Celebs Galore from Stagedoor Manor

Hey, Summer Campers!

It’s exciting to find so many famous folks who were once summer campers like yourselves! Over the years, I’ve posted about more than 100 celebrities. I’m keeping them coming today with another celebrity who, like so many other famous folks, attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Summer Camp—Jesse Swanson himself, Skylar Astin. Learn about Skylar Astin from Stagedoor Manor!

Along with the likes of Mandy Moore, Natalie Portman, Robert Downy Jr., Zach Braff, and Bryce Dallas Howard, Skylar spent his summer days in the Catskills Borscht Belt in Loch Sheldrake, New York at Stagedoor Manor getting the experience of being on the stage, in the spotlight within a most inviting and supportive environment.

Having grown up in Rockland County in New York, Skylar graduated from Clarkstown High School North and, following that, he went on to study at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He wound up taking a leave of absence from school, however, in order to perform in ‘Spring Awakening’ on Broadway.

But it wasn’t until 2012, when Astin turned 25 and found his breakthrough role, starring as Jesse Swanson in the musical comedy film ‘Pictch Perfect’. He returned to the role again just three years later for the sequel. Musically inclined, Astin also appeared on the musical television show ‘Glee’.

Using the talent of his gifted voice in his work, he’s also taken a couple roles as a voice actor for the movies ‘Wreck it Ralph’ in which he played the character Roy, as well as the movie ‘Monkey Up’ as the voice of Monty. He’s still passionate about stage acting as well. In 2010, he played the character Mark Cohen in a production of ‘Rent’ at the Hollywood Bowl which was directed by Neil Patrick Harris.

If you’re passionate about the art of acting as well, be like Skylar, Mandy, Natalie, Robert, Zach, and Bryce—check out Stagedoor Manor for yourself and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

The Bryce is Right

Hey, Summer Campers!

There are plenty of celebrities who, like you, attended summer camp in their youth. After posting about more than one hundred former summer campers turned celebrities, I come to post about yet another celebrity who attended summer camp. Ms. Bryce Dallas Howard joins our list of summer camp experienced celebrities today as she is a Stage Door Manor alum. The life of the Lady in the Water.

Found in the Catskills Borscht Belt in Loch Sheldrake, New York, Stagedoor Manor provides awesome setting for its campers to get the experience of being on the stage and in the spotlight. Spending three weeks of her summer among Stagedoor Manor’s awesome theatre spaces like the Carousel, the Cabaret, the Forum, the Merman, and the outdoor Garden Theatre, Bryce attended the same camp as Natalie Portman, Mandy Moore, and Zach Braff.

Born to a writer and an actor-turned-director (Ron Howard), Bryce was raised the oldest of her siblings with two younger twin sisters and the youngest of the family, their brother Reed. Bryce’s uncle is in the acting business too—Clint Howard. Her godfather is the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler who co-starred alongside Bryce’s father on the television show ‘Happy Days’.

Bryce went to Greenwich Country Day School and then graduated from Byram Hills High School in 1999. After that, she intensified her education, burning the candle at both ends! She studied at New York University’s (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts while simultaneously attending the Stella Adler Conservatory, The Experimental Wing, and International Theatre Wing in Amsterdam.

Acting in New York plays, Bryce appeared in a number productions at the Theatre Club. When she performed as Rosalind in Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like it’ at the Public Theater, Bryce got her break, having caught the attention of the up-and-coming director M. Night Shyamalan.

She was cast as the lead alongside Joaquin Phoenix in the horror director’s film ‘The Village’ only a couple weeks later without auditioning. She returned to another Shyamalan production, ‘Lady in the Water’ to play the role of Story, a water nymph by the name of narf. Heading onward and upward, Bryce recently starred alongside Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park series.

Bryce has made a name for herself just doing what she’s always loved and had fun doing. What do you love to do? Find your own sense of fun at Stagedoor Manor! You can check out this camp for yourself by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Where Pete Wentz Went to Camp

Hey, Summer Campers!

We talk about a lot of famous celebrities here on the Everything Summer Camp Blog because so many of them went to summer camp when they were closer to your age. I’ve posted about more than 100 big names whether they were on TV, in movies, play sports, or play music. And the latter is just what one Pete Wentz does as the bassist, lyricist, and backing vocalist for the American rock band known as Fall Out Boy.
Read about this music star's childhood.
A former summer camper as well, before Pete ever wrote a song he traveled north from his hometown in Wilmette, Illinois—a wealthy Chicago suburb—to Camp Chippewa nearby Bemidji, Minnesota. There he enjoyed his summer stay, taking in the enchanting beauty of the Chippewa National Forest on Cass Lake.

