For over 56 years Camp Ondessonk has provided its visitors with an abundance of beautiful scenery and the Ondessonk Stables have been a major part of Camp since its inception in 1959. Ondessonk’s pastures and stables are one of the first features campers and visitors see upon entering Camp. The stables sit on 100 of Camp’s 983 acres. Camp Ondessonk strives to provide an environment that inspires physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth for individuals and groups through appreciation and stewardship. Ondessonk meets our mission through our Equestrian Program.
Lauren Lilly, Camp Ondessonk’s Equestrian Coordinator, has been working with Camp Ondessonk’s horses for eight years. Lilly was a camper who loved horses and worked her way up to leader of Horse Camp. After college she began serving Camp full time as Equestrian Coordinator.
Through her time at Camp Ondessonk, she has been able to strengthen both her skills with horses and her love for camp. She mentions one of the most rewarding things about working at Camp Ondessonk is her ability to help campers feel comfortable and experience the horses. Some campers have never experienced the horses. Just before her first trail ride and her first time on a horse Elle Evans, a Coed 2 camper in Goupil, says, “I have never been on a horse because there was never a place for me to ride one. I’m really excited because I get a chance to do it today.” After the trail ride with her unit, Evans explains, “It was a bit scary at first, but I would do it again because the staff encouraged me and helped me with everything.”
Camp adopted new horses into the Ondessonk family recently. Romeo and Bruce, bring the total number of the herd to 76 amazing horses for campers to interact with, learn from, and enjoy. Lilly suggested, “If you are interested in horses, spend as much time with them as you can at Camp. To learn the basics come to Horse Camp, and then move on to Horse Adventure where the program is more advanced and your skills can be honed.”