We all know that summer camp is a great place to meet spouses as evidenced by how frequently camp names show up in wedding announcements, but it’s also a place where lifelong friendships, future business ideas and artistic collaborations are forged and first encounters between future famous people occur.
Marcus Mumford and Carey Mulligan
Musician Marcus Mumford and his wife, actress Carey Mulligan first met at a Christian youth camp in the UK when they children. They kept in touch as pen pals after camp and later reconnected as adults and married in 2012.
Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe
Hockey legend Bobby Orr met fellow Hall of Famer and personal hero Gordie Howe when he was a young teenager at the now defunct Camp Wee Gee Wa near Parry Sound, Ontario.
Larry David and Richard Lewis
Television producer Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and comedian Richard Lewis met at Camp All American in Cornwall-On-Hudson, New York when they were both 13. They didn’t like each other at camp but later became friends and collaborators.
Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
NBA legends Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar met on the court in the late ’60s and early ’70s when Chamberlain was on the Lakers and Abdul-Jabbar the Milwaukee Bucks but their first meeting came on a basketball court at the summer camp Kutsher’s Sports Academy when it was in the Catskills (it’s since moved to the Berkshires).
The meeting happened at the Maurice Stokes Game hosted at the camp, according to the camp’s website. Chamberlain was apart of the camp every year from its inception in 1968 to his death in 1999.
Neil Diamond and Pete Seeger
Pop Singer Neil Diamond first met Pete Seeger while he was a camper at Surprise Lake Camp in New York in 1957. Seeger lived near the camp and was a regular visitor there. After hearing Seeger perform, Diamond was inspired to learn the guitar and start writing songs of his own when he returned to his home in Brooklyn. The A.V. Club recently listed Diamond’s encounter with Seeger as one of 12 pivotal moments in his life and career.
Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman
Influential folk singers Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman first met as camp counselors at Camp Wo-Chi-Ca in New Jersey.
The two would later join Pete Seeger and Lee Hays to form the folk group The Weavers in November 1948. Camp Wo-Chi-Ca was a left leaning summer camp in Port Murray, New Jersey founded in 1934 and closed in the early ’50s in part because of the increasing pressure from Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the activities of his House Un-American Activities Committee.
Sally Ride and Billie Jean King
Astronaut Sally Ride played in a doubles match against tennis great and personal hero Billie Jean King when she was a counselor at the TennisAmerica Camp in Nevada in 1972.
According to the book Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space, Billie Jean King stopped by the camp after her latest Wimbledon victory in August 1972 and participated in a doubles match with camp director Dick Peters against a 21-year-old Sally, who partnered with camp owner Dennis Van der Meer.
OK Go Singer and Bassist
OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash met bassist Tim Nordwind at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan in 1986. Kulash was there for visual arts and Nordwind for theater.
Evanescence Founding Members
Evanescence founding members Amy Lee and former lead guitarist and songwriter Ben Moody met in 1994 at a youth camp in Little Rock, Arkansas. As the story goes, Moody heard Lee playing “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf on the piano.
Ducky Dynasty’s Willie and Korie Robertson
Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie, of A&E reality show Duck Dynasty fame first met as third graders at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca (short for Christian Youth Camp). Korie’s grandparents helped start the camp in 1967, and her parents, John and Chrys Howard, also met at the camp. Korie’s mom is the camp’s director. Their son John Luke also met his wife at camp.