Young Adults Volunteer at Spring Lodge Reunion
By Elizabeth Dirnbeck
Camp Ondessonk provides ample opportunities to volunteer and give back to the place that many people call “home.” One important volunteer opportunity at Camp is the annual Spring Lodge Reunion. This volunteer event is a service-focused experience designed to prepare Camp for the upcoming summer. At the most recent Spring Lodge Reunion, Steve Bushong invited a group of young adults to participate in the service event. As a frequent volunteer, Steve understands the importance of encouraging young adults to volunteer and give back to Camp. He explained that young, former staff are our future volunteers and therefore, the future of Camp Ondessonk.
Ethan Fowler and Cooper Barnhill, two former staff members from the 2010s, were excited when Steve reached out about helping at the Spring Lodge Reunion. Ethan explained that with this project, “Bush [Steve Bushong], Cooper, and I wanted to create a new interest in volunteering at Camp for the younger generations of staff. We felt that this idea would spark a renewed interest from individuals who might not have been back to Camp for many years while at the same time it would begin the process of developing a younger talent pool of volunteers that Camp can rely on each year.”
During the 2023 Spring Lodge Reunion, one focus was to create a new pathway from the Scenic Overlook to the Grotto, designed to get campers into and out of the Grotto more efficiently. At the start of the weekend, Ethan described the pathway as, “a rough-cut trail with tree trunks and stones still needing to be removed.” Volunteers worked to remove tree stumps and logs and created tiering for water runoff and steps to bring this vision to life. Although there is still work that needs to be done on the pathway, the hard work of the volunteers made it possible to push forward with this project.
After working on the new pathway and sharing dinner together, the volunteers made a fire at a unit and spent the night reminiscing on their days as staff and laughing together. Cooper said, “It’s something I cannot wait to do again. I am looking forward to Spring Lodge Reunion 2024 and hoping for an even bigger turnout as we get more people hooked with each passing year.”
Cooper described his experience at the Spring Lodge Reunion as amazing and rewarding. He stated, “It’s so important for young adults to find the time to volunteer at Camp. Once you get past a point in your life of being available to work the summers, it is really easy to lose that momentum and make intentional time for Camp. Not only does coming down for a weekend like Spring Lodge help keep that fire alive, but it is also a great chance to see and catch up with familiar faces.”
Click here to learn more about Lodge events.