Camper vs. Wild Exposes Campers to the Outdoors
Camper vs. Wild is an adventure camp program that pushes campers outside their comfort zone and into the wild. This program teaches campers primitive survival skills and how to survive using their surroundings.
Molly Fitzhenry, the Unit Leader of Camper vs. Wild, said the program is a long-time staple of the adventure programs at Camp Ondessonk. Each year, the program takes place at Pine Lake for the week, where campers are taught new lessons on wilderness survival each day.
“We have Mark today and he’s teaching (the campers) Bushcraft skills. We went on a hike yesterday and did tree identification and geology lessons about the Shawnee national forest,” Fitzhenry said. “Then, we’re going to move locations and do a navigation challenge. The kids also learned how to use compasses, so tomorrow they’re going to guide us to our new location all by themselves by using maps and compasses as navigation.”
Campers in the program experience more downtime than in Traditional Camp programs allowing a stronger appreciation of their surroundings. Still, there are plenty of opportunities for campers to approach new topics and situations they may not experience outside of Camp.
“I think if you’re new to living outside and the idea of drinking water out of a creek intimidates you and is a challenge, there’s a lot of opportunity to go into that growth zone and get the skills and to safely live outside and to enjoy living outside,” Fitzhenry said. “I think there’s a good balance between those two needs in this program.”
Remington, a camper in Camper vs. Wild, has previously participated in Traditional Camp at Camp Ondessonk. He said that he enjoys the difference between the two programs.
“In Traditional Camp, you’re always up and ready, you have to be ready to do everything because we go to (activities). In Camper vs. Wild, we’re just out here in the forest and you can just see the surroundings, it’s a lot more chill. You can hear the birds squawk in the distance or the frogs croaking. It’s really relaxing and peaceful to be out in the wild and doing everything in short periods of time.”
Remington said that he has already gone on many camping trips and tries to use his surroundings. He said the lessons learned in Camper vs. Wild have helped to further advance his skills for these trips outside of Camp.