All individuals working at Camp Ondessonk choose the job because of a strong desire to serve others. Our Leadership & Staff consist of devoted individuals with extensive experience in fields related to youth development and outdoor leadership.
Kristin Beutel, Registrar
Phone: 618.695.2489 x131
Hometown: Rolling Hills Estates, California
Kristin grew up in beautiful Southern California near the coast. In her teenage years, she was in the National Charity League and earned the 100+ hours of community service award each year during her six years of membership. In 2008, Kristin moved to Southern Illinois and immediately fell in love with the beauty of The Shawnee National Forest. In 2019, Kristin joined the Camp Ondessonk team, starting as Assistant Registrar and later being promoted to Registrar in 2023. Kristin’s role as Registrar includes registering over 3,000 campers for Summer Camp each year, keeping camper records accurate and up to date, housing campers to their units, managing the Refer-A-Friend program, accurately reporting registration stats and comparisons with previous years to the rest of the Camp Community, and much more. When she is not working on all things Summer Camp, Kristin also handles the registration process for Specialty Weekends and Family Camps, as well as assisting the Data Coordinator with various projects. In her free time, Kristin enjoys spending time with family and friends, photography, tie dye, cooking, and spending time in nature.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x101
Hometown: Vienna, Illinois
Lisa grew up locally in Vienna, Illinois, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Lisa came to us here at Ondessonk after working at Banterra Bank as a Deposit Support Representative in 2015. Lisa’s role includes taking care of business paperwork, payroll/location HR, finances, audits, supply orders, and the Trading Post. When she isn’t here at Camp, she loves cooking, canning, and spending time with her family.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x104
Hometown: Springfield, Illinois
Chris grew up in Springfield, Illinois, and started spending time at Camp before he can remember, thanks to his parents working and volunteering here for many years. Chris attended summer camp as long as he could, joined summer staff in 2012, and worked as a program staff member in 2018. Chris took on his current role in Fall 2021, in which he coordinates the day-to-day operations of Camp’s year-round program offerings, helps with school promotion campaigns, and oversees activity heads and service areas in the summer. In his free time, you can find him hiking with his wife Emily and dog Arlo, reading, or playing the guitar and piano.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x109
Hometown: Westport, Massachusetts
Sue grew up on the East coast and earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Sue was first introduced to Camp Ondessonk in 2003 by her husband and former Equestrian Director, Danny Clancy, and has continued to be a devoted volunteer ever since. Sue joined the full-time Ondessonk staff in August 2017. In her current role, she manages summer camp registrar duties, scholarship and Title XX programs, and processes specialty weekend and open camping registrations, donations, and acknowledgments. In addition, Sue serves as the IT point of contact for equipment, network, telephone, and database management. When Sue is not at Camp, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her son Keith, step-daughter Courtnie, and her four grandchildren.
Evan Coulson, Adventure & Group Services Director
Phone: 618.695.2489 x129
Hometown: Johnston City, Illinois
Evan grew up nearby in Johnston City, Illinois, and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Evan has served Ondessonk as a part of summer staff, outdoor education staff, and full-time 2005-2012 and returned to Camp full-time in his current role in 2022. Evan assists guests in planning their visits to Camp Ondessonk, ensures that weekend users are supported and well cared for, serves as a liaison for groups hosting events onsite, assists in strategic partnership development, and oversees Ondessonk’s summer and year-round adventure and outdoor recreation programming. In his free time, Evan enjoys spending time with his partner Gabi, running and biking Camp’s scenic trail network.
Javette Cox, Food Services Director
Phone: 618.695.2489 x144
Hometown: Pittsfield, Illinois
Javette landed at Camp in 2014. She was working as a Food Supervisor at a local nursing home and was wanting something more challenging. She had fully managed the kitchen at a small private school prior to moving to Southern Illinois, and she missed working with the kids. Javette currently serves as the Food Service Director at Camp Ondessonk. Her job is to ensure that the kitchen is run in a manner that abides by state guidelines and that the food that we offer is safe and tastes good. Year-round she does most of the planning and cooking for any guests that we have as well as maintains a fully functional kitchen. In her free time, she loves to craft, try new recipes with her 5-year-old grandson that he picks from pictures off the web or in books, and relax on her deck overlooking the Lake of Egypt.
Ellie Dirnbeck, Development Events Coordinator
Ellie grew up in Waterloo, Illinois, and attended Southeast Missouri State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Corporate Communication. Although she did not attend Camp Ondessonk as a Camper, she participated at a similar summer camp and was looking to become part of a camp family again. Ellie joined the full-time Camp Ondessonk staff in March 2023. In her current role, Ellie channels her passion for people to provide oversight and support for all fundraising events. In her free time, you can find Ellie tending to her house plants, baking, or picnicking in the park!
