2021 Annual Impact Report

Thank you for reading our Annual Impact Report for 2021!  This year brought glimpses of life reminiscent of 2019 before the pandemic hit. We brought back our summer programs, in a creative and ultra-safe way – full of campy antics and fun. In place of our traditional overnight camps, we held five different Day Camp weekends throughout MN, WI, IL and IA. Campers (and volunteers) were overjoyed to see each other again, and many new friendships were also made. Our graduating campers from 2021 and 2020 gathered for their last hurrah during a three day retreat to reminisce on their time as campers, reconnect, and do the polar plunge one last time.

Our growth continued with the addition of two new programs to provide camaraderie and connection between parents of children with heart disease.  In response to the popularity of our Moms Retreat in Stillwater, MN, we offered a second weekend retreat for heart moms in Lake Geneva, WI.  In addition, we hosted our first annual Dads Day in Excelsior, MN.

We learned through these last few challenging years the impact that Camp Odayin truly makes in the lives our campers.  We learned how much young people NEED connection and camaraderie to support their mental health.  Those of us at Camp Odayin feel beyond grateful to walk alongside our campers in their journey of self-expression as they shape their identities and form relationships.

We can only do our important work with the hundreds of people, businesses and foundations that believe in our mission and love our heart heroes.  We are continually humbled by your huge hearts and giving spirits.  Thank you for your partnership.

Sara Meslow

Executive Director

2021 Camp Programs

Our supportive programs were attended by 667 attendees in 2021. In addition to our traditional camps, whether in-person or virtual, we offered some creative opportunities for connection. Volunteer nurses and campers reunited for an afternoon of winter tubing and Mortimer’s Mates has formed as an alumni camper network. In total, 240 heart heroes and 204 family members benefitted from one or more Camp Odayin experience. We’re so thankful for the 289 volunteers who donated 3,632 hours to make these connections possible!


campers at Virtual Winter Camp & Hearts@Home


parents at Dads Day and two Moms Retreats


campers at Graduate Camp and Day Camps throughout the Midwest


heart heroes tuned into our virtual Ticker Talks


heart heroes and their family members at Virtual Family Camp

  • Winter Camp offers campers in grades 1-12 the chance to reconnect for frigid fun in February.  In 2021, Winter Camp was hosted virtually.
  • Moms Retreat is a time for moms of heart heroes to connect for support, education and empowerment in Stillwater, MN and Lake Geneva, WI.
  • Dads Day is a day of outdoor recreation in Excelsior, MN to build camaraderie and connection between dads of young people with heart disease.
  • Hearts@Home virtual camp is for campers in grades 1-11. All campers receive a mailed “camp in a box” which includes a camp t-shirt and activity supplies.
  • Day Camps were hosted in the summer of 2021 in response to the pandemic campers in grades 1-11.  Campers connected in outdoor settings throughout the Midwest in MN, WI, IL, and IA. Day Camps were an alternative to our traditional summer Residential Camps.
  • Graduate Camp was offered to our heart heroes in grades 11 & 12 who were unable to attend their final year of Residential Camp due to the pandemic.  Campers enjoyed traditional camp activities in a medically supervised environment during a two-day overnight experience in Crosslake, MN.
  • Family Camp is an opportunity for families of a child with heart disease age birth to 12th grade to come together for fun, education, and connection. In 2021, Family Camp was hosted virtually.
  • Ticker Talk is a free, mini-camp experience hosted virtually throughout the school year for online campers in grades 1-12.
  • Mortimer’s Mates is a group for former Odayin campers to join after graduating from high school to enjoy continued connection, alumni events, speakers, and more.

Camp Odayin has provided such great connections for my daughter. Especially given the tough year with COVID. She has met lifelong friends and her confidence has soared. I cannot thank them enough!

Margi, parent of a heart hero

of campers felt supported & encouraged at Day Camp or Graduate Camp

of campers felt more positively about their heart condition after attending Day Camp or Graduate Camp

of participants felt supported by other moms while at the Moms Retreat

of Moms Retreat participants shared they gained resources to support them and their family

Geographic Reach

Campers in 2021 represented 15 US states and Canada

2021 Financials

Total Income – $908,252 

Total Expense – $825,114

Balance Sheet

As of December 31, 2021

Cash – non-interest-bearing405,334
Savings and temporary cash investments227,817
Pledges receivable – current, net40,234
Inventories for sale or use4,648
Prepaid expenses34,136
Land, buildings, and equipment154,502
Accumulated depreciation(150,937)
Fixed assets, net3,565
Pledges receivable – noncurrent, net0
Investments – publicly traded securities1,024,354
Deferred revenue64,250
Accounts payable and accrued expenses18,173
With donor restrictions77,009
Without donor restrictions1,580,656

Financial Overview

2021 operations were once again affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; however, thankfully, hints at normalcy began to emerge.  We are very grateful for the continued financial support which resulted in donation and fundraiser income exceeding our expectations for the year.  We are also thankful that creative programming allowed us to provide needed connections, while keeping our campers safe.  As in 2020, our virtual and modified offerings cost less than our traditional programming and, thus, led to a slightly lower than normal total expense percentage.

