OT - New Camp Michigania Rule

Submitted by BlueInWisconsin on January 7th, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Are there any other Michigania Campers out there who noticed the new rule stating that "every adult attending (camp) must be an Alumni Association member"? 

The stupidity of this rule has my head spinning and I'm wondering if I'm the only one.  What is the point of forcing my wife, who did not attend U of M, to join the U of M alumni association so that our family can go to camp?  This seems like a petty money grab by the alumni association that only serves to dilute the whole purpose of having an alumni association in the first place.  It actually makes me kind of embarrassed that to be associated with the alumni association...



James Burrill Angell

January 7th, 2014 at 11:57 PM ^

I think you're reading that wrong. I'm a current camper and five year vet. I believe that every bunk needs an alum. No way they could fill camp if both spouses in every group had to be alums. I think this is to combat some large extended family groups that were signing up with only one or two alums in the group. This past year I met a group of about 25 to 30 related campers who were all getting in off the grandmother who was either the only alum or possibly one of two (think a son-in-law may also be an alum. That group took up three whole cabins.


January 8th, 2014 at 9:45 AM ^

By a Michigan Man with his players who are champions of community, majored in real majors and who all shake hands with the entire opposing team immediately following the final second. This of course assumes a sellout crowd in the championship venue with all students arriving prior to any pre game festivities, standing until the end, and executing the wave only according to doctrine only if score dictates. Otherwise even the MNC could be complained about in some corner of MGoBlog.


January 8th, 2014 at 11:47 AM ^

on being able to consider $1400 "cheap."  

I'm not familiar with the camp, so I'm not sure if there are capacity issues that they are trying to control, but this looks very much like a (sort of) sneaky moneygrab.

1989 UM GRAD

January 8th, 2014 at 12:14 PM ^

...is about $30 per year...assuming you live to be 72 or so...so not such a bad deal for a lifetime membership. 

There are large groups who come to Michiganian and just have one alumnus in the group...so this may be an effort to control this issue.

There is a waiting list for every week other than weeks 1 and 11.


January 8th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

I'm not saying it's a bad deal, but asking someone to spend a few hundred or $1400 all of a sudden to attend a camp they had previously attended without that expense is significant.  I don't think it's fair to dismiss it just because it annualizes out to a low cost.

That said, after looking through later posts from people who actually go to the camp, seems like this is an entry barrier to cut down on non-alum campers.  The intent seems fine to me, but as others have pointed out, the solution seems like an overcorrection.

1989 UM GRAD

January 8th, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

Or you could take one of the other suggestions here and pay the additional $10 for one year to add your spouse to the $69 annual fee.

Everyone's anger about this is a typical example of people reacting before having all of the facts.

A $10 additional cost is hardly an egregious money grab.

Plus the alumni association membership has other benefits other than being able to attend Michigania...and they also offer discounts for recent grads.


January 8th, 2014 at 1:11 PM ^

Plus, that extra $10 should be placed in the context of shelling out around $3,000 for a family of four to attend a week at Camp Michigania. Is the OP really going to stop going there because it now costs $3,080 rather than $3,070?


January 8th, 2014 at 12:15 AM ^

That is exactly it.  Both spouses must be members of the Alumni Association and they are happy to take the money from your spouse who has no connection to U of M other than their marriage to you.

What is the point of an alumni association that is actively recruiting (or in this case coercing) members who have no connection other than marriage to the university who's alumni the association purports to serve?  The only explanation I can think of is money.

The utter illogic of the whole thing just pisses me off.  I'm not going to join the alumni association at Unverisity of Miami (NTM) just becasue my wife went there and there is no reason for my wife to join Michigan's alumni association.

I emailed them yesterday and got a really lame response.  Right now I am resisting the urge to send a scathing reply, but I don't want to get myself banned from camp.


January 8th, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

I don't understand why they didn't just limit the number of non-alumni you are allowed to bring? Make it 2 or 3 additional adults. Then put a note along the lines of "if you're party would like to bring more than the allotted amount, keep in mind membership with the alumni association is available even to non-alumni"


January 8th, 2014 at 12:18 AM ^

Here's a direct quote from the Michigania Registration website:

"To enjoy the benefit of Camp Michigania, every adult* attending must be an Alumni Association member.  If you are not an alumni, you may join the Alumni Association as a “Family, friends and fans” member. **Join today!"




February 27th, 2014 at 1:19 PM ^

Ok, here isour family history at U-M.

Great grandparents - Undergrad, medical school and masters degree (2 great grandparents)

Grandparents Undergraduate and law degree

Two great uncles

Parents- 2 law degrees

Uncle undergrad

Son -in law law degree

Children 2 staffers

28 year campers

Is this good enough for you?

Yes we take up 3 cabins. And probably pay over $25,000 for the week.




Bando Calrissian

January 8th, 2014 at 2:48 AM ^

Lifetime camper here. While I don't know the specifics behind this, I read this as an attempt to crack down on the mega-family campers who bring a couple dozen now-adult, non-alum kids and their children and spouses on one or two actual memberships. Every week had a couple families who took over the place in pretty brash fashion using grandpa and grandma's UMAA membership, eating up cabin space for other, younger, smaller families.