Lucia Hodges, Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: 618.695.2489 x145
Hometown: Ozark, Illinois
Lucia has been a member of the Ondessonk community since 1960, her first summer as a camper. Lucia has held many positions during her tenure with Camp, such as Handicrafts Director, C.I.T. Director, and Head Counselor, among others. Her first year on staff, 1964, Lucia found herself as a 17-year-old Unit Leader in Lalemant – an accomplishment she is very proud of. In her current role, Lucia works with summer volunteers, is in charge of lost and found, and late-arrival/early-departure campers in the summer, and helps all staff maintain their active Child Protection Training and other paperwork. In her free time, Lucia enjoys reading, crafting, and spending time with her wonderful husband, Larry.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x116
Hometown: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania
Nolan grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spending many weekends camping with his family and friends. He attended Ithaca College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Outdoor Adventure Leadership with a minor in Religious Studies. Nolan came to Camp Ondessonk in February 2017, starting his journey as seasonal program staff. After a brief time away, he returned to accept a full-time position. In his current role, Nolan oversees the day-to-day operations of summer camp as well as the program department that operates year-round. When not focusing on work, Nolan enjoys rock climbing, running, hiking, and spending time with close friends and family. He can also be found drinking a good cup of coffee with a crossword puzzle or book somewhere outside.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x125
Hometown: Ozark, Illinois
Mike grew up very close to Camp Ondessonk, but never had the chance to attend as a camper. He joined the Ondessonk staff as Assistant Ranger in 1994 and was promoted to Ranger shortly after that. Mike is currently the longest-serving full-time employee, meaning there is not a nook nor cranny at Ondessonk that Mike does not know. Mike works year-round with a large group of staff and volunteers to keep Camp in order, well-maintained and running smoothly. When not keeping all of Ondessonk safe and well taken care of, Mike can be found spending quality time with his family.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x125
Hometown: Ozark, Illinois
Kav grew up very close to Camp Ondessonk and joined the maintenance crew full-time in January 2019. Kav helps the Ranger maintain the safety and beauty of our Camp in his daily work, which could involve any number of tasks from baling hay to fixing the Shawnee Screamer. When Kav is not working, you can find him riding horses, mules, or four-wheelers, listening to music, and spending time with his friends and family.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x102
Hometown: Edwardsville, Illinois
Dan’s history with Camp Ondessonk began in 1981, his first year as a camper. Dan spent the summers of 1987-1994 on the summer staff, which included co-leading the first ever Camp Ondessonk Horse Adventure trip. Following college, Dan gained program planning and administrative experience at several other camps as a wrangler, outdoor educator, Program Director, and Summer Camp Director. He returned to Ondessonk in 2006 and became Executive Director in 2008. Loved by campers and staff alike, Dan inspires with a smile and has a talent for bringing meaning to the Camp experience with his unique humor and devoted love of Ondessonk. Dan lives on site with his wife Suzy, and they feel lucky to be raising their four children in the Camp Ondessonk community. In his free time, you can find Dan hiking, trial-running, wood-working, or canoeing on Ozark streams.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x106
Hometown: Burlington, Kentucky
Catherine grew up in Northern Kentucky, working in a show barn and owning several horses. After college, she spent time working year-round as the Head Wrangler for a large horse camp in Washington state. She then served as the Equestrian Coordinator at HoneyRock Camp, the Outdoor Center of Wheaton College, where she received her master’s degree in Christian Formation and Ministry: Outdoor Adventure Leadership. She joined Camp Ondessonk full time in October 2017 as the Equestrian Director. Her current duties include overseeing all equestrian activities, programs, and maintaining the health and well-being of the herd. Outside of work Catherine enjoys spending time with her husband, Andy, and their two girls Mary and Noelle as well as hiking, scrambling, kayaking, and family walks around Camp.
Phone: 618.695.2489 x125
Hometown: Minooka, Illinois
Scott grew up near Chicago, Illinois, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Scott first discovered Camp Ondessonk through friends, and officially joined the full-time maintenance crew in May 2021. His day-to-day involves helping Mike keep Camp in order, maintained, and no day ever quite looks the same. In his free time, Scott loves to tinker with anything that has an engine and spend time with his family and friends.
Kerstie Phillips, Food Service Assistant
Phone: 618.695.2489 x130
Hometown: Pinckneyville, Illinois
Whitney Strang, Director of Development
Phone: 618.695.2489 x114
Hometown: Clifton, Illinois
Whitney grew up in Clifton, Illinois, and attended McKendree University, where she earned a Bachelors of Speech Communication. She joined the full-time Camp Ondessonk team in December 2021. Whitney did not have the chance to attend Camp Ondessonk, but attended a similar camp near her hometown and loved the experience. In her current role, Whitney works with individuals who give of their time, talent or treasure to support the programs and administrative needs of Camp, and create scholarships for children whose lives are changed by a week in the woods. In her free time, you can find Whitney cooking, watching the St. Louis Cardinals or Chicago Bears, and spending time with her husband, Kent, their three sons, and dog Sparky!
Angela Vietmeier, Housekeeping Technician
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Phone: 618.695.2489 x111
Hometown: Millstadt, Illinois
Tony joined the Camp Ondessonk team full time in 2010 and has been managing the realms of marketing, public relations, and communications since. Tony gained a great deal of his professional marketing experience working for private sector businesses including the award-winning Lightstream Studios, RTS Sentry, and Serum Security Solutions. Tony works from his home office in Millstadt, IL. In his free time, Tony enjoys playing music and watching English Premier Football; Go Liverpool! He, his wife Kim, son JP and daughter Emma enjoy visiting Ondessonk as often as possible.
Gracie Walters, Equestrian Coordinator
Phone: 618.695.2489 x107
Hometown: Creal Springs, Illinois
Gracie grew up near Camp in Creal Springs, Illinois and began her journey as a camper years ago, joined summer staff as a wrangler in the barn, and continues to serve in the equestrian department. Gracie has been riding horses most of her life, is a certified CHA instructor, and assists the Equestrian Director in managing the Ondessonk herd and planning and running horse programming throughout the year. In her free time, Gracie enjoys spending time with her family, working out, hiking, and reading!
Patrick Whitaker, Support Services Coordinator
Phone: 618.695.2489 x108
Hometown: Ventura, California