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Be the puff in our marshmallow, the volume in our cheers,
the reason we make Incredible Camp O Campers.

Support Camp Ondessonk with a gift to our Annual Appeal!

Donate Online Here

 

Silver Adventurers

Silver Adventurers-Join a small group of older adults and Camp Ondessonk staff as we journey into the forest for a week of mini-adventures in the Shawnee National Forest. Through the Silver Recreation Adventurers program, adventures will spend three program days learning a variety of different recreational activities, and how to continue them at home. During a week of Silver Recreation Adventurers, participants will spend their days hiking, canoeing/ kayaking, and learning about horseback riding. For those participants who have a bike, we encourage them to bring it down, and they will spend an afternoon riding down the Tunnel Hill Trail. For those adults looking to learn more about wineries, there will be time set aside for optional self-exploration of the nearby Shawnee Wine Trail. The program cost includes hands-on instruction from Camp Ondessonk Specialists, as well as lodging in the St. Noel Retreat Center and meals from Monday Dinner to Friday Breakfast.  

If the Silver Recreation Adventurer Program sounds interesting to you, we have two dates available for you to sign up; and we encourage you to do so soon before our limited space fills up. Our two dates and registration information are:

For questions please contact Nolan Hurst at Nolan.hurst@ondessonk.com or 618-695-2489 x 116.

Payment Cost (includes meals, St. Noel lodging, & program): $640

 

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Our programs include hands-on learning experiences that stimulate the senses, energize the body and challenge the mind.

Experience breathtaking views of the geological formations that make Southern Illinois such a hidden gem by canoe, foot, and horseback.  Explore natural wonders, historic landmarks, and the highest free-falling waterfall in Illinois.  Learn all about the history of the area, the geological features, and the local flora and fauna from experts in the field.  Enjoy delicious meals and great company in our nostalgic camp setting.

 

HIKING IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS:

This is an extraordinary outdoor adventure in the hidden gem that is Southern Illinois.  Silver Adventurers will explore IMG_0698deep canyons, waterfalls, rock-bottom creeks, and cypress swamps making visitors feel they are in the Ozarks, Smokies, or the Deep South’s bayous without ever leaving the Midwest. Professional guides and naturalists interpret the area’s natural and cultural history where north, south, east, and west overlap creating one of the most biologically diverse regions on the continent. Hike through oak-hickory hardwood forests, sandstone canyons, and the northernmost cypress swamp in America. Camp Ondessonk is a 983-acre site adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest, home to the highest waterfall in Illinois, and in close proximity to some of the most scenic areas of the Midwest. Some highlights of the progressively more difficult hikes include sweeping views from atop a retired Forest Service fire lookout tower, the Heron Pond floating boardwalk through a cypress swamp, beautiful state parks and natural areas, and the culminating five-mile section of the River-to-River trail through the Garden of the Gods National Wilderness.

 

 

HIKE, BIKE, PADDLE, AND RIDE: A SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST ADVENTURE:

 

IMG_2905The hidden gem of Southern Illinois is a close-kept secret of outdoor enthusiasts and where Silver Adventurers will explore deep canyons, waterfalls, rock-bottom creeks, and cypress swamps. Most visitors feel they are in the Ozarks, Smokies, or the Deep South’s bayous but without ever leaving the Midwest. Hike, bike, paddle, and ride through oak-hickory hardwood forests, open pastures, sandstone canyons, and the northernmost cypress swamp in America. Professional guides and naturalists interpret the area’s natural and cultural history where north, south, east, and west overlap creating one of the most biologically diverse regions on the continent. Camp Ondessonk is in close proximity to some of the most scenic areas of the Midwest. Some highlights include hiking through Ondessonk’s 983-acre site adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest to see the state’s tallest waterfall, paddling through an ancient cypress swamp, bicycling down an old railroad grade through scenic, rolling countryside, and riding one of Ondessonk’s 70 horses through picturesque pastures.

 

HORSEBACK ADVENTURES IN  THE SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST:

Road Scholars Camp Ondessonk HorseGrab the reins for an adventure that will have you feeding, grooming, saddling, and riding a horse – all with the help of knowledgeable and experienced riding instructors who are certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association.  We offer two levels of horseback adventures; an introductory program for those with little to no previous horse experience, as well as an intermediate level program for those with some riding experience, but who want to gain new skills and knowledge about horses and trail riding.  Observe horse behaviors and personalities, learn about equine health issues, and be able to distinguish the characteristics of various breeds. Participants will undergo a sequence of lessons from the proper feeding, grooming, and saddling techniques, to instructional riding sessions in our outdoor riding arena, followed by trail rides of increasing length and difficulty throughout the week. Each Silver Adventurers will be given their own horse to learn to take care of and ride all week and assist in feeding our 70-horse herd every morning. Participants will gain a new appreciation for the bond between humans and animals as they connect with their horse, as well as the great outdoors, on this extraordinary adventure. Camp Ondessonk’s equestrian trails pass through beautiful pastures and out into the Shawnee National Forest past sandstone bluffs, rock-bottom creeks, waterfalls, and oak-hickory forests.

 

             

                    

                   

 

 

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