Step into the unknown with your peers

What if you could bond with your future classmates on a fun, low-stress adventure before the first day of med school?

Creating Adventurous and Mindful Physicians (CAMP) is a student-led wilderness orientation program offered by M-Home that’s designed especially for incoming medical students. Before Launch, you are invited to join fellow M1s and trained student leaders for either a five-day/four-night or a three-day/two-night backpacking trip and one incredible opportunity to spend time together in a relaxed outdoor setting before transitioning to med school. No previous camping experience needed!

Your CAMP experience will be led by student leaders from all classes and M-Home houses, giving you the opportunity to start forming your support system, a critical component for the next four years.

Through CAMP, you will:

  • Foster bonds with your new peers through team-building and meaning in medicine exercises.
  • Create deep connections with the broader med school community that will sustain you through the hills and valleys of med school.
  • Discover a culture of support around and among students through conversations with senior med students.
  • Build your confidence through mindfulness training, backpacking skill lessons and wilderness medicine instruction.

Upcoming trips:

  • Three-day trip: Wednesday, July 19 - Friday, July 21
  • Five-day trip: Monday, July 17 - Friday, July 21

View CAMP Guide biographies 


“I've never bonded with so many people on such a profound level in this short amount of time, and I attribute that a lot to CAMP’s student leadership and everyone's welcoming and inclusive attitudes. The backpacking was definitely a highlight, but I also loved chilling out at camp with everyone and having great conversations each night.”

Days at CAMP

The typical trip day will look something like this:

Breakfast: The most important meal of the day, prepared camp-style

Hike: 2-4 miles, with trail games and bonding

Lunch: DIY sandwiches: PB&J, turkey and cheese, PB&cheese, turkey&J, trail-spice optional

Hike: 3 miles, get to know one new person per mile

Set up camp: Debrief the day and learn to play euchre (a Michigan-must)

Dinner: Quinoa and veggies

Campfire bonding before going to sleep in our luxury tents/hammocks

Each day, activities will be centered around development of a specific well-being, community-building or teamwork goal.

“I got to open up with my classmates and got to know them so much better than I ever could at a happy hour or social mixer. It was extremely valuable to invest time in the mindfulness exercises prior to starting medical school--I feel much better prepared mentally/emotionally than I was before the trip.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What are this year's dates?

The five-day trip will be from July 17-21 and the three-day trip will be from July 19-21.

Where does CAMP take place?

Hiking groups meet in Ann Arbor and then travel to the trail system specific to their trip designation within Michigan. Five-day trips take place in the Huron-Manistee National Forest, about 3.5 hours from Ann Arbor, and three-day trips take place in Pinckney Recreation Area, about 30 minutes from Ann Arbor. Transportation is provided to and from both sites in a bus.

How much will it cost?

The cost is $10 per participant, which is paid via Venmo. Assistance is available for anyone to whom this fee would represent a financial hardship.

How do I know what to bring?

A formal packing list will be disseminated to all CAMPers before the trips. If you have any questions, you can reach out to your CAMP guides who will be contacting your group prior to the trip.

Do I need to own camping gear?

Whenever possible we encourage students to bring and use their own gear, but plenty of equipment is available to borrow free of cost and there is nothing you need to own in order to participate in CAMP. You will receive a survey to see what gear you need to borrow.

If you are thinking of bringing your own gear, look through the following information to be sure you are bringing what will keep you comfortable throughout the trip.

  • A camping backpack. For the five-day trip, a 45-60L bag is appropriate. For the three-day trip, a 35-50L bag is appropriate. See an example of a bag that would be suitable for this trip in men's and women’s.
  • A sleeping bag that is compressible enough to fit into a bag like the one linked above. See an example here. The weather is generally quite warm for CAMP, so anything with a 40 degree and up rating is suitable.
  • A sleeping pad. Both inflatable or non-inflatable are fine. Non-inflatable pads tend to be cheaper and more durable, but less comfortable.
  • A good pair of hiking shoes. Running shoes or trail shoes can be okay if you know that’s what is most comfortable for you to hike in, but we recommend a pair of shoes designed for hiking specifically. You shouldn’t be walking in or through much or any water, so having boots that are waterproof is optional. See some examples of suitable boots in men’s and women’s. View more information about hiking footwear. Poshmark and other used clothing platforms can be a great resource for used hiking shoes if you know your size!
  • Good hiking socks. These along with your boots are essential for preventing blisters. We recommend wool socks. See examples of suitable hiking socks in men’s and women’s. Two pairs of socks is typically enough for both the three- and five-day trips. Sometimes it can be nice to bring a single extra pair of socks to change into in the evening so that your feet can feel refreshed after a long day.
  • Other items that we recommend bringing: a hat with a brim, sunscreen, sunglasses, bathing suit, a sweater. Optional items that can be helpful but are not required: hiking poles,

Again, you will receive a full packing list, but we wanted to cover some of the more important items here so that you can consider what you have at home and what you may want to borrow from friends or rent from us.

