Special guests honor Ridgefield’s 50 years with Cispus Outdoor School

In 1969, Allene Wodaege, helped found Cispus with Union Ridge Elementary School principal John Hudson, Sr.

RIDGEFIELD — The 50th anniversary of Cispus was honored with a resolution at the Ridgefield School Board meeting and with the proclamation of Cispus Outdoor School Week at the Ridgefield City Council meeting.  In attendance were some special guests connected with Cispus through the years. 

Allene Wodaege (seated), director of Cispus Outdoor School for 25 years, with former Cispus attendee Sgt. Cathy Doriot and long-time Cispus volunteer, Tevis Laspa. Photo courtesy of Ridgefield Public Schools
Allene Wodaege (seated), director of Cispus Outdoor School for 25 years, with former Cispus attendee Sgt. Cathy Doriot and long-time Cispus volunteer, Tevis Laspa. Photo courtesy of Ridgefield Public Schools

In 1969, Allene Wodaege, helped found Cispus with Union Ridge Elementary School principal John Hudson, Sr.  Wodaege served as director of Ridgefield Cispus Outdoor School for 25 years. She spoke at the City Council meeting on the importance of Cispus in instilling a real love of nature and learning in our students.  Wodaege knew four students whose experiences as counselors inspired them to become teachers—including four who now teach in the Ridgefield School District. 

Wodaege’s daughter, Carla Bonebrake, was in the very first class of fifth graders at Cispus.  She later served as camp counselor, then worked for 13 years on camp staff. Ridgefield Police Sergeant Cathy Doriot was at Cispus camp as a camper in Bonebrake’s cabin.  She still has her wood cookies from camp.

The family of John Hudson, Sr., founder of Ridgefield Cispus Outdoor School, came together with long-time staff and volunteers to honor the 50th anniversary. Photo courtesy of Ridgefield Public Schools
The family of John Hudson, Sr., founder of Ridgefield Cispus Outdoor School, came together with long-time staff and volunteers to honor the 50th anniversary. Photo courtesy of Ridgefield Public Schools

While John Hudson, Sr. has passed away, Hudson’s brother, son, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters all attended the meetings.  One of Hudson’s great-granddaughters will be attending Cispus this year during the 50th anniversary. 

During the meetings, Superintendent Nathan McCann and Mayor Don Stose recognized the impact Cispus has had on the Ridgefield community, with students, counselors, teachers, administrators, volunteers, and others all coming together to build a once-in-a-lifetime event for fifth grade students each year.   Many thanks to all of the Ridgefield citizens who help make Ridgefield Cispus Outdoor School the legacy it is today.

Information provided by Ridgefield Public Schools.

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