What better way to celebrate spring – start planning summer camps! Nothing makes me happier in the cold winter months than to plan our time during the warm summer sun. With two in college, there is only one teen left at home to plan summer adventures. Top of his request list – Camp Odayin.
WHAT IS CAMP ODAYIN?
I really think my accolades from the Camp Odayin 2019 post I wrote sums up Camp Odayin the best. As a parent who has handed off their child as a newborn to a surgical heart team, the stress level was about the same when deciding if signing him up for a four night sleep-away camp (without access to technology!) would be good for them. Turns out it was one of the best decisions we made.
Heart kids (and teens!) from around the country can attend one of the week-long Minnesota camps in June and July (registration until May 1st), as well as the recent addition (way back in 2017) of the Wisconsin camp during the last week of July (registration until May 1st) for their 24th-28th camp week.
During the residential summer camps, nurses and physicians are looking after the heart kids each day. They help with the medications, activities and general well-being of the kids.
There is so much for the kids to do. Swim. Fish. Games. Crafts. Variety Show. Fun. But the best part of this camp is the time away from all the distractions of life – cell phones, social media, television, streaming services – and be able to just embrace the outdoors in a safe, encouraging environment.
So what option do they kids have? There are two locations – Minnesota and Wisconsin. Fun occurs in both locations.
In a nutshell, you drop your kid off at camp on Monday, and you return on Friday to pick your kid up and hear all about the fun that they have had! Thankfully, the camp posts pictures each night, so you can skim through them and see almost first hand what your kid has been up to! It’s great to find them in a groups of kids swimming, horseback riding, fishing, crafts, kayaking…the fun never seems to stop!
For the Wisconsin camp, there is a bus that transports kids from the Chicagoland area – sometimes that makes the drop off day a bit easier! Last year the pickup site was near Rosemont, IL.
The main difference between the two camps are the age ranges:
Wisconsin Camp in Elkhorn, WI is for grades 1st-11th (July 24-28th).
Minnesota Camps in Crosslake, MN have 3 weeks from the end of June till mid-July:
For any of the above camps – registration closes on May 1st! Apply today!
CAMP COSTS and REGISTRATION DEADLINES
$25 bucks. Not kidding. No strings attached.
Per the Camp Odayin website, the cost to attend Residential Camp, Hearts@Home virtual camp, or Winter Camp is $25, or whatever a family chooses to pay. Payment options within the registration start at $0 per person to ensure that cost is not a barrier to joining us. Families who choose to pay more than $25 receive a tax receipt for their additional contribution. Ticker Talk is always free.
Remember – the deadline is MAY 1st. Don’t miss out!
VIRTUAL CAMPS and FAMILY CAMPS
I cannot stress enough how fun and exciting virtual camps made our time during the pandemic a bit more normal. They had the whole family involved at times, and really gave us a break from the world we were living in.
This year Camp Odayin is planning Hearts@Home August 18-19th via zoom. Sometimes camp dates just don’t work, and sometimes going away overnight just isn’t the right move yet. These two days of zoom sessions will give a taste of what Camp Odayin has to offer. Register online – everyone from 1st-11th grade is welcome to attend!
Then there are the one hour “Ticker Talks” that they schedule throughout the year . As their website states best: “Ticker Talk is a free, online Camp Odayin meet up for heart kids in grades 1-12. Our hour together is a mini camp experience, full of campy-fun and interactive trivia, games, speakers and more. Prize giveaways for each event include gift cards, games, and Odayin goodies. There’s no cost to participate, but registration is required in order to receive access information to join the party on Zoom.”
There is one more Ticker Talk set for May 18th – what a great way to introduce your heart kid to Camp Odayin in the comfort of your home!
Once summer turns to fall, Camp Odayin pivots to Fall Family Camp fun! The Minnesota Family camp is scheduled for October 20-22nd, and Camper registration is available online in late August and closes October 1st.
Wisconsin Family camp is November 3-5th, hosted in Salem, Wisconsin. As with the Minnesota Family camp, registration will open in late August and close October 1st.
For both camps parents, siblings and heart kids are welcome to attend!
PARENT RETREATS: MOMS RETREAT and DADS DAY
Camp Odayin doesn’t forget about the parents! There’s a Dad’s Day for all their heart dads and a Moms Retreat in both Minnesota and Wisconsin! All parents with a heart child in 12th grade or younger is eligible to attend these events.
The next Mom’s Retreat in Wisconsin is slated for May 6th and 7th, 2023. Registration is due on April 20th! There is also one held in Mom’s Retreat in Minnesota each year (2023 registration is already closed) but plan on another exciting weekend in 2024!
Dad’s Day is a one-day event at Lake Minnetonka, set up for August 5, 2023 in Excelsior, Minnesota. Stay tuned to their website for registration information!
These events are a great way to meet some of the parents of campers as well as doing exactly what our heart kids are doing – making connections with people who have a pretty good idea of what we’ve been through. Did I mention the costs are the same as the heart kid camps? Honestly, Camp Odayin wants to support heart kids and their families as they navigate this heart world.
SUPPORT HEART KIDS – SPREAD THE WORD
Don’t have a heart kid? Your own heart teens age out of this amazing opportunity? Help current (and future) heart kiddos out there experience a week of camp by spreading the word. Tell others so if they know someone who could benefit that they learn about this camp. Tell others who may be able to support Camp Odayin financially with our local fundraisers, silent raffles and other events throughout the year.
Remember, everyone that helps spread the word helps support Camp Odayin’s mission and continues to support to the heart community.