What a wonderful first week here at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac. Buses and cars pulled into camp warmly greeted by welcoming, excited staff! As our 250 boys arrived, they saw old friends, met new friends and counselors, and settled right into their summer home.
As is our custom, the first day and night consisted of some important traditions. First, the campers came together to recite the summer oath, led by The Senecas (our oldest bunk). During the oath, the group promises to, “have fun on the field, in the lake, and in the bunk,” to “laugh with energy, humor and respect,” and “to make this summer extraordinary.” Later, everyone gathered at the lake, where the Senecas lit beautiful lanterns and sent them into the sky to signify the official start of Summer, 2023. The night ended with a big dance party to some of MKN’s favorite songs!
The first days of camp were full of fun adventures and exciting activities. We had a mix of sun and rain, but that didn’t slow the campers down one bit. They quickly learned their first, three-day schedule, and took advantage of the sunny moments to jump into outdoor activities like sailing, swimming, tubing, baseball, basketball, archery, and so much more. When it rained, the boys happily headed indoors for activities like woodshop and Martial Arts or to play games like “Trader Ball,” indoor soccer, and cards. They wasted no time fulfilling their fun oath!
Our evening activities kicked-off some exciting MKN traditions as well. First came the Founders Cup draft – whereby every camper is drafted to one of four teams – Lilley (pink shirts), Kruger (brown shirts), Rudolph (gray shirts) or Metzger (blue shirts). Throughout Session One, the teams compete in various competitions, and at the end of week four, a winner is crowned. After the teams were selected, we had our first Founder’s Cup event, which included a team relay, a tennis ball run and toss, and the soon-to-be-Olympic sport of mattress sliding. Rudolph was the big winner of the night…stay tuned for next week’s Founders Cup update.
We also held the all-important “Green & White” sorting. G&W is our version of color war and takes place towards the end of Session One. Once a camper is on a team, they’re on that team for life. Go Green Machine! Go White Lightening! So, the sorting (a la Harry Potter) of new campers is an invigorating event. As soon as new campers find out their team, they are met with cheers, welcome hugs, and of course, singing and dancing.
This week also saw the start of our leagues and tournaments. Leagues are our ongoing inner-camp (i.e. against each other) sports competitions. The teams are segmented by campus (age group) and are elective-based. Most kids pick a sport or two to join – they’re fun and a great way to meet new kids and try new sports. The leagues remain the same throughout the weeks, so the teams quickly develop serious (but, fun) rivalries! Each sport has a big tournament at the end of Session One, and the winners get a huge prize (a T-shirt). Don’t be fooled, that winning T-shirt is a sacred possession, worn with pride! Our Tournaments, on the other hand, take place against other camps and include everything from tennis, soccer and baseball to chess, golf, and much more. Tournament teams are opt-in, and campers can join whatever team they’d like. Sometimes they even switch week by week to try something new.
The week ended with our annual Stockbridge Marathon – a 1.7-mile race throughout campus. The course weaves up and down hills, between the trees, over the river and through the woods. It’s not an easy course, and the boys are rightfully proud of themselves when they finish. We even had a “walking club” of 28 kids who wanted to stretch their legs but preferred to walk the course (we’re pretty sure they just want more time laughing with their pals).
We closed week one with our first Friday huddle. During our weekly huddles, the kids gather around the campfire in front of the lake while our co-directors, Jamie and Rachel talk to them about our five values, Respect, Friendship, Perseverance, Shared Pride, and Leadership . We often use this time to recognize campers and counselors who have demonstrated admirable characteristics that week.
That’s it for week one. Don’t forget, you can get information like this every single day with our newsletter MKN Today on MKNTotem.com. Be sure to create an account and read about all about the daily happenings at camp!