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

The 50th anniversary of Cispus Outdoor School 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 special guests connected with Cispus throughout the years. 

In 1969, Allene Wodage helped found Cispus with Union Ridge Elementary School principal John Hudson Sr. For 25 years after its inception, Wodaege served as director of Cispus Outdoor School. At a city council meeting late last month, Wodeage spoke on the importance of Cispus and its ability to instill a real love and nature into students. Wodeage talked about four past camp counselors whose experiences at Cispus inspired them to become teachers.

Wodaege’s daughter, Carla Bonebrake, was in the very first class of Ridgefield fifth-graders at Cispus. She later served as a camp counselor and worked on the Cispus staff for 13 years. Ridgefield Police Sgt. Cathy Doriot experienced Cispus for the first time with Bonebrake and still has her wood cookies (a sort of ID tag) from camp. 

While John Hudson Sr. has died, his brother, son, granddaughters and great-granddaughters attended the 50th anniversary meetings. During the meetings, Superintendent Nathan McCann and Mayor Don Stose recognized the impact the outdoor school has had on the Ridgefield community, students, counselors, teachers and more.

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