General FAQs

Q: What does “Odayin” in the name “Camp Odayin” mean?
A: The beautiful heartland of Minnesota is home to Ojibwa people. Our name derives its name from the Ojibwa word for heart, “odayin”.

Q: What are the eligibility guidelines to attend Camp Odayin?
A: In order to have an application reviewed by our medical team, the child must meet the following requirements:

  • The child’s primary health issue is heart disease
  • The child has knowledge of their heart disease and functions cognitively within 1-2 years of their age
  • The child is seen by a cardiologist on a regular basis
  • The child is either on a cardiac medication or has had a surgical intervention

In addition, campers attending an in-person camp, other than Family Camp, must fulfill these essential functions:

  • The child must be independent in living skills and daily self – care (dress, shower and eat independently and is self- sufficient during their school day)
  • The child participates and effectively interacts in group-based activities
  • The child adjusts successfully to a community living environment
  • The child demonstrates nonaggressive, cooperative behavior

Q: Is Camp Odayin able to accept campers with additional needs unrelated to their hearts?

A: When a child applies who has other diagnoses, illnesses, disabilities (physical or developmental), or diseases, Camp Odayin reviews those files, including their IEP and/or 504 plans, within a few weeks of submission to determine if Camp Odayin is an appropriate fit for the child.

We regret that Camp Odayin does not have the facilities or the staff to care for children with developmental, cognitive, or physical disabilities that require one-on-one support.

Still not sure if you should apply? Check out these questions that serve as examples of abilities and behaviors that typically results in a successful Camp Odayin experience:

Does my child…

  • accept and follow directions?
  • respect others’ personal space?
  • adjust to sleeping in a new setting and communal living?
  • tolerate unexpected changes in schedule?
  • advocate for their own needs?

Q: What if my child cannot or chooses not to participate in some of the camp activities?
A: Our staff understands and respects the difference in each child. We try to make every activity available at many different levels, and hope your child will choose a level of participation in which they are comfortable.

Q: As a family member of a camper, how can I volunteer?
A: Volunteers are the heart of our program. Although we do not allow parents or family members of campers to volunteer as camp staff during the same week of camp their child is attending, we have many opportunities for parents and family members to volunteer throughout the year in our office, at fundraisers, etc.

Please contact us to be included in these volunteer communications.

Q: What is the goal of a Camp Odayin camp experience?
A: At Camp Odayin, we strive for the following goals and outcomes for campers:

  • Increase acceptance of themselves and others
  • Develop and improve friendship skills
  • Become responsibly engaged through being a team player as a part of cabin group
  • Gain a greater sense of independence through being away from home and unplugged

Q: What is Camp Odayin’s non-discrimination policy?
A: Camp Odayin serves all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.

Q: How does Camp Odayin support my camper’s gender identity?
A: Per our non-discrimination policy, Camp Odayin is a safe and accepting place that supports the development of personal identities, free of fear and stigma when promoting self-expression.  Our campers think of Odayin as a home away from home… a place where they are free to be their true selves.  We couldn’t be more proud of this! Within the camper application, we ask: “Is there anything you would like to share about your child’s gender identity?” When a family responds in the affirmative, additional information is sought by Camp Odayin leadership. We work closely with families of campers that are transitioning to another gender or are identifying as another gender to ensure their child’s camp experience is positive.  As with ALL Camp Odayin campers, we maintain a strict level of confidentiality and respect for anyone involved in our programs. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Executive Director, Sara Meslow at 651.351.9185.

American Camp Association – http://www.acacamps.org/topics/transgender
Human Rights Campaign: http://www.hrc.org/explore/topic/transgender-children-youth
Family Acceptance Project: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/
Gender Spectrum: https://www.genderspectrum.org/

Residential Camp FAQs

Q: What kind of medical attention and facilities are available to my child at Residential Camp?
A: Camp Odayin is fully staffed with medical professionals. Two pediatric cardiologists are at camp for all five days, as well as a nurse per every 7-8 children. In addition, our camp counselors have been trained with basic cardiac knowledge. Camp Odayin has a fully equipped cardiac health center, which is staffed around the clock.

