My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Camp Odayin, Oakdale, MN, USA
As a pediatric nurse, and ending my full-time career as a school nurse, I would tell families of heart kids about Camp Odayin. But I didn't fully appreciate what a difference it made in these kids lives, and the lives of their families, till I started to volunteer for the camp. The first year I volunteered at the residential camp in Cross Lake, MN for a week with middle school-aged kids. During that week, the kids developed such close friendships, seemed completely relaxed, yet fully engaged. They were just like every other kid who goes to camp, only many had a 'zipper' on their chest- and especially during swim time at the beach, it didn't matter! They fit in...they were just like everyone else! And in middle school especially, that is so important.
The paid staff, the volunteer counselors, volunteer nurses and volunteer cardiologists helped to make their week at camp the safest...and yet the most fun week. One of the highlights of the week is, of course, the Talent Show. I have never laughed so hard! What talent! What fun!
During the past few summers, I have been the Day Camp nurse for the 'littles', those campers who have finished K through 3rd grade. They are dipping their little toes into the world of going to camp, and soon they will be old enough, and confident enough, to attend the residential camp with these same campers whom they have grown to know.
Having worked with families of children with medical needs my entire career, I think one of the key words is 'trust'. When families trust the staff and know that their kids will be safe and taken care of, they are comfortable letting them just be a kid, away from home, sometimes for the very first time.
Camp Odayin changes lives and "makes a difference', and isn't that what it's all about!