How far will we be hiking?

Mileage for the three-day trips to Pinckney averages 7-8 miles per day, and mileage for the five-day trips to Manistee averages 10-11 miles per day. All campers will have a hiking backpack, in which you’ll carry your own supplies and water, along with some shared supplies for the group, like food. Packs are typically about 25-40 pounds on average.

What does a typical day of CAMP look like?

Participants will sleep in tents with other M1’s who are also participating in CAMP. Wake up is usually around 7:00 or 8:00, but the exact time you will get up depends on what your group decides on and how long you need to hike that day.

  • Breakfast: The most important meal of the day! Breakfast usually consists of oatmeal with peanut butter, granola and other mix-ins.
  • Morning hike: Anywhere from 2-5 miles depending on your trip and route for the day.
  • Lunch: DIY sandwiches consisting of your preferred blend of PB&J, turkey, summer sausage, cheese, and salsa.
  • Afternoon hike: Finish up the day’s hiking! Bonding and conversation are always encouraged and occasionally we will break up our hikes with trail games and icebreakers.
  • Set up camp: This involves setting up tents and sleeping bags and getting things ready for dinner. This is often a great time to explore the area around the campsite or go for a swim as many of our campsites have access to good swimming areas.
  • Dinner: Typical meals include pasta, burrito bowls, and Chili Mac. Roles will be assigned every day so that all campers take turns helping with cooking, washing dishes, and cleaning up.
  • Campfire bonding before bed

Each day, activities will be centered around development of a specific well-being, community-building, or teamwork goal.

What water will I drink?

All the water you will drink will either be from a potable water spigot found at all campsites or will be treated water from a lake/river. Most participants find that if they fill up their water bottles or CamelBak in the morning they have enough water to get through the day of hiking. It is very easy to treat water from rivers along the hike so that it is safe to drink. Your guides will walk you through how to treat water using tablets/drops provided by CAMP, or you can bring your own water filter.

Who will be in my group?

CAMP groups consist of 10-12 incoming students (M0s) and 2-3 medical students who will serve as your guides. Each class at UMMS is represented among our guides!

Your CAMP guides will be there along the way to help teach everyone the basics of backpacking and camping. They are a great resource, so don’t hesitate to ask them any questions!

What does basic hygiene look like on CAMP?

Most, if not all, campsites on CAMP will have outhouses with toilet paper, but there are generally not showers or running water. You’re encouraged to bring a toothbrush and other hygiene products that you’d like to use, but do keep in mind that not all campsites will have access to a garbage and so you may need to pack out hygiene-related waste products. There will not be opportunities to shower on the trip, although many campsites have access to good swimming areas. Although you may be swimming, we do not recommend bringing shampoo or conditioner on the trip because of the extra weight and because it is bad for the water.

Other helpful points:

  • While there will be bathrooms at campsites, it may be possible that you will have to pee in the woods on your trip, for example if you have to go in the middle of a hike when a bathroom is not nearby. For individuals who do not stand when peeing, see the this article about the many ways to pee in the woods.
  • If you wear contact lenses and would like to do so on your trip, make sure to bring lens solution and hand sanitizer so you can change your lenses safely. If you forget/do not have hand sanitizer, your guides will have some.
  • If you are menstruating during the trip, we recommend that you bring the personal care items you normally use at home in addition to a quart or gallon sized plastic bags covered in duct tape (see example in article linked below). Because we must pack out what we bring on a camping trip, you will place used menstrual products in the plastic bag until you are next near a trash can. There will be trashcans at all campsites, but there will not necessarily be a trashcan in the outhouse, so keep that in mind if you are concerned about discretion. See more details here.

Do I need a lot of outdoor experience to participate?

No! CAMP is open to students of all levels of experience. We aim to ensure everyone is as comfortable and appropriately challenged on the trip as possible and will provide any gear and assistance needed for you to participate, regardless of your past outdoor experience.

Is CAMP accessible to students of all abilities?

We want to work to make sure CAMP is welcoming to all. If you have specific concerns and/or needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email.

What if I can’t make those dates?

Unfortunately, we’re limited by our transportation and specific departure dates/times. However, CAMP is a year-round student organization, so you can get involved throughout the year as well, or become a guide for a future trip. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions about your circumstances.

What happens if I get hurt or something goes wrong?

All guides will be carrying first aid supplies to address minor injuries like blisters and sunburns. At both of our sites, a “base camp” will be set up where campers can return for additional help if needed. Both base camps will have access to cars if a camper needs to leave in the event of injury or illness.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Please email us at [email protected]