. “It’s a great … place where (there’s) a quality of life through youth development, safety programming, (and) giving (the) community a clean, friendly and safe environment to hold all sorts of activities.”

Huber took the reins of the adventure center on April 20, 2020. His last day will be April 26 as he takes his leave for a new career opportunity at Sioux Falls-based HVAC Elements. Many great memories were made during that four-year tenure, ones Huber won’t soon forget.

“It’s just seeing the community come in and leaving with a smile on (its) face,” Huber said, recalling some his best times as the BCOAC director. “There’s nothing more enjoyable than seeing the community come in and get to use this great facility.”

Besides its well-known gun range and archery range, the adventure center has also been the site for other activities and groups as well.

“I really enjoy the participation events. We just did the Big Shot Shoot with JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development), a group that uses the facility,” Huber said. “We had over 100 archers — 175 people attended — it’s just great to see all the people come in and use the facility and enjoy it as much as they did.”

He also pointed out groups that use the facility, including the Midwest Maidens roller skating group on Wednesday nights and, on Monday nights during the winter months, the Brookings Aeromates model airplane group. The facility’s spaces have also hosted, or will host, rummage sales, a craft sale, dog-training seminars, graduations, birthday parties and more.

Then there’s the 4-H clubs in Brookings County, who make great use of adventure center’s amenities.

“4-H uses this facility 50 percent of the time and they’re toward youth development, and I believe we need that in today’s world because the youth (are) going to run this world one day,” Huber noted. “It’s great seeing them come in with their parents, grandparents and utilizing the facility as well in either shooting sports or a class that they do for life skills — cooking or babysitting, that type of thing, so it’s great to see the young kids come in and use the place. That’s what it’s here for.”

Huber’s connections to the Brookings area extends well beyond the adventure center. His family first arrived in White from Lafayette, Louisiana, when he was a wee lad of 3 years old, and that’s where they lived until moving to Bushnell in 2000. He is a 2009 graduate of Brookings High School, and earned a degree in industrial management from South Dakota State University in 2014.

Huber currently lives in Sioux Falls with his wife, Erin, and their daughter, Brindley. A shorter drive time to and from work was part of the discussion when a decision had to be made about Dustin’s job as the BCOAC director.

“My wife and I have started a life in Sioux Falls with her job, so it was very tough to leave this position — my wife and I had multiple conversations about it — but it will be nice to be home two hours more every day with family,” Huber explained.

Before he goes, though, he has some loose ends to tie up so that his successor — Scott Smith, currently at SDSU — has a better time easing into the job. Oh, and a bit of advice as well.

“Be humble. I’ve kind of lived through those values of my adult life. Always earn respect — it’s not given,” Huber said. “My father always told us kids when we were growing up that if you take a 5-gallon bucket of water and put your hand in it and pull it back out, what’s it look like after that? It looks the same. So never put yourself above anybody. Everybody is — I mean, we’re all in this for the same goal for the position as far as making this place a great facility for the community.”

He continued, “I was also told that it’s easier to pick up trash than step over it, so — I mean, nobody’s perfect, but we always want to strive to be perfect because you never want to quit trying.”

He also noted that it’s always beneficial to be professional and to surround oneself with great people.

“Everybody’s replaceable, right? You always want to take that, I guess, piece of advice/principle through your life in my eyes because you’re always striving to be successful,” Huber pointed out. “Well, everybody has a different opinion of success, right? You always want to act like you’re being watched, talk like you’re being interviewed, because you never know who’s watching. I think that’s what makes a great person successful. So I always try to live through those values that I’ve had through my life.

“That, and surround yourself with great people because everybody is different, right? You can learn from everybody,” Huber said. “The way I do something, somebody else might have found an easier way to do it, (and) that makes it better.”

In closing, he pointed out that Brookings has something of a hidden gem in the adventure center.

“It’s really a unique place and I think it’s a great asset for the community,” Huber said. “Step outside your comfort zone. Come out and see what we have to offer.”

He also took a moment to offer his thanks, and for lasting impressions.

“I want to thank the community, my co-workers and staff that I worked with, the volunteers and then the commissioners for allowing me to do this job for the last four years,” Huber said. “I just wanted to thank them for the great experience — it was a life-changing job that I’ll remember forever.”

— Contact Mondell Keck at