COVID-19: Virtual Camp, Moms Retreat, and Fundraiser Changes

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to cancel our 2020 Residential and Day Camp sessions.  The safety and well-being of our campers and staff is our number one priority at Camp Odayin. In order for heart kids to connect this summer, we are offering Hearts@Home virtual camp online in July. Virtual Camp registration closed on June 3rd.

If you registered for Residential or Day Camp and your child is not joining us for virtual camp and you would like your registration fee and/or your additional donation reimbursed, please contact Matt at or 651.351.9185.

In addition, we have made the following fundraiser and program date changes: 

The Moms Retreat (previously scheduled for May 16-17) has been rescheduled for August 29-30.

The Have a Heart Benefit has been cancelled and will be hosted next year on April 10th, 2021.

The Camp Odayin office staff continue to be available during regular office hours. Feel free to contact us at or 651-351-9185 with any questions or to be added to our email list. We are continually monitoring updates and recommendations by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Camp Association (ACA).

Sara, Matt, Kris, Brooke, and Alison

2019 Year in Review

2019 has been another incredible year! Camp Odayin’s life-changing programs served 953 people – a new record! Along the way, many new friends were made and existing bonds deepened. We are grateful to the many generous hearts that surround us at Camp Odayin. Read all about 2019 in the year end edition of The Beat

Journeying Together

The road is often challenging when navigating life with a heart condition. Campers Miranda, Ashlyn, and Eddie were all awaiting heart transplants when their moms Melanie, Angie, and Chris discovered powerful sources of support, for both themselves and their children, in one another. Below, they each provide a bit of insight into their shared journey…

Miranda’s Mom Melanie

We met Chris and Eddie in the summer of 2017. Both Miranda and Ed were inpatient, both waiting for transplant. They had been there for a few months already and I kept thinking how scheduled and organized Chris was. I knew I had to figure out how to make hospital life work because we were in it for the long haul. We started having weekly dinners with a few of the other heart families. The support came just when we needed it. I learned what being a part of the heart family was all about. I learned how to be a heart mom. These moms, they got me, without me saying a word. These families became my family. These kids became my own.

Our stories are all a bit different, but at the core it was about these Warriors. They gave us strength when we didn’t think we had any left.

After another long stint in the hospital in the spring of 2018, our transplant team suggested that we get evaluated at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin so that we could continue our wait under a Pediatric Transplant team when the U of MN lost their surgeon. We had just learned about another teen that was also listed for transplant, but didn’t know anything else. I started following her Facebook page, Ashlyn’s Army. I knew she had gone to Milwaukee and only waited about a month and had been recently transplanted. I sent Angie a message telling her who I was, our situation, and asked how she felt about Milwaukee. In true heart mom fashion, Angie told me everything she could to help me out.

Ashlyn was back home before we went to Milwaukee and I don’t think we actually caught up with each other until August. We met in Milwaukee when we were both there for appointments. Since then we have learned that we only live 20 minutes apart.

The girls are very good friends. They get each other in ways that no one else can. It truly is a special bond.

Ashlyn’s Mom Angie

We first met Chris and Ed a couple of summers ago while Ash was in the hospital and Ed was waiting for his angel heart. For the most part, I’m a ‘keep to myself’ kind of heart mom. I never really reached out to or tried to meet any other heart moms, but when our journey lead us down the transplant road I knew I needed some support from someone who would understand, and Ash needed someone too. We got to know Ed in the playroom in the hospital and followed his journey praying and cheering him along through his transplant journey. Chris was a wonderful cheerleader and support for me while we went through the transplant process.

We had lost our surgeon at our home hospital and that led us to Wisconsin. Shortly after Ash was transplanted Melanie reached out to us. They were in the same boat as we were, and were deciding where to go. Miranda was listed for transplant in Milwaukee and received her heart a couple months after Ash. We met for the first time when we went to Milwaukee for an appointment and Miranda was about a week out from transplant. The girls were fast friends! It was like we had known them forever!

The kids understand each other. They’ve been through hard, scary, life changing experiences that ‘healthy’ kids don’t really understand. They don’t have to feel self-conscious of their scars, or feel weird when they have to stop and take a handful of pills. It’s their normal, and they all understand that. Chris, Mel, and I have been down the same roads, and we understand how amazing the milestones are. We vent when it’s hard and cheer each other on when things are going well. Their friendship has been such a gift these couple years.

