Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village
When the Belleville Diocese first established Camp Ondessonk 56 years ago, Monsignor John T. Fournie was named the first General Director. This year in his memory volunteers and staff built the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village. The new village also begins a new chapter for Camp Ondessonk.
On May 30, 2015, in the Old Dining Hall located in the heart of Camp Ondessonk, our camp family celebrated this new chapter with the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village Dedication Ceremony . At the ceremony Executive Director Dan King addressed staff, visitors and volunteers, “I think it is fitting, that we are here in the first building ever built at Camp Ondessonk. It was the first man-made structure and it is still here.” The ceremony honored both lead gifts from Thomas Cromwell and Jeanne Newton and volunteers who built the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village.
The Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village was built to accommodate younger campers. Volunteers who built the village dedicated thousands of hours into completing the project. Bryan Reaka, a Camp Ondessonk staff member and volunteer since 1997, helped build the mini camp village. Reaka states, “I volunteered because I had skills that camp needed. I love sharing my skills with other people and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone.” The new village units of Chiwatenhwa and Aonnetta are housing campers each and every week this summer. Dan King feels that by offering mini camp sessions every week, Camp will increase its enrollment. King also notes the village invites more options for parents to send their kids to camp.
The expansion of camp is not over. The Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village is only the beginning of a camp wide mission to enrich the landscape and the beauty of God’s creation. King says, “We are not done at Camp Ondessonk. We are developing…we are growing…we are moving forward.”