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Summer Youth Camp Serves Children From All Around The World

Camp Ondessonk a residential youth summer camp located in Ozark Illinois serves children and teenagers from all around the world.  With traditional programming including hiking, archery, back-packing, swimming, rock-climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding legacy campers continue to come back year after year.

Within the United States Ondessonk has a strong base of camp families who have been sending their children for generations.  The largest contingency of kids comes from Illinois, Missouri, IndianaTennessee, and Kentucky, but Camp Ondessonk continues to flourish with International campers.

In the summer of 2012 Camp Ondessonk hosted 18 Japanese students from Notre Dame Elementary School in Kyoto Japan from Tuesday July 27 through Friday July 30. The new campers were joined by their school’s principal and two teachers.

Camp Ondessonk Japanese Campers

Camp Ondessonk Notre Dame Japanese Students

The Japanese students experienced camp programming first hand starting with horseback riding, which was the first time for many of the new campers. The children learned basic horsemanship and riding skills, and enjoyed long rides through camp’s pristine pasture lands and oak-hickory forested trails.  Camp Ondessonk’s equestrian program, one of the largest in the Midwest, is currently home to 72 horses.  

The new campers also played the United States National Anthem on their recorders during the evening flag lowering ceremony and were the guests of honor at the camp cookout.  When we asked Yukari Shimizu, a Teacher from Notre Dame Elementary, about her visit to Camp Ondessonk she remarked, “In my opinion, the students have a very good experience by going to camp.  Camping in Japan is tents and barbecue   But here, through activities they learn how to collaborate with each other.  Plus, getting to meet the American students is a great experience for them.  At school, our students get one English class a week for simple conversation.  We want more English experience but can’t because of everything else to learn.”

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