Our Winter Camp for children with heart disease is hosted annually over President’s Day weekend at Camp Wapogasset in Amery, WI, one hour and twenty minutes from the Twin Cities. Free round trip transportation is provided from Oakdale, MN (near St. Paul) and Milwaukee, WI.
Campers in grades 1-12 are invited to attend, no need to have attended a Camp Odayin camp previously. This is a great opportunity for first-time campers to meet new friends and experience a weekend of camp.
We enjoy tubing, broomball, arts & crafts, plenty of hot cocoa, and connecting with heart friends! There is always a choice to do indoor activities. Kids are grouped based on age and stay in cozy retreat-style housing with two camp counselors and a cabin nurse. Similar to our Summer Camp, a camp cardiologist is also on-site to supervise activities.
Registered campers receive a packing list and additional details in February. Please contact us at (651) 351-9185 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like support with our online registration.
Click here to see photos from the 2024 session of Winter Camp!
The deadline to register for 2024 Winter Camp has closed. Please contact email@example.com to be added to our heart family mailing list and receive emails regarding camp registration opportunities.
Payment & Financial Support
The cost for a camper to attend camp is $25, or whatever a family chooses to pay. Payment options within registration start at $0 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. If you have questions on the cost of camp, contact the Camp Odayin office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If it would be beneficial to your family, we offer transportation support by reimbursing up to $200 for your travel costs. Contact the Camp Odayin office at email@example.com for details on the travel cost reimbursement process.
Camp Odayin is staffed with medical professionals and camp counselors who supervise campers at all times. A pediatric cardiologist is at camp all weekend long, as well as a nurse per every 7-8 children. Camp counselors sleep in cabins with the campers and they have been trained with basic cardiac knowledge as well as how to deal with homesickness. Each cabin’s nurse oversees the health of their assigned campers and distributes their medications. Camp Odayin has a fully equipped cardiac health center, which is staffed around the clock. Accommodations can easily be made for campers who need medical attention during sleeping hours.
At 2024 Winter Camp, Lead Nurse Jody Warren and Pediatric Intensivist Dr. Gerald Warren will be present to ensure that staff and campers are medically supported.
Details for Campers Attending Winter Camp
If you have questions prior to camp, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651.351.9185. During the Winter Camp weekend, you may contact Brooke on the Camp Odayin cell phone at 651.491.8673.
Transportation & Camper Check-in
Our Winter Camp home is in Amery, WI, an hour and a half from Minneapolis, MN and about 5 hours from Milwaukee, WI. You can drop your child off at camp or choose one of two optional bus rides either from the Odayin Headquarters in Oakdale, MN and from the Greendale Clinic in Milwaukee, WI. Both buses pick up children on Saturday and return Monday afternoon/evening. At each location (drop-off at camp, or at the bus drop-off location), there is an extensive check-in with a camp nurse to review medications.
Parents of Winter Campers receive camper check in and pick up times and specific location details via email. If you have any questions regarding transportation, please contact email@example.com.
What to Bring to Camp
Plan to pack lots of warm clothes for the weekend. We require all campers to wear winter gear when playing outside (snow pants, jacket, boots, gloves and hats) regardless of the temperature / weather conditions. (Check the forecast at www.weather.com and enter zip 54001)
Please clearly label all items including luggage, bedding and clothing, as Camp Odayin is not responsible for lost items. Thank you!
- All medicine in a labeled Ziploc bag with a completed Medication Form
- Water bottle (Camp Odayin will not be providing)
- Warm winter coat
- Snow pants
- Hat, scarf, gloves (maybe bring an extra for a forgetful camper)
- Winter boots and one pair of indoor shoes
- Warm shirts and/or sweaters
- Two pairs of jeans or long pants
- Plenty of socks & undergarments
- PJs & slippers
- Sleeping bag & pillow
- Bath towel
- Helmet for the sledding hill (any bike/hockey helmet). Odayin will be bringing helmets to share if you do not have a helmet to pack.
Optional items to bring: camera, journal, flashlight, decorations for your cabin, travel coffee mug
Themed Packing List
One of our main goals at camp is to provide a FUN experience for our campers. One of the ways we do this is through silly activities, crazy meals, and goofy evening programs. Please try to bring some special items for these events. Check the closet, visit your local thrift store, and hit the garage sales (don’t spend $$$$ – this is camp and things can get dirty…).
- warm pajamas for a meal
- a shirt in one of these colors: red, blue, green, white, mustard, purple, gray, brown, or peach OR dress like your favorite character from the board game Clue
- a used pillowcase (in good condition) for a craft
All campers and staff will be mailed two rapid antigen tests (Abbott BinaxNOW) to self-administer at home prior to camp. These tests are mailed by Camp Odayin and provided to us by the Department of Health.
One test needs to be taken 48 hours before camp (February 15). The second test needs to be taken the morning of camp, prior to arriving at camp (February 17). Both tests must provide a negative result to attend camp. You will not need to submit your results or save your tests. You will confirm your negative results upon arrival at camp check in.
|Take First Test
|Take Second Test
(Before Coming to Camp)
|Winter Camp – February 17-19
COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended but not required for campers or volunteers to attend Winter Camp. If any additional precautions are necessary, we will communicate those prior to camp.
PLEASE do not send your child to Winter Camp if in the upcoming week they have any signs of illness such as fever, cough, runny nose, etc. If family members are currently sick, please consider the possibility that your child may bring this illness to camp. We all want to stay healthy!
