You’ve Got a Friend..

Hey, Camp Fans!

The world is certainly camp crazy. From singer/songwriters to famous athletes and big-name Hollywood stars, it seems EVERYONE goes to camp! Writers—such as myself—are no exception. I, however, am not famous. Marta Kauffman, on the other hand, is a name that lots of people know. Co-creator of the hit sitcom ‘Friends’, Marta Kauffman is responsible for a cultural craze that became popular the world over.

Check out where this Friend of everyone's went to summer camp.Long before Marta joined forces with David Crane—her co-creator of ‘Friends’—she attended summer camp at Camp Ramah in the Poconos. This camp has sat on 90 acres of northeastern Pennsylvania for nearly 70 years as it saw its beginning as a camp site in the year 1950. This mountainous and woodsy setting provided Marta with a space where she work on personal growth by means of fun activities and adventures, as well as friends to share the experiences.

She went to school at Marple Newtown High School near Philadelphia and became incredibly interested in acting—so much so that in her senior year, she directed her school’s production of ‘Our Town’, a play from 1938 by Thornton Wilder. She enjoyed her own independent studies when it came to the works of playwrights and had a great appreciation for the talent for acting.

After high school, she attended Brandeis University where she continued her dedicated study to the Theater. And after four years of hard work and relentless studying, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and went on to pursue a writing career in the world of television.

Starting with a single episode of ‘Everything’s Relative’ in 1987, Marta continued to work on quick single-episode jobs as well as co-creating a few different series. It took her seven years in TV until she and David Crane launched their breakthrough series, ‘Friends’. Their show reached enormous popularity and ran for an entire decade before hitting their widely-celebrated finale.

Marta kept up her writing career after ‘Friends’ and has remained busy to the present day with her current TV show ‘Grace and Frankie’. Camp Ramah put Marta on an awesome and determined path that stuck with her all throughout her life. Perhaps Camp Ramah sounds like a good match for your soon-to-be-camper. Check them out on their website right here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Another French Woods Alum

Hey, Summer Campers!

Summer camps have been showing kids the time of their lives for generations upon generations—over a hundred years. That means that there are literally millions of adults  out there who were once summer campers like you. It’s not really surprising then, to think that there are lots of celebrities whom we all know and love today who went to summer camp themselves. Natasha Lyonne is a talented lady.

Natasha Lyonne is one of those famous people who attended summer camp. Like a number of her contemporaries like Jon Favreau, Robert Downy Jr., Adam Levine, and Zooey Deschanel, she went to French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts in the western Catskills—possibly even at the same time as these other alumni.

She was born in New York City and raised Orthodox Jewish. Natasha’s grandparents on her mother’s side were Hungarian Jewish and—both—Holocaust survivors.

Her parents started her at 6 years old in business with the Ford Modeling Agency and she made her way into TV and films. She was cast as Opal for six episodes of ‘Pee-Wee’s Playhouse’ and went on to make appearances in movies like ‘Heartburn,’ ‘A Man Called Sarge,’ and ‘Dennis the Menace’.

In retrospect, she disagrees with her parents’ choice to start her in business at such a young age, but it didn’t last long. Two years later, they moved from Great Neck, New York to Israel and they lived there for a year and a half.

She never cared for growing up on the Upper East Side, so when she came back to the states with her family, they settled in Miami. She was an excellent student enrolled in honor classes, but when her parents got a divorce, it had a horribly negative effect on her school life resulting in eventual expulsion. She did, however, graduate from Miami Country Day School.

With other appearances on TV like her camp mate’s show ‘New Girl’ as well as ‘Will and Grace’ and ‘Law & Order’. She’s even dabbled in some voice work for an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ as well as Cartoon Network’s hit show ‘Steven Universe’. She flexed her voice work back in 2005 as Loretta Geargrinder for the feature film ‘Robots’.

Having received a nomination for the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, Natasha has really shown her acting muscle and the world recognizes her talent.

Throughout struggles and hardships in her life, she’s seen her way to the road for success. Summer camp can help you do that. How will summer camp help you? You can check out French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts for yourself right here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Sara Gilbert at Summer Camp

Hey, Camp Fans!

At Everything Summer Camp, we look far and wide to see what famous celebrities happen to also be former summer campers. So far, we’ve posted about 90 celebrities! When we discovered that Sara Gilbert had gone to camp, we knew we wanted to mention her on the Blog! She’s best know for her role as Darlene Conner on the very popular 90’s sitcom from ABC, ‘Rosanne’.Sara Gilbert from Roseanne went to summer camp.

Sara attended Interlochen Center for the Arts which is famous for graduating top students in dance, theater, music, and art. Located in the beautiful northwestern region of lower Michigan, Sara spent her summer days soaking in the summer sun as it beat down on 1,200 acres, nestled between two lakes.

