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COVID-19 Updates

Published on Friday, March 26, 2021

Our efforts to responsibly provide quality services in the midst of a pandemic have required us to create and follow virus transmission mitigation protocols for every operation area. We intend to build on that practical knowledge as we prepare this Roadmap for summer 2021. Of course, we will carefully follow operating guidelines created by CDC, best practices as advised by the ACA, and, when published, additional long-awaited guidance issued by IDPH and IDCEO. We can’t wait for the day we greet your arriving camper on the covered bridge. Further, we look forward to the opportunity to execute the plans we are working so hard to create.

Download the Camp Ondessonk Roadmap to 2021 Summer Camp

 

Published on Thursday, December 1, 2020

Dear Ondessonk Friends,

If all goes as hoped, summer camp will begin in six months. It is becoming more and more apparent that COVID will affect 2021 summer camp in some way.  While we are hopeful the impact will be minimal, we know the risk of infection will persist for a significant portion of 2021.  With that in mind, we recently sent a letter to our potential summer camp counselors to notify them of likely modifications to our staffing structure, program schedule, curriculum, as well as other systems.   The following excerpts of that letter have been modified for publication here:

Dear Potential Staff Applicants,

For summer 2021 to be successful, we will need a strong, dedicated, and FLEXIBLE group of counselors who are willing and able to be a positive and productive part of adapting to running summer camp in the age of COVID.  Our ongoing goal is to remain transparent as we communicate changes to camp’s staffing and programming structure – information of interest to you as you consider applying for a position.  At this point, we are planning to have the following operating structure.

Campers and Staff

  • Traditional and Mini Camp units will have a capacity of 24 campers instead of 32 campers.
  • We are creating program schedules, content, and staffing within the constructs of a “cohort” summer camp model. A cohort is a group of campers and staff that spend the session together and do not mix with other cohorts.  
  • In our summer camp cohort system, activity heads and service area instructors will not live in units with campers. Unit staff members will lodge in a unit with campers and be cross trained in three or more program or service areas.
  • Leaders in Training will be assigned to live in a unit during their contracted time and will receive specialized training in each of the four activity “areas of focus.”
  • Counselors in Training will focus their program on leadership growth, developing counseling skills, and activity area skill development. To protect the cohort model, CITs will not be assigned to live in or shadow a unit of campers.
  • A new time-off system will be implemented to allow staff to take necessary breaks for health and self-care. To minimize the possibility of viral transmission during time off, staff will be required to wear masks and remain physically distanced from those not in their cohort.
  • Campers, staff, and volunteers will undergo daily health checks.

Activities & Meals

  • Activities during the day will either be 45 minutes or 90 minutes in length except for the All-Day Nature Exploration. There will be 10 minutes built into the schedule for travel and activity area disinfection between activity periods. This revision is a change from the past norm of allotting 75 minutes for all activity periods.
  • Meals will be delivered to a pre-determined location. This approach to food distribution allows campers and staff to remain in their cohort without mixing with other cohorts.
  • Campers will have assigned shower houses and shower times throughout the week.
  • Staff will have assigned shower houses and will shower when their schedules allow.

Special Considerations

  • Mask wearing will be a part of the Camp Ondessonk summer experience in 2021. Though our plans are not complete, we know that staff, volunteers, and campers will be required to wear masks for portions (or all, depending upon guidance and conditions) of each day during summer camp.
  • The State of Illinois has the authority to determine if residential summer camps like Camp Ondessonk will operate in 2021.
  • These changes and others to come will, in theory, allow Camp to continue operating if a cohort group of campers and staff is sent home due to a positive test result or an outbreak within that cohort.
  • We can succeed in our plan only if all staff members enforce and follow the draft operating structure outlined above.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King

Published on Thursday, November 5, 2020

Dear Campers and Camper Families,

Our leadership team periodically assesses and alters Camp’s COVID operations plan as conditions change.  As you know, COVID infections continue to impact our country, region, and even our local area.  In recent months we have worked diligently to successfully provide our camp guests with highly valued outdoor education programs, family camping, and outdoor events.  We’ve found that children and adults alike are presently quite drawn to outdoor experiences.  Our efforts to responsibly provide quality services in the midst of a pandemic have required us to create and follow virus transmission mitigation protocols for every area of the operation.  We intend to build on that practical knowledge as we prepare for next summer.

