One of the original four – Brébeuf!

One of the original four – Brébeuf!

By Pati Egan

According to a Newsletter from 2000, a new Brébeuf made its debut as a rebuilt unit.  It was the last of the original four units to be rebuilt.

Brébeuf was open on the first day of Camp, June 28, 1959, and is still used every week.  The rebuilt Brébeuf of today is unique in that the cabins have the tree house design but they sit on the ground.

One of the original four – Brébeuf  Camp Ondessonk History
The original Camp road that campers would walk down to reach Brébeuf.

Brébeuf’s location has not changed, but the look and feel of the unit has undergone significant changes.  Brébeuf started out as a cabin unit at the edge of a deep canyon.  It’s interesting that the other three original units are located on the east side of the main area of Camp while Brébeuf is on the west side.

One of the original four – Brébeuf  Ondessonk History 1960s

This original Brébeuf cabin, Atlas, appears to sit very close to the edge of a cliff.  It was the second to last cabin in the line of cabins along the cliff.  There was no Lake Echon and the old swinging bridge photo below (site of current Amantacha Bridge) gives an excellent view of the depth of the canyon. In the beginning, Brébeuf campers would have their unit campfires at the bottom of this canyon.  In addition, Brébeuf was very close to Stable A (now known as Brébeuf Flats), Shower House B, and the original Dining Hall.

One of the original four – Brébeuf  Swinging Bridge Camp Ondessonk
One of the original four – Brébeuf  Swiming Bridge Camp Ondessonk 1960s
Left to right: Vicki Saul Nichols, Sue Prine Phelps, Sue Olsen, and “Pee We.” On the swinging bridge in 1965 above the canyon by Brébeuf before Lake Echon.

Brébeuf’s feel changed with the building of Lake Echon.  It is now surrounded on three sides by water, and became the only peninsula unit.  The picture below was taken in 1967 from the peninsula at the tip of Brébeuf looking across to the spillway. Lake Echon was brand new in this picture, and as you can see, much wider then than it is now.

Pictured left to right: Debbie Sandheinrich, Judy Heinz, and Claudia Recker.

Once Lake Echon was built, the last two original cabins, Atlas and Cochise, were moved up the line of cabins to near the staff cabin.  Then, the unit campfire was located on the peninsula, and when trees overtook the peninsula, the campfire was moved up by the staff cabin where it remains today.

The original unit of Brébeuf had six camper cabins with six campers in each along with a staff cabin.  Staff and campers that stayed in Brébeuf were usually very loyal to this unit.  You may find some volunteers or visitors sitting by the fire pit and letting the memories of past summers flood their minds; the Golden Arrowheads won, the sounds of footsteps on the Amantacha (Swinging, Floating) Bridge at all hours of the night, and the excellent fishing from just about anywhere on the site.  They might see themselves sitting in their cabin at night and not only hearing the sounds of the forest but also the myriad of sounds coming from Lake Echon.

Brébeuf may be the only original unit that campers can virtually walk in the footprints of campers from 1959.  While one of the newly rebuilt cabins was moved to face the entrance of the unit, the other rebuilt cabins are virtually in the same footprint as the originals. LaLande, Chabanel, and Goupil are in the same original locations but the new cabins (or cave if you are in Chabanel) are not in the footprint of the original cabins.

The raccoon is the spirit animal for Brébeuf, and royal blue is still the color.  Since 1959, campers have walked down the camp road to begin their adventure and love of Camp in the unit of Brébeuf.  They were and are walking in the footsteps of legends like Leroy Haselhorst, Marcia (Cricket) Dobbs, Kathy (Cocky) Cochran Beine, and Judy Blase Woodruff to name a few.

Click here to learn more about Camp Ondessonk’s history.

Click here to learn more about Saint Jean de Brébeuf


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