One day when she was six her older sister, Melissa, got a plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and she decided that day that she would be an actress. But she had talent all over the board. She developed a great interest in photography alongside her visual art. She was a skilled writer as well.

She landed some appearances in several made-for-TV-movies and she did a commercial for Kool-Aid as a kid. And by the time she was 13, she got the role of Darlene, the middle child in ‘Roseanne’. She became a crucial character in the show and Sara received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her performance. She even wrote one of the stories for an episode in the fourth season of the show.

The production of ‘Roseanne’ was happy to work around the schedule demanded by her education as she simultaneously continued her education, and eventually attending Yale University (from which she graduated in 1997 with honors, majoring in Art with an emphasis on Photography).

Since her days on ‘Roseanne’, she has gone on to make appearances on select episodes of shows like ‘The Simpsons’, ‘24’, ‘Law & Order: SVU’, ‘The Big Bang Theory’, and more. A wonderful actress, Sara had summer camp help show her her own potential. What will summer camp show you? And, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Jessica Biel and the Summer Camp Feel

Hey, Campers!

Countless campers just like you have been relishing in the joys of summer camp for more than a hundred years. Literally millions of adults who were once summer campers when they were closer to your age. It comes as no surprise then, tRead about her and her time at camp.o know that there are a lot of former summer campers who have gone on to become celebrities whom we all know and love today.

Jessica Biel is a summer camp alum. She attended Perry-Mansfield: Performing Arts School and Camp. Located in the mountains of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Perry-Mansfield has been showing kids a first-rate education as well as an awesome summer experience since it was first founded in 1913.

Jessica didn’t necessarily know that she wanted to be an actress back then. She was interested in gymnastics and soccer as well. But she definitely knew she wanted to be on the stage. She was coached in the art of singing at Perry-Mansfield and liked to do musicals in the productions her hometown would put on. At just nine years old, she had already played lead roles in ‘The Sound of Music’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, and more.

She made money as a model for a while as well, but was most happy when she landed her first role in a film called, ‘It’s a Digital World’. It wasn’t long after that that she found the role that would really launch her acting career: Mary Camden  from the family drama ‘7th Heaven’. Throughout her time on the Warner Brothers show, she went to school at Fairview High School and continued her education afterward at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

‘7th Heaven’ was a very popular show which turned out to be the longest-running family drama TV series in all of television. Her role as Mary brought her lots of recognition and interest for roles in film. Her character on TV only scratched the surface of her career. If Perry-Mansfield sounds like a place you have interest in, check it out for yourself right here and see the good it did Jessica Biel. And, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Stage Door; Mandy Manor

Hey, Campers!

With countless numbers of kids going to summer camp for more than a hundred years, there are literally millions of adults who were former summer campers when they weThis phenominal actress has been phenominal about it for almost her whole children. It’s not surprising to discover then, that lots of former campers went on to become celebrities that we all know and love today.

I’ve told you about Zach Braff and Natalie Portman, alumni of the wonderful Stage Door Manor Camp. You can check out a Blog post about Zach Braff right right—and one about Natalie Portman right here. And for today’s post, we’ll learn of another Stage Door Manor alum who attended around the same time: Mandy Moore.

Sited in a former resort in the Catskills Borscht Belt in Loch Sheldrake, New York, Stage Door Manor provides awesome venues for its campers to get the experience of being on the stage, in the spotlight. Spending three weeks of her summer among Stage Door Manor’s awesome theatre spaces like the Carousel, the Cabaret, the Forum, the Merman, and the outdoor Garden Theatre, Mandy was inspired at a young age to see out a career in acting.

The granddaughter of Eileen Friedman, a professional ballerina from London, Mandy looked up to her grandmother as a strong source of inspiration to follow her dreams of stardom. “My parents thought it was just a phase I’d grow out of, but I stuck to it and begged them for acting lessons, for voice lessons,” Mandy is quoted to have said.

She didn’t just giver full effort to her lessons, but she immediately went to plugging herself and before long she was starring in a number of productions around town and singing the National Anthem at local sporting events.

When she was 13, she started writing her own music and she was overheard performing by a FedEx delivery employee who had a friend at a record company. The delivery man took a demo of Mandy’s unfinished demo to send to his friend and before she knew it, Mandy was signing a record label.

After launching a music career, Mandy entered into her acting career as well, bringing to the screen great characters from memorable movies like the ‘Princess Diaries’ and ‘A Walk to Remember’, and doing fun voicework for movies like the ‘Dr. Dolittle’ sequel, the ‘Brother Bear’ sequel, as well as the Disney hit, ‘Tangled’.

Most recently, she now stars in the NBC family comedy-drama television series, ‘This Is Us’ as Rebecca Pearson, the mother of the family. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in 2016. Staying dedicated to her passion sure has paid off for Mandy. Her summer camp experience surely helped ignite the flames. If Stage Door Manor sounds like the camp for your kid, you can check it out right here and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

What’s the Temperature?

