Teenage Summer Camp Adventures
Is my teenager too old for summer camp? We get asked that question allot by parents, but our answer is always a simple “No.” Camp Ondessonk located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois is the premier destination for Teenage Summer Camp adventures.
We have summer programming specifically designed for teenagers with leadership development as its core principle. Teenagers have the opportunity to directly participate in outdoor education and adventure under a knowledgeable staff with extensive experience in fields related to youth development and outdoor leadership.
Teenage Adventure campers work in small groups with two or three highly trained staff members; adventure campers focus on one set of skills for an entire week. This creates an opportunity for remarkable knowledge and skill growth. Teenage Adventure programs are divided into three levels. ALL OF CAMP ONDESSONK’S ADVENTURE PROGRAMS ARE COED; REGARDLESS OF THE GENDER OF THE CONCURRENT TRADITIONAL SESSION.
Campers live on-camp and spend their day’s building skills, their evenings enjoying traditional Ondessonk activities like the Tuesday Night Game and Lodge Ceremony. Campers gain new experiences in smaller, more intimate groups. These programs participate in an overnight campout on Wednesday night. No prior experience required for these adventures.
Horse Camp Ages: 12-15 years old
During Horse Camp, teenagers will focus on basic horsemanship and riding technique while spending their week at the Ondessonk Stables. Teens will be assigned their very own horse for the week.
Hike, Bike, Paddle, and Climb Ages: 12-16 years old
This program is designed to give teenage 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.
On And Off-Camp Adventures
On and off camp Adventure sessions offer more time away from the main area of Ondessonk, a higher level of challenge, and more in-depth instruction. These campers spend their first night at camp followed by nights at local campgrounds or in the backcountry. These adventures typically return to the main area in time to enjoy Friday all-camp activities like Marathon and Closing Campfire. Prior experience helpful but not required. Great attitude required.
Horse Adventure Ages: 13-16 years old
Horse Adventure teenage campers will spend their week expanding their horsemanship and outdoor skills while exploring the scenic trails of the Shawnee. Skill development will include horse care, setting up a campsite, and outdoor cooking.
Climbing Adventure Ages: 13-16 years old
The Rock Adventure schedule is designed for teenage campers to develop skills and knowledge on progressively challenging climbs, beginning the session with climbs at Pakentuck, and culminating at Jackson Falls.
Mountain Biking Adventure Ages: 12-16 years old
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 bike or ride one of ours!
Camper vs. Wild Ages: 12-16 years old
Teenage campers 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!
Teen Leadership Camp Ages: 13-14 years old
Begin the leadership progression in a unit with other senior campers and experience a week that adds team-building and self-discovery activities to the traditional camp schedule. Along with all your favorite camp activities, experience leadership development through the low ropes course, journaling, and service opportunities. This is a true senior camper experience that sets you apart from other campers while remaining in a single-gender setting. The TLC program is offered during a coed session the boys and girls units will participate in separate programming throughout the day and evening.
Shawnee Backpack & Zip Line Adventure Ages: 12-16 years old
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.
Trip And Travel Adventures
These programs are based away from Camp Ondessonk and are great opportunities for older or veteran campers to use the skills they’ve gained in previous adventure sessions, on their own, or at other camps. Trip and Travel Adventures typically spend very little time on camp before departing to allow for maximum time at their destination. These programs involve longer travel times and the opportunities for learning about new areas of the country!
Kentucky Equine Excursion Ages: 13-16 years old
Travel to the horse capital of the world; Lexington, Kentucky, with Camp Ondessonk. Kentucky Equine Excursion participants will camp for four 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 racehorses 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 the opening and closing campfire, participate in marathon, and ride their favorite horses at the Ondessonk Stables.
Paddling Adventure Ages: 13-16 years old
Paddling Adventure campers will experience a true Ozark river trip as they spend four days paddling Missouri’s beautiful Eleven Point River. The group will receive a day of instruction at Camp before departing. Our lifeguard-certified counselors will lead campers through fun ripples and easy rapids that require navigation but are appropriate for novices. As they go, campers will work on their paddling and outdoor living skills while setting up camp each night under the stars. Campers are required to wear lifejackets at all times in and on the water, but should still be comfortable in moving water and able to complete the intermediate swim assessment upon check-in at camp
Smoky Mountain Adventure Ages: 15-18 years old
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.
Surfing Adventure Ages: 13-17 years old
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, or 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.
Click Here for pricing and session dates.
Click Here to register for Teenage Adventure Programs at Camp Ondessonk.
Click Here for Summer Camp Scholarship Information.