Pete once recounted his first musical memory to ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine—even before his time at camp. He remembers sitting in the backseat of his father’s car, listening to ‘Build Me Up, Buttercup’ by The Foundations.

After gradeschool, he went to New Trier High School as well as North Shore Country Day School, where he made a name for himself on the soccer team. He made such a name for himself, in fact, that he considered turning soccer into a professional career for a while. He eventually decided against it as he found music to be more fulfilling for him. “Music was more of a challenge,” he’s quoted for saying. “And, in the end, felt more interesting.

Pete graduated high school in 1997. He immediately found work at a Subway restaurant in Chicago and attended DePaul University, studying political science. Though he attended school for multiple years, he dropped out when he was just one quarter away from graduation as his job at Subway had gotten increasingly demanding. He’d been promoted to the store manager with a salary increase.

He turned to the Chicago music scene during this time to give himself an outlet for his creativity and social life. And after a few years of continuing to pay his dues at Subway, he ultimately ended up quitting when the opportunity presented itself to play bass full-time for a band called Fall Out Boy.

Pete now owns his own record label called DCD2 Records, the label that’s signed such bands as Panic! at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes. Pete has since found interest in other non-musical projects, including writing, acting, and fashion. It was almost 13 years ago that he founded the clothing company, Clandestine Industries. You can check out Camp Chippewa for yourself by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Seth Green is My Favorite Color

Hey, Summer Campers!

Former summer campers are so widespread across the country that it come as no surprise to find out how so many celebrities and other famous folks have a history of summer camp in their childhood. I’ve written about over one hundred celebrities who once attended summer camp and today I come with yet another—the one and only, Seth Green!Seth Green is my favorite color.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Seth didn’t travel far at all to attend summer camp at the Union for Reform Judaism Camp Harlam, situated in the foothills of the great Pocono Mountains in rural Pennsylvania. Back then, Seth ran around like all the other kids, but his childhood would quickly become anything but conventional.

At the very young age of ten years old, Seth had already debuted in his first two movies, ‘Billions for Boris’, as well as ‘The Hotel New Hampshire’. Not very much later, he played the younger brother of the lead role in ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.

He continued making appearances in films regularly throughout his childhood and adolescence and before long, he’d made a name for himself which led to bigger roles such as Duane Cody in the family comedy ‘Rat Race’ or Chris Griffin in Fox’s long-running animated series, ‘Family Guy’.

His growing popularity and lifelong experience in the business led to him creating his own stop-motion cartoon show on Adult Swim, ‘Robot Chicken’. Aspiring to reach his dreams since he was little, Seth Green kept an incredible momentum from his time at summer camp. What will you keep from your time at camp?

If URJ Camp Harlam sounds like a place that might suit you well, you can check it out with a closer look on their website right here. Enjoy your camp experience and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

What Celeb Summer Camped in the San Juan Islands?

Hey there, Summer Campers!

We talk about so many celebrities who were once summer campers like yourselves here on the Everything Summer Camp Blog. Mark another celebrity for today—I’m talking about Mei Mei herself—Kate Hudson—who attended Four Winds * Westward Ho Boys and Girls Summer Camp when she was closer to your age.

Kate spent her summer days soaking in the sunny fun on Orcas Island in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. The island provides a hundred acres of shady woods, open fields, and gorgeous waterfront—lending the perfect environment for an awesome variety of activities and programs to develop skills and confidence in their Kate Hudson started her confident career in acting in 1996campers.

Born to the Academy Award-winning actress Goldie Hawn and comedian/actor/musician Bill Hudson, Kate didn’t grow up with the easiest family life—her parents divorced when she was just one year old. She was raised chiefly by her mother in Los Angeles.

After completing her elementary and high school education, Kate started at Crossroads, a college preparatory school in Santa Monica. She graduated in 1997 and, though she was accepted into New York University, she opted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue her career in acting instead of trying for her undergraduate degree.

She had already made a television appearance on the show ‘Party of Five’ and thought she had a chance to make it big. By the very next year she appeared in two films and by 2000, she starred as Penny Lane in Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age motion picture ‘Almost Famous’.

Much more recently, Kate voiced the character Mei Mei in the 2016 Dreamworks feature Kung Fu Panda 3 as well as television appearances such as ‘Glee’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’.

Despite hardships she faced in her youth, Kate still rose to the heights of success with a great acting career. No matter what hardships you face in your life, you’re sure to have successes as well. Be sure to Four Winds in Washington if it sounds like the right camp for you and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Ben Stiller: Born to Act

Hey, Summer Campers!

