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Gearing up for Summer Camp 2017

Ondessonk Summer Camp 2017Gearing up for Summer Camp 2017-  All over camp, signs of spring have been putting a feeling of excitement in the air.  It puts an extra zip in our steps, and lights a little spark under us to start getting things ready for summer!

The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, an army of volunteers, mostly Lodge members, descended upon camp and worked in the cold and spitting snow to help prepare camp for the busy spring and summer seasons.  Each unit got a bit of a facelift; fire pits were cleaned out, new mulch now covers most of the campfire gathering areas, and cabins and outhouses got a good sweep and spider-removal treatment.  It may seem early, but there is so much to do to get ready for a summer at camp!

Major renovation projects have also been underway at Handicrafts and Tekakwitha, with notable progress on each.  In the summer of 2017, Tekakwitha will become a part of the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village to allow us to accommodate even more Mini Campers each week.  The success of the Mini Camp program could not be measured without the enormous contribution of the many volunteers who came to camp week after week to ensure that the Fournie Mini Camp Village would be completed and the staff who provided a top-notch experience for our youngest campers.  Tekakwitha will now have an interior layout and feel that mirrors the cabins in Aonnetta and Chiwatenhwa.  Be sure to come to the Open House and Homecoming June 3rd to see the makeover for yourself!

We’ve been making progress in other ways as well.  After months of reviewing applications, interviews and securing references, we have completed our hiring and have 125 confirmed summer staff members who will be working at camp in 2017.  The staff includes four international staff members, including Gareth Campbell from Northern Ireland, who will be returning for this third summer as a Unit Leader!  The Unit Leaders will be led by Kelly Meckert, who, after several summers as a UL herself, has taken on the role of Head Counselor.  Activity area coordinators will have a new leader as well, as Tom Gattuso will spend his first summer in the Program Coordinator role.  He has fit in so well this school year and we cannot wait to see him get a taste of his first summer at Ondessonk!

After a successful Gala and continued success in securing campers for the summer, we are confident that our activity areas will be in the best shape yet leading up to camp.  Our Archery, Challenge and Nature programs have all gotten a bit of a boost in equipment, staff, and some innovative ideas that will give them a new and exciting feel.  We’ll be testing out some of our new stuff this spring at Father-Son Weekend and at the 1980’s reunion.

There is still time to join us this summer as a camper or volunteer, and there are still opportunities to help camp prepare for what’s ahead.  We’d love for you to be a part of sharing the Camp Spirit with 3,000 campers this summer!  Heepwah!

Gearing up for Summer Camp 2017-  By Alissa Hollmann, Camping Services Director

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