We all know all-star funny man (and former camper – BuzzFeed list of Celebs that Went to Camp) Adam Sandler from his countless movies, but now, we are so happy to introduce you to THE man behind the scenes. Doug Robinson is the Head of Television Production at Happy Madison Productions. He is the executive producer of the hit CBS sitcom, Rules of Engagement, and the executive producer of The Goldbergs on ABC. Prior to becoming a producing juggernaut, Doug was an agent for Will Smith, Chris Farley, and Ashton Kutcher – to name a few – and he helped catapult their careers into the big leagues.
So what helped him get to where he is? The path to Hollywood began on the dirt roads of sleepaway camp. Ten years at camp certainly helped mold him into family man and show biz success that he is today.
We had the awesome chance to speak with Doug to get his pearls of wisdom, awesome camp memories, and why it was important to him to pass on the gift of camp to his children.
How has camp influenced what you do/your career path?
Camp taught me how to compromise, negotiate, and get along with people, as well as make long-lasting friendships.
Camp taught me independence, but it also teaches you how to socially interact with kids your own age, as well as with counselors. I am still friends with some of my counselors today!
Camp also taught me important life skills like how to make my own bed and fold my own laundry. Camp taught me both how to take care of myself and also kids when I was a counselor.
Camp showed me how to compete as an athlete while still maintaining friendships. For me, this translates into being competitive in business and managing relationships effectively.
Within my world and the writing community, I’ve found common connections with people through the shared experience of going to camp.
What are your top essentials that you packed in your trunk?
New sneakers and I brought my own waterskis.
What are three words to describe your camp experience?
Awesome. Great. Maturing.
Favorite / most requested item on visiting day?
Easy cheese and ritz crackers… someone you only eat in camp
What is your favorite camp word/expression?
“Gangi” — it’s when you flick the back of someone’s neck. I told my son about this camp tradition and when we wrestle he still does it to me!
Any firsts at camp?
Had lots of firsts… first time in a play, waterskiing, first time to take dance lessons, first time camping out.
Do you send your children to camp? Why was it important to do so? Are there any words of wisdom you shared with them?
Absolutely. I loved camp when I was a kid and knew I would send my children. It is such a great place to have no responsibility, to let go, and not have to worry about school. It provides a safe environment where there are rules but you feel like you are in control. I want my kids to be well rounded well informed and camp is so integral to instilling those values.
We wanted to send our son and daughter to a camp that was not in California so they could meet kids from different parts of the country. We found two great camps in Wisconsin, Camp Horseshoe for my son and Chippewa Ranch Camp for my daughter. Both of these camps offered everything we were looking for.
Each of my kids has been in camp for a couple years and every summer before they go I tell them they have to try at least one new thing, and it has to be something that would be out of their daily life that they haven’t done before. Camp not only allows a child to expand their horizons socially but it also provides an opportunity to explore new activities and interests.