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the reason we make Incredible Camp O Campers.

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Outdoor Education

Camp Ondessonk: Teaching what matters most

processingCamp Ondessonk believes that our work getting young people outside doesn’t end when our last summer campers head for home. In keeping with our mission and vision statements year-round, Camp Ondessonk hosts a number of school groups and youth groups providing outdoor and experiential education.

Camp Ondessonk, set amidst rolling pastures and hardwood forests, boasts 983 acres of sandstone hills and canyons. Our unique location provides an ideal setting for learning experientially through outdoor education.

Since 1988 Camp Ondessonk has provided an interdisciplinary Outdoor Education program for Catholic and non-Catholic schools from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Kentucky. Each school year we serve over 1,500 students in our rustic facilities situated in the heart of the Shawnee National Forests rolling hills, dramatic sandstone canyons and Oak-Hickory woodlands.

It is advised that weekend groups contact Camp first to inquire about availability and make reservations several months in advance – especially larger groups and for dates during the busier months of April, May, September, and October.  Call (618) 695-2489 or email greg.santen@ondessonk.com

The 2019 SCHOOL GROUP RESERVATION FORM is coming soon…


If you need help filling out the form see the Example Completed School Form.


Download the Program Planning Packet. It will answer many questions about program curriculum, lodging, meals, etc. that teachers and parents may have about Camp.


Participant Waiver 2018

All visitors and participants in programs, regardless of age, are required to sign a waiver.  Parents must sign a waiver for their children.

Camp Ondessonk Facilities Map


Rules and Regulations


To see photos of our unique and rustic cabin units, tent areas, and other great spots to sleep at Camp during the year, click here.


What We Do

Pakentuck Waterfall Camp Ondessonk ExperienceCamp Ondessonk works closely with educators and group leaders to create a dynamic experiential curriculum providing students with hands-on learning. An Ondessonk Outdoor Education experience promotes group building, communication skills, and leadership development as well as creates a sense of stewardship towards the natural world. Our programs focus on the principles of interdependence, in particular one’s relationship to the natural world as well as a relationship with the people around them. A school program at Ondessonk also promotes a student’s personal growth in the areas of self-esteem, trust and teamwork.



Our program offerings include:


Outdoor Education                                           Equestrian Education

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Adventure and Leadership                                                 Evening Activities















What is Outdoor Education?

coming together

  • A process that uses a wide variety of teaching styles and resources to take learning into the out-of-doors. Our teaching methods and techniques are based on a philosophy of experience-based learning through direct contact with the natural world.
  • Multidisciplinary in nature. Our programming options provide curriculum enrichment to many subject areas on the elementary and secondary levels.
  • Active exploration, drawing on the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.
  • A strong focus on group interaction, cooperative learning, and critical thinking/problem solving skills.
  • The development of skills, attitudes, and concepts focusing on the interdependence between human beings and the natural environment.

Meet our Staff

Click here to download the School Group Reservation Form, waiver, maps, and other information.

For more information and questions about reservations, please contact:

Greg Santen

Program Services Director
Email: greg.santen@ondessonk.com
Phone: 618.695.2489 x129

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