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A Taste of Camp Ondessonk’s Mini Camp

By Sarah Petrowich

As COVID-19 prompted Camp Ondessonk to close its doors for the Summer of 2020, several campers missed out on their first year. Losing last summer was devastating for the Camp Ondessonk community, but Summer 2021 has already started, and our Mini Camp program is back and stronger than ever.

Mini Camp at Camp Ondessonk provides campers ages 8-10 with a modified programming experience to introduce them to Camp activities and foster a smooth transition into our traditional programming. Mini Campers have the ability to stay for three days or stay the entire week as a Mini Camp Explorer.

In addition to programming, Mini Campers also have one of the newest cabin arrangements. By 2015, more than 165 volunteers donated 2,200 hours of their time and talent to complete Fournie Village, working alongside Camp Ranger Mike Jennings, and Assistant Rangers Brandon Dalton and Kevin Craig.

Jeanne Newton is a former board president of Camp Ondessonk and a donor for the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village. She is also the great niece of Monsignor John T. Fournie, and she explains why the program is so important to Camp Ondessonk:

“I think it has really helped with the number of campers that are going to Ondessonk. I think that the Mini Camp has introduced Ondessonk to a whole ‘nother younger generation of kids who then enjoy themselves and want to go back summer after summer and get involved. The Fournie Village is kind of that feeder into the regular Camp experience for kids. I think as long as it is open, kids are able to come and really get a feel for the experience that is Camp Ondessonk.”

Some of the adjusted programming includes kayaking, archery, handicrafts, swimming and a notorious favorite, hanging out with Camp’s goats. Since its inception, Mini Camp has consistently sold out, welcoming in new campers every summer.

“We were very glad to be involved in it. I think it’s a great legacy for Monsignor Fournie and certainly for his family. It was important to me that his name be on the village. It’s just something we’re glad we did. We’re glad that everything we’ve heard thus far has been positive about the Mini Camp Village,” Newton said.

Check out our 2021 Mini Camp video below!


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