Bottom line is, we’ve all been through the same icky crap. It brought us together, and I’m so happy it did! I truly believe God put these families in our path purposefully.

Eddie’s Mom Chris

Eddie’s wait for a heart started in January 2017 as a resident-patient at Masonic Children’s Hospital. After a few months on the 6th floor, some faces were starting to look familiar, but names were elusive. Eventually, Ed and I introduced ourselves to Ashlyn and her mom. We didn’t get a chance to talk often, both kids being on the constant move. In the summer, our paths crossed with Miranda’s family–familiar faces we remembered from Family Camp! Little did we know that both of these families would become so important to us. Ashlyn and Miranda have endured much teasing and joking from Eddie; I don’t think he realizes how lucky he is to have such amazing teenage friends! Even though our kids all came from different parts of the heart world, the fact that they all ended up in the transplant world really brought them together! We moms have been pretty blessed, too, by the friendships we’ve created. We are only ever a text or Facebook message way and have helped each other through highs and lows. The journey we’re on is a wild one, but making friends into family makes it bearable!

Miranda, Ashlyn, and Eddie at Family Camp in 2018

Record Proceeds at Have a Heart

We’re so grateful to all who gathered around the campfire to support Camp Odayin at the Have a Heart Benefit on April 13th!  The inspiring campers, the generous guests and sponsors, the silliness at the Mobile Photo Wall, the rockin’ band… It all made for such a memorable evening and we’re so grateful for every contribution to the incredible event.

The most remarkable aspect of the benefit was the amount raised to send superstar kids like program participants Charlie, Millie, Sophia, and AJ to camp. Net proceeds totaled an unbelievable and record-breaking $122,000!!

Enjoy the Have a Heart Photo Album and video of Charlie rocking with Chris Kroeze!

Thank you for helping to change the lives of Camp Odayin campers!

2018 Year in Review

This has been an incredible year! Camp Odayin’s life-changing programs served 824 people – a record number! In addition, we added a fundraiser in Milwaukee and an incredible Moms Retreat weekend. All along the way, many new friends were made and existing bonds deepened. Read all about it in the 2018 year end edition of The Beat…

2019 Summer Camp Dates

We’re excited to announce the dates for our 2019 Residential and Day Camp programs!

  • July 8-12 (Chippewa: Grades 1-6*) – MN
  • July 15-19 (Flambeau: Grades 6-8*) – MN
  • July 22-26 (Namekagon: Grades 9-11) – MN
  • July 29-August 2 (Nokasippi: Grades 1-11) – WI
  • August 5-9 (Day Camp: K-3rd Grade) – MN

Please contact us to be added to our email list to receive camper registration details in early March.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame… with Odayin!

Camp Odayin is excited and honored to be highlighted at a Minnesota Twins game AND a Madison Mallards game this summer. Mark your calendars and check out the fun details…


Camp Odayin will be receiving the proceeds from tickets sold via the link below, for MedTech Awareness night at Target Field on Thursday, August 16th. The Minnesota Twins will play the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 pm.
Tickets: $15+ each
Purchase Twins MedTech Night Tickets
Purchase deadline: July 26

Twins MedTech Facebook Event


Camp Odayin will be the nonprofit spotlight organization during double header Madison Mallards baseball games on Tuesday, August 7th at Warner Park in Madison, WI. There are games at 4:05 and 7:35, which feature the top 100 players in Northwoods League. Tickets purchased can be used for either one or both of the games.

Please use the following promotional codes when purchasing tickets:
1 seat + Mallards hat =
$10 – Promo: CO HAT
1 seat + 90 minutes all you can eat ballpark food & drink =
$20 (soda) – Promo: CO SODA
$25 (beer) – Promo: CO BEER

To purchase tickets, use the codes above in the promotional section at:

Mallards Facebook Event

Summer Camp Applications

Registration materials are DUE JUNE 1st for Wisconsin Residential Camp and JULY 1st for Day Camp. The deadline for registering to attend Residential Camp in Minnesota was May 1st.

It’s going to be another stellar summer with new and old friends connecting special hearts – camp is good medicine!

