Exciting Developments for Future Campers
By Amanda Bailey
From Challenge to Council and East Side to West Side, Camp Ondessonk is developing and improving activity areas for future campers. Below are 3 additions to Camp’s programming that upgrade camper and visitor experiences starting this summer and continuing during the school year.
The High Jungle
While participants are harnessed and clipped the entire time, they begin the course by climbing up the rockwall and transition to the first, out of three, new elements.
1. Zigzag Crossing:
Walking sideways on the cable, participants lean in and out from the ropes to reach the next element.
Exactly as it sounds. Participants walk to each x-shaped step until they reach the next platform.
3. Postman Walk:
The last element of The High Jungle challenges participants to walk on the bottom cable, lean forward and shuffle across to reach the zip-line.
Upon completing each element, challengers are rewarded with a speedy exit down the zip-line.
Council has been moved from the Gazebo to its own location near the unit of Tekakwitha, along Lake Echon. Session 5 introduces rock, wood entry way and benches. The Council Coordinator this summer, Sean Walsh, mentions, “It had to be in the woods. Why be in the Main Area where there are buildings and distractions for campers? We can go to a place where they can admire the nature that they can’t at home.”
Walsh adds, “I tell my staff, people go to the Barn for the horses, Aquatics for the water, Challenge for the rock wall, but they come to Council for us. And now we can appreciate the nature while learning the lessons taught at Council.”
Ondessonk’s staff and volunteers are revamping hiking trails in order to submerge campers and visitors deeper into the woods during hikes and all day explorations. The finished trail from Morgan’s Field to Pakentuck allows campers and visitors to never walk on camp roads during their explorations until it’s time to return for dinner.
“These Camp trails allow access to beautiful nature that features large groves of trees and sandstone bluff lines. You walk through many different ecosystems in our woods and see the succession before your eyes. It creates a unique Camp Ondessonk experience for all variety of ages.”
— Ryan Kiefer, Nature Director
“We love to improve our programs to make Ondessonk a unique tradition of fun for campers, visitors and families that visit throughout the summer and year round.”
–Nolan Hurst, Program Coordinator