Hey, Camp Fans!

Learning to be True to Your Heart is a great lesson that kids pick up at The Gift of summer camp. Is it any surprise that kids love going to camp ever since the mid-1800s—and Still?! Many adults nowadays are former summer campers themselves and a bunch of them have gone on to become famous icons. It’s my pleasure today to tell you about Mr. Drew Lachey of the hit group 98 Degrees. Learn about this 98 degrees member at his experience at camp.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Drew attended the Clovernook Elementary School in North College Hill—a suburb of Cincinnati. He moved on to the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in the Cincinnati, Ohio Public School District.

While he didn’t attend summer camp in his childhood, he worked at one as a cabin leader at the age of 16. He spent two fun-filled weeks on the shore of Lake Fairlee, looking after the summer campers of Camp Billings and building an appreciation for the beauty surrounding him in the green hills of Vermont.

After his time working as a cabin leader at Camp Billings, Drew got involved in several interesting career paths before finding himself in a musical group. He found work behind the counter of a delicatessen. He trained to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and served as one in New York City. And he went on after that to be a combat medic in the U.S. Army.

Along with his older brother, Nick, and their friends Justin Jeffre, and Jeff Timmons, the four of them formed the pop group 98 Degrees and achieved nationwide success.

No stranger to television appearances, Drew showed up on one of the ‘Hollywood Squares’ in 2001 and has had a handful of guest appearances on Nick’s MTV show ‘Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica’. He was also the winner of the second season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

If you’re interested in Camp Billings for yourself, you can check out their website right here. Even working at summer camp is a positive experience! Maybe you’d make a great cabin leader for some local camp. As always, thanks for reading.

- John


Hey, Summer Campers!

Summer camp is nothing new. Boatloads of kids have been attending camps for more than 150 years! So it’s really not that surprising to discover former summer campers. They’re virtually everywhere you look. That’s why it’s fun to discover famous folks who were once summer campers as well. From musicians, to actors, writers, and athleCheck out the backstory of this great football player.tes, lots of former campers have gone on to achieve great fame.

James Ihedigbo is a football player in the NFL. A sought after player, he’s made a name for himself playing for the Jets, the Patriots, the Ravens, the Lions, and now he’s been signed by the Buffalo Bills. A skilled safety, James is an obvious advantage to any team’s defense. But before he ever thought seriously about a career in football, he attended Pinebrook Camp in his home state of Massachusetts.

Located 35 miles north of Springfield, Pinebrook Camp presented James with the time of his life when he attended a summer stay there. The experience immersed him in the adventures of exploring the outdoors. In all these years, he still has the most fun when he’s playing outside. He played a lot of football back then. Wait—no, that’s not right.

Back then he played a lot of fútbol. That’s it. Soccer—as we call it in the States. He was pretty good too. And his dad loved to encourage him. But when he graduated grade school and started his enrollment at Amherst Regional High School, he took interest in a different sport.

James’ father didn’t like it when he started playing football. He wanted to see James stick with soccer. Still, like any good dad, he cheered his son on at the high school football games and it didn’t take long for him to come around to his son’s new favorite sport.

James went on to play for the University of Massachusetts from 2002 till 2006. With his performance as a UMass Minuteman, it wasn’t hard to get a professional team to sign him. Summer camp helped encourage James to find what he really enjoyed. What will summer camp show you? You can check out Pinebrook Camp for yourself right here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Camp sparked acting interest for Bill Paxton

Hey, Camp Fans!

Anywhere you look, it’s never difficult to find a former summer camper; they’re all over the place—which explains why there are so many famous celebrities who are former summer campers as well. Mr. Bill Paxton, is one of many Hollywood actors who spent some time at camp back in the day.Bill Paxton is on tons of stuff.

Long before he was ever known for his roles as the famed treasure hunter, Brock Lovett from ‘Titanic’ or the passion-driven storm chaser, Bill Harding from ‘Twister’, Bill was just a typical kid, born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.

His father was a successful businessman, museum executive, occasional actor, and more, so money was never a concern growing up. His parents were able to build the house of their dreams along the country club golf course when Bill was only 8. Despite the wealth of money that Bill grew up with, he was raised to earn his money.

Resourcefully, Bill would spend his days collecting all the lost golf balls he could find. Then he’d set up lemonade stands and sell the golf ballThere he is! See him?!s back to the golfers.

In the same year, Bill went with his parents to join the crowds of people who waited for President John F. Kennedy from his hotel in Texas on the morning of his assassination. In a photograph that morning, 8-year-old Bill can be seen, being raised above the crowd!

