Advanced Summer Program for students age 11-14
who show high promise and love mathematics

Getting There, Getting Home, 2019

Arrival day is Sunday June 30, with a specific window of hours for arrival. Departure day is Sunday July 28, again with a window.

Arrivals and departures on other days are almost never permitted. Arrivals and departures on the specified day but outside the window are sometimes permitted, but only by special permission. This permission is never automatic, even for foreign students. Permission is never considered except for problems caused by difficulties in arranging travel. Anyone reading this page to plan travel for an admitted student has already signed the registration form, which contractually commits you to send your MathPather to attend for the full 4 weeks, no exceptions. If you must request an exception due to difficulty arranging travel, go immediately to the section Exceptions below.

For MathPath 2019 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale MI (near Grand Rapids), there are 2 recommended ways to travel: car, and plane. Whatever way you come and go, please take into account that the first meal at MathPath will be the midday meal on Sunday, June 30, and the last meal at MathPath will be breakfast on Sunday, July 28, and it will probably be a box breakfast for all (as many will eat it on the bus to the airport).

In planning arrivals and departures, please note that the Grand Rapids area is in the Eastern Time Zone, specifically Eastern Daylight Time during the summer.

Travel by Car

People coming by car on June 30 should arrive between 9am and 5pm. We recommend arrival before 11 am, in time to unpack before lunch, or after you have had lunch and before 4pm, in time to unpack before dinner and meet the many members of your counselor group who will have arrived by then. If you come to lunch on campus after checking in, MathPath students will eat for free with their mealcard, and the rest of your party can pay cash. Arrival before dinner is important for social and administrative reasons.

Our residence hall will be (Kenneth W) Robinson Hall or some other traditional dorm in the same cluster. Robinson is Building 8 section E3 of the campus map. For dropping off luggage it will be possible to park in a nearby lot if not in front of the dorm. We will supply more information before arrival day.

For driving directions to campus, click here. And here is an interactive campus map. Caution: on this map up is East, not North!

People departing by car on July 28 may do so any time between 8am and 11am. Since breakfast will be the last meal on the contract, we recommend an early departure. There is another reason for early departures as well; see below.

Travel by Plane

The camp airport is Gerald R Ford International in Grand Rapids (flight code GRR), about 30 minutes drive from campus. We will meet flying campers at the airport and shuttle them to campus. Note: campers who fly in with a parent and rent a car or take public transportation to campus we consider to arrive by car and are not met at the airport. Similarly, at the end of camp, you are departing by car if you take a rented car or public transportation from campus, even if you go to the airport, where you are then on your own to check in.

For those arriving by plane, only book flights that arrive at GRR on June 30 between 9am and 4pm. The 4pm cutoff will allow everyone to get to camp in time for dinner. (Note: Do not book fights to Detroit or Chicago, except perhaps as intermediate stops. They are both about 4 hours away and we are not doing pickups there.)

Departures on Sunday July 28: For those departing by plane, please schedule departures no later than 1pm and preferably the earliest available flight in the morning. Currently the earliest flight on Sundays from GRR leaves at 5:27 am, for Philadelphia.

Why so early? Turns out kids have a thing about the last night of our program. They want to stay up all night, playing games and spending time with their friends from whom they will shortly have to separate. The MathPath staff does not encourage this behavior, but we allow it as harmless, and counselors supervise it. Students are given the option to go to bed in their own rooms or stay up in specified supervised areas. Most kids stay up. The best we can do is make the night shorter by leaving for the airport early. The first bus to the airport may well leave before 4am. If your children are going to the airport early they should fly out early rather than wait around. You'll get to see them sooner too. Depending on how much sleep they get on their flight, they may still zonk out when they get home, but by dinnertime they will probably be coherent again – and happy.

So unless you are certain that your child really needs sleep, knows it, and wouldn't think of staying up all night, book him or her on the very first flight out of GRR to your home airport.

It is always best to book nonstop flights if you can. Indeed, airlines impose restrictions on youngsters flying with plane changes. There are nonstops between GRR and many American cities, though currently none on the west coast. We checked schedules and are satisfied that with careful planning it is possible for all admitted students to get to GRR on reasonable flights. See the discussion and links below about Unaccompanied Minors.

Unless it is already late in the spring, we recommend that you not buy tickets right away but put a watch on prices for a few weeks using your favorite travel website.

Safe and Easy Travel

It is not necessary for parents to spend money to accompany their children. Parents are welcome to travel along, if they want to make a holiday out of a visit to the Great Lakes region, or if they wish to attend camp for a day or two – short visits at the start or end of camp are welcome. (More information about visiting MathPath is in the 2019 Precamp Briefing.)

The first reason campers may travel alone is the proven efficiency of our greeting procedure. More information about how we safely collect all the campers on arrival day and send them off on departure day, even if there are delays or cancellations, are in the 2019 Precamp Briefing.

The second reason is the special supervision that airlines provide to youngsters when you have them travel with Unaccompanied Minor Status. For details about this, see our UM information page. UM status is a mixed blessing. It adds security but it also adds cost and sometimes severely restricts the flights that are available.


If you absolutely cannot schedule your arrival and/or your departure in the window, then do not schedule anything. Don't book a flight and do not plan your car trip. Instead, consult the Camp Director, April Verser, at and explain your problem. Book only after you and April have agreed on a plan, which may be a very different plan than you originally propose.

Note: Expect some emailing back and forth before reaching a decision. Also, the only way to reach April is through the email just given. Other MathPath email addresses and phone numbers reach other people who do not make arrival/departure decisions for April. Therefore, if you think there may be a problem fitting in our windows, start planning early.

Reporting the Itinerary to Us

Logistically, the two travel days are the most complicated days of our program. For the safety of your child, we must have clear, correct and current information about his or her itinerary, even if you are traveling by car.

So once your itinerary is finalized, you need to tell us. We will ask you to tell us by filling out an online form around May 15.

Page last updated March 4, 2019
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