Online early bird registration for Summer Camp 2021 is underway.  We encourage you to register your children.  Rest assured, if 2021 summer camp sessions are canceled due to the pandemic, we will offer full refunds.  Though our operating fate will ultimately be determined by the Illinois Governor’s office, we are busily preparing ourselves to open summer camp in June.  We will, of course, carefully follow operating guidelines created by CDC and, when published, additional long-awaited guidance published by IDPH and IDCEO.  We can’t wait for the day we greet your arriving camper on the covered bridge.  Further, we look forward to the opportunity to execute the plans we are working so hard to create.  An overview of our current approach to next summer is found below:

Campers, Staff, and Activities

  • Traditional & Mini Camp units will have a capacity of 24 campers instead of 32 campers.
  • We are creating program schedules, content, and staffing within the constructs of a “cohort” summer camp model. A cohort is a group of campers and staff that spend the session together and do not mix with other cohorts.   
  • Summer Camp activities are being designed and, in some cases, completely re-imagined with a goal of smaller group interaction.
  • The kitchen staff will provide meal delivery service to each unit and/or stagger dining hall service times.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Additional handwashing and hand sanitizing stations are present throughout camp.
  • Shower and bath facilities will be cleaned and disinfected a minimum of twice per day.
  • Frequently touched surfaces and common spaces will be cleaned and disinfected by our staff multiple times per day.
  • Program areas and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after every use.
  • We will implement a staggered showering schedule; limiting the number of people utilizing the facilities at any given time.

Health Screening, Sanitation, and Personal Protective Equipment

  • Mask wearing will be a part of the Camp Ondessonk summer experience in 2021. Though our plans are not complete, we know that staff, volunteers, and campers will be required to wear masks for portions (or all, depending upon guidance and conditions) of each day during summer camp.
  • We have already acquired a significant portion of the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, and health center supplies for 2021 Summer Camp. Additional monthly acquisitions are underway.
  • Parents and Campers will be screened for symptoms of infection upon arrival. If parents are allowed beyond the parking lot, it is likely that just one parent will be allowed to accompany each camper during the check-in process
  • Campers, staff, and volunteers will undergo daily symptom screening.
  • If a viable vaccine is available prior to summer camp, it is our hope that our local health department will have ample vaccinations on hand for distribution to our entire staff. This will further limit the possibility of session to session community spread of the virus.  We have an arrangement with the health department that will make this possible. 

Transportation

  • Bus transportation to and from Camp will be limited to 50% capacity* including the driver and one staff member. *This percentage will be evaluated based on family registrations and other factors as we near the summer sessions.

We will continue to inform you of our latest plans through emails and our website https://ondessonk.com/covid-19-updates/ as plans evolve.  During complex times, our goals are simple.  We are eager to provide meaningful, nourishing, and fun summer camp experiences.  In doing so, we will take every reasonable step to minimize the possibility of virus transmission within the summer camp community.  Your children deserve nothing less.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King

 

Published on Monday, June 8, 2020

Dear Campers and Camper Families,

We hope you and your loved ones are well.  Thank you for your patience with us as we work through the challenges created by the pandemic.  We know that you and your family are dealing with your own set of challenges.  We hope you are finding your way nicely and that some of the pandemic’s “silver linings”, though sometimes tough to recognize, are presenting themselves periodically.

After significant soul searching and constant deliberation, we’ve come to the sad conclusion that the challenges and risks of operating summer camp this year are too great to overcome. 