He never actually attended summer camp AS a camper, but when he was a teenager he worked in the Carolinas at Mondamin Camp, near East Flat Rock. His town would put on an annual play of ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ by Thomas Wolfe at the Flat Rock Playhouse. “That’s when I first started thinking about acting and filmmaking,” Bill said in an interview with Southern Living magazine.

Summer camp has a tendency of delivering these transformative types of experiences that end up guiding us in our lives. It certainly did for Bill. What experiences will it offer you? You can look into Camp Mondamin right here if you’re interested in it for your own camp experience and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Guess where this Mama went to camp

Hey, Summer Campers!

In this chilling autumn season, it’s not uncommon for northerners and folks on the upper east coast to do some California Dreamin’. Ever wish you could Go Where You Wanna Go and not just for the weekend, but Monday Monday and any other day of the week? An east coaster herself, Ellen Naomi Cohen dreamt of warm California too, or should I say Cass Elliot, as she changed her name to? Dream of little dream of Cass Elliott

Well, you probably know her best as Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas anyway. She didn’t have California, but she had Camp Louise of Airy & Louise. Earlier this month, I posted about another former Louise camper, Shari Lewis—the voice of Lamb Chop (you can check out that post right here).

These brother/sister camps are located just a few miles away from each other in the Catoctin Mountains of western Maryland, Airy and Louise, each camp stretches out about 400 acres to display natural beauty along with the camps’ prided rustic facilities.

Some time after her camp experience, Cass’ family moved to a town called Alexandria in Virginia. She enrolled in George Washington High School, where she attended classes alongside rock legend Jim Morrison of The Doors. It was here, in her high school days that she adopted the name ‘Cass’. It wasn’t until later, however, that she would assume the surname ‘Elliot’ in memory of a friend of hers who died.

It was also in high school that she took interest in the art of acting. She was cast in a school play and really got into it. She moved to New York City after her high school days to further a career in acting (as mentioned in the biographical Mamas and Papas song ‘Creeque Alley’).

Cass searched the inflating folk music scene, watchful for where she might fit in until she stumbled upon two fellows, John Phillips and Denny Doherty, who had formed a group called the The New Journeymen. They knew they needed a new name with two females joining their group. A call to women as ‘mamas’ on television inspired Cass and Michele (the other lady in the band) to shout goofily, ‘We’re the mamas, we’re the mamas.’ John looked at Denny who was quietly saying, ‘The Papas?’

Incredibly famous in their day, The Mamas and the Papas went on to exceed greatness, but Cass in particular was always the star vocal in the group. After The Mamas and the Papas, she continued an impressive solo career with so much to offer the world. Check out the video of her beautiful serenading below and, as always, thanks for reading!

-    John

Lamb Chop out of Camp Louise!

Hey, Camp Kids!

At Everything Summer Camp, we look far and wide to see what famous folks also turn out to be former summer campers and, so far, we’ve posted about more than 80 people! Shari Lewis was a definite must when we saw she a former camper! Her name may not be immediately recognizable to everyone, but we all know her for her adorable sock puppet character, Lamb Chop!Shari Lewis will forever live on in our hearts!

A professional children’s entertainer all her life—before embarking on her road to fame and fortune, she spent her summer days at Camp Louise of Airy & Louise. Located just a few miles away from each other in the Catoctin Mountains of western Maryland, Airy and Louise, each camp stretches out about 400 acres that display natural beauty along with the camps’ prided rustic facilities.

Shari was encouraged from a very young age to practice in the performing trade. Her father, who practiced as an incredibly successful magician, taught her magic tricks when she was 13. But she didn’t stop there. She also learned a bit in acrobatics, juggling, ice-skating, baton-twirling, and she learned to play piano as well as violin. It was an instructor name John W. Cooper who taught her the art of ventriloquism.

She went on to study piano and violin at New York’s High School of Music and Art and she took dance classes at the American School of Ballet. She also took acting classes with a group called Sanford Meisner in the ‘Neighborhood Playhouse’ association. After she finished high school, she registered for a classes at Barnard College, but she only stayed a year.

Instead of continuing school, she took her chance then and there to pursue a career in show business. When she was 19, she won first prize for a talent show on CBS’ ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts’. This launched her into gigs hosting a handful of children’s television series in New York.

It didn’t take long before Lamb Chop was introduced to the world on an episode of ‘Captain Kangaroo’. With a number of other characters in her stockpile, Shari was ready to debut her very own kids show—‘The Shari Lewis Show’ in 1960. It replaced ‘The Howdy Doody Show’.

She appeared in lots of other shows among the years, but she finally hit it big in the early 90’s with her Emmy-winning show ‘Lamb Chop’s Play Along’ on PBS. She passed away in the summer of 1998. The world misses Shari Lewis and the wonderful talent and hysterical antics she brought to the world of children’s entertainment. You can check out Camp Louise right here. Check out a clip of ‘The Shari Lewis Show’ below and, as always, thanks for reading!

-    John