Leadership & Staff
All individuals working at Ondessonk choose the job because of a strong desire to serve others. The Leadership & Staff consists of devoted individuals with extensive experience in fields related to youth development and outdoor leadership. The summer leadership staff is comprised of proven, sound decision makers who have completed college or are actively working towards that goal. The camper staff ratio is approximately 1:6. Leadership & Staff training emphasizes child development, child protection, teaching skills, and responsible leadership. First aid and CPR training is provided. Depending on position, staff members are certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association, National Rifle Association, American Red Cross, or other appropriate certifying bodies.
Dan King, Executive Director
Phone: 618.695.2489 x102
Hometown: Edwardsville, Illinois
Education: B.S. in Geography with an emphasis in Environmental Planning from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale
Dan’s history with Camp Ondessonk began in 1981, his first year as a camper. For the next several summers, he attended at least one session per summer. At the time, families lined up hours early at the beginning of each session to register campers for the most popular cabin units. Dan’s parents were always willing to oblige their two sons’ passion for Camp Ondessonk… The family car was often one of the first in line. Dan was an Ondessonk Counselor in Training in 1986. He spent the summers of 1987-1994 on the summer staff, which included co-leading the first ever Camp Ondessonk Horse Adventure trip. Following college, Dan gained program planning and administrative experience at several other camps as a wrangler, outdoor educator, Program Director, and Summer Camp Director. He returned to Ondessonk in 2006 and became Executive Director in 2008. Loved by campers and staff alike, Dan inspires with a smile and has a talent for bringing meaning to the Camp experience with his unique humor and devoted love of Ondessonk. Dan lives on site with his wife Suzy. Their children are Katie, Charlie, Brian, and Colleen, some of which are already experienced Ondessonk campers!
Alissa Hollmann, Camping Services Director
Phone: 618.695.2489 x104
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois
Education: M.S. in Recreation Administration from Illinois State University and a B.S. in Biology from The University of New Hampshire.
Alissa grew up in the Chicago area and attended YMCA Camp Echo as a kid – later returning as a counselor and ultimately serving as Wilderness Program Staff and Trip Guide. Alissa’s professional background includes over ten years of comprehensive experience covering nearly every area of the recreation and outdoor education field. Of note, she was Program Director and Resident Camp Director for the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. She was Illinois State University’s Coordinator of Outdoor Adventure Programs and Coordinator of Outdoor and Non-Credit Instructional Programs. Most recently, Alissa served as an Adjunct Instructor in the Health Education and Recreation Department at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. As Camping Services Director, Alissa hires and manages the summer camp staff and program and oversees all programming that happens at camp, especially specialty weekends. She loves to hike and paddle with her husband and her dog, Abbey.
Greg Santen, Program Director
Phone: 618.695.2489, extension 129
Hometown: Peoria, IL
Education: Master of Science in Education, Outdoor Recreation Resource Administration, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Greg first came to Camp Ondessonk as a camper in 1991. After five great summers as a camper, he became a member of the summer staff from 1996-1999 where he served as a wrangler and a horse adventure counselor. In 2006-2007, Greg came back to serve as a Unit Leader. In that time, Greg also spent two seasons as a year-round outdoor education instructor at Camp. Since then he as worked at several summer camps and outdoor education facilities in both programming and administrative capacities in New Hampshire, Connecticut, California, and for SIUC’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center. During and after graduate school, Greg switched gears to become a park ranger for the Department of the Interior; working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Illinois and for the National Park Service at Death Valley National Park in the California desert. In early 2014, Greg came back home to Camp O to take on an administrative role as the Program Director. As Program Director, Greg is responsible for Outdoor Education, user groups, and summer teen programs at camp. In his spare time, you can find Greg sitting on the porch playing guitar and grilling out while listening to Cardinal baseball on the radio or hiking the Shawnee with his dog, Kane.
Tom Gattuso, Program Coordinator
Phone: 618.695.2489, extension 116
Hometown: Woodstock, IL
Education: B.S. in Outdoor Education- Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
Tom began his outdoor career at Faith Ranch, a camp in eastern Ohio. It was through this experience he decided to pursue a degree in Outdoor Education. After earning his degree from Idaho State University, Tom worked for Elements Wilderness Therapy before moving to Nashville, Indiana to work at Camp Rancho Framasa owned by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He worked as a program staff for year round programming as well as Counselor Manager during the summer. Tom spent two years at Faith Ranch before accepting a position as Coordinator of Youth Ministry for five Catholic parishes in Terre Haute, Indiana. After two years coordinating youth ministry, Tom found his way back into the outdoors here at Camp Ondessonk in August of 2016! Tom manages our seasonal Outdoor Education staff, all summer program area coordinators, and sets up all summer camp promotional school and PSR visits. When not at work, you can usually find Tom rock climbing, backpacking, enjoying the outdoors, playing guitar or watching a movie.
Meagan Walters, Equestrian Director
Phone: 618.695.2489, extension 127
Hometown: Somerset, PA
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Administration of Justice and Legal Studies – University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Meagan joined the Camp Ondessonk Full-Time staff in June 2012 as the Equestrian Director. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and worked on several ranches out West before arriving at CampOndessonk. Meagan loves working outside, caring for our 70+ herd. On her days off, she can be found playing with her own two horses or reading a good book.
