Adventure Camps

Working in small groups with three to four specially-trained staff members, our Adventure Camps allow campers to focus on one set of skills for an entire week. This creates an opportunity for remarkable knowledge and skill growth. Like Traditional campers, Adventure campers are eligible for induction into Lodge, Camp Ondessonk’s service society.



Camper vs. Wild Ages 12-16, Beginner

Participants will develop real-life leadership skills through participation in primitive camping activities. Skill development includes basic backpacking, outdoor cooking, map and compass navigation, fire building, water purification, and much more! Backcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure

Hike, Bike, Paddle, and Climb Ages 12-16, Beginner

This program is designed to give campers a taste of multiple adventures within one program. This “sampler” offers a bit of each adventure, including backpacking, mountain biking, climbing, and paddling. Instruction provided by The Bike Surgeon located in O’Fallon, IL. Frontcountry, On-Camp Adventure

Horse Camp Ages 12-15, Beginner

Horse Camp is designed for campers looking for an equine-specific camp experience. Campers get to enjoy trail rides through our pastures and forested trails, arena lessons improving upon position and riding technique, and will ride to their overnight spot at Durbin’s Barn. All riding levels are welcome from the first ride to experienced riders. Weight limit of 225lbs for rider and horse safety. Frontcountry, On-Camp Adventure

Advanced Horse Camp Ages 13-16, Intermediate

Advanced Horse Camp is designed for the horse camper who is proficient at trotting or has previous Horse Camp sessions under their belt. Advanced Horse campers live in the barn, work closely with one horse for the entire week, and participate in multiple mounted and ground lessons every day. In addition to this, they get to ride their horses to the overnight spot at Durbin’s Barn. Weight Limit of 225lbs for rider and horse safety. Frontcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure

Mountain Biking Adventure Ages 12-16, Intermediate

Campers will initially be on-site, learning riding techniques, bike repair, and practicing on our extensive trail system. This program will conclude with off-site riding on some of the best Mountain Biking trails the region offers. Instruction provided by The Bike Surgeon located in O’Fallon, IL. Frontcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure

Shawnee Backpack & Zip-Line Adventure Ages 13-16, Intermediate

Explore the beautiful Shawnee National Forest on the ground and in the air. Spend two days backpacking the River-To-River Trail, experiencing majestic bluffs, cool creeks, and starry skies as you camp along the trail. In addition to backpacking, we pack in three different zipline experiences throughout Southern Illinois. Weight limit of 225 pounds. Backcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure

Climbing Adventure Ages 13-16, Intermediate

Climbing Adventure campers spend their days practicing and learning the knots, equipment, and techniques needed to rock climb outdoors. The beginning of the session is spent climbing at Pakentuck on Camp’s property, then campers get to travel to premiere rock-climbing destinations close by in Southern Illinois. 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 backcountry sites. Frontcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure

Horse Adventure Ages 13-16, Intermediate

Horse Adventure is designed for campers interested in exploring the scenic backcountry trails of the Shawnee National Forest on horseback. It offers the perfect opportunity to expand and develop horsemanship and outdoor skills. Throughout their adventure, campers will be taking care of the horses, setting up the campsite, cooking meals, relaxing around the campfire, and may have the opportunity to explore creeks and swimming holes. It is required that campers have previous horseback trail experience, including mild to moderately technical trails. Weight Limit of 225lbs for rider and horse safety. Backcountry, On and Off-Camp Adventure

Advanced Mountain Bike Ages 13-17, Advanced

Campers will travel to the Mountain Bike Capital of the World, Bentonville, Arkansas, for a week of advanced mountain biking. The week will focus on improving riding while actively biking the extensive trail progression system of Bentonville, Arkansas. The trails will challenge campers to help experienced riders grow their skills. Campers will also have the chance to learn riding techniques and bike repair. All instruction is provided by The Bike Surgeon located in O’Fallon, IL. Campers of this program are expected to provide their own bike and have previous mountain bike experience. Frontcountry, Off-Camp Adventure

Mammoth Adventure Ages 14-17, Advanced

Campers voyage to Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park and explore America’s largest cave on foot, in canoes, and underground while crawling through the cave’s deepest passages with trained guides. Camp under the stars at the Park’s youth group or backcountry sites, or on the banks of the Green River on an overnight paddle exploration. Nearby adventure outfitters will tour campers through the treetops on their aerial challenge course and ziplines. Must be able to pass Camp’s Intermediate Swim Assessment. Front and Backcountry, Off-Camp Adventure

Surfing Adventure Ages 14-17, Advanced

This 10-day Adventure travels to historic Charleston, South Carolina, where campers participate in a multi-day surf camp with professional surfing instructors. There are opportunities for Stand-Up Paddle-boarding, visiting Ft. Sumter, and exploring the Francis Marion National Forest in the afternoons. This program also includes a half-day kayak tour through saltwater marshes with abundant wildlife. Must be able to pass Camp’s Advanced Swim Assessment. Frontcountry, Off-Camp Adventure

Frontcountry Camping means living in a tent at Camp or an established campground with bathroom facilities and water available.

Backcountry Camping means living in a tent or under a tarp away from a road or vehicle. Backcountry campers must carry all their supplies with them and must find and purify water each day. No bathroom facilities exist. Staff teach campers how to live comfortably without front country amenities.

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