MAHACKENO OUTDOOR CENTER
The outdoor center has events and programs throughout the year. Everything from family programs to end of year school events with everything in between. Members can use the Outdoor Center for picnics, hikes and other outdoor recreation throughout the year. Other areas such as the pool, waterfront, archery and slides are open to members at varying times throughout the year.
- Heated Multipurpose/ Lap Pool
- Splash Pad
- Arts and Crafts/ multipurpose Center
- Two Giant Stainless Steel Slides
- Archery Range and Pavilion
- New Locker Rooms
- Nature Trails
- Gaga Pit
- Waterfront for Canoeing Activites
- Basketball Court with six Hoops
- Multi-purpose sports field with two aluminum soccer goals
- Two Age Specific Play Grounds
- Low Ropes Course
- Five Pavilions
- Fire Pit Area with benches
- Bouldering Wall
- Amphitheater w/ 300 person capacity
- Fishing Area
- Small Amphitheater
Outdoor Center Rules & Regulations
Rules and regulations:
- The Outdoor Center is an alcohol-, drug- and smoke-free facility.
- Please carry your membership card with you at all times.
- Please be caring and respectful to all other members.
- Please discard all trash in proper containers.
- Please keep off waterfronts when lifeguards are not on duty.
- Motorized vehicles are prohibited (ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles).
- Please park vehicles in the lots only. Keep all vehicles off the grass.
- Domestic animals and pets are NOT allowed at any time.
- Fishing is a catch and release program and is prohibited from boats,
canoes, waterfronts/docks and on the ice unless otherwise authorized.
- When hiking please stay on trails at all times.
1938: The YMCA offers a day camp based out of Doubleday Field on Riverside Avenue, named for the Y’s Physical Director, Doc Doubleday. The kids created crafts, sang songs and went swimming at Compo Beach. Enrollment cost 30 cents a week per child.
April 1942: The location of the camp is less than ideal since a lot of travel around town was needed for the various activities. A number of locations were considered, but nothing ideal was found. According to legend, a janitor overheard a secretary and a YMCA director talking about the fruitless search. He recommended a place alongside the Saugatuck River just north of downtown that would eventually become Camp Mahackeno.
1942: On an undeveloped swath of land bordered by the new Merritt Parkway, Wilton Road and the Saugatuck River, the new location for the YMCA’s camp was established. Helen Smith, a Stamford resident, offered use of part of her property as long as the YMCA paid the property taxes. They obliged her and the camp opened for business with 60 boys. Some small cottages were built, and there was no drinking water. Electricity was inconsistent.
1944: Enrollment grew over the years, and Smith sold her property. The new owner offered the YMCA 30 acres of land. E.T. Bedford’s son, Frederick, offered to pay for half of the $10,000 cost. The other half was raised from other donations.
March 1945: The YMCA moves in to the camp. It’s named Camp Bedford.
1946: At the request of Frederick Bedford, the name is changed to Mahackeno. In the early 1600s, the property was used as a summer lodge for Mahackeno, chief of the Norwalke Indians, and his tribe.
1947: Town water and sewers are installed. By then, there are 120 campers enrolled.
1955: Camp Mahackeno was heavily renovated with new buildings, boats, rifles (for the marksmanship activities) and other items.
1969: It’s believed that this was the first summer that girls were allowed at Camp Mahackeno. Around this time period, a sale of Camp Mahackeno to a private developer for more than $300,000 was considered. This idea was rejected by the organization’s board.
1997: Camp Mahackeno continues to grow. What was once a rag-tag group of few dozen boys is now a popular program with 756 campers. More than $600,000 in revenue was generated in that year by the camp.
Fall 2019: Camp Mahackeno undergoes a ground up renovation to modernize and bring the facility up to modern day camp standards.
GIVE THE GIFT OF CAMP
The Westport Weston Family YMCA is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Throughout our history, we have served youth, families and adults by helping them develop the skills that embody the core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. These skills enrich lives and help people reach their potential in life.
A summer at camp has countless benefits for a child. New experiences, friends, role models and positive memories are just a few of the gifts that camp gives a child. You can help provide these gifts to children who can benefit from camp. For more information on our Annual Campaign please Click Here.