Many factors were considered in making this tough decision.  While we believe that summer camp could have been heavily modified to meet public health guidelines, the program would not have resembled the high-quality experiences we pride ourselves in offering every summer.  Further, we are not comfortable operating when the likelihood of infection is still so high – when in full swing, our summer camp community consists of over 400 campers and 125 counselors and volunteers.  We hoped that conditions would improve more significantly by now.  They have not. 

Campers, we know this news is another disappointment in a year of disappointments.  What you are going through was not a part of my childhood, so I can’t claim to know how it feels – though I’m disappointed too.  Summer camp is the highlight of my year and a summer without it is very tough to accept.  We’ll get through this together.  Please know that we love you and that we can’t wait for the day you come to camp – whenever that may be. 

Parents, we will contact you in a separate email to share refund information.  We feel honored that you entrust in us the care of your child(ren).  Thank you.  We are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  Camp Ondessonk is here for you and your family.  Until you return, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King

Ps.  We’re working on expanding our family programming options for this summer.  Please standby for further information… 

Published on Monday, June 8, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

We hope you are well. Sad days don’t often happen at Camp Ondessonk, but here we are. Today should be the first camper departure day of summer camp 2020. COVID-19 altered our plans, but we’re adjusting.

Yesterday afternoon our first “Family Camping for Camp O” groups arrived. We are elated to have guests again! Phase 3 of the “Restore Illinois” plan allows us to host group sizes of 10 or fewer people. We are easing into the re-opening process by initially offering just lodging, but limited services like meals, swimming, and other activities will be offered once our new operations and sanitation procedures are perfected. Our plans aren’t settled yet, but we hope to offer a packed program and service schedule on Father’s Day Weekend (June 19-21). We’d love to host your family and/or friends’ group sometime soon.
      
At this point, we know that Summer Camp Sessions 1 through 5 are canceled. Illinois is on track to transition into Phase 4 in late June. If we do enter Phase 4 and the Illinois Department of Public Health approves, the earliest that we could possibly serve summer camp kids is Sunday, July 5.

As I keep repeating, we can’t wait for the day that you drive down the camp road. Until then, stay healthy, lift the spirits of those around you, and remember that God loves you and so do we.

May you find ways to keep camp in your life for the rest of your life. 

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King

Published on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of Surf Adventure for Summer 2020 scheduled for July 5 – July 15, 2020. The Camp Ondessonk Leadership Team does not feel that we can responsibly operate this program to keep your camper(s) safe while traveling to another state. We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.  With this in mind, we encourage you to switch your camper(s) to a one week traditional or adventure camp offered during the remaining weeks of the summer.  Kids need camp!

These are challenging times for all of us – children included.  While generally resilient and flexible, we know that many kids will take this news hard, especially those that have been to Camp Ondessonk in the past.  As a parent, you’ve likely imagined how you would have handled growing up during this pandemic.  We encourage you to speak openly to your children about whatever emotions result from this cancellation.  Please let your kid(s) know that we love them and that we can’t wait until the day they come to camp – whenever that may be.

Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  When this is all over, Camp Ondessonk will be there for you and your family.  Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

Please reply to registration@ondessonk.com and indicate your preference(s) below.  Due to the high volume of calls, email is highly recommended. We will reconcile your account as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging times.  Like it is for you, this is uncharted territory.  Operating decisions about each session of summer camp will continue to be announced four weeks in advance of each session.  Such decisions are made with highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.                                                                                                                         

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King

Published on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

It is with great sadness that we announce that Camp Ondessonk will not be providing bus transportation for Sessions 6 through 9 during summer 2020.  It was a difficult decision, but such decisions are made with highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.  We hope that this will not affect your camper(s) attendance this summer.  Kids need camp!

You do not need to contact us.  If you have a balance due for your camper’s registration, we will automatically apply the transportation payment to that balance. If you have paid your registration in full, we will be providing you with a 100% refund.