No matter if celebrities are singer/songwriters, famous athletes, or big Hollywood stars, so many of them seem to have once been summer campers back when they were younger. Ben Stiller has cemented his name in the comedy world, but did you know he attended camp before he became a household name? Look at this handsome mug!

It’s true. Born and raised in New York City, Ben and his parents Anne and Jerry decided on the East Coast camp, Camp Pinnacle—located at the center of the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina in Flat Rock. In operation since 1928, Ben went to camp a bit later (in the 70s), unlike his dad, Jerry Stiller who went to camp roughly a decade after Camp Pinnacle was founded. You can check out more on Jerry Stiller by clicking here.

With two actors for parents, Ben was given a front-row seat to the hectic lifestyle of show business. He would regularly join his mother and father on the sets of television shows and, looking back on his early years, said that “It was a show-business upbringing—a lot of traveling, a lot of late nights—not what you’d call traditional.”

His childhood was anchored with his sister, Amy, just a few years older than him. With a sensible interest in filmmaking, Ben and Amy would make Super 8 movies with friends as often as they could. After being inspired by the television show Second City Television while in high school, Stiller realized that he wanted to get involved with sketch comedy.

Ben scored his acting debut at just nine years old when his mother landed a short-lived television series from the 70s called ‘Kate McShane’. As Ben found a love for acting, he still had fun inviting his sister to appear in a number of his movies.

Despite his nontraditional childhood, Ben had his fun summer camp experience and he had a consistent school education, having attended the Cathedral School of St. John the Divine and he graduated from the Calhoun School in New York. During his high school years, Ben was inspired by ‘Second City Television’ TV show that sparked his interest in sketch comedy.

After high school, Ben enrolled at the University of California in Los Angeles to study film. During his time there, however, he couldn’t shake the idea he wasn’t making the right choice. After just nine months, he moved back home to take acting classes in particular. With talent and determination, he worked away doing auditioning and searching for an agent—which, as we all know, he was successful. You can check out Camp Pinnacle to see if it looks like a good fit for you by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Find Out What Texas Camp Ethan Hawke Attended!

Hey, Summer Campers!

The same as so many Hollywood stars, professional athletes, musical artists, and other celebrities, among so many of our favorite Hollywood actors who attended summer camp when they were young, movie star Ethan Hawke is yet another former camper in thRead about Ethan Hawke's time away at summer camp!e biz! Frequently found in film features all throughout the 90’s, he started making a name for himself even before that when he was only 15.

And it wasn’t much before then that Ethan attended summer camp at the YMCA Camp Carter in Texas. Located just minutes from downtown Fort Worth, Camp Carter covers more than 300 acres of heavily wooded land as well as its own lake and waterfront access to the Trinity river, showing kids—like Ethan Hawke back in the early 80s—the time of their lives.

Between his camp stay and his first movie, Ethan starred for the first time on the stage for his high school production of ‘Saint Joan’ When he first started high school, Ethan wanted to be a writer, but it didn’t take long for the acting bug to settle in and he knew this was what he wanted to do.

So eager to get into the business, the 15-year-old Ethan landed a lead role in the sci-fi movie as mentioned above. While the movie ‘Explorers’ went on to develop a cult following, it did not do well in the theaters. Though he’s not proud to admit it, ‘Explorers’ poor immediate reception took a toll on Ethan and he unofficially gave up acting for the time being. In retrospect, he feels that he rushed things along too quickly. “I would never recommend that a kid act,” he has said.

He returned to acting five years later after completing his education and saw better success than he did on his initial run. In just a few years, he found his role alongside Robin Williams in ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ which was a great launching point that brought him the work of 18 films throughout the 90s.

Ethan’s acting career also included some television appearances such as an episode of ‘Alias’ as well as ‘Moby Dick’ the made-for-TV miniseries. You can check out Camp Carter for yourself by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Guess Where this Geek Attended Camp!

Hey, Summer Campers!

Such a plethora of folks have attended summer camp at some point or another in their lives that former summer campers aren’t at all hard to find. And it seems like everywhere you look, in Hollywood especially, you come across summer camp alumni naturally. I’ve written a good number of Blog posts about all the celebrities who have gone to camp and today I come with another—Mr. Samm Levine. Samm Levine is one funny guy and a great actor.

Camp Nah-Jee-Wah is found on 1250 beautiful acres just 90 minutes from New York City. With campgrounds that feature athletic facilities, a lake, a pool, ropes challenge courses, a skate park, and much more, Samm had a wonderful time for his summer camp stay. As early as his days at camp, Samm wasn’t necessarily interested in acting, but he definitely had his heart set on working in comedy.

