One of the most special and most unique parts of the Mowglis program is Crew. This is separate from the crew industry, the maroon ribbon. It’s the part of Crew at Mowglis that gives every boy the chance to try the sport and become a part of an exciting event. The boys learn to row in the unique Mowglis Crew boats beginning early each summer. These are custom built and differ from a traditional shell. These are much wider and deeper than a shell, so they’re quite stable, and boys of any age and skill levels feel comfortable in them. They seat 6 oarsmen, with a stationary seat. The original crew boats served Mowglis for over 90 years and were replaced by exact replicas in 2002. All the boys get the opportunity to row and gain experience during the summer. At first they learn or improve on their rowing technique. Crew practices are scheduled throughout the summer and boys are always excited when it’s their turn to go row. As the season progresses crews of different levels are assembled and practices occur more frequently.
Week Six is Crew Week. The camp is divided into the Red and the Blue Crews for a week of training, pageantry, teamwork, and energy that culminates with the big Crew Day Races in front of parents and Alumni. Older boys race for speed and their place in Mowglis history and younger boys compete in events judged for form and teamwork. Our alumni always tell stories of their days on Racing Crew and remember all the names of the boys who were in their boats with them all those years ago. It is an intense competition which teaches coolness under pressure, teamwork, and sportsmanship. There are winners and losers, and each comes with its own challenges. Whether recovering from a defeat or being a gracious winner, the boys learn life lessons which will serve them well in the future. At the end of race day, Red and Blue bandannas are put away and the camp comes together once again for the fast-paced final week of the season.
Crew fosters teamwork, confidence, and character. Initially boys learn a new skill, then they learn how to push themselves mentally and physically. They also feel the energy and joy of rowing down the lake, the boat moving powerfully beneath them. Far more lasting however, are the lessons in confidence, teamwork, and sportsmanship that are engendered by crew. Mowglis history is filled with tales of under-dog crews out-rowing a heavily favored crew, only because the teamwork and unity of the “lesser” crew made it faster than the physically stronger but fragmented crew they were racing against. Just as important to the experience of unity in competition, is the sportsmanship that prevails between the two crews all through Crew Week and on Race Day. Behaving gracefully both in victory and defeat is truly the Mowglis way.
Mowglis Crew Alumni Memories
“My experience of crew at Mowglis has been a great one. I have had both the good fortune to be on the Racing Crew three times, and the even better fortune to experience all the possible outcomes of that race. In 1998, I was on the Blue Racing Crew that made the first tie since 1979. It was great to be a part of something that hadn’t happened for 19 years. In 1999, I learned the true power of timing. Our crew was weaker in strength and expected to lose. But our staying in time allowed us not only to win, but to come within three seconds of the Mowglis record. In this year, 2000, I learned the agony of defeat. I had imagined what it would be like to lose from seeing how other people acted, but you have to experience it for yourself to understand. I think that I have gained more from the loss than any victory.”
Howard Kellogg, Den 2000 Racing Crew
“‘Gentleman, are you ready? ROW!’ Half, half, three quarter, full. We took off with our start. Red and Blue neck and neck, everyone’s heart racing. Only in the back of your mind can you hear the coxswain screaming. Your whole body concentrated on pulling the oar through the water. At Lone Wolf Island, we’re tired. We all keep going, striving to win. It’s time for the final sprint. We have to put every last bit of strength into this. So close… ‘Red Wins’. We lost, it hurt, deep down, it hurt. We all held our heads up high to the very end. Mr. Platt: ‘You didn’t lose, they won.’ I know I am speaking for the whole Blue Racing Crew when I say, ‘We left a piece of us with that boat today, a big one.'”
James Hart, Den 2000