Accreditation & Safety

Camp Ondessonk staff take great pride in the accreditation & safety procedures in place to produce quality programming for campers of all ages.




American Camp Association Accreditation & Safety
American Camp Association (ACA)

Camp Ondessonk strives to meet the highest health and safety standards. We are proud to be accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). Developed exclusively for the camp industry, this nationally-recognized organization focuses on program quality, health and safety issues. This accreditation means that Camp Ondessonk thoroughly reviews operational practices, seeks the wisdom of other summer camp professionals, and continually makes improvements within our summer camp program to comply with more than 300 written standards. Only one-fourth of summer camps in the United States have earned this mark of distinction.

The Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) has developed a highly acclaimed certification process for arena instructors, trail guides, instructors of riders with disabilities, and seasonal equestrian staff. CHA is the #1 trusted resource for equine professionals. Instructors are evaluated in five areas: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching technique, group control, and responsibility and professionalism. The CHA’s certification process has been continually monitored and refined for more than 40 years, in order to meet the needs of an ever-changing horse industry.

WFR Accreditation & Safety
Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

At least one member of Camp Ondessonk’s year-round team holds a Wilderness First Responder certification. This certification covers the general principles of Wilderness and Rescue Medicine with an emphasis on the prevention and identification of medical emergencies, appropriate technology, and risk management.

Camp Ondessonk Child Abuse Prevention

Camp Ondessonk is committed to collaborative efforts that can reduce the abuse of children. As an ACA-accredited camp, we work with licensing boards, regulatory bodies, and developers of camp standards to continue to seek ways to promote safety. Camp Ondessonk is a strong advocate for child safety. The following standard operating procedures are in place for the prevention of child abuse.

Diocese of Belleville Child Protection Policies require that all of Camp Ondessonk’s year-round staff members, summer staff members, and summer volunteers undergo an initial background screening process that includes reference checks and a criminal background search. Ondessonk’s initial screening process is reinforced with annual criminal background checks of all employees and volunteers.

All Camp Ondessonk year-round staff members, summer staff members, and summer volunteers must complete an Initial Child Protection Training class prior to working with children. Annual refresher courses are required for individuals wishing to continue their employment or volunteer service.

Camp Ondessonk policy forbids staff members and volunteers from being alone with individual children or minors.  This policy is widely known at Camp Ondessonk as the “rule of three”. Additional programmatic and scheduling checks and balances are utilized to further minimize the possibility that a single staff member or volunteer is ever placed in the role of a sole supervisor of children. For example, two or more staff members are always assigned to perform unit supervision duties during the times when campers are allowed to return to their cabins.

It should also be noted that Camp Ondessonk established its own child protection policies and procedures prior to the formal establishment of Diocese of Belleville Child Protection Policies. The original child protection training template was largely shaped by efforts, starting in the late 1980s, to become an American Camp Association accredited organization.

Camp Ondessonk achieved American Camp Association accreditation in 1996. In maintaining this distinction, Camp Ondessonk must demonstrate written and practical compliance to over 300 standards, many of which are industry best-practices for the prevention of child abuse.

Like all of the ministries and organizations currently operating throughout the diocese, Camp Ondessonk works closely with the Diocese of Belleville Office of Child Protection to maintain documented compliance of its child protection efforts.

Camp Ondessonk and Diocese of Belleville policy dictates that suspected child abuse cases be reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Child Abuse Hotline. In the event a child abuse complaint is made against an Ondessonk employee or volunteer, the Johnson County Sherriff’s Department would also be notified. It is not our duty to substantiate allegations of abuse. Our duty is to report.


Safety & Emergencies

Camp administrative staff monitor the national news and local weather. Camp Ondessonk has policies and procedures in place for addressing weather emergencies. If there is an identified emergency, campers and staff will be informed and given instructions for how to proceed. Information is relayed to the public on our website and via social media. Check the camp website for up-to-date information before you call. Camp also uses a mass text messaging platform to connect with camper parents and deliver important messages instantly.

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