Q: How will my child be placed in a cabin?
A: Campers are placed in cabins with other campers of the same gender identity and age range. We also consider your child’s health needs, in order to create a well-balanced cabin group. Camp counselors sleep in cabins with campers.

Q: What is the registration process?
A: Parents in our database will get an email from us with a link to online registration (available March 1st). The registration link will also be posted on our website and Facebook page at that time. Parents fill out their portion of the application and a confirmation email is sent to the parent letting them know their portion is completed. Residential Camp applications are due May 1st. All registrations are reviewed by the Camp Odayin Medical Director, Nursing Director and Executive Director. Parents are notified of camper acceptance in late-May for Minnesota camps and mid-June for Wisconsin camp.

There are three steps to the registration process.  Step one is 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 (info@campodayin.org) a copy of the plan to Camp Odayin.
    • Insurance information (if you have insurance)
    • Payment made via credit card. There is the option to select $0 – Camp Odayin will cover your child’s cost to attend camp if you are unable.

2. 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.

3. Cardiologist approval – Once the nurse at your child’s cardiology clinic completes the medical form, the cardiologist is notified to provide approval.

Q: Is transportation provided to Residential Camp?
A: Your family has three options from which to choose:

  1. Ride the air conditioned coach bus (complete with movies, friends and camp songs) from Bloomington (Minneapolis), MN if attending camp in Crosslake, MN and from Menomonee Falls (Milwaukee), WI or Rosemont (Chicago), IL if attending camp in Elkhorn, WI
  2. Drive your child to camp
  3. Angel Flight – a wonderful nonprofit organization providing flights to children for medical treatment or medically related camps. Families need to demonstrate a financial need to use Angel Flight services. Contact brooke@campodayin.org for additional information regarding Angel Flight.

Q: What financial support is available to families?
A: We cover your child’s cost to attend camp if you are unable. You decide the level of payment you are comfortable with during the registration process.  The remaining funds will be raised by Camp Odayin on your behalf.  If you have questions on the cost of camp, contact the Camp Odayin office at info@campodayin.org.

If it would be beneficial to your family, we offer transportation support by reimbursing up to $300 for your travel costs.  Contact the Camp Odayin office at brooke@campodayin.org for details on the travel cost reimbursement process.

Family Camp FAQs

Q: My camper is not old enough to attend Camp Odayin in the summer; can we still attend Family Camp?
A: YES! Family Camp is open to any family that has a child with heart disease.

Q: What are the housing options at Family Camp?
A: There are a wide variety of options for your family. We offer private housing, shared housing with another family, hotel style living, or more rustic cabins. We do our best to fulfill family requests to make your weekend wonderful.

Q: What financial support is available to families?
A: We are able to offer transportation scholarships for those in need. Up to $300 can be reimbursed for your travel costs. We are also able to cover your child’s cost to attend camp if you are unable. Contact the Camp Odayin office at info@campodayin.org if your family would benefit from financial support.

Winter Camp FAQs

Q: When is Winter Camp?
A: Winter Camp takes place each year over President’s Day weekend in February.

Q: How do I know if my child is eligible to attend Winter Camp?
A: Campers that attended Residential Camp or Day Camp the prior summer can register for Winter Camp

Q: What transportation is provided to and from Winter Camp?
A: Your family has two options from which to choose:

  1. Ride the coach bus (complete with movies, friends and camp songs) from Bloomington, MN or Madison, WI
  2. Drive your child to camp (about 1 hour 15 minutes from Minneapolis / St. Paul to Amery, WI)

Q: What financial support is available to families?
A: If it would be beneficial to your family, we offer transportation support by reimbursing up to $300 for your travel costs.  Contact the Camp Odayin office at brooke@campodayin.org for details on the travel cost reimbursement process.

Please contact us with any other questions.

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