Everyone at camp knows what you’ve been through. Kids have had the same experience, so that taking medication is no big deal…At school, I think, ‘why me?’ … at camp it was like ‘wow,’ there are so many other kids like me who’ve been through the same thing.
camper, age 11
I learned new stuff from friends at camp … like dancing with girls who were much better at it than me. At first, I was really self-conscious about it, and then I really loved it.
camper, age 12
The Madden Open Hearts Camp is a great experience with friends while having fun.
camper, age 11
The Madden Open Hearts Camp is fun, lots of kids there that have the same [heart] problem as me. I liked the campfires and roasting marshmallows and making s’mores and singing camp songs! I liked going swimming everyday and the food was great!
I’m looking forward to doing the ropes course, and more hiking, and definitely looking forward to camping up in the mountains. I especially am waiting to see old and new camp friends and counselors.
camper, age 13
Camp was very fun last year. I enjoyed the two weeks meeting new friends, having the opportunity to go to theatre events, and having time away.Â
camper, age 13
The Madden Open Hearts Camp is awesome â€¦I like it because the schedule is well planned and every part of it is good. The Rec. Room was one of my favorite parts: games, air hockey, foose-ball, pool. etc. The rest hour was a good time because we could rest up for the next few activities.
camper age 11
Camp was so much fun. It was cool because you didn’t have to explain to anybody about your heart problems, everyone just knew how each other felt without having to talk about it. I also liked playing sports because nobody was pressured about winning, everyone just got to have fun.
camper, age 12
The Madden Open Hearts Camp provided him with a marvelous opportunity for friendships, development of his independence and self-esteem. He had a fantastic time last year; I knew that he was with qualified, caring staff.
Our son had such a wonderful time at the camp it was a great experience for him. He came away from the camp with a greater sense of independence.
Gail & Ed
I sent my daughter to camp because I wanted her to find comfort in knowing that she is not alone with her CHD. This was her first time going to camp, and her first time going away without family. I want everyone to know that this first camp experience is one that she will never forget. She came back from camp more positive about herself. She made friends that she will never forget. The staff was superâ€¦ she thought of all staff as friendsâ€¦ It was hard for her to say goodbye to everyone at the end of the two weeks â€¦ I cannot thank the staff enough for all the kindness they provided for the campers.
As a parent, I appreciated many things about the Madden Open Hearts Camp …
The camp teaches independence. This may be very important with this group of kids because there probably is a tendency to “coddle” them…my son does not know a single kid with a cardiac condition the camp normalizes things.
He came to realize that many of the other kids were not athletic stars too and that it is okayÂ this is a concern in our neck of the woods where every other boy we know (except for his brother) plays hockey.
Food is a big issue with many cardiac kidsâ€¦ What ever the camp did, my son gained 2 lbs in 2 weeks and has maintained it but cannot gain it at home.
He bonded extremely well with the counselorsâ€¦ He also really liked the kidsâ€¦
I really liked the fact that there was a no nonsense attitude at the camp but yet the counselors were so caring as to “pick the raisins out of the oatmeal” or sneak cookies for bedtime snack. This made him feel very cared for.
All of the expectations placed on my son were very realistic and pleasantly challenging.I thank you so much for all that was accomplished last year and could see such a change. He is still counting the days on the calendar to next year’s camp â€¦ still has the spark in his eye whenever he speaks about the camp â€¦
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada
My son went to Madden Open Hearts Camp for the first time when he was 7 years old. I was hesitant to send him at such a young age, but he assured me he wanted to go. When we drove up for the first time, we could just feel the excitement and the caring pouring out from everyone. It was the longest two weeks of my life, wondering if Nicholas was adjusting and having a good time. When we picked our son up, he was glowing, and wanted to stay at camp. The Madden Open Heart Camp is one of best things in his life. He lives a “normal” life, but at camp, all the campers have the same trials and tribulations he does. This makes him feel safe, secure, and happy. The staff is wonderful. Nicholas has had two different counselors since he started, and he loves both of them. The entire staff, from Director to Kitchen staff, is incredible. As you can tell I am a true fan of the Madden Open Heart Campâ€¦ the camp works miracles!
My son absolutely loved camp and he talks of it often. To me it was the most valuable experience he has ever hadâ€¦ he came home a very grown-up boy. Thank you!
Camp was a wonderful growing experience for my daughter. It really boosted her self-esteem.
So much of my son’s life is spent at school where he does not feel successful and historically has had a hard time making and maintaining friendships. He has been away to camp for the past four years. Each and every year we see incredible growth upon his return home â€¦ he has come home more confident â€¦
I love what you did [at camp]â€¦ my son came home more mature and confident than when he left home.
Pam, Milton, Vt.
Camp has done so much for my daughter. She was able to socialize with kids who understood her emotions of being â€œdifferentâ€. She had a sense of belonging at heart camp. Up until the time she went to camp, she hadn’t met kids that got tired easily like herself. The counselors worked rest times into the day’s schedule and taught the kids to recognize when they were getting fatigued. My daughter had never been away from home for more than 2 days before camp. My husband and I both agree that she came home more self-confident because of her experience at camp. She can’t wait to go back!
Jean, Pepperell, MA. Daughter, 10