Welcome to the Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village!
Full of surprises, growth, and new friends, Mini Camp proves itself to be an ultimate camp experience. The Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village caters to a younger age group than traditional camp yet still embraces the full Camp Ondessonk experience. Mini Campers stay for three fun-filled days. The Mini Camp Explorers program offers adventurous 8 and 10 year old children an extended experience for the whole week. Mini campers participate in activities such as archery, pony rides, handicrafts, boating, and more. While in the Shawnee National Forest, campers enjoy preparing and snacking on foil burgers, and learning the unit songs and cheers.
A variety of songs, games, and activities engage campers in lessons of responsibility and leadership while also emphasizing the importance of fun in the forest. Campers enjoy horseback riding as a favorite activity, followed by the occasional opportunity of an open swim session. Campers vocalize their outlook on their camp experiences calling them “awesome” and commenting on the “cool” staff. Hagan P, just nine years old and a Chiwatenhwa camper, describes his camp experience as “out of this world.” He comments “Camp is like a whole different planet; it’s kind of like space.”
The Monsignor Fournie Mini Camp Village is comprised of two units – Aonnetta for the girls and Chiwatenhwa for the boys. Each unit houses up to 32 campers and their staff. The units are constructed to meet the unique educational and safety needs of mini campers. Cabins feature screened-in cabins with porches and offer handicap accessibility.
A generous lead gift from Thomas Cromwell and Jeanne Newton, in memory of Jeanne’s uncle, Msgr. John T. Fournie, made the expansion project possible. The longtime pastor of St. Philip Parish in the Catholic Diocese of Belleville, founded Camp Ondessonk in 1959. Their gift jump-started the first phase of the project. Significant additional support came in the form of design work provided by David Sheppard as well as numerous private donations.
More than 165 volunteers donated 2,200 hours of their time and talent to complete Fournie Village, working alongside Camp Ranger Mike Jennings, and Assistant Rangers Brandon Dalton and Kevin Craig.