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the reason we make Incredible Camp O Campers.

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Summer Camp

Camp Ondessonk a residential youth camp provides summer camp programs for children ages 8-17 years old. We are proud to be accredited by the American Camp Association. This accreditation means that Camp Ondessonk thoroughly reviews operational practices, seeks the wisdom of other summer camp professionals, and continually makes improvements within our summer camp program to comply with more than 300 written standards. Only one-fourth of the summer camps in the United States have earned this mark of distinction. In addition, Camp Ondessonk’s Equestrian Program is accredited by the Certified Horsemanship Association.

If you are looking for information regarding the LIT program, click here.  Applications will be available on the Camp Ondessonk Employment Page.

2017 Summer Camp Sessions

Session 1

Traditional Coed  S1 (Ages 10-15): June 4-10

Horse Camp S1 (Beginner, Ages 12-15): Coed Session:  June 4-10

Hike, Bike, Paddle & Climb S1 (Beginner, Ages12-15): Coed Session:  June 4-10

Mini Camp S1 (Ages 8-9-10): June 4-7: This is a 3 day COED session.

Mini Camp Explorers S1 (Ages 8-9-10): June 4-10: This is a 6 day COED session.

CIT S1-S2 (Age 15 only): Coed Session: June 4-17

o  Layover  S1: June 10

Session 2

Traditional Coed S2 (Ages 10-15): June 11-17

Horse Adventure S2 (Intermediate, Ages 13-16): Coed Session: June 11-17

Kentucky  Equine Excursion S2 (Ages 13-16): June 11-17

Camper vs. Wild S2 (Ages 12-16): Coed Session: June 11-17

Mini Camp S2 (Ages 8-9-10): June 11-14: This is a 3 day COED session.

Mini Camp Explorers S2 (Ages 8-9-10): June 11-17: This is a 6 day COED session.

CIT S2-S3 (Age 15 only): Coed Session: June 11-24

o  Layover  S2: June 17

Session 3

Traditional Coed  S3 (Ages 10-15): June 18-24

Horse Camp S3 (Beginner, Ages 12-15): Coed Session: June 18-24

o  Paddling Adventure (Ages 12-16): Coed Session: June 18-24

Mt. Bike Adventure S3 (Ages 12-16): Coed Session: June 18-24

Mini Camp S3 (Ages 8-9-10): June 18-21: This is a 3 day COED session.

Mini Camp Explorers S3 (Ages 8-9-10): June 18-24: This is a 6 day COED session.

Teen Leadership Camp S4 (Ages 13-14): BOYS ONLY session: June 18-24

o  Layover  S3: June 24

Session 4

Boys S4 (Ages 10-15): June 25-July 1

Horse Adventure  S4 (Intermediate, Ages 13-16): Coed Session: June 25-July 1

Shawnee Backpack & Zipline Adv. S4 (Intermediate, Ages 13-16) Coed Session: June 25-July 1

Mini Camp S4 (Ages 8-9-10): June 25-28: This is a 3 day BOYS ONLY session.

Mini Camp Explorers S4 (Ages 8-9-10): June 25-July 1 : This is a 6 day BOYS ONLY session.

CIT S4-S5 (Age 15 only): Coed Session: June 25-July 8

o  Layover  S4: July 1

Session 5

Traditional Coed  S5 (Ages 10-15): July 2-8

Smoky Mt. Adventure S5 (Advanced, Ages 15-18): Coed Session: July 2-8

Mini Camp S5 (Ages 8-9-10): July 2-5: This is a 3 day COED session.

Mini Camp Explorers S5 (Ages 8-9-10): July 2-8: This is a 6 day COED session.

Horse Camp S5 (Beginner, Ages12-15): Coed Session: July 2-8

CIT S5-S6 (Age 15 only): GIRLS ONLY Session: July 2-15

o  Layover  S5: July 8

Session 6

Girls S6 (Ages 10-15): July 9-15

Horse Camp S6 (Beginner, Ages 12-15): Coed Session: July 9-15

Climbing Adventure S6  (Intermediate, Ages 13-16): Coed Session: July 9-15

Mini Camp S6 (Ages 8-9-10): July 9-12: This is a 3 day GIRLS ONLY session.

Mini Camp Explorers S6 (Ages 8-9-10): July 9-15: This is a 6 day GIRLS ONLY session.

