For the next three months, the campus will be bustling with campers and guests from around the world as the University hosts a wide range of academic and athletic-oriented summer camps.
Last summer there were more than 9,000 participants in a wide range of University-sponsored camps, Conference Manager Bob Miller of Wolverine Summer Camps said, adding enrollment this summer is expected to increase as the economy begins to recover.
“It has been a tough time for a lot of folks, and I think summer camps and activities for kids unfortunately becomes a lower priority when parents have to make choices about the discretionary income,” Miller said.
The athletic camps range from soccer to swimming and run from June through August, according to the University’s website.
The website also showcased academic camps that focus on specific disciplines like music, business, art, literature and technology.
“These are kids of all ages searching for knowledge or athletic proficiency,” Miller said. “I believe we give them the opportunity to glimpse inside the University of Michigan experience.”
Pamela Staton, the University’s director of Marketing and Conference Services, said the University’s athletic and academic camps allow prospective students to see what the University has to offer and provides campers with a taste of college life.
“Some campers are so favorably impressed that they aspire to be (University) students or (University) student-athletes,” Staton said. “The exposure to a University and the impact that it has in their aspirations to attend U-M is a huge benefit for our campers.”
However, Miller said it is possible the camps could be affected by financial cuts in the future as a result of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal that entails a 15 percent cut to higher education, potentially impacting the University’s departmental budgets that fund the camps. Even with these prospective cuts, Miller said he still plans to maintain the integrity of the programs.
“All I can do is keep working hard mentoring and motivating my staff to convey the best camper experience we can,” Miller said.
Staton said she has witnessed an increase in camp attendance and diversity in the past few decades, which she said is important in fostering tolerance among youth.
“The more diverse the attendance, the better for campers to … appreciate other culture and languages while having the love of a sport as common ground,” Staton said. “We love the diversity. We attract nationally and internationally.”
According to the website, the cost of attendance for the summer camps varies based on the type of camp and whether a camper commutes from home or stays in the dorms overnight, and many of the camps have scholarship allotments that are made available by the discretion of a camp director.
All University camps have a team of counselors, the majority of which are University students, Miller said. He added that counselors are trained to help campers get the most out of their experience.
“These young adults are so impressive,” he said. “Their energy and concern for the safety and overall experience of the young athletes is amazing.”
Miller added that camp administrators and counselors strive to make the camp experience reflective of the broader University experience.
“Through these programs, summer here becomes an extension of the learning, exploring and discovery experiences that shape our students here during the fall and winter terms,” he said.