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Camp Odayin

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Camps, Health, Heart & Circulatory System Diseases & Disorders, Recreation & Sports, Sports

Mission:

Camp Odayin provides fun, safe and supportive camp experiences and community building opportunities for young people with heart disease and their families.

Results: We welcomed our first 53 campers in 2002 and have experienced rapid growth every year since. In 2015 a total of 680 people participated in our camp experiences throughout the year.

Target demographics: Children with heart disease and their families

Programs: In an atmosphere designed to enhance self-esteem and acceptance of themselves and others, Odayin campers have the opportunity to come alive emotionally and physically in ways they never dreamed possible by reaching beyond their medical diagnosis. Camp Odayin's Residential Camp is for children grades 1-11 with heart disease and Day Camp is for children grades K-1. Family Camp is for families with a child of any age with heart disease. Camp Odayin provides educational activities and support for campers and their families. Camp Odayin has developed medical and counseling staff training materials and conducts training sessions prior to camp. Volunteers are educated regarding pediatric cardiac issues and appropriate responses to various situations.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you again for another great summer camp experience! My son got in the car yesterday and said, “Mom, that was by far the best year ever!” As we continued to talk about things that happened that week he said, “I love it because everyone is on level ground. There aren’t clicks. There aren’t the jocks, the nerds....we are all the same. It’s not like that at school.” I know what you do takes a tremendous amount of planning and coordinating but every minute of it paid off! When you cheer for every camper that comes in and identify something specific about them they are really good at...it makes such a huge difference to who they believe they are. What an extraordinary group of people!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our Son has a serious heart defect that makes our lives allot "different" from the normal family..daily medication, monthly (or more) doctor visits, extra precautions, disrupted events, and additional stress is just a little bit of what we deal with out of the love for him. No one "gets this" like other heart families, Camp Odayin is where we can all feel "normal" in the big group, we are not the minority here! We laugh, cry and share and learn from each other and come home with life long friendships that will support us all year long. Our family becomes closer as we learn we are not the only ones "dealing with this" we can de-stress and talk about ways to do make life better/easier. The camp staff always has great activities planned that takes us out of our "comfort zone" and lets us be silly in a way that makes lasting memories. We love Camp Odayin!

Ann Y.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are a family of four; our oldest child has a heart defect. Family Camp Odayin is a time for us as a whole family (not just the kids) to spend time connecting with eachother and connecting with other families who also have a child with a heart defect. We share similar experiences, hopes, and fears. Attending Family Camp Odayin makes us feel less alone and more "normal". The staff are outstanding; the facilities are outstanding; the cost is negligible. Five stars. Highly recommend.

Monica89

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started attending Camp Odayin at age 8 and "graduated" this past summer at age 17. Camp Odayin has always been the high light of the year for her. It gave her something to look forward to when things were tough. She has made some great friends through camp that truly understand what it's like to face the reality of having a chronic heart condition and the limitations that come with it. The staff is absolutely amazing at making these kiddo's feel good about their heart conditions and boosting their self-esteem. We are so thankful to be part of the Camp Odayin family!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our daughter was born with 3 heart defects; Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection, ASD, VSD. She also suffered from frequent respiratory issues and could not handle heat and humidity well. As she began to get older, she wanted to do things other kids did and she longed for a little bit of independence. We heard about a new camp for heart kids. Because there was a cardiologist present 24/7, and nurses, and air conditioning in the cabins, we decided to let her try going to camp. She was 9 years old and part of the very first group at Camp Odayin in 2002.
To say it was a wonderful experience for her is really quite inadequate. She made life-long friends at Odayin. She gained independence and confidence. She didn't feel like she was the only one with a scar who had to be careful about what she did. The highlight of EVERY summer from then on was Camp Odayin. The beautiful thing for us as parents was that we honestly never worried about her safety and health. We knew she was in good hands and that she was having a great time. For kids like our daughter, Camp Odayin is the only option for experiencing camp because no other camp can take care of the health problems and emotional insecurities that accompany heart kids.
Our daughter is now all grown-up. She graduated from college, has an excellent job, and is living on her own. We thought that her days of Camp Odayin were sadly over- but no! She went back as a camp counselor in 2015 and plans to do so again in 2017! Thank you, Camp Odayin for being there for our daughter. She wouldn't be the confident, independent young woman she is today without you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Odayin went out of their way to help get my daughter there! The staff are all incredibly kind and genuine. Since she was little, my daughter has hated being "different" and at Camp Odayin, for the first time, she wasn't different. She was just a kid enjoying camp.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I began attending Camp Odayin at age 10 and went every summer for 7 years. This camp does more than just give kids with heart disease an opportunity to attend summer camp. It is a place where those kids can meet others, share their story, and realize they are not alone in their experiences. It is a place where those kids are able to act silly while growing confident in themselves. A place where scars are the norm and a family is made from the memories. The staff is amazing and the life lessons just as valued. A place where I learned that "all of our hearts are deeper than you can see, you can be happy if you let yourself be!"