CIT S6-S7 (Age 15 only): GIRLS ONLY Session: July 9-22

o  Layover  S6: July 15

Session 7

Girls S7 (Ages 10-15): July 16-22

Horse Adventure S7 (Intermediate, Ages 13-16): July 16-22

Hike, Bike, Paddle & Climb S7 (Beginner, Ages 12-15): Coed Session: July 16-22

Mini Camp S7 (Ages 8-9-10): July 16-19: This is a 3 day GIRLS ONLY session.

Mini Camp Explorers S7 (Ages 8-9-10): July 16-22: This is a 6 day GIRLS ONLY session.

CIT S7-S8 (Age 15 only): Coed  Session: July 16-29

o  Layover  S7: July 22

Session 8

Traditional Coed  S8 (Ages 10-15): July 23-29

Horse Camp S8 (Beginner, Ages12-15): Coed Session: July 23-29

Surfing  Adventure S8 (Advanced, Ages 13-17):Coed Session: July 23-29

Mini Camp S8 (Ages 8-9-10): July 23-26: This is a 3 day COED session.

Mini Camp Explorers S8 (Ages 8-9-10): July 23-29: This is a 6 day COED session.

CIT S8-S9 (Age 15 only): Coed  Session: July 23-August 5

o  Layover  S8: July 29

Session 9

Traditional Coed  S9 (Ages 10-15): July 30-August 5

Horse Adventure  S9 (Intermediate, Ages 13-16): Coed Session: July 30-August 5

Camper vs. Wild S9 (Ages 12-16): Coed Session: July 30-August 5

Lodge Camp S9 ( Lodge Members Only, Ages 11-16): Coed Session: July 30-August 5

Mini Camp S9 (Ages 8-9-10) : July 30-August 2: This is a 3 day COED session.

Mini Camp Explorers S2 (Ages 8-9-10): July 30-August 5: This is a 6 day COED session.

Pricing Structure

Camp Ondessonk is a self-sufficient organization that relies entirely on camper fees, grants, and contributions to operate. Unlike many other camps, prices are all-inclusive; all kids have access to all activities included in their session-type with no additional fees, period. Realizing that we serve a wide variety of families with varying abilities to pay, we’ve adopted a 3-tier pricing program. Please review the descriptions and decide which of the three prices your family is able and willing to pay for your child’s camp experience. This is strictly a voluntary honor system and in no way influences the experience children receive.

Mini Camp

Camp Ondessonk Counselor In Training CIT teen summer campAges: 8 – 10
2017 Dates:

Session 1 Mini-Camp – June 4- June 7
Session 2 Mini-Camp – June 11- June 14
Session 3 Mini-Camp – June 18- June 21
Session 4 Mini-Camp – June 25- June 28 (Boys Only)
Session 5 Mini-Camp – July 2- July 5
Session 6 Mini-Camp – July 9- July 12 (Girls Only)
Session 7 Mini-Camp – July 16- July 19 (Girls Only)
Session 8 Mini-Camp – July 23- July 26
Session 9 Mini-Camp – July 30- August 2

Cost: $315/$295/$275 (entire balance due at registration)

Mini Camp is a special three day, three night session for younger children. It is the perfect way to give campers an introduction to the Camp Ondessonk tradition of rustic, nature based camping in the Shawnee National Forest.

The Mini Camp schedule includes horseback instruction and riding, handicrafts, boating, swimming, archery, evening campfires, skits, and lots of singing. All activities are modified to best serve the mini-camp age group. With one Ondessonk counselor for every three or four campers, mini campers receive nearly constant guidance and companionship from our caring staff. Incidentally, many of our staff members were once mini campers.  Register for Mini Camp

Mini Camp Explorers

Mini Camp Explorers Summer Camp OndessonkAges: 8 – 10
2017 Dates:
Session 1 Mini-Camp Explorers – June 4- June 10
Session 2 Mini-Camp Explorers – June 11- June 17
Session 3 Mini-Camp Explorers – June 18- June 24
Session 4 Mini-Camp Explorers – June 25- July 1 (Boys Only)
Session 5 Mini-Camp Explorers – July 2- July 8
Session 6 Mini-Camp Explorers – July 9- July 15 (Girls Only)
Session 7 Mini-Camp Explorers – July 16- July 22 (Girls Only)
Session 8 Mini-Camp Explorers – July 23- July 29
Session 9 Mini-Camp Explorers – July 30- August 5

Cost: $598/$548/$498 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Mini Camp Explorers offers adventurous 8 & 10 year old children an extended experience building upon our popular Mini Camp program. By popular request, young campers will spend the entire week discovering all of the Camp Ondessonk activities and traditions so beloved by campers over the past 57 summers.