If this change in transportation has changed your summer camp plans, please reply to registration@ondessonk.com and indicate your preference(s) below.  Due to the high volume of calls, email is highly recommended. We will reconcile your account as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King

Published on Monday, June 1, 2020

Dear Camp Families, 

It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of Session 5 of summer camp (June 28-July 4, 2020).  We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.  With this in mind, we encourage you to switch your camper(s) to a session scheduled for the second half of the summer.  Kids need camp!

These are challenging times for all of us – children included.  While generally resilient and flexible, we know that many kids will take this news hard, especially those that have been to Camp Ondessonk in the past.  As a parent, you’ve likely imagined how you would have handled growing up during this pandemic.  We encourage you to speak openly to your children about whatever emotions result from this cancellation.  Please let your kid(s) know that we love them and that we can’t wait until the day they come to camp – whenever that may be. 

Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  When this is all over, Camp Ondessonk will be there for you and your family.  Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

Please reply to registration@ondessonk.comDue to the high volume of calls, email is highly recommended. We will reconcile your account as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging times.  Like it is for you, this is uncharted territory.  Operating decisions about each session of summer camp will continue to be announced four weeks in advance of each session.  Such decisions are made with the highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.       

Please feel free to contact us at registration@ondessonk.com or 618-695-2489 if you have questions or if you need assistance    

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director

Published on Monday, May 25, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of Session 4 of summer camp (June 21-27, 2020).  We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.  With this in mind, we encourage you to switch your camper(s) to a session scheduled for the second half of the summer.  Kids need camp!

These are challenging times for all of us – children included.  While generally resilient and flexible, we know that many kids will take this news hard, especially those that have been to Camp Ondessonk in the past.  As a parent, you’ve likely imagined how you would have handled growing up during this pandemic.  We encourage you to speak openly to your children about whatever emotions result from this cancellation.  Please let your kid(s) know that we love them and that we can’t wait until the day they come to camp – whenever that may be.

Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  When this is all over, Camp Ondessonk will be there for you and your family.  Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

Please reply to registration@ondessonk.com.  Due to the high volume of calls, email is highly recommended. We will reconcile your account as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging times.  Like it is for you, this is uncharted territory.  Operating decisions about each session of summer camp will continue to be announced four weeks in advance of each session.  Such decisions are made with the highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.       

Please feel free to contact us at registration@ondessonk.com or 618-695-2489 if you have questions or if you need assistance    

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director

 

Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dear Camper Families,

We know the cancelation of sessions 1, 2, & 3 was disappointing to many campers and parents.  We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.

We want to share the rationale behind our decision-making process.  Camp Ondessonk’s leadership team is continually checking in with public health authorities for guidance while often reviewing COVID-19-related information from the IDPH and CDC.  We will continue to follow Governor Pritzker’s five-phase plan to reopen Illinois.  According to the plan, the state of Illinois is organized into four regions.  The four regions are based on combinations of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s eleven Emergency Medical Service regions.  Upon achieving measurable benchmarks, each region will move through the phases of the reopening process independent of the other regions.  Camp Ondessonk is in the Southern region.  The Governor’s plan allows for more activities to open as the coronavirus slows its spread.

To learn more about how each phase breaks down, click here.

The Southern region is currently in Phase 2 but expected to reach Phase 3 in late May.  Camp Ondessonk will have the opportunity to serve campers in Phase 4 of the Governor’s plan.  Elements of our Camp programming and activities are being redesigned to meet the CDC’s group size guidelines of 50 people.  Among other measures taken to minimize the risk of disease transmission, we are in the process of adding handwashing and hand sanitizer stations.  We also hired additional Health and Sanitation workers to clean commonly touched areas a minimum of three times a day.

