Ondessonk Staff Visit Catholic Schools
Over the past two months our seasonal program staff, Anne Rutledge, Chris Sedivy, Jake Pasdertz, and Xavier Tolbert along with some of the full-time staff, Program Coordinator, Olivia Hammond and Program Director, Greg Santen, hit the road to visit Catholic schools all across Illinois, parts of Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky to share with students the great summer opportunities we offer at Camp Ondessonk. The staff visit camper age students (ages 8-15) and explain all of the different summer camp programs that we offer; from mini camp to traditional camp to our teen programs including teen leadership camp, adventure camps and our CIT program.
This year we visited over 175 schools and spoke to nearly 9,000 students making this year our most successful year yet! Principals are very welcoming and willing to take time out of the busy school calendar for us to visit and we are so thankful for that because many of our campers find out about Camp Ondessonk for the first time through these school visits.
The staff were able to travel to large cities with schools that have over 400 students and small towns with schools that have as little as 15 students in a school. A few of our staff even had the great pleasure of returning to their grade school alma mater and were able to stand in their old gym, the place where they found out about Camp for the first time too, and tell students about how amazing Camp Ondessonk is. To me, the best part of our summer camp school visit campaign is visiting the schools that have lots of Camp Ondessonk spirit. These are the schools with students that sport their favorite Camp O shirt and wear their lodge sash the day of our visit, they yell “Heepwah” when you walk in the school and raise their hand at the end of the talk to say that Camp Ondessonk is their favorite place on earth.
On top of our summer camp school visit campaign, we also kicked off a new program this year. Wereached out to all of our Loyal Lodge members on Facebook and encouraged them to get involved too. Any interested Lodge members were encouraged to schedule a Camp Ondessonk PSR (Public School Religion) visit within their own parish. The Lodge members were sent some Camp O materials and volunteered their time to talk to the PSR students about Camp Ondessonk.
Camp Ondessonk would like to thank all of the Catholic Schools who let us visit their students, Lodge members who helped us in our effort and finally all of the Camp Ondessonk family who provided our staff with a spare bedroom or a couch for them to crash on while they were out on the road. Heepwah! If you are interested in speaking to your Parish’s PSR students about Camp Ondessonk, please contact our Program Coordinator, Olivia Hammond, at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Olivia Hammond