Allocation of Program Expenses

  • MN Summer Camps ($208,264) – 35%
  • WI, IL, IA Summer Camps ($121,035) – 21%
  • Family Camp ($46,536) – 8%
  • Winter Camp ($42,951) – 7%
  • Parent Retreats ($88,765) – 15%
  • Ticker Talk ($64,625) – 11%
  • Other ($15,513) – 3%

My son, our first born, has a complex congenital heart defect diagnosis. His first year especially has felt so lonely, overwhelming and difficult. I am so thankful, beyond words, to have found a community of families who understand through Camp Odayin. I know I am not in this journey alone anymore and I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to attend camp every year!!

Angie, parent of a heart hero

Krista & Daxton’s Story

In 2014, my son Daxton was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome [HLHS], a rare and serious heart defect. With this diagnosis came four open heart surgeries, multiple long stays in the hospital, and countless other day to day challenges.  Daxton is a heart warrior and we became a heart family.  As a heart family, we found out about Camp Odayin early on.  We have attended Family Camp and Daxton has attended Virtual and Day Camp.  He is beyond excited about the idea of attending Residential Camp. I’m grateful that my son can have a true camp experience despite living with a complicated medical condition. Moreover, I’m certain all camp attendees feel strong emotional support and belonging through interaction with other campers who live with the same or similar challenges. 

In May, I attended my first ever Moms Retreat in Lake Geneva, WI.  The retreat is designed to be both educational and provide connection for heart moms.  Being a mom of six it is very difficult to dedicate a weekend to myself, but wanted to take a chance knowing how much the other programs have impacted our family.  It was WORTH it.  The educational experiences were well thought out and pertinent to me.  In addition, the recreational experiences provided respite and opportunities to connect.  I have never felt as comfortable with a group of ladies as I did with these, knowing all of them have battled alongside their children and can relate to me and my own experience.  I came home with many new friends, a lot of information to process and apply to my life, and a full “emotional bucket” to continue to work through the daily issues that come with having a kid with a heart defect.

Camp Odayin provides an amazing opportunity for kids and families living with congenital heart defects.  It is particularly impressive that they are able to find ways to support families as a whole with programs such as the Moms Retreat.  Most importantly, because of fundraising efforts money does not need to be a barrier to these incredible experiences.  Thank you for supporting a life-changing organization like Camp Odayin!

With Gratitude,



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


Sara Meslow, Executive Director
Alison Boerner, Assistant Director
Matt Olson, Finance Director
Kris Lukkarila, Director of Operations
Brooke Hohag, Program Director

Board of Directors

Dr. Becky Ameduri – The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital

Maura Flynn Galganski, RN – Herma Heart Institute, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Vicky Hidalgo – U.S. Bank

Tom Hipkins – Fredrikson & Byron

Fred Hoiberg – University of Nebraska (Honorary Board Member)

Dr. Jonathan Johnson – Mayo Clinic

John Mack – Medtronic

Sara Meslow – Camp Odayin

Monique Rochard-Marine – Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (CSI)

Leah Saarela, Treasurer – Medtronic / Parent of a camper

Dr. Andy Schneider – The Children’s Heart Clinic

Erik Schuck, Vice Chair – Dem-Con Companies / Parent of a camper

Michael Stuart – First Midwest Bank / Parent of a camper

Dr. Shweta Stuart – NorthShore University Health System / Parent of a camper

Jeff Weness, Secretary – Savvysherpa, Inc. / Parent of a camper

Tom Williams, Chair – Boston Scientific

Volunteering at Camp Odayin has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have met lifelong friends and had the honor of working with the amazing young people whom this camp serves. Getting to know the Camp Odayin families solidified my desire to spend my career working with and serving these families.

Dr. Jenny, volunteer camp counselor turned volunteer camp doctor

Stay up-to-date with Camp Odayin!

Camp Odayin: For Children with Heart Disease

We provide fun, safe and supportive camp experiences and community building opportunities for young people with heart disease and their families. 

We welcome people of any race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.

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Charities Review Council Meets Standards

Contact Us

Office Address

  • 3503 High Point Drive North
  • Suite 250
  • Oakdale, MN 55128