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Board of Directors

Camp Ondessonk is honored to have a fantastic, dedicated group of volunteers serving on its Board of Directors. Comprised of members in our community that go above and beyond in the mission of Camp to provide the best possible experience to all that encounter Ondessonk, their guidance, collective expertise, and dedicated service to the campers of Ondessonk have been the key to recent site and program improvements. Working closely with Ondessonk’s Executive Director, each board member serves on a sub-committee where their knowledge can be best utilized. Each board member serves a three-year term and can serve up to three consecutive terms in a row.

Meet our current Board of Directors:

Chris Cahnovsky

President

Chris Cahnovsky is the Southern Illinois Regional Manager for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  Chris was a camper in the 1970s, a CIT, Wrangler, Stable Manager and Equestrian Director in the 80s. He has been a volunteer and a parent of two campers since that time.

Jackie Savage McKay

Vice President

Jackie Savage McKay was first associated with Camp from 1960 through 1968 as a camper, CIT and staff.  After retiring as an Administrative Assistant from The May Department Stores Company, she reconnected with Camp in 2013. She spends her time volunteering at Camp and for other organizations within the community.  She also trains, competes with, and judges retrievers. Jackie loves helping to keep the Camp gates open for campers of all ages to enjoy.

Katie Birge

Secretary

Katie Birge is an associate and head of platform at M25, an early stage venture capital firm focused on Midwest-based startups. Katie was a camper at Camp Ondessonk in the late 90s and a staff member for most of the 2000s as well as a longtime volunteer.

Brian Barker

Father Brian Barker

Board Member

A Chicago native, Father Brian Barker was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Belleville, IL in 1994. He is pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Marion and St. Paul Parish in Johnston City, both in Southern Illinois. Father Brian has been associated with Camp Ondessonk since 1983, working for 18 years in various capacities at Camp. In addition, he currently serves as Chaplain for Camp Ondessonk. An avid hiker, he frequently leads spiritually enriching hikes with members of his parish family, often choosing the trails of Ondessonk as their destination.

Board of Directors - Steve

Steve Bushong

Board Member

Steve Bushong (AKA Bush) is a professor at Southwestern Illinois College teaching Cybersecurity and Computer Networking.  He is also an Assistant Lecturer for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  Steve is also on the Board of Directors as second vice chair of the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois.

Steve is active with his daughter’s Girl Scout troop.  He also spends several weeks at Camp Ondessonk volunteering during the summer. In 2021, he spent five weeks volunteering, four of those assigned to a unit.  Steve will find any excuse to visit Camp, whether for the day, the weekend, the week or the month.

Board of Directors - Dennis Dusek

Dennis Dusek

Board Member

Dennis Dusek is a retired orthopedic surgeon whose history with Camp began in 1960 as a camper, the second year Camp was open. Dennis served on the Camp Ondessonk summer staff from 1965 to 1970. He is now busy with his seven, soon to be nine, grandchildren.

Board of Directors - Carrie

Carrie Keller

Board Member

Carrie Keller is currently Counsel for Lathrop GPM Real Estate & Tax Credit Practice Group. She provides legal guidance to businesses on a number of real estate and corporate matters. Carrie works with a broad spectrum of manufacturing, construction and service-based businesses in all aspects of their business legal needs, including leading all aspects of real estate transactions, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, and corporate finance. An enthusiastic camp parent, Carrie is eager to give her time, talent, and treasure to Camp Ondessonk. As she works to further the mission of Camp and ensure its future, Carrie’s legal expertise, knowledge, and desire to serve are of great value to Camp and its campers.

Stephen Mahieu

Board Member

Steve Mahieu was born and raised in Peoria, IL, and is Deputy General Counsel for Litigation and Intellectual Property with Kraft Heinz, a global food and beverage company headquartered in Chicago. Steve attended Camp Ondessonk as a camper, C.I.T., and staff member. He volunteered during summer camp sessions while attending law school and after graduating, and he and his wife have been long-time donors to Camp. More recently, Steve has been instrumental in helping make revisions to several important organizational policies for Ondessonk. Steve joined the Board of Directors in January of 2023.

Deacon Thomas Powers

Board Member

Born in Dallas, Texas, Deacon Thomas Powers grew up in a military family that moved around several times during his childhood. Attending Catholic school in Fairview Heights, IL, he learned of Camp Ondessonk, and he was a camper from 1976-1980. From 2011 to this day, he volunteers at Camp. He has a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resource Management, but became increasingly involved in banking compliance, currently working as Assistant Vice President, Business Operations Analyst with U.S. Bank in St. Louis, MO. Deacon Tom began formation in 2001 for the Permanent Diaconate, being ordained in 2005.

