Camp Mack volleyball
Spartans joined together at Camp Mack to participate in a variety of events such as volleyball, kayaking, and ziplining on their day off from classes. 
Photo provided by MU

Manchester Students Celebrate Camp Mack Day

Miriam Erbaugh

For many students, Thursday, September 8, began with yelling in the halls and the banging of pots and pans as they awoke to the surprise of Camp Mack Day.

Camp Mack Day is a long-standing tradition when all Manchester students, from both the Fort Wayne and North Manchester campuses, are given the day off classes to spend a day at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Indiana.

Though the students knew that the event would take place in the first two weeks of September, the exact date was kept a surprise to those on campus. The morning of Sept. 8, the event was announced by email and Resident Assistants woke all the dorms up with speakers, knocks on everyone’s doors and other ruckuses of various sorts. The lively alarm was just the beginning of a joy-filled day.

Simply put, Camp Mack Day was a day full of fun. “Camp Mack Day is my favorite day of the year; it fills me with joy to be outside with friends all day!” remarked Kora Beasley ’24. From sea shanties sung on rowboats to laughter shared among sunbathing friends, the vibrant energy was felt throughout camp.

The actual activities of Camp Mack Day were whatever students chose to make of it. “On Camp Mack Day I hiked and watched people play sand volleyball,” said Morgan Metroff ’26. “I met new people, and my favorite thing was watching people play gaga ball.”

Madison Cunningham, another first year student, said that her favorite thing was the rock-climbing wall. “It was a very challenging wall to climb, but when I got to the top it was worth it,” she said.

In addition to climbing and pick-up volleyball, Camp Mack offered boating, games of all sorts, ziplining, archery, a wagon ride and a delicious lunch. The day opened with a student versus faculty volleyball game hosted by the Honors Program and finished with a kickball game. Students could also be found playing pick-up games of four-square, volleyball, gaga ball, cornhole, nine-square-in-the-air, frisbee, Uno and basketball.

For those not participating in games, memories were made jumping into the lake, eating fresh s’mores around the fire, and enjoying the scenery that Camp Mack has to offer. “The thing I will remember most is relaxing looking out towards the lake in the peace garden,” said Lucas Gwin ’26.

This year’s celebration was attended by over 530 Manchester faculty and students.

Deanna Beckner, Camp Mack’s Guest Services Director, and MU graduate, expressed Camp Mack Day’s importance to the camp. “Manchester University’s Camp Mack Day signifies decades of partnership between the school and the camp, conference, and retreat center,” she said. “But more than that, the event is a continuation of ministry and a display of Camp Mack’s mission to provide a sanctuary where people connect with God, experience creation, and build Christian community. All of that is evident as students support each other while climbing the rock wall, fellowship at lunchtime, and find peace at the Peace Garden.”

It is also a blessing for the people that work there. “Camp Mack staff find fulfillment in seeing so many others enjoy this sanctuary place,” Beckner continued. The preparation is a months-long process with meetings, visits, food ordering, cleaning and getting the camp ready for such a large group.

This year, it took a combination of roughly 20 Camp Mack staff members as well as several volunteers to make the event a success. From running service projects and activities, to preparing the food and driving the tractor for the hayride; they made sure that everyone was taken care of.

To give back, some students participated in service projects. “The work that the students accomplish during Camp Mack day alleviates burdens from our facility crew and truly blesses Camp Mack with gifts of strength, teamwork, and time,” Beckner said.