While those folks may have been raised going to Camp two or three decades ago, the fact of the matter is it's a perk for people who actually went to Michigan. For a long time, a lot of people have found ways to creatively get their usual crowd in the door regardless of alumni status. Cramming as many people into available beds as possible, splitting up UMAA members to get enough cabins, etc. It seems those days are over. And, honestly, not a day too soon.


January 8th, 2014 at 10:56 AM ^

But there wasn't a single step they could take in between "you need one UMAA member in your massive group" and "every single one of you has to be a member"? Like, maybe an "everybody gets one" rule, where half of the adults have to be members? The solution isn't proportional to the problem you posed. This is a money grab.

Besides, you seem to think there isn't any difference between "people who went to Michigan" and "members of the UMAA."

Bando Calrissian

January 8th, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

Hey, I'm not disagreeing, it's a bit heavy handed. I'm not a huge fan of the current Camp administration for a number of reasons, but it looks like they're trying to fix a longstanding problem here, even if they went a bit too far. I also wouldn't be surprised if the non-alum president of the AAUM, Steve Grafton, had a hand in this. You'd be amazed the extent to which they jerk around local clubs, and this seems roughly in line with that.

And of course there's a difference between AAUM members and people who graduated from Michigan. But Camp eligibility has always had some level of membership attached to it.


January 8th, 2014 at 6:56 AM ^

I've heard of this camp. So what is it all about? Adult camp? Sounds awesome and I can certainly appreciate traditional family vacations but there are tons of great places to visit all over our great state if Michigania does not work out.

James Burrill Angell

January 8th, 2014 at 7:35 AM ^

I'd let and encourage some of the lifers on the Board answer in more detail but:
1) it's a family camp you attend for one week. While there are people there who don't have children with them, it's really meant for families with kids.
2) One of the big attractions is that the kids go off all day with their counselors and do their own activities which allows parents to pursue their own activities.
3) Very very reasonably priced as compared to an all inclusive vacation elsewhere
4) on a beautiful lake
While I agree with your point that there are other great locations Up North, there is simply no experience on earth that matches Michigania. Honest to God, I spend 51 weeks out of the year thinking about the one week a year I get to bring my family up there. It means that much to me.


January 8th, 2014 at 8:21 AM ^

Wow...thanks.  While I've heard of it I had no first hand knowledge of it. It does sound great though - I'm amazed I somehow missed this in the 32 years since I graduated so I guess you could say attention to detail is not my strength.


January 8th, 2014 at 1:09 PM ^

The camp is on something like a mile of lakefront on one of the premire lakes in northern Michigan a short drive from Petoskey and Charlevoix.  I can only imagine what the land is worth today.  Another intersting note is that it's right across the lake from where Earnest Hemmingway used to spend his summers as a child and many of his early short stories are set in the area. 

Johnny Blood

January 8th, 2014 at 9:04 AM ^

I went from the age of 2 - 18.  One of the best memories of my childhood.  Note that there actually are (or at least were) several camps - the one in Michigan, one in upstate NY, and I believe there was even one in Europe though not sure if it is still around.

I have actually been considering taking my family as an alum myself, definitely worth it especially if you have younger kids because they will keep them busy all day long with supervised activities.

Johnny Blood

January 8th, 2014 at 9:11 AM ^

So, here's what an average day looked like at the upstate NY camp (it was in the Adirondacks near Lake George).

Family breakfast

Kids meet at the flagpole and go off to various activities broken out by age groups -- activities included tennis, crafts, waterfront, archery, etc.

Family lunch

Afternoon activities for the kids

Then late afternoon would be porch parties where people would gather at each other's cabins for wine / beer, etc. - sort of like a camping tailgate

Family dinner

Evening activities which often included lectures from UM professors

Also, throughout lots of card playing and competitive events (family olympics) plus it was close to a couple of golf courses and there was world-class tennis instruction.

The upstate NY camp was at a girls camp (it was held only 1 week during the summer after the girls camp had shut down)  and was very nice -- lots of buidings spread around that were generally broken into 3 or 4 individual but adjoining cabins.  Generally each family has their own cabin but some larger families had more than one (and this was actually a very good crackdown they did making sure that each cabin had at least one UM alum).

My info may be a bit dated, but that's pretty much how I remember it.  Really great place, the kids got to run around and do lots of activities with other kids their ages and the adults got free time all day to do whatever they wanted - with tons of amenities and options to choose from.


January 8th, 2014 at 8:44 AM ^

For the record, an annual Alumni Association membership is $69 for an individual and $79 for a joint membership, so it's just a $10 difference. And your spouse does not have to be an alum for you to get a joint membership. The membership fees are also tax deductible, so the actual cost to yourself is even less if you itemize. Some facts to consider when assessing this new policy.


January 8th, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

I agree that $10 is totally worth it, and if the new rule this year was that all adults who are not alums have to pay $10 extra I'd have no problem with it.  Heck they could charge $200 extra if they wanted.  My problem is the total non-sequitur of forcing people with no connection to the university other than marriage to join the association.  It doesn't benefit actual alums, and in fact only dilutes the whole purpose of having an alumni association in the first place.


January 8th, 2014 at 11:10 AM ^

But what about long-time girlfriends? Same-sex partners (though I admittedly don't know UM's policy on allowing unmarried gay couples to register as 'spouses' for these purposes)?

I understand the desire to limit this to Michigan people. But IMHO this is too far.