About Camp Ohiyesa graphic

A great escape without an ‘are-we-there-yet?’

Since 1918, youth, families, schools and retreat groups have turned to Camp Ohiyesa to explore, play and grow. Situated on 300 acres of land overlooking Fish Lake in western Oakland County, Ohiyesa offers a great nearby escape. Our day camp and transportation options attract campers from across Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw counties and our Sunday to Saturday summer resident camps attract youth from around the metro region.

In the Dakota language, Ohiyesa means “always wins” and although our camp has always held that name, the man that it was named after did not. Born originally as Hakada or “pitiful last”, Dr. Charles A. Eastman grew up to be a Sioux leader, physician, author, and founder of many YMCAs. It wasn’t until adolescence, to mark a life passage from boyhood, that he was renamed the more complimentary, Ohiyesa. Early campers of Ohiyesa saw the man himself walk the shore, swim the lake, and teach on and about the 300 acres of land and forest. It is with this same spirit, that Camp Ohiyesa, part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, continues today.

We focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility,serving youth, families and groups. We’re accredited by the American Camp Association, for which we meet over 300 standards for health, safety, and program quality.

Today, Camp Ohiyesa consists of 300 acres with cabins to house 260 campers and counselors.

About Our Staff

Steve Heiny

Steve Heiny
Executive Director

Steve and his family moved to Camp Ohiyesa from Indiana, where he was the executive director of the Flat Rock River YMCA Camp for nine years. Before that, Steve was the assistant director of YMCA Camp Woodstock in Woodstock Valley, CT. In total, Steve has over 20 years of YMCA summer camp experience. Steve graduated from Purdue University in Lafayette, IN. He met his wife at camp and they have four sons. Steve has worked at several YMCAs all over the world, including Russia, Australia, Brazil and the Czech Republic. He has also been able to visit YMCA camps in Liberia, Jerusalem and the Dominican Republic. Steve believes deeply in the mission of the YMCA. When he is not at camp, Steve enjoys hiking and paddling in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his family.

Matt Foran

Matt Foran
Program Director

Matt hails from Metamora, Michigan, where he grew up with six brothers and sisters, a rope swing, a ping pong table, and the great outdoors. The love of the latter pushed him into YMCA camping during his undergraduate spring and summers from 2008 to 2011, and a passion for youth development and literature sent him into teaching. After a brief stay in the classroom, he’s lucky enough to call camp home now. Matt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State and a Master of Arts in Education from that school in Ann Arbor; though he’s only a Spartan at heart. He lives a camp with his wife, Katya, their son, Valor, and their Pomeranian puppy, Dream.

Billy Holmes

Billy Holmes
Resident Manager

Billy keeps everything running here at Camp Ohiyesa. Billy hails from Harrisville, MI, and has been with camp for 11 years. He lives at camp with his wife, Cindy, and their three children, Bailey, Brooke and Will. When Billy is not at camp working, he enjoys time with his family, coaching baseball or attending choir concerts. His favorite place at camp is the Council Ring, where he has watched all of his kids do many skits and sing songs.