Spiritual Retreats

Camp Ondessonk is owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, in Illinois.  Our retreat programs, inspired by our Catholic tradition, help Camp Ondessonk carry out its mission and vision to provide exceptional outdoor and spiritual adventures in a spectacular natural environment, promote stewardship and appreciation of God’s gifts, and remain committed to the growth of people and faith. An Ondessonk Retreat experience promotes fellowship, leadership development, and a stronger connection to participants’ faith for both youth and adults. Our spiritual retreats foster better relationships with God, His creation, and other people while promoting personal growth, faith, and fellowship.

Our curriculum includes programs in faith and spiritual-based activities, group challenges, adventure, meditations, and group discussions.  All programs utilize the experiential learning model in which participants learn through direct experience followed by thoughtful guided reflection; taking advantage of the unique natural environment that Camp Ondessonk’s location provides.

Spiritual Retreats

Faith and Spiritual Activities – These sessions will allow participants to have an open dialogue with each other about their beliefs and also learn how to communicate their thoughts and actions, through activities that bring faith to life.

Group Challenges – These sessions offer groups and individuals opportunities to learn new skills with each other and have friendly competition, growing in fellowship during the challenge.

Adventures – These sessions allow participants to learn about struggling while having faith in each other and God.

Talks, Meditations, and Discussions – These sessions give participants time to hear about other people’s experiences and to think about their own experiences. Some of these sessions also provide time to share about what the Church teaches and why certain things are the way they are.

Living In Faith Together (L.I.F.T. Teen Coalition):

L.I.F.T. (LIVING IN FAITH TOGETHER) TEEN COALITION is a select group of high school students who represent the rich diversity of youth ministry throughout the region and Camp Ondessonk community. It is inclusive of culture, geographic location, economic, educational, and social status.L.I.F.T. is meant to be supplemental to parish level youth ministry, it should not replace your participation in school or parish youth groups.

In partnership with local youth ministry leaders and Camp Ondessonk, L.I.F.T aims to provide resources for young leaders to promote their human, spiritual, and professional development, and for young leaders to assist in the creation, development, implementation, evaluation of an event at Camp Ondessonk specifically for high school students.

These goals are drawn from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Renewing the Vision document on youth ministry.
1) To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.
2) To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic community.
3) To foster the total personal, spiritual, & professional growth of each young person.

Retreat Options:

Whether you simply want to use our 983 acres in the beautiful Shawnee National Forest to plan and run your own program, or sit back and let us facilitate, Camp Ondessonk is a great choice!

  1. Camp Ondessonk-Hosted Retreats: This option is for special weekend retreats that Camp Ondessonk has put together for you. There are several offerings throughout the spring and fall. All lodging, programs, and meals are included.
  2. Build-Your-Own-Retreat: We have spiritual retreats ranging from one to three days and a wide array of both faith-based sessions and outdoor, adventure, and group challenge sessions. You pick which programs you would like Ondessonk instructors to facilitate, and we also provide all of your meals and lodging. Our goal is to work with you to create a retreat your participants will never forget! It is recommended that you call for availability prior to completing any forms.
  3. Facilitate-Your-Own Retreat: Are you planning a retreat for your school, church, or group and would like a place that has fantastic space to hold your sessions and enjoy the views of nature? Come to Camp Ondessonk for your retreat and use our facilities. You can choose to either make your meals or have our qualified food service team prepare meals for you so you can focus on your program. You can reserve meeting space, choose to stay overnight in Ondessonk lodging, and even sign up for some activities!

No matter which option you choose, check out our Program Planning Packet. It will answer many questions about retreat curriculum, lodging, meals, etc. that youth ministers and parents may have about Camp.

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