Do Not Bring to Camp
Please do not send food, candy, gum, money, video games, DS players, iPods, mp3 players, valuables, water guns, mobile phones, tablets, drones, smart watches, video cameras, skateboards, scooters, or sharp items with your child. Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, pets, and weapons are strictly prohibited at Camp Odayin.
Camp Odayin maintains a strict cell phone and electronics policy for our campers and staff. Campers may not bring cell phones, smart watches, drones, or tablets to camp (or anything that can connect to the internet). At check in, campers and parents verify that phones and electronics are not packed for camp. If so, we will ask the parents to take them home or we’ll take care of them for the week. Any cell phone or electronic brought to camp will be confiscated and a consequence will be enforced. Calling home or texting friends distracts from the camp experience and is not allowed. Please respect this policy.
Fill out the CAMP ODAYIN CURRENT MEDICATION form and bring it to camper check in. Your child’s medications and this form are handed to your child’s nurse at check-in. Their nurse will be responsible for administering medications while your child is at camp.
Please place ALL medication in a large zip lock bag with your child’s name on the outside of the bag. Each medication needs to come to us in its ORIGINAL prescription bottle, clearly labeled with the camper name, medication name, and dosage. NO PILL BOXES WILL BE ALLOWED. If your child takes over the counter medications, vitamins, and/or supplements while at camp, these also need to be in their original bottle and given to the nurse at check in.
If your camper needs to take medication while on the bus – please administer this medication to your child before they get on the bus.
Please put medications requiring refrigeration in a separate bag with “needs refrigeration” and the camper’s name written on the bag.
All medications must be turned in to your child’s nurse. At no time during camp are campers allowed to carry or be responsible for their own medication. Please send enough medicine for 3 full days, plus one extra day – 4 days total.
If your child has a pacemaker or defibrillator and they use a remote transmission unit (i.e. Carelink from MDT, Latitude from BSC or Merlin from Abbott) – please bring this to camper check in and give to your child’s nurse at registration. The device will stay in the nurse’s room and will only transmit information with a medical emergency.
If your child should need medical attention while at camp, they will be evaluated by the lead nurse and cardiologist on site. Depending on the nature of the event, one of three options will occur.
MINOR – A camp nurse will assess, treat and monitor until no further attention is needed. You will not be called. (This may include cuts, scrapes, headaches, etc.)
NON-URGENT – A camp doctor will assess and treat and a nurse will monitor any treatment effects. You will be contacted and your child may be transported off site. (This may include injury related to falls, shortness of breath, excessive fatigue, etc.)
URGENT – If your child should need advanced medical care, paramedics will take your child to Amery Hospital & Clinic or Children’s Hospital in the Twin Cities. The camp doctor will accompany your child. You will be called immediately.
CONTACT US if you have any questions or to be added to our heart family email list to receive future applications and opportunities to gather.
Thinking About Coming to Camp?
Eligibility Guidelines to Attend Camp Odayin
What are the eligibility guidelines to attend Camp Odayin?
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 age appropriate 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 any 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 willingly participates and effectively interacts in group-based activities
- The child adjusts successfully to a community living environment
- The child demonstrates nonaggressive, cooperative behavior
Still not sure if you should apply? Here are some 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?
Is Camp Odayin able to accept campers with additional needs unrelated to their hearts?
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.
Is My Child Ready for an Overnight Camp Experience?
Resources for determining camp readiness:
Parents often want to know if their child is ready for an overnight camp experience. While there isn’t one “sure fire” way to determine this, the questions in these articles can be used to help determine child (and parent) readiness:
- Prepare Your Child…And Yourself for Camp (Kiddos Magazine)
- 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Sending Kids to Sleepaway Camp (today.com)
What are some practical ways to prepare your child emotionally for overnight camp?
- Discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves. Watching the Odayin video on our website will give them a good “feel” for their time with us. Call the camp office if you have questions
- Make sure your child knows that you will not talk by phone while they are at camp. Let them know they can go to their counselor or nurse with ANYTHING they might need, or with any issues they’re having while at camp
- If your child has not spent much time away from home, there is still time to practice! Arrange a sleepover at a friend’s house or with some other family members
- If your child is hesitant about going to camp, don’t bribe them. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object can send the wrong message. The reward should be your child’s newfound confidence and independence!
- Let your child know that you’ll be seeing all the fun they have through the website photos! We will post these each day whenever we can, so check throughout the week for new pictures
- Avoid “escape clauses.” Telling your child that you can pick them up early if they aren’t happy sets them up for failure. If they are feeling nervous, emphasize all the fun times, new activities, and nice people at camp.
Camp Rules & Culture
Can my camper bring their cell phone to camp?
We maintain a strict cell phone and electronics policy for our campers and staff. Campers may not bring cell phones, smart watches, drones, or iPods to camp (or anything that can connect to the internet). At check in, campers and parents verify that phones and electronics are not packed for camp. If so, we will ask the parents to take the phone home with them or we’ll take care of it for the weekend. Any cell phone or electronic brought to camp will be confiscated and a consequence will be enforced. Calling home or texting friends distracts from the camp experience and is not allowed. Please respect this policy. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can parents/guardians stay at camp?
Family members may not stay at camp with their camper. If a family member of a camper is interested in volunteering for camp, we ask that you apply for a session that your camper is not attending.