Week of Preparation
By Judy Blase Woodruff
It’s the week before the first campers drive through the iconic Camp Gate for summer camp 2022! What goes into getting Camp Ondessonk ready to welcome these new Family members to the 63rd summer at Camp?
First of all, Camp was busy training summer staff. During this week, approximately 150 members of the summer staff and first-year staff (now called Counselors in Training) enacted an actual week of camp. They learned the camper registration process; held the opening and closing campfires; went to activities and learned the basics in each; attended inspection and saluted our nation’s flag; had meals in the dining hall and learned the hopper system; re-enacted the Tuesday night game and went on a Wednesday overnight; created the Thursday night Lodge ceremony; and learned many, many camp songs and traditions!
The Camp Ondessonk summer staff are ready for campers! But what else has been going on this week before camp starts? One important task is to see to maintenance projects that need to be completed to keep campers safe.
Volunteers and maintenance staff alike work tirelessly the week before camp begins to ensure that nails in the cabins, catwalks, and docks are secure; that unit outhouses are in good shape and stocked; that cabin roofs don’t leak; and that there are fewer potholes in roadways, so that children can experience the best week of their lives. Thanks to Ranger Mike Jennings and his staff, Scott Martin and Kav Kerley for working every day of the year to keep Camp in the best shape possible.
This past week, thanks to volunteers Jim Shively, Ken Haas, Kyle Keserauskis, Cindy Wobbe, and Dan Sanders, the St. Noel deck was repaired and painted. If you have never seen the deck, know that this was a herculean task that took days to complete! Volunteers who help in every area of Camp throughout the summer reside in St. Noel throughout their stay. During their time off in the evenings, they can enjoy sitting on the deck and around the fire pit socializing and singing favorite songs. This improvement was much needed, so thank you to these incredible volunteers.
Two other volunteers who need recognition are Larry Davis and Don Koehler, Camp’s Range Safety Officer. Thanks to them, campers learn proper firearms handling, safety, and shooting. In addition, Larry is busy in other areas at Camp helping to ensure tasks are handled in a timely manner.
Camp’s star gardener, Marsha Bockmann, has been working non-stop with volunteers Jeanne Fritsch Dahlmann and Julia Dahlmann to plant potted flowers and to spruce up flower beds, trim bushes, and make Camp as beautiful as possible for this summer’s guests. Their talents make Camp that much more visually spectacular. Thanks to Jeanne for donating all the plants and potting soil!
There you have just a peek at what goes on to get ready for summer camp. It really is a labor of love, and extends beyond just this single week of preparations. Camp now welcomes our important guests – the Campers of Ondessonk!