Camp Ondessonk Expands With Construction of New “Fournie Mini Camp Village”
(Ozark, Ill.) – Camp Ondessonk is expanding their residential cabin units for the the first time in 30 years. The residential youth summer camp’s new unit will enable them to accommodate younger campers and their needs.
Camp launched “Fournie Mini Camp Village” with a groundbreaking ceremony in Ozark on December 6th.
“This new “home away from home” for our youngest campers is the first major expansion of our camper capacity since the 1970s,” said Board of Directors President Elizabeth Keserauskis. “Enrollment has grown tremendously over the last several years, and this new unit will provide fun, unique features for our 8 and 9-year-old campers during their journey at Camp as they explore nature, make lifelong friends, and build character and leadership skills.”
According to Executive Director Dan King, Mini Camp Village will include six cabins to sleep up to 60 campers and their staff. The unit will be constructed to meet the unique educational and safety needs of 8- and 9-year old mini campers. Cabins will feature screened-in living areas and porches and handicap accessibility. A central meeting space with environmentally friendly play equipment and activity areas will immerse children in nature.
A generous lead gift from Thomas Cromwell and Jeanne Newton, in memory of Newton’s uncle, Msgr. John T. Fournie, made the expansion project possible. The longtime pastor of St. Philip and other parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Belleville founded Camp Ondessonk in 1959. Their gift jumpstarted the first phase of the project, with additional support from architect David Sheppard and private donations. Volunteers will complete most of the construction.
“My husband, Tom, and I believe that children benefit by knowing they belong to something greater than themselves,” said Jeanne Newton. “Like Msgr. Fournie, we believe that young people can grow intellectually and spiritually when they experience Camp Ondessonk’s natural beauty and inspiring features. We hope the Mini Camp will further the mission of outdoor education in the Diocese of Belleville.”
Msgr. Fournie, with the help of volunteers and financial supporters from the Diocese of Belleville, established Camp Ondessonk as a residential summer camp featuring traditional activities such as hiking, swimming, horseback riding, handicrafts, physical fitness and conservation. Since 1959, more than 250,000 youth have participated in Ondessonk’s summer camp programs, with 2,740 campers from 31 states and countries attending in 2014. Additionally, thousands of individuals, families and groups participate in recreational and outdoor education opportunities every year.
“Kids need places like Camp Ondessonk for reasons that go far beyond fun,” according to Dan King. “The life-experience gained at camp is a catalyst for strengthened self-esteem and developing a greater sense of awareness of the things that really matter when it comes to growing into conscientious and productive adults.”
About Camp Ondessonk:
Since 1959, Camp Ondessonk has been offering summer camp programs to youth ages 8 to 17. The American Camp Association and Certified Horsemanship Association accredited programs and facilities give campers the opportunity to explore the outdoors while growing in self-esteem and respect for God’s creation. Camp Ondessonk also provides conference facilities, lodging, and a variety of programs for youth and adults throughout the year.
Help us build Fournie Mini Camp Village! Make a donation to the 2014 Ondessonk Annual Appeal by 12/31/14 and help us build and outfit our newest unit in time for Summer Camp 2015!