Week in Review #7

Camp Mah-Kee-NacAug 11, 2019

It was the last week of camp (sniffle, sniffle), and the 90thsummer of Mah-Kee-Nac boys camp is in the books. While we know you’re glad to have your kids home, we’re all depressed that another remarkable year of sleepaway camp in the Berkshires has come to an end.

Olympics Kick-Off

Fireworks against a night sky and podium
Olympics Opening

This past week was epic, so we’re definitely going out on a high note. The name of the game (literally) was The Olympics.  After a “fakeout” on Saturday night, the “real” Olympics broke on Sunday.

Just after dinner, campers were escorted outside the dining hall where they watched an opening video about the Olympics. Then, an Army truck drove through camp blaring its horn, followed by the (disguised) Decathletes waving their respective flags.

The Decathlete serves as a team captain of sorts for each Olympic team.  They are eight campers chosen from our oldest bunk Seneca, based on athletic evaluations throughout the summer.

A group of people on a podium with lights behind them
Senecas & Coaches

All campers and counselors were divided into groups and brought to the Upper Field where a huge stage decorated with each country’s Olympiad banners stood waiting for everyone’s arrival.  An Army National Guard Sergeant ran to the stage waving the American flag while fireworks went off and music played.  It was exciting to say the least.

The Decathletes and Senecas picked their teams, and each team’s coaches were chosen (by archery shooting, naturally).  At the end of the ceremonies, the teams came together asfireworks went off behind them, and the 2019 MKN Olympics officially began.

Let the Games Begin

kids running on a beach
Beach Relay

Over the next three days, campers competed in both all-team, age, and skill divided events.  Points were awarded for every place first through eighth, so each competition was about much more than just a win or a loss.  The tally was reflected throughout the day in the team’s self-designed plaques, and the first day was symbolized with a torch lighting ceremony.

plaques with names of countries painted on
Olympic Tally Plaques

Traditional “Color War” sports for the Olympics included swimming, soccer, track & field, Disc Golf, Ultimate Frisbee, softball, flag football, hockey, volleyball, relay races, a swim meet, Davis Cup tennis, an all-team Tug-of-War, an all-team waterfront triathlon (canoe, swim, run) and the Pentathlon, where one camper from each team had to complete in a one-mile run, a rockwall climb, an obstacle course, a pushup and sit-up competition, and swim 25 meters in the pool.   Additional competitive events took place such as the home-run derby, a Gaga challenge, TrampBall, flag football, and a Polar Bear Plunge.

Final Olympic Events

people racing in canoes and swimming
Grand Marathon – Waterfront

The final all-team sports event was the Grand Marathon (like an Apache Relay). Campers and counselors had to pass a buoy from station to station (like a baton in a relay), with each station having to complete a task. Then, the final two runners – a camper and a counselor, had to cross the finish line together.  Stations included a camper-counselor wheelbarrow, various runs around campus, a volleyball rally, pool swims and slides, a canoe race, a tire drag, kicking a field goal on the football field, sinking basketball shots, scoring hockey shots, eating a jelly sandwich then singing happy birthday, scoring at the archery range, paddle boarding and much more. Navgorod held an immense lead the entire way and came in with the big Grand Marathon win.

A painting that says Novguardians of the Galaxy

The Olympics weren’t all about sports, though – each team also had to spend the three days decorating a plaque and a banner for their country, as well as make up a chant and a song about their team- all of which was presented and judged at the final evening’s closing ceremonies.  The big winner of this year’s Olympics was team Novgorod, or the “NovGuardians of the Galaxy”.

Film Festival and Awards

The second to last day of camp was all about our Tobias Maher Film Festival (made by the kids and counselors in the media program) and the ‘Programmies’; an award presentation for each program.

Children gathered waiting for awards
Awards Ceremony

 The film festival was a collection of extremely creative and entertaining commercials, TV shows and short films, and concluded with the “Toby Awards” where the filmmakers were honored for best film, best director, best actor, most creative and funniest film.

The Programmies were presented by the leaders of each program (baseball, basketball, soccer, swim, archery, art, woodshop and more), and designated top performers like MVP, most improved, outstanding leadership, and most dedicated.

Closing Ceremony

Kids holding candles together at night
Final Huddle

On the last evening of camp, we had our Closing Ceremony and our final huddle by the fire. The campers held candles and we talked about MKN, our values, what sleepaway camp means to them, and what an amazing experience this summer has been. After the huddle, everyone came together on the dining hall hill to watch a summer highlight video (and eat pizza, of course). Lots of tears were shed, and memories sealed.

We will miss your boys enormously and thank you immensely for sharing them with us this summer! We know we have the best group of kids in the world! Until next summer…

All our best,


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