What do you do when you have 11 grandchildren all wanting to go to Camp? You become Super Volunteers, of course!

What do you do when you have 11 grandchildren all wanting to go to Camp? You become Super Volunteers, of course!

Greg and Louise Haselhorst

By Pati Egan

There was a special couple from St. Mary’s Parish in Trenton, Ill., who were Camp “regulars” from 1975 until 1991. They were two volunteers who were very dedicated to the mission of Camp. These two awesome people were Greg and Louise Haselhorst. In the early days of Summer volunteering, the camper fee for one child would be waived. It could be your child, a grandchild, a relative, or just given to a deserving child. They were both honored as Volunteers of the Year around 1989. Sadly, Greg passed in 1991, and Louise passed in 2005.

Greg and Louise Haselhorst 1

Greg and Louise had 11 grandchildren, and they were determined that all would spend a week at Camp. Dana (Gall) Weh recalls that she “was the only granddaughter who lived in this area. The other granddaughter lived out of state.” Usually, Greg and Louise would volunteer during Boys Camp – Camp had two distinct seasons – six weeks of Boys Season and six weeks of Girls Season. Dana recalls that one perk of going to Camp with her grandparents was that she would always be first to register for Camp and always got her favorite unit. Camp did not have pre-registration. Sundays would have cars lining the entire road waiting for the gates to open. Volunteers got special signs to put in the car windshield. This allowed them to skip the line and get in first.

Greg and Louise Haselhorst with grandchildren.
Keeping it all in the family. Greg, Louise, Dana, two of her cousins and her youngest brother all went to Camp thanks to Grandma and Grandpa.

Volunteers stayed in the Cook’s Cottage. This building has been renovated and added on more than once. Only four to six volunteers could stay there per week.

Greg and Louise Haselhorst and the Cook's Cottage at Camp Ondessonk.
The Cook’s Cottage

Greg worked in Maintenance (back then called “Ordnance”). I can still see the look on his face as he would watch me assemble sailboats. The sailboats came in a big box with hundreds of pieces. I think Greg enjoyed my company in Central – I know I enjoyed his comments on my ability to pick the right screwdriver to use.

Greg Haselhorst

Louise was part of the kitchen crew. Since “back in the day” everything was made from scratch, the volunteers made the salads and helped any way they were able. One big duty was helping out with homemade donuts. Dana remembers that when she was a camper, she would always be the hopper and make sure Grandma gave her the donuts for her table. Louise would always sneak in a few extra for Dana’s table. Louise even participated in kitchen skits! Louise was always a welcome addition to the kitchen crew.

Greg and Louise Haselhorst

In the early days of Camp, the camper Lodge Members nominated three adult volunteers for the highest volunteer honor – the Merit of St. Rene Goupil Award. One person from each of the Lodges received this award. These are the very treasured green sashes than can only be earned by volunteers. The Lodge of Tekakwitha gave one to a female volunteer and the Lodge of Ondessonk gave one to a male volunteer. Louise received her award sometime in the 1970s. At some point in the late 1970s or early 1980s, the Award was discontinued. A likely reason was that it was usually given out at the Appreciation Dinner. These dinners were discontinued during that time frame.

No one realized that Greg never received this award despite his many years of dedicated service. Dana mentioned this to Camp Assistant Director Dan Hechenberger. Greg finally received the coveted Green Sash years later.

Greg and Louise’s love of Camp lives on through Dana and the other grandchildren that were able to attend Camp due to their generosity. Camp has always had such a dedicated core group of volunteers. Camp has been truly blessed by past volunteers like Greg and Louise and all of the future volunteers still yet to come.

Click here to learn more about volunteering at Camp Ondessonk.


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