Explorers will enjoy nature walks, horseback instruction and riding, handicrafts, boating, swimming, archery, campfires, structured social time, and skits while living in a communal setting designed to develop social skills and build friendships. Mini Camp Explorers will be led by a specialized staffed equipped with the counseling skills to best serve the mini-camp age group and introduce campers to the wonderful world of outdoor, weeklong sleep-away camp.  Register for Mini Camp Explorers

Coed Camp

Ondessonk Coed 2016Ages: 10-15
2017 Dates:
Session 1 Coed  – June 4- June 10
Session 2 Coed  – June 11- June 17
Session 3 Coed  – June 18- June 24
Session 5 Coed  – July 2- July 8
Session 8 Coed  – July 23- July 29
Session 9 Coed  – July 30- August 5

Cost: $598/$548/$498 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Coed camp features all the activities of Boys’ and Girls’ sessions, only conducted coed. One of the biggest advantages of coed camp is that it mirrors and prepares campers for everyday living — the world is co-ed! One side of Lake Echon is designated for male campers, the other for females. Overnight camp-outs and sleeping quarters are gender-specific, with boys and girls supervised by the appropriate staff. Hurry, these sessions fill quickly!

The coed camp schedule includes two horseback rides, archery, riflery, council, swimming, nature exploration, handicrafts, woodsmanship, canoeing, kayaking, campfires, an overnight campout, marathon, tug of war, and much more.  Register for Coed Camp

Boy’s Camp

Camp Ondessonk Boys Summer Camp MidwestAges: 10-15
2017 Date: Session 4 Boy’s Camp – June 25- July 1

Cost: $598/$548/$498 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; full session cost due if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Boy’s session campers experience new adventures and master new skills in a setting where fun and personal growth is carefully, yet spontaneously facilitated by Ondessonk’s male Unit Leaders and staff. Single gender sessions encourage personal growth that is free from the pressures of performing in front of the opposite gender, giving campers ample opportunities for success and development. As a result, Camp Ondessonk’s boy campers often discover previously unknown talents and make life-long friends.

The boy’s camp schedule includes two horseback rides, archery, riflery, swimming, council, nature exploration, handicrafts, woodsmanship, canoeing, kayaking, campfires, an overnight campout, marathon, tug of war, and much more.  Register for Boy’s Camp

Girl’s Camp

Camp Ondessonk Youth Summer Camp

Ages: 10-15
2017 Dates:
Session 6 Girl’s Camp- July 9- July 15
Session 7 Girl’s Camp- July 16- July 22

Cost: $598/$548/$498 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

One of our most popular programs, Girls Camp is a week you’ll remember for the rest of your life. The single-gender environment provides growing girls and teens with something genuinely important- a safe, open, accepting place where they can truly be themselves. Campers are able to leave behind social expectations, popularity contests, and worries about their outward appearance for a week filled with giggling, games, and meaningful friendships.

The girl’s camp schedule includes two horseback rides, archery, riflery, council, swimming, nature exploration, handicrafts, woodsmanship, canoeing, kayaking, campfires, an overnight campout, marathon, tug of war, and much more.  Register for Girl’s Camp

Super Camper Layover Weekend

Camp Ondessonk Super Camper LayoverAges: 10-16
2016 Dates: Available between Session 1 & 2: June 10, Session 2 & 3: June 17,  Session 3&4: June 24 Session 4&5: July 1,  Session 5&6: July 8, Session 6&7: July 15, Session 7&8: July 22, and Session 8&9 July 29

Cost: $50 – meals, supervision, and programming included

Because families asked for it! Campers that choose to attend multiple sessions back-to-back are welcome to take advantage of this program. This supervised, one day / one night session will include exploration in the Shawnee National Forest, a special overnight campout, swimming, meals, and other activities.

Please note: Campers registering for back to back sessions can choose to stay in a different unit each session. Laundry service is not available. Many Super Campers pack clothing for their second week in seperate bags. If your camper does this, Camp Ondessonk will happily store the second set of clothing in a a safe and dry location (please call ahead of time to make arrangements).

