Camp Connections

While doing some research today for a new page I’m starting on the blog (Famous Camp Alumni), I made a couple of interesting connections among celebrities who attended summer camp as kids.

Dr. Ruth and Ann Landers attended the same summer camp. So too did Barry Manilow and Michael Jackson.

One of the (many) things I love about summer camp and why I have a blog dedicated to it is how camp connects people and builds lifelong relationships with people you otherwise would probably never meet much less share a cabin in the woods.

Dr. Ruth is a famous sex therapist and Ann Landers was the pen name of advice columnist Eppie Lederer for 40 years (the original Ann Landers was Ruth Crowley). They both are listed among the notable alumni of Camp Louise in Cascade, Maryland.

Barry Manilow is a singer-songwriter whose records are easy to find in thrift stores. Michael Jackson is the biggest pop star of all-time. Both are listed among the notable alumni of Camp Billings in Fairlee, Vermont.

Like the high school and college you attended or the town you grew up in, your summer camp (if you fortunate enough to attend one) tells a story of your history and connects you to a long line of people, whether famous or not, you otherwise would share no connection with if it weren’t for the magic of this place we call summer camp.

I know I will probably never look at Barry Manilow or Michael Jackson quite the same now. I might even buy one of Manilow’s records next time I go to a thrift store.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at and I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.


  1. This is great! Surprise Lake Camp also has a Wall of Fame in our little museum. Our celebrities include Eddie Cantor, Neil Diamond, Jerry Stiller, Larry King and Gene Simmons. Gene even mentioned SLC on his TV show, “Family Jewels.”

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