Wally and Sue Heise have been in the campground business for over 29 years, and their children, Bryan Heise and Kim Ames, have learned the ropes along the way and will now be taking over the South Isle Family Campground.
South Isle Family Campground, located two miles south of Isle on Hwy. 47, offers seasonal, monthly, weekly and nightly camping. “We have many amenities here at the campground including train rides, wagon rides, walking trails, a heated swimming pool, shuffleboard, pickleball, basketball, a large playground, paddle boats, frisbee golf, horseshoes, and a planned theme for weekend activities,” said Wally.
Bryan and Kim recently moved up from the cities, Apple Valley and Shakopee, to run the campground. “We enjoy the relationships we have developed through the years with our seasonal campers and our campers that come only once a year, along with the flexibility of working our own hours,” said Kim. “No days are ever the same.”
Bryan, who has a degree from St. Cloud State University in Recreation and Sports Management, has worked at Camp Friendship as a camp counselor for children and adults with disabilities and has also owned a window and door glass replacement company along with a snow plowing and lawn maintenance company. Kim has operated a home daycare for 10 years out of her home.
Kim said their weekends fill up pretty fast, and in the future, they hope to add 75 seasonal sites to the campground, along with upgrading the playground, adding another bath house to the existing pool, and creating more activities to accommodate the guests.
One user of the campground named Jackie stated, “This is our favorite campground. We camp with our children, parents, and grandparents. There are a lot of activities for all ages. It is clean, well cared for, and the owners are so friendly.”
Another camper, Meg from Ramsey, said, “This is the first time we have ever been to this campground; it was an amazing experience. [Everyone was] very friendly and fun, with lots to do for the kids and adults! The kids loved the train rides, clean pool, paddle boats, and the stuffed animal safari. The campground store was fun for the kids to go get a treat. The staff was easy going and super friendly with everything they did. We will be back!”
Last weekend the campground held their annual Labor Day “White Elephant” Auction to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) where campers donated items to the auction or made a cash contribution to MDA. This event has been a tradition since 1994.
“In the years that we have done this project, we have added a pancake breakfast and bake sale, organized entirely by our seasonals at the campground,” said Kim. “We have also added a food booth during the auction.”
Kim said they did great on the auction this year and raised a total of $12,283.50, of which $10,009 will be going to cancer research and $2,274.50 will be going to MDA.
“In the last 29 years, the campers here have raised $133,605.00 for kids with Muscular Dystrophy to send children to MDA Camp,” she added.
For more information on the campground, visit www.southislecampground.com or call (320) 676-8538.