Camp Ondessonk leadership staff is working towards a goal to implement best-practices published by the American Camp Association and the public health consulting firm, Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., in their Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance.  This field guide is designed to provide camp directors and staff with a practical guide and tool kit to implement specific recommendations provided by the CDC in relation to risk reduction at camps.

Thank you again for your patience during this difficult time. We truly appreciate your continued support of Camp Ondessonk’s mission.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director

   

Published on Monday, May 18, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of Session 3 of summer camp (June 14-20, 2020).  We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.  With this in mind, we encourage you to switch your camper(s) to a session scheduled for the second half of the summer.  Kids need camp!

These are challenging times for all of us – children included.  While generally resilient and flexible, we know that many kids will take this news hard, especially those that have been to Camp Ondessonk in the past.  As a parent, you’ve likely imagined how you would have handled growing up during this pandemic.  We encourage you to speak openly to your children about whatever emotions result from this cancellation.  Please let your kid(s) know that we love them and that we can’t wait until the day they come to camp – whenever that may be.

Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  When this is all over, Camp Ondessonk will be there for you and your family.  Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

Please reply to registration@ondessonk.com.  Due to the high volume of calls, email is highly recommended. We will reconcile your account as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging times.  Like it is for you, this is uncharted territory.  Operating decisions about each session of summer camp will continue to be announced four weeks in advance of each session.  Such decisions are made with the highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.       

Please feel free to contact us at registration@ondessonk.com or 618-695-2489 if you have questions or if you need assistance                                                                                            

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director       

Published on Monday, May 11, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of Session 2 of summer camp (June 7-13, 2020).  We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.  With this in mind, we encourage you to switch your camper(s) to a session scheduled for the second half of the summer.  Kids need camp!

These are challenging times for all of us – children included.  While generally resilient and flexible, we know that many kids will take this news hard, especially those that have been to Camp Ondessonk in the past.  As a parent, you’ve likely imagined how you would have handled growing up during this pandemic.  We encourage you to speak openly to your children about whatever emotions result from this cancellation.  Please let your kid(s) know that we love them and that we can’t wait until the day they come to camp – whenever that may be.

Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  When this is all over, Camp Ondessonk will be there for you and your family.  Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging times.  Like it is for you, this is uncharted territory.  Operating decisions about each session of summer camp will continue to be announced four weeks in advance of each session.  Such decisions are made with the highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.       

Please feel free to contact us at registration@ondessonk.com or 618-695-2489 if you have questions or if you need assistance                                                                                            

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Published on Friday, May 8, 2020

Dear Camp Friends,

Greetings from camp. Two weeks ago, we shared an update to inform camp’s supporters of our current operating status. We’ve since been told how important this information is to many of you. Therefore, our goal is to share such news periodically as we work through these tough times. We are flattered that so many people are concerned by what’s happening at camp when so many individuals, families, and organizations are experiencing their own challenges. Thank you for caring.

I hate to start with bad news. I promise there’s good news as well. You likely already heard that summer camp session 1 has been canceled. It was scheduled to begin on May 31. We were planning to serve 185 campers, a smaller group by Camp Ondessonk standards. Approximately 50% of the campers whose families have responded to the cancellation have enrolled in sessions planned for later in the summer. We remain hopeful that conditions will allow us to serve those kids and any others affected by the cancellation. A decision regarding session 2 will be announced on May 11.  

On #GivingTuesdayNow (May 5), many of camp’s supporters worked in cooperation with our staff to encourage gifts to camp. This expression of kindness and love resulted in 47 individual gifts ranging in size from $25 to $1,000! In addition, 48 people committed to ongoing monthly giving by becoming Campfire Circle members. Ninety-five friends came together to show their commitment to camp in just a single day. This type of giving makes a big difference as we fortify the organization for the challenges ahead.

This is normally the time of year when camp is bustling with school groups, weekend campers, volunteer groups, and Road Scholar programs for adults. We’re busy, but we miss having people on site. We can’t wait for the day that you’ll drive down the camp road. Until then, stay healthy, lift the spirits of those around you, and remember that God loves you and so do we.

