Camp Ondessonk Stable News
Camp Ondessonk Stable News- Many incredible campers, staff members, and volunteers make up the Ondessonk family. We are blessed to be able to add some other living creatures to our family as well – our lovable horse herd. There is an old saying that talks about horses coming into our lives and leaving hoof prints on our hearts. I believe this is true for the Ondessonk horses, especially when combined with the people who love and work with them.
Camp is unique in that every child that participates gets the opportunity to ride a horse as part of the camp experience, and with no extra fee. For many of these children it is the first time and it becomes an unforgettable experience. As head wrangler Skyler notes, “Going to a summer camp with an equestrian program as great as ours really helps all the kids that come to camp really step out of their comfort zones.” Skyler enjoys seeing the campers that ride with her learn to love trying new things and she, “…loves being able to give that opportunity every single day to all of these kids.”
Our summer staff and horses work to give campers a great experience at the stables and are often assisted by our fantastic volunteers. Volunteers work with both horses and campers to help them succeed in the program. Barn volunteer Jackie states, “Working with the horses sets my spirit free and allows me to experience what is good in the world through nature.” I know she helps the campers experience the same thing, as I have watched her at work. We are so grateful to have so many incredible volunteers at Camp. When asked why she volunteers, Jackie, a former Ondessonk Counselor and Wrangler from the 1960’s, says, “I am blessed to be physically able to volunteer in the area that I love and give back a small portion of what Camp has given, and continues to give, me. Through volunteering at camp, I definitely take away more than I give.”
Giving of time, talent and treasure is a huge part of the Ondesseonk family tradition. I often see the kids giving their horse some loving pats as they ride staff and volunteers offering encouragement, all while sharing experiences and memories. Many children remember the name of the horse they rode the years before. Often kids are proud of overcoming their trepidation and fears to go on a successful ride, while others develop a passion for the equestrian field.
Those kids that catch the “horse bug” are often the ones we see returning for horse camp or horse adventure. Horse camper Alivia says, “Ondessonk Stables is a place to have fun and be yourself” and we here at camp could not agree more! Camp is a good place for kids to learn and grow. We know the stables are more than just horses, though the horses help teach as well. Alivia states, “Not only did I learn things about horses, I learned a lot about friendship, good judgement, and respect. I learned a lot especially this past year because I got in lodge. I learned what it was like to have to work as a team. I really enjoy the Ondessonk Stables and really enjoy being there.” Family is a good thing here at Camp O and our family includes horses!