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Evan Jasnoch and I am 19 years old. I've been going to Camp Odayin every summer for as long as I can remember. For a place that deals specifically with kids with heart conditions, they do a wonderful job of helping kids accept who they are and allow them to have a true summer camp experience, undeterred by their conditions. I've never felt more safe or unafraid of who I am or what has happened to me, because at Camp Odayin I know that I am not alone, and that my condition makes me special but does not hold me back from living my life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

my daughter has gone to Camp Odayin for her 4th year, this year. It is her favorite place to go in the summer. I asked her the first time she came back from camp, what her favorite part, and she responded "they didn't judge me for my scar." that was the best feeling to me because now she can see other kids with the same kind of condition and see that everyone is the same and it is not stopping her from being her and fulfilling her dreams.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son loves Camp Odayin! It is his favorite week of the year! He comes home every summer to tell us it was the best year ever! We always laugh as we hear that year after year! The staff and volunteers are awesome!

LizMat T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Odayin is the most outstanding youth organization for kids with heart disease/defects. Our son loves going to camp. It is the highlight of his summer. Our family vacations are scheduled around this camp. We are blessed to know and be apart of this fantastic nonprofit. Keep up all the great work! Tauer Family

1 Jim_63

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is a graduate this year with great saddness from Camp Odayin in other words he will be 18 and over the age to go next year. this was his 10th year of camp and each year as camp gets closer he has been remembering and talking about his friends and previous years experiences. Camp Odayin has given him self confidence and taught him he is not alone with a chest scar and previous heart problem. The staff and Counselors have been very profesional while making this a fun experience for the kids. The cost for this great camp has been minimal especialy when you get to see the pictures of all the activites and all the smiles on kids that just may not have had another chance to go to a summer camp

Client Served

Rating: 5

Every year this is one of my son's favorite weeks. The activities, staff and fellow campers are amazing. What a great organization! My son's comment when he arrived home "Mom, that was an awesome week!" and for a teenager to say that....pretty incredible!

1

Client Served

Rating: 1

Disappointed in the Training of the counselors/staff - as they take volunteers-it's very transient. Kids with heart disease are affected emotionally more than just limited activities. All the fun camp stuff is great but these kids have things going on and they admit they aren't prepared to deal with them - though they advertise they give emotional guidance and direction and support.
The volunteer staff don't realize that as its short term good intention for them and they are following the leadership who doesn't want any disagreements. any disruptions just need to just go away until they are done at the end of the week. They could teach in that moment instead their leadership finds someone to take the blame, and any challenge and it comes down harder and harder.

I was asked to take my review down - but I said I wouldn't as I think if unread this I would've realized it wasn't a fit for my son. It might be for some - but he just isn't happy and felt the opposite of accepted seeing how things were run with him and others.

