Is my teenager too old for Summer Camp
Is my teenager too old for summer camp? We get asked that question a lot by parents, but our answer is always a simple “No.” Camp Ondessonk, located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois, is the premier destination for Teenage Summer Camp adventures.
We have summer programming specifically designed for teenagers, with leadership development as its core principle. Teenagers have the opportunity to participate directly in outdoor education and adventure under a knowledgeable staff with extensive experience in fields related to youth development and outdoor leadership.
Teenage Adventure campers work in small groups with two or three highly trained staff members; adventure campers focus on one set of skills for an entire week. This creates an opportunity for remarkable knowledge and skill growth. Teenage Adventure programs are divided into three levels. ALL OF CAMP ONDESSONK’S ADVENTURE PROGRAMS ARE COED; REGARDLESS OF THE GENDER OF THE CONCURRENT TRADITIONAL SESSION.
Camper vs. Wild Ages 13-15, Beginner
Participants will develop real-life leadership skills through participation in primitive camping activities. Skill development includes basic backpacking, outdoor cooking, map and compass navigation, fire building, water purification, and much more! Backcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure
**NEW** Shawnee Adventures Ages 13-15, Beginner
Shawnee Adventures is designed for seasoned campers looking for a new way to experience Camp Ondessonk. Campers embark on four different one-day adventures that explore Camp Ondessonk’s 983 acres and the surrounding Shawnee National Forest to learn technical and leadership skills. They will participate in activities during the day, such as rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing and then stay on-site at night, eat meals in the Dining Hall, and join Camp’s traditional evening activities to remain engaged in the Ondessonk traditions that they love. Frontcountry, On-Camp Adventure
Horse Camp Ages 12-15, Beginner
Horse Camp is designed for campers looking for an equine-specific camp experience. Campers get to enjoy trail rides through our pastures and forested trails, arena lessons improving upon position and riding technique, and will ride to their overnight spot at Durbin’s Barn. All riding levels are welcome from the first ride to experienced riders. Weight limit of 225lbs for rider and horse safety. Frontcountry, On-Camp Adventure
Advanced Horse Camp Ages 13-16, Intermediate
Advanced Horse Camp is designed for the horse camper who is proficient at trotting or has previous Horse Camp sessions under their belt. Advanced Horse campers live in the barn, work closely with one horse for the entire week, and participate in multiple mounted and ground lessons every day. In addition to this, they get to ride their horses to the overnight spot at Durbin’s Barn. Weight Limit of 225lbs for rider and horse safety. Frontcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure
Mountain Biking Adventure Ages 13-15, Intermediate
Campers will initially be on-site, learning riding techniques, bike repair, and practicing on our extensive trail system. This program will conclude with off-site riding on some of the best Mountain Biking trails the region offers. Instruction provided by The Bike Surgeon located in O’Fallon, Ill. Frontcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure
Climbing Adventure Ages 13-15, Intermediate
Climbing Adventure campers spend their days practicing and learning the knots, equipment, and techniques needed to rock climb outdoors. The beginning of the session is spent climbing at Pakentuck on Camp’s property, then campers get to travel to premiere rock-climbing destinations close by in Southern Illinois. One day is dedicated to learning to ascend a rope high into the forest canopy with a professional tree climber. Nights are spent camping at nearby backcountry sites. Frontcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure
Horse Adventure Ages 13-16, Advanced
Horse Adventure is designed for campers interested in exploring the scenic backcountry trails of the Shawnee National Forest on horseback. It offers the perfect opportunity to expand and develop horsemanship and outdoor skills. Throughout their adventure, campers will be taking care of the horses, setting up the campsite, cooking meals, relaxing around the campfire, and may have the opportunity to explore creeks and swimming holes. It is required that campers have previous horseback trail experience, including mild to moderately technical trails. Weight Limit of 225lbs for rider and horse safety. Backcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure
Frontcountry Camping means living in a tent at Camp or an established campground with bathroom facilities and water available.
Backcountry Camping means living in a tent or under a tarp away from a road or vehicle. Backcountry campers must carry all their supplies with them and must find and purify water each day. No bathroom facilities exist. Staff teach campers how to live comfortably without front country amenities.