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the reason we make Incredible Camp O Campers.

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Specialty Weekends

Spend a beautiful Spring or Fall weekend at Camp Ondessonk relaxing with loved ones. Enjoy most of our traditional camp activities during Specialty Weekends, and gather round a campfire at night. Take a look at our annual events listed below and find a Specialty weekend that works for your family by visiting our Event Calendar.

For further questions on any of our Specialty Weekends, please contact Alissa Hollmann, our Camping Services Director at or via phone at 618.695.2489 x104.

When we are not hosting a special event, Camp is open for folks to have fun on their own.  See the Things to Do at Camp page and our Open Camping Weekend calendar.

Event Calendar– Current Year Event Information

Camp Ondessonk Facilities Map

Specialty Weekend Welcome

Rules and Regulations

Camp Ondessonk 2017 Specialty Weekends Registration Form– Paper Registration and EVENT Information

Register online ondessonk



Great American Eclipse Weekend August 19-21, 2017

solar ecliipse ondessonkOn August 21, 2017, Camp Ondessonk will be perfectly positioned to observe a total eclipse of the Sun.  For about two and a half minutes, the sun will be completely blocked from view by the shadow of the moon.  That’s two and a half minutes of eerie daytime darkness.  But the total time between when the eclipse begins and ends completely is closer to 3 hours.  The Photospehere of the Sun or the part we normally see will be blocked by the Moon, but the Corona will extend twice the diameter of the Moon in a glow that can only be seen during a total solar eclipse.  This will be quite an experience, and one that typically happens only once in a lifetime.

Camp Ondessonk will be hosting an Eclipse Viewing Event August 19-21.  Everyone is welcome for to join us for this unique experience.  We’ll have typical camp activities like swimming, hiking and trail rides available as well as educational sessions put on by amateur and professional astronomers.  Then on Monday we’ll have the opportunity to be at camp to witness the main event.  The event will begin with dinner and Mass on Saturday night and will conclude Monday afternoon.  This is certainly an event worth missing school for!  We hope to see you all there!

This event is open to all ages and levels.  Register by August 1st, 2017.

What is included?  One weekend price includes unit lodging, camp activities (guided hikes, climbing wall, archery, riflery, pony rides, etc.), meals from Saturday dinner to Monday lunch, and educational sessions provided by professional and amateur astronomers, including nighttime viewing.  Kids three years old and under stay and eat for free.

A Premium Package will offer additional access to our keynote speaker and presenters, including a meet-and-greet reception with food and beverages provided.  Premium package participants will also have a private session with local astronomers and access to nighttime telescope viewing.

When can I arrive?  The eclipse is on Monday, August 21st.  You are welcome to arrive for viewing on that day only, or come down and enjoy one of the last summer weekends at camp.  Those wishing to stay for the weekend may check in beginning at 10AM in the trading post on Saturday or anytime on Sunday.  Late night check-ins can find their unit assignments posted at the trading post and should return to the Trading post for check-in the following morning after breakfast.  Monday arrivals should check-in Monday between 9AM and 11:30AM in the Trading Post.  Lunch will be provided for those arriving for just Monday.

Eclipse Program Information and Registration

**This event is designed for individuals and families.  School groups should contact camp directly about viewing opportunities: 618-695-2489**

Our Annual Specialty Weekends are Described Below:

Maple-Sugarin’ Weekend

Camp Ondessonk Maple Sugarin Weekend Feb 20-22 2015Maple syrup-making is an ancient, time-honored tradition. In the late winter months, maple trees begin their process of releasing a sugary, mineral-rich sap — and Camp’s syrup harvesters become busy tapping these trees for their flavorful rewards. Find out how sweet a learning adventure can be as you learn to tap trees and discover the secrets of the lost art of home maple syrup production.

Current dates and prices can be found on our Events Calendar.


Wildflowers, Waterfalls and Wineries Weekend


There are many impressive waterfalls within a short hike or drive from Camp beyond Pakentuck and Phantom’s Canyon.  Learn where these hidden spots are as we tour around Southern Illinois in the Camp bus, stopping at charming local wineries along the way.  The floor of the Shawnee Forest will be alive with color as spring wildflowers will be near full bloom.  A knowledgeable guide will explain the flowers as we seek falling water.  This is a great weekend for any couple or group of friends looking for a spring getaway.  Guests will stay in a private room in St. Noel Conference Center.

Current dates and prices can be found on our Events Calendar.

Father Son Weekend

Camp Ondessonk Father Son WeekendFathers, Sons, and the Great Outdoors. Camp Ondessonk sets aside one weekend a year for this time-honored tradition as old as America itself. No projects to be done, leaky faucets to repair, or reports to send. Dads are invited to join us for a weekend of tromping through the woods, spending evenings around the campfire, and sharing their love of the outdoors with their sons. Many of our summer camp activities will be open, as well as opportunities to go on a trail ride, climb our 28 foot climbing wall, or test your courage on our high ropes course.

Current dates and prices can be found on our Events Calendar.


Camp Reunions

Friends Weekend 2016 125

All campers, staff, volunteers, or friends of camp that participated or worked at camp at any time during (or around) the featured decade and their families are welcome to attend. Any child under the age 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.  One weekend price includes unit lodging, a T-shirt for each attendee, camp activities (guided hikes, climbing wall, archery, riflery, pony rides, etc.), live entertainment Saturday night, Meals from Friday lunch to Sunday lunch. Kids five years old and under stay and eat for free.  Spend some time with camp friends new and old in your favorite place on earth!

Current dates and prices can be found on our Events Calendar.

Fall Family Camp

Ondessonk 4th of July Family CampCamp is for everyone! Join us for a weekend of family fun and experience a taste of summer camp as the leaves change and the weather turns down-right pleasant. Many of our best traditional camp activities will be available.  Go for a canoe paddle or an afternoon swim, take a horse ride or climb our climbing tower. For a taste of the extreme, give our high ropes course a try. Experience a Camp Ondessonk weekend the whole family can enjoy!

Current dates and prices can be found on our Events Calendar.



 Mother Daughter Weekend

Camp Ondessonk Giving, Donate Now, donation, stewardshipThe connection between a mother and daughter is a powerful thing. While we all get swept up in the currents of life, the bond remains strong just under the surface. Each fall women get together at Camp Ondessonk to celebrate their bond, and strengthen the connections that flourish amidst the fall foliage. Join us for crisp evenings around the campfire, traditional crafts, canoeing, and other Camp activities including leisurely trail rides, and an exhilarating trip down our zip line!

Current dates and prices can be found on our Events Calendar.


 Fall Festival

DSC_0600Camp Ondessonk opens its gates to the Southern Illinois community for a free afternoon fall festival each year to get to know our neighbors and area families who enjoy spending time together in the great outdoors.  Fall in Southern Illinois provides fantastic weather for afternoon outings.   Camp Ondessonk will be providing free pony rides, climbing wall, hay rides, face painting, and hot apple cider around the bonfire.  This event is open to the public and all programming is completely free!

Current date can be found on our Events Calendar.


 Road ScholarIMG_2761

Camp Ondessonk offers hiking, horse and other educational adventures for adults through its partnership with Road Scholar – the new program name for Elderhostel International, the not-for-profit world leader in lifelong learning and educational travel since 1975. Road Scholar programs bring together instructors and participants from diverse backgrounds to foster dynamic interaction, engaging discourse and warm camaraderie. Our Road Scholar programs include hands-on learning experiences that stimulate the senses, energize the body and challenge the mind.

For more specific information about our programs please search “Camp Ondessonk” on the Road Scholar website.



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