Scott Richter

Board Member

Scott Richter has been an In Process Quality Engineer with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals since 1999. During his first three years with Mallinckrodt, Scott would also work as a substitute teacher at local Catholic Grade Schools and at O’Fallon Township High School. Born in Belleville, IL, Scott was a camper at Ondessonk from 1987-1990, C.I.T. in 1991, and staff member in 1992-1993. He has consistently volunteered during summer sessions since early 2000s. He and his wife are parents to two fur babies – Fiona and Ivy.

Ryan Savage

Board Member

Residing in Millstadt, IL, Ryan Savage holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. While in college, Ryan interned for Holland Construction Services and is still with the company after 16 years. He oversees the company’s municipal and K-12 markets. He enjoys hunting, camping, hiking, boating, swimming, archery, float trips, and horseback riding. He was a camper at Ondessonk the summer of 1997. He feels it is important that all children have the opportunity to develop a passion for the outdoors.

Jen Schauster

Jennifer Schauster

Board Member

Jen is a sixth grade teacher at Immaculate Conception School in Columbia, IL. Her association with Camp Ondessonk began in 1986 as a camper, and continued as she was both a CIT and staff member in the early 1990’s. During her time on staff, she met her future husband. Since that time, her involvement with Camp has continued as a summer volunteer, off-season volunteer, parent of campers and summer staff, and now a member of Camp’s Board of Directors.

Jean Weiss

Board Member

Jean Weiss is the retired owner of an association management company which served national and statewide trade associations. A native of Springfield, IL, she was involved with Camp as a camper, summer staff, wrangler, equestrian director, and camper parent. She has been a Camp donor for many years and began volunteering in 2017. Jean and her family live in Mississippi and are members of Holy Savior Catholic Church. She helped found the Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society serving on its Board for 16 years, and she continues to volunteer on several committees.

Ken Wetstein

Board Member

Ken Wetstein has worked in higher education and non-profit management for 30 years. He currently serves as the Vice-President for University Advancement at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL. Ken has been involved with Camp Ondessonk since his early childhood, as his late father, Paul Wetstein regularly volunteered at Camp with other diocesan volunteers from E. St. Louis. Ken has experienced Ondessonk as a camper, counselor, and even served full-time for several years as Assistant Director in the mid-90’s. Ken and his wife Carrie spent the first three years of their marriage living and working at Camp Ondessonk (Carrie was the first Development Director for Camp O). They have two daughters, Caitlyn (21) and Chloe (18). In his free time, Ken enjoys community theater, singing, trivia writing, and puzzles. 

Scott Wobbe

Board Member

Scott Wobbe has served 36 years as an Air Force career civil servant.  In addition to being a Board of Directors member, Scott serves on the Properties Committee, volunteers in maintenance in the off-season and volunteers as an Assistant Unit Leader during summer camp.

Ex Officio Trustees:

Bishop McGovern

The Most Reverend Michael G. McGovern

Bishop, Diocese of Belleville

Father Michael G. McGovern became the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Belleville on July 22, 2021. Bishop McGovern is an Illinois native and studied at Loyola University in Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1986. He applied for admission as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago at Mundelein Seminary where he was awarded a Baccalaureate degree in Theology in 1993 and a Master of Divinity in 1994.  Bishop McGovern previously served as Associate Pastor at Queen of the Universe Parish, St. Mary in Lake Forest, St. Juliana in Chicago; Pastor of St. Mary in Lake Forest, St. Raphael the Archangel Parish in Old Mill Creek, IL; administrative roles in the Archdiocese of Chicago: Vice-Chancellor, Archbishop’s Delegate for Extern & International Priests, Vicar Forane, and Interim Vicar of Vicariate I.

Father Steven

Very Reverend Steven L. Beatty

Vicar General, Diocese of Belleville

Fr. Beatty is Vicar General of the Diocese of Belleville and Pastor of St. Damian Parish in Damiansville and St. Bernard Parish in Albers. He is a former Ondessonk camper and staff member (Unit Leader, Wrangler, and Horse Adventure!). Fr. Beatty was Camp Chaplain from 2010 to 2021.

Jonathan Birdsong

Jonathan Birdsong

Superintendent of Schools / Director of Education, Diocese of Belleville

Jonathan Birdsong serves as the Superintendent of Schools and Director of Education in the Department of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois. Jonathan acts as Camp Ondessonk’s main point of contact and administrator at the main offices of the Diocese of Belleville. As Camp is an entity of the Catholic Diocese, and operates in both areas of education and working with school-aged children, Jonathan assists with matters that are brought to the Diocesan level.

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