Lodge Camp

Camp Ondessonk Lodge MembersAges: 11-16 – Must be a member of the Loyal Lodge of Ondessonk and Tekakwitha
2016 Date: Session 9 Lodge Camp – July 30- August 5

Cost: $560 or $410 as second session during a summer. ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

The Loyal Lodge of Ondessonk and Tekakwitha is an honor society for campers who have shown their loyalty and dedication to camp in an exemplary way. Campers are eligible for Lodge induction during their second summer at camp. Participants will enjoy the highlights of Camp while living in a unit led by Lodge officials. The session includes rock climbing at Pakentuck, the High Challenge Course, an extended Horseback Ride, and in the Spirit of Lodge, a service project significant to the Mission of Camp Ondessonk. Campers receive a substantial discount if choosing Lodge Camp as the second session of their summer.  Register for Lodge Camp

Shawnee Backpack & Zip-Line Adventure

Shawnee Zip Line Adventure teen summer campAges: 13-16
2017 Date: Session 4 Shawnee Backpack & Zip-Line Adv. – June 25- July 1
Cost: $625/$575/$525 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)
Shawnee Zip Line Adventure Packing List

Explore the beautiful Shawnee National Forest, on the ground and in the air. This program will combine hiking on the infamous River to-River trail with a vertical view of the forest from zip-lines located throughout Southern Illinois.  Register for Shawnee Zip Line Adventure

Beginner Adventures

Campers in Beginner Adventure sessions spend their days building skills, their evenings enjoying traditional Ondessonk activities like the Tuesday night game, and their nights in one of Ondessonk’s signature cabins. No prior rock climbing, backpacking, or horsemanship experience required.

Horse Camp

Camp Ondessonk Horse Adventure teen summer campAges: 12-15
2017 Dates:
Session 1 Horse Camp – June 4- June 10
Session 3 Horse Camp  – June 18- June 24
Session 5 Horse Camp  – July 2- July 8
Session 6 Horse Camp – July 9- July 15
Session 8 Horse Camp – July 23- July 29

Cost: $660/$610/$560 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)
Horse Camp Packing List

Love horses? Love Camp O? Want both? Horse Camp is for you. Spend your days at the Ondessonk Stables learning how to care for and groom your horse, develop basic horsemanship and riding skills, and enjoy long rides through our pristine pasture lands and oak-hickory forested trails. Spend your evenings doing those Camp O activities you love, the nights cozy in your cabin. And yes, you can bring your horse on the overnight!  Register for Horse Camp

Kentucky Equine Excursion

Kentucky Equine Excursion Ondessonk webAges: 13-16
Date: Session 2 Kentucky Equine Excursion (June 11-17)
Cost: $685/$635/$585 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Travel to the horse capital of the world; Lexington, Kentucky, with Camp Ondessonk.  Kentucky Equine Excursion participants will camp for 4 nights at the famous Kentucky Horse Park, where they will tour interactive equine presentations  and experience the world-renowned International Museum of the Horse.  They’ll spend a day touring both Rood & Riddle, a highly specialized state-of-the-art Equine Veterinarian Hospital, and one of Lexington’s famous breeding farms.  We will also visit Keeneland Race Track to watch trainers and jockeys exercise the race horses before we go on a behind the scenes tour.  Other activities include a horse show jumping competition, a special rodeo event and exclusive riding opportunities while at Camp Ondessonk!  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for future horse professionals and all horse lovers!  Campers will still get the opportunity to attend opening and closing campfire, participate in marathon, and ride their favorite horses at the Ondessonk Stables. Register for Kentucky Equine Excursion

Hike, Bike, Paddle, and Climb

Camp Ondessonk Mountain Bike Adventure teen summer campAges: 12-16
2017 Dates:
Session 1 Hike, Bike Paddle, and Climb – June 4- June 10
Session 7 Hike, Bike Paddle, and Climb – July 16- July 22

Cost: $625/$575/$525 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

This program is designed to give teen campers a taste of multiple adventures within one program. This “sampler” offers a bit of each adventure, including Backpacking, Mountain Biking, Rock Camp, and River Adventure. Campers will get to ride a top of the line Specialized Carve Expert provided by the Bike Surgeon and train with Bike Surgeon owners Jon Greenstreet and Chris Norrington.  Register for Hike, Bike, Paddle and Climb

Intermediate Adventures

Intermediate Adventure sessions offer more time away from the main area of Ondessonk, a higher level of challenge, and more advanced instruction. Intermediate Adventure campers spend most nights in the back-country and return to the main area to enjoy end-of-session all-camp activities like Special Activity, Marathon, and Closing Campfire. Prior experience recommended but not required. Great attitude required.

