All-Day Hike Explores Nature and Personal Growth
The All-Day Hike takes place to allow for immersion into the wild for campers at Ondessonk. The experience is led by staff to explore over 900 acres of camp property and beyond.
This summer’s Nature Coordinator, Sebastian Aylward said that the hikes are led by nature staff. Aylward trains the staff on the hiking locations they will utilize on the All-Day Hike.
“We have a lot of fun places at Ondessonk to explore,” Aylward said. “There are a variety of ‘water-holes’ dispersed throughout. (That is) where there’s a nice pool of water for the kids to splash around in. We have, as well, multiple split rocks around where there’s a narrow crevice throughout the rock where you get to try to squeeze yourself through.”
The hikes take place on Monday and Tuesday and are some of the first activities that campers can do. Aylward said it’s a way to dive into activities and allow campers and Unit Leaders to get to know each other and the nature around them.
“The All-Day Hike allows the campers to experience a deeper connection with nature,” Aylward said. “They’re literally spending the majority of their day in the outdoors. They are getting to physically interact with a lot of natural things; from looking at the plants, to squeezing through a split rock, to splashing around in the water and perhaps doing rock paint. Being outside on that hike allows campers to step outside of their comfort zone, get a deeper connection with the natural world, and get a better sense of their comfort with the outdoors.”
Jacob, a camper at Camp Ondessonk, has been on multiple All-Day Hikes over his past seven summers at Camp. He previously shadowed nature staff in the O.W.L program to further his knowledge on the hikes.
“I think the hikes are special because it’s not like a normal midwest hiking place,” Jacob said. “There’s a lot of bluffs, different scenery that you wouldn’t get around much in the Illinois or Missouri area. I really enjoy it, I like all the places here.”