New families and parents:

  • Parents often want to know if their child is ready for a camp experience. While there isn’t one “sure fire” way to determine this, the questions in Ditter’s Ready, Set, Go! document can be used to help determine a child’s readiness.
  • Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions page to review our criteria for acceptance and contact us with any questions you may have!
  • The charge for a camp session is $25!  Financial support is available for camp and for transportation.

Summer Camp Dates & Locations:

  • July 9-13, 2018 (Chippewa: Grades 1-6)* Crosslake, MN
  • July 16-20, 2018 (Flambeau: Grades 6-8)* Crosslake, MN
  • July 23-27, 2018 (Namekagon: Grades 9-11) Crosslake, MN
  • July 30-August 3, 2018 (Nokasippi: Grades 1-11) Elkhorn, WI
  • August 6-10, 2018 (Day Camp: Grades K-3) St. Paul, MN

*6th grade is a float grade. If your 6th grader is in elementary school this year, please sign them up to attend Chippewa week. If they are in middle school this year, please sign them up to attend Flambeau week.

Details to read before you start the application process:

There are four steps to the registration process.  Steps one and four are completed by you, steps two and three are completed by your child’s cardiology office.   Here are the steps in detail:

  1. Online registration – You will fill out the online registration form and will need:
  • Your child’s cardiac diagnosis, current medication and allergy information
  • Information about special education services or accommodations at school.  If your child is on an IEP or 504 plan at school, please mail or email ( a copy of the plan to Camp Odayin.
  • Insurance information (if you have insurance)
  • Payment made via credit card
  1. Medical form is filled out by a nurse at your child’s cardiology clinic. Once you complete the online registration, we notify your child’s cardiology clinic.  Your clinic will submit the completed medical form and clinic notes from your child’s last appointment, including test results.
  2. Cardiologist approval – Once the nurse at your child’s cardiology clinic completes the medical form, the cardiologist is notified to provide approval.
  3. General physical exam form – Your child will need to receive a general physical exam from a pediatrician (not their cardiologist).  The Camper Physical Exam Form is completed and returned to Camp Odayin by May 1st for Residential Campers and July 1st for Day Campers.
  • Camper Physical Exam Form:
  • NOTE:  The physical exam is required in order for your child’s application to be considered complete. We encourage you to make the appointment soon.  Please contact your insurance provider if you will need to arrange for an earlier physical.  There will be an option for you to upload the physical document during the registration process, or you may fax or email after your child’s appointment.

When will you hear from us?

  • Accepted Residential campers will hear from us in June with additional camp details.  Day campers will hear from us in July.
  • If your child does not meet our criteria for acceptance we will contact you in May when all forms are reviewed by our medical and leadership teams.


  • Log in via your username and password.  New users – create an account on the right side of the page.  Do not use your camper’s name with your new user account, please use your name.
  • Returning users, please select “account settings” to update your profile information. Click on Dashboard.
  • Click ‘Camp / Program Registration’
  • Select the camp session your child will attend, based on his/her current grade
  • If you have registered in our system previously, select your child’s name. If you are new to our online system, you will be prompted to ‘Add a New Camper’.

We’re looking forward to another awesome summer together.  At Camp Odayin… kids play, worries rest, fun happens!

Please contact Kris Lukkarila, Office Manager with camper application questions:


Thankful Hearts

Our hearts are full of gratitude for all the friends who helped 757 campers experience the power of belonging at Camp Odayin in 2017.

Generosity during Give to the Max Day last Thursday was particularly remarkable. $30,187 was donated, bringing the total along with the match to $60,187!  Thanks for your support of Odayin and of campers like Rachael…

$35,000 Raised at Heart & Sole

We’re so grateful to everyone who participated in, volunteered at or sponsored the 2017 Heart & Sole Run / Walk. September 23rd was a beautiful morning of fitness and fun for the whole family presented by Boston Scientific and emceed by Sven Sundgaard of KARE 11. The groovy fun event included an inflatable bounce house for the kids and a tie dye station for all ages. A remarkable $35,000 was raised at the 2017 run /walk to support Camp Odayin’s programs for children with heart disease.

Heart & Sole Presenting Sponsor
Boston Scientific

Director Level Sponsors

New Horizon Academy

Parents for Heart of Minnesota

Counselor Level Sponsors


Medtronic Foundation

University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

Camper Level Sponsors

Children’s Minnesota

Emily and Carey Otto

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