May you find ways to keep camp in your life for the rest of your life.

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director

 

Published Monday, May 4, 2020

Dear Camp Families,

It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of Session 1 of summer camp (May 31 to June 6, 2020).  We remain optimistic that we will serve campers in 2020, but we will not do so until conditions improve.  With this in mind, we encourage you to switch your camper(s) to a session scheduled for the second half of the summer.  Kids need camp!

These are challenging times for all of us – children included.  While generally resilient and flexible, we know that many kids will take this news hard, especially those that have been to Camp Ondessonk in the past.  As a parent, you’ve likely imagined how you would have handled growing up during this pandemic.  We encourage you to speak openly to your children about whatever emotions result from this cancellation.  Please let your kid(s) know that we love them and that we can’t wait until the day they come to camp – whenever that may be.

Please know that we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time.  When this is all over, Camp Ondessonk will be there for you and your family.  Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging times.  Like it is for you, this is uncharted territory.  Operating decisions about each session of summer camp will continue to be announced four weeks in advance of each session.  Such decisions are made with the highest emphasis on camper and staff well-being.  Our approach involves consultation with qualified medical professionals that understand day-to-day summer camp operations at Camp Ondessonk.  Additionally, we are closely monitoring guidelines and directives produced by the CDC, Illinois Department of Public Health, the office of the Governor, the American Camp Association, and other authoritative sources to inform and direct our decision making.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or if you need assistance.

 

Sincerely,

Daniel W. King
Executive Director

 

Published Friday, April 24, 2020

Dear Camp Friends,

Covid 19 updates Camp OndessonkHello from Camp Ondessonk. We hope that you and your family are happy and healthy. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious issue for all of us, camps included. Please be assured that our staff members, with support from many Camp Friends like you, are working diligently to navigate this new landscape. 

Though a great deal of uncertainty remains, we know that Ondessonk’s cabins will be filled with campers someday in the future. Hopefully, the days during which it will be safe to resume the most joyful part of our work – serving kids and their families – are coming soon.

As you likely know, our historically busy spring programming and services season was canceled. Though manageable, the associated loss of operating revenue is significant. We are working to reschedule programs and groups for dates during the coming fall, but it has become clear that most of the season’s net fee-income loss of approximately $80,000 can’t be fully salvaged by rescheduling. We do, however, have some good news to share. One of our largest Outdoor Education groups, a Catholic School from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, rescheduled its program for this fall. This is not just great news for camp – a self-funded ministry – it’s great news for current sixth-grade students from Immaculate Conception School of Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, because they’ll experience Camp Ondessonk as seventh graders!

More good news is that Camp has been approved to receive CARES Act / Payroll Protection Program funding. This development is significant, but it is just one part of the viable path to organizational recovery for which we are working. We’ve also placed a freeze on non-essential spending and made other operational adjustments intended to conserve operating dollars. The tough times of the past taught us well.

Please be assured that we are diligently preparing for summer camp to begin as scheduled on May 31. That’s a big job any year. We also developed a contingency plan for the possibility that summer camp cannot safely open as planned. The plan calls for session decisions one month in advance of each session. Therefore, the status of Session 1 will be announced on Monday, May 4; Session 2 on May 11; etc. The prospect of a partially or fully canceled summer camp season is sad for us and the kids we serve, but we face this challenge with what non-camp people might describe as “outlandish optimism” – an organizational trait forged by more than sixty years of service to kids that deserve nothing less.

We find comfort in knowing that people like you are there to lift camp in both prayer and support. When this is all over, we know you’ll continue to be there for the Campers of Ondessonk. Until then, we are sincerely grateful for your past, present, and future dedication and support.

May you find ways to keep camp in your life for the rest of your life. God loves you and so do we.

Sincerely,


Daniel W. King
Executive Director

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