Camp as a Volunteer
By Kristin Marie Bivens
Ozark, IL: Right now, I am in the middle of a week-long adventure as a volunteer at Camp Ondessonk. As a volunteer who is a former camper [Goupil] and unit leader [Goupil] , I count myself lucky to have known Camp Ondessonk across nearly three decades. And now, also in three different capacities.
As a volunteer, I am connecting with other former campers and staff from across the nearly 60 years of Camp. Hearing stories, sharing thoughts, and experiencing activities and events with other volunteers has only complemented the volunteer work.
Sunday, after dinner in the dining hall, I walked with my husband Gustav [a maintenance volunteer] to Chabanel. We marveled at the the relic unit Ahasitari and the tree house units LaLande and Goupil [pictured on the right]. Proudly, I guided us along the well-worn paths. I surprised myself that I could still remember where to go. But, I did because once Camp is in you, it is in you.
So much has changed. Yet, so much is familiar. Even though I appreciate the air conditioning, I will internally gripe about the snazzy, state-of-the art dining hall and lament its use. Simultaneously, I will yearn to return to the old dining hall. However, you can still hear the snog log at meals. As a volunteer, I can appreciate the staff’s energy from Sunday’s night’s opening campfire and on the all-day hike we joined on Tuesday [pictured on the left]. As a former camper and unit leader, I know how important that energy is for campers.
Regardless, I will continue to be impressed with the organization and thoughtful attention to all aspects of Camp Ondessonk. I am grateful for the Volunteer Program. And I appreciate the opportunity to experience Camp again [in any capacity].