He went straight to work too, performing standup routines at friends’ Bar Mitzvahs (a Jewish rite of passage) and his jokes were typically received well by the crowds. During one Bar Mitzvah performance in particular, the actress Lisa Kudrow happened to be present and saw his routine. She ended up giving him some advice that he had ought to audition in Manhattan.

By the time he had turned 15, Samm made his first appearance on an episode of the soap opera ‘One Life to Live’ and that was only the beginning. With a different Sam Levine already registered in the Screen Actors Guild, Samm decided he would hang an additional ‘M’ at the end of his name.

He continued with a television and film career, making appearances in shows such as ‘Ed’ and ‘The Drew Carey Show’. But the role that he remains best known for is Neal Schweiber in the short-lived cult classic of 1999, ‘Freaks and Geeks’ in which he played one of the geeks alongside later Golden Globe winner James Franco.

Samm Levine did a lot for his career in his young adolescence and he continues to be a well-received presence in television and film. Check out Camp Nah-Jee-Wah for yourself on their website by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

You Can Get Anything That You Want at Arlo’s Restaurant

Hey, Summer Campers!

You know who else was a summer camper? LOTS of people! So many, in fact, that a sizable percentage of them went on to become famous celebrities. I’ve written about nearly 100 of them! And today I’m talking about another. His name is Arlo Guthrie. This name may not be as famous as it once was, and even yet, not as famous as his father’s name once was: Woody Guthrie—the man that brought us ‘This Land is Your Land’.Arlo goes to summer camp.

With his dad being born in 1912 and him being born in 1947, it’s understandable that kids of your generation aren’t very familiar with these names. But back then, these guys were as big as Justin Vernon is today. These were the celebrities that Bob Dylan idolized.

Summer camp probably wasn’t quite prominent enough to assume that Woody Guthrie ever attended, but he sent his son Arlo to Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks of New York—one of the oldest traditional overnight camps in the country, operating since 1916.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Arlo attended and graduated grade school as well as high school in his home town. But he moved to Massachusetts in 1965 when he attended college at Stockbridge School. After that, he had an adventure overseas, spending the summer in London. There, he met with a man named Karl Dallas who was able to connect Arlo to the folk rock scene in London and he eventually continued in his father’s footsteps, singing folk songs.

Throughout his life, however, he’s continued his education in Montana to attend the Rocky Mountain College in Billings. Next, he moved back home to attend Siena College and after that Westfield College in 2008 (when he was over 60 years old!).

He loves being a student and he loves being a singer/songwriter. He was awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience award on September 26, 1992, though he’s probably best known for his song ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ which you can listen to below if you think you’re up to it (the song is roughly 20 minutes long and goes off the rails a number of times).

Nurture your love for the interests you develop in life like Arlo did and enjoy your visits to summer camp! You can check out Raquette Lake Camp right here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

What Does He Look Like? Some Kinda Jerk?

Hey, Funny Fans!

You know who’s a funny guy?—Steve Martin! This is a name that might not be so familiar to a number of the younger generations, but likely anyone in their 20’s has at least heard the name and if you’re my age, then you understand this name is interchangeable with comedy genius! Steve Martin rings to true as classic comedy thanks to his philisophical approach.

Defunct in the modern day, Steve spent some beautiful summer weeks of his youth soaking in the sun at Camp Osceola on the West Coast. Though he was born in Waco, Texas, 1945, his family moved when he was young and he grew up in Inglewood, California where he didn’t travel far for his trip to camp.

He got his first job when he was 10. He worked sold guidebooks at Disneyland where he would work during his summer breaks from school as well as weekends. While working one day, he was captured on film in the background of somebody’s home movie which went on to be made into a short film called ‘Disneyland Dream’. This happily accounts for Steve’s first film appearance!

He attended Garden Grove High School and after graduating high school he went on to study at the Santa Ana College where he focused on theater and poetry. With a girlfriend’s helpful networking, Steve got a job quickly after college as a writer for ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’.

He also started to make a name for himself in stand-up. Continuing to grind away, his work eventually landed him appearances on ‘Saturday Night Live’. And it didn’t take long for him to hit the big screen. Steve can be seen in the hit film, ‘The Muppet Movie’ and made it real big when he landed his own feature film—the 1979 comedy classic, ‘The Jerk’.

Well known for his role in the ‘Father of the Bride’ movies as well, Steve made a big name for himself. Other talents of his always found their way into his comedy like his great musical inclination and proficiency. An accomplished author, playwright, pianist, and banjo player as well, Steve has actually gone on to embrace his musical passion these days.

Check him out singing with the great Bernadette Peters in this great scene from ‘The Jerk’ below and, as always, thanks for reading, Camp Folks!

- John