Shandril Dayton, Equestrian Coordinator
Phone: 618.695.2489, extension 127
Hometown: Gilbert, South Carolina/Marion, Illinois
Education: Bachelor’s of Animal Science, Focus in Equine Sciences – Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale,IL
Shandril was born and raised in central South Carolina. She moved to Southern Illinois, where she’s always called home, in June of 2010. She has had a love for horses since she was a young child. Her family adopted a yearling Thoroughbred when she was eight and that is what started her passion for horses. Throughout her equestrian career, Shandril has acquired experience in many aspects of the horse industry including (but not limited to) training, doctoring, and breeding/foaling. She attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale and graduated with a degree in Animal Sciences in May 2016. Directly following graduation, she picked up and moved out West where she worked as a Wrangler on a guest ranch in Wyoming with a 58 horse herd. She then moved back to Southern Illinois where she joined the Ondessonk staff as the full-time Equestrian Coordinator in February of 2017. Her favorite part about working with horses is sharing her passion with others. She is overjoyed to introduce new people into the horse world and to teach them to be safe while also having fun. In her free time she enjoys hiking with her beloved Labrador, writing music, and reading a good book.
Dru Kee, Food Service Director
Phone: 618.695.2489 x132
Hometown: Johnston City, IL
Education: Southern Illinois University Carbondale – College of Agriculture/Animal Science
Dru has a strong food and beverage background with a speciality in competition quality BBQ. He has been involved with Ondessonk since his youth both serving as a Camp Counselor and Lodge Official.
Tony Vrooman, Director of Marketing
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Education: B.S. in Communications, Central Methodist University – Fayette, MO
Tony gained a great deal of his professional marketing experience working for private sector businesses including the award winning Lightstream Studios, RTS Sentry and Serum Security Solutions. His personal interests and talents led him to the not-for-profit sector, where he is a long time Tapestry of Community Offerings volunteer and founding member of River City Professionals, a business networking group based in St. Louis. Tony works from his home office in Freeburg, IL. He, his wife Kim, son JP and daughter Emma enjoy visiting Ondessonk as often as possible.
Jamie Fields, Director of Development
Hometown: Breese, IL
Education: B.S. in Marketing, Illinois State University – Normal, IL
Jamie began her Camp adventure as a camper, CIT, and volunteer. With a professional background in Marketing, and most recently as the Development Director at a local nonprofit organization, Jamie brings experience, enthusiasm, and a genuine love for all things Camp. Jamie works from her home office in Breese, IL and is focused on ensuring the sustainability of Camp Ondessonk through the support of generous donors. Jamie shares her love of Camp with her husband, Adam, and 2 children who can’t wait until they are old enough to be campers!
Becky Jennings, Registrar
Phone: 618.695.2489 x109
Hometown: Ozark, Illinois
Becky, the spouse of Camp Ranger Mike Jennings, was a well-loved member of the Camp Ondessonk community for many years before accepting the position of Data Coordinator and Camp Registrar in 2003. Becky personally places every Camp Ondessonk camper in his or her unit, taking great care to catch every detail. Perhaps her most impacting contribution to Camp, however, is her direct involvement in the Title XX and Ondessonk Campership tuition assistance programs. She and Mike raised their daughter, Lacy, at camp. They are now excited to share Ondessonk with their granddaughter Emma and grandson, Logan.
Mike Jennings, Camp Ranger
Phone: 618.695.2489 x125
Hometown: Grantsburg, Illinois
Mike grew up very close to Ondessonk, but never had the chance to attend as a camper. He joined the Ondessonk staff as Assistant Ranger in 1994, and was promoted to Ranger shortly after that. Currently the longest serving full-time employee, there is neither a nook nor cranny at Ondessonk that Mike does not know. Mike works year-round with a large group of staff and volunteers to keep camp well maintained, in order, and running smoothly. When not keeping the campers and staff of Ondessonk safe and well taken care of, Mike can be found camping with his wife, Becky.
Brandon Dalton, Assistant Ranger
Phone: 618.695.2489 x125
Hometown: Tunnel Hill, Illinois
Brandon grew up very close to Ondessonk spending time in Tunnel Hill and Carrier Mills. Even though Brandon never had the chance to attend Ondessonk as a camper, he now knows every crook and crevasse of the camp. As Assistant Ranger, Brandon is, as he describes it, responsible for everything Mike tells him to do. He can usually be found working closely with Mike around camp as they keep the grounds pristine and beautiful. When away from camp, Brandon spends his time hunting, riding horses, working with the fire department, and as an assistant basketball coach.
Susan M. Schneider EA, Director of Finance
Hometown: East St. Louis, Illinois
Education: Bachelor of Science in Management from Maryville University , St. Louis, Missouri
Enrolled Agent (privilege of representing taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service) since 1995.
Susie has been associated with Camp most of her life. Susie was a camper and served on staff in the 1970’s. Susie was employed at Brown Shoe Company for 20 years in various capacities finalizing as Project Manager in the Information Technologies Department. Susie has been working with businesses assisting in accounting, operational efficiency, technology needs and tax preparation since 2000 when Rheinecker and Associates was established.
Susie served on the Camp Ondessonk Board and Finance Committee before resigning to become Director of Finance in September of 2012. With over 40 years business experience and several years directly involved with Camp’s Finances, it was an easy transition. Susie is working to improve the business operation of camp as well as ensure that all accounting areas are following federal and state laws.
Susie and her husband, Ernie, reside in Millstadt, Illinois and enjoy bicycling and relaxing by the lake.
Lisa Bloodworth, Office Operations Manager
Phone: 618.695.2489 x101
Hometown: Vienna, Illinois
Lisa came to us here at Ondessonk after working at Banterra Bank as a Deposit Support Representative. Lisa enjoys working with numbers and figuring out how things work. You can usually find her working in her office at St. Noel with finances or down at the trading post stocking and getting online orders. When she isn’t here at camp she loves cooking, playing music, and spending time with her family.