Fall 2015 Outdoor Education Season
Autumn can be a nostalgic time of year; almost melancholy. Away from the excitement of touchdowns, baseball playoffs, hayrides, and trick-or-treating, it can be quiet time spent reminiscing on the summer gone by and accepting the reality of the long, cold months we must endure before its return. But as we tilt away from the sun, nature provides us with one last overture as the forest explodes into color and God smiles at us through the trees.
The 2015 Fall Outdoor Education staff is getting ready for another busy season and excited to be able to live in this beautiful place while working to continue Camp’s mission of empowering kids of all ages through adventurous and spiritual experiences in nature. Our Program Coordinator, Olivia Hammond, and I are thrilled to have a great mix of outdoor educators this season. Greg Fox and Jake Pasdertz, both veteran summer staff members, will be returning for another outdoor education season; Amanda Cooper and Anne Rutledge, who also have spent several summers on staff, will be joining the fall staff for the first time; Chris Sedivy who was a unit leader for many summers, has returned to Camp after several years to take on a new role as outdoor ed staff; and last but not least, Carrie Bryant, who is new to the Camp O family and very eager to meet you all and have a fantastic fall season. Camp is proud to have a great group of folks contributing various talents from diverse backgrounds with different Camp stories to tell, but who also have ties to the Southern Illinois region either through Camp or through college.
Camp will be hosting many groups throughout the fall including school groups, scout troops, spiritual and teambuilding retreats, families, and Road Scholars. Our school groups are the core of our program season; coming to us from Belleville, Evansville, St. Louis, Paducah, and the local area. We are also excited to be hosting nearly 40 Road Scholars from across America who come to Camp for unique, guided experiences exploring Southern Illinois on foot, on horseback, or in a canoe.
Friends Weekend was a huge success this Labor Day weekend as over 400 members of the Camp family showed up to celebrate the completion of another successful summer. Our upcoming Specialty Weekends are always a great way to keep Camp in your life throughout the year. Fall Family Camp has been moved up to September 18 through 20 so folks can enjoy some warmer temperatures (and water slides). The following weekend, September 25 through 27, we will host our Fall Stable Round-Up and Lodge Reunion.
October is very busy as we look forward to our annual Mother-Daughter Weekend October 9 through October 11; Fall Fest and the 5th Annual Ondessonk Trail Races on October 17; and a return of a new favorite and hopefully long-running tradition at Camp: the 11th Annual Southern Illinois Fat Tire Festival presented by the Bike Surgeon in O’Fallon, IL October 23 through 25.
But even with all the great events going on at Camp Ondessonk this fall, there are still plenty of chances to come to Camp for beautiful autumn solitude if you want to just get away, sleep in a treehouse (or climate controlled St. Noel suite), and enjoy the most beautiful place on Earth. Give us a call to reserve a unit for the weekend and bring the whole family! See you this fall! Heepwah!
Fall 2015 Outdoor Education Season -By Greg Santen