My kid was recently diagnosed 2 years ago and had 2 heart surgeries, where a lot of kids who attend were born with issues, the personal outlooks are different. Levels of limitations through life and understanding and acceptance differ. This camp is very very structured in activity, but not counseling or emotional needs which we believed were going to be the key component we were looking for. My kid hasn't been restricted before and wasn't now, so the activity level was less challenging then other camps so wasn't as impressed as other kids are, and the emotional value we hoped to get wasn't there. My kid felt like an outsider. So I guess when filling out the application and the mention the "right fit" this is what they are talking about and for the right camper it is.
The wrong fit can be harmful.

Monique L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son Kyle has been diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome. Kyle attended Camp Odayin for the first time last summer and had an experience he will never forget. For the first time since he was diagnosed he had the freedom and the confidence to join in and forget about his condition and limitations. Camp Odayin creates a magical safe exciting place for sick kids to blend in and enjoy being a kid.

Krista L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is still too young to be a camper during the day camp & sleep away. He's only four. But we have been a part of Camp Odayin's Family camp for the last three years. It has been a wonderful experience for both him and I. We've met fantastic families and love seeing the Camp Odayin staffers each year.

Chase was the youngest camper to attend Family Camp three years ago. It was a little daunting to hand my child off to someone I just met so I could share in the Parents Time and participate in the Q&A with the Pediatric Cardiologist. Of course I had nothing to worry about. Chase had a blast with Matt and the older kids.

Each year we look forward to Family Camp- I don't know who gets more excited me or him! It is so nice to have a home away from home. My kiddo will grow up with kids like him and I have the support of parents who have gone thru this journey before me. I am forever thankful I found Camp Odayin.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended camp Odayin for 3 years! During my time their I was able to make life-long friends that understand what it is like living with a heart condition. I felt like it was a place where I truly belonged. The staff their were all very friendly and made camp even more enjoyable. I hope to one day be able to give back to Camp Odayin as they have given so much to me! I am a completely different person now than I was before I went to camp. I have so much more confidence!

Josie V.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Two years ago I was convinced by some amazing Moms to allow my Oldest daughter who has Marfan syndrome to attend Camp Odayin. The only place she had slept without me was at my parents house. But she was excited to go and be part of the residential camp experience. I agreed to let her go because I knew this would probably be the only Camp suitable for her needs. She came back home a different girl, with more passion for life than she already had, she came back independent, strong, powerful. Last year my youngest decided to take the risk and experiment residential camp. On their return date she cried because she wished camp was longer, because she didn't want to let go of her cabin sisters and all the wonderful people at Camp. Throughout the whole year we deal with the anxiety at least once or twice a month of her stating she just can't wait until Camp, the wait is too long. This year we have our 11 year old going for her third time and our 10 year old going for her second time and even though other plans might have to be cancelled, family gatherings missed we are all happy to do it just for the smiles and memories that are made at Camp Odayin.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Forget Disney... Camp Odayin is the most magical place on earth! I was a camper for 3 years, only because I didn't find out about it until I was 13. I live in West Virginia, but the trip out to MN was completely worth it. Before Odayin, I had attended other summer camps, but never had an enjoyable experience due to misunderstandings about my heart condition. At Odayin, I was never made fun of for my scars or not being able to "keep up," and best of all, I got to meet other kids just like me! I had never met anyone else with a heart condition that was my age, and having that opportunity was truly life-changing. I am now pursuing a degree in Biology/ Pre-Medicine to prepare for a career in pediatric cardiology. I have the confidence to follow my dreams, and hope to return as a volunteer physician (shout out to Dr. Chip)!

THANK YOU, Camp Odayin!!!!

Jennifer218

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Odayin helped my son forget about his heart for a short time each summer and makes him feel like just one of the kids. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel and my family feels for just a wonderful place.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Odayin not only has a summer residential program, but it's efforts to support kids with heart disease is year 'round. My daughter has learned fantastic leadership skills and has gained immeasurable confidence from all its programming. She loves family camp, winter camp, and the community/ fundraising events. It's a yearlong endeavor for her -- and us! The staff is amazing -- knowledgeable, professional, and caring.