Horse Adventure

Camp Ondessonk Horse AdventureAges: 13-16
2017 Dates:
Session 2 Horse Adventure – June 11- June 17
Session 4 Horse Adventure  – June 25- July 1
Session 7 Horse Adventure – July 16- July 22
Session 9 Horse Adventure  – July 30- August 5
Cost: $685/$635/$585 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)
Horse Adventure Packing List

Since 1991, our long-standing Adventure Camp favorite! Exploring the scenic back country trails of the Shawnee National Forest offers the perfect opportunity to expand horsemanship skills and develop outdoor skills. Campers will receive instruction and supervision from CHA Certified Instructors throughout their trip. Evenings are spent taking care of the horses, setting up the campsite, cooking meals, and relaxing around the campfire.  Register for Horse Adventure

Climbing Adventure

Camp Ondessonk Rock Adventure teen summer campAges: 13-16
2017 Date: Session 6 Climbing Adventure – July 9- July 15
Cost: $615/$565/$515 ($100 non-refundable deposit upon registration; variable payment options available if registering on line.)
Rock Adventure Packing List

Climbing Adventure campers spend their days practicing the knots, equipment, and techniques needed to rock climb outdoors. This program is designed to develop skills and knowledge that allow campers to feel comfortable on progressively more challenging climbs. The beginning of the session is spent climbing at Pakentuck on Camp’s property and culminates at Jackson Falls, an amazing climbing area within the Shawnee National Forest. One day is dedicated to learning to ascend a rope high into the forest canopy with a professional tree climber. Nights are spent camping at nearby back-country sites where participants cook and relax together.  Register for Climbing Adventure

Mountain Biking Adventure

Camp Ondessonk Mountain Biking AdventureAges: 12-16
2017 Date: Session 3 Mountain Biking Adventure  – June 18- June 24
Cost: $625/$575/$525 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Teenage Campers will spend the first several days at camp learning riding techniques, bike repair, and practicing on our extensive trail system. This program will conclude with an off-site ride on some of the best Mountain Biking trails the Shawnee Forest has to offer. Bring your own bike or ride one of ours! Campers will get to ride a top of the line Specialized Carve Expert provided by the Bike Surgeon and train with Bike Surgeon owners Jon Greenstreet and Chris Norrington.  Register for Mountain Biking Adventure

Camper vs. Wild

Ondessonk Outdoor EducationAges: 12-16
2017 Date:
Session 2 Camper vs. Wild  – June 11- June 17
Session 9 Camper vs. Wild – July 30- August 5
Cost: $625/$575/$525 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Participants will develop real-life leadership skills through participation in primitive camping activities. Skill development will include: basic backpacking, outdoor cooking, map and compass navigation, fire building, water purification, and much more!  Register for Camper vs Wild

Advanced Adventures

Experienced Ondessonk Adventure Campers only. An epic opportunity for veteran campers to use the skills they’ve gained in Beginner and Intermediate Adventure sessions.

Paddling Adventure

Camp Ondessonk River Adventure teen summer campAges: 13-16
2017 Date: Session 3 Paddling Adventure  – June 18- June 24 (boys and girls)
Cost: $685/$635/$585 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)
Paddling Adventure Packing List

Teenage Campers will experience a unique off-site canoeing opportunity as they travel to and canoe nearly 50 miles on Missouri’s Eleven-Point River, while stopping each night to camp out under the stars. Teen Campers in this program should have some canoe and or kayak experience; be comfortable in deep water; swim 100 yards and tread water for five minutes.  Register for Paddling Adventure

Smoky Mountain Adventure

Camp Ondessonk Summer Camp Whitewater AdventureAges: 15-18
Date: Session 5 Smoky Mountain Adventure – July 2- July 8 (boys and girls)
Cost: $850/$800/$750 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)
Download the packing list for the Smoky Mountain Adventure

For high school age only, participants will travel to Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina and experience the nation’s best introductory whitewater rivers with professional guides. This trip will also include a full day of Mountain Biking and a Mountaintop Zip-Line Tour. Campers must be able to pass the intermediate swim test.  Register for Smoky Mountain Adventure

Surfing Adventure

Surfing Adventure OndessonkAges:  13-17
Date:  Session 8 Surfing Adventure July 23-29
Cost: $815/$775/$725 ($100 non-refundable deposit if registering by mail; remainder due 4 weeks prior to camp date; variable payment options if registering on line – $100 of which is a non-refundable deposit)

Surfing Adventure Campers will travel to historic Charleston, South Carolina where they will participate in a multi-day surf camp with professional surfing instructors.  In the afternoons there are opportunities for Stand Up Paddleboarding, visiting Ft. Sumter and exploring the Francis Marion National Forest.  This program also includes a half day kayak tour through saltwater marshes with abundant wildlife.  Campers must be strong swimmers comfortable in breaking waves. Register for Surfing Adventure

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