By now you surely have heard of the quirky, pop- sensation Lady Gaga, but did you know that she was once a camper here at Hi-Rock? By the age of 4, Gaga taught herself how to play the piano and ten years later she was performing solo at a nightclub. She studied at NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, and was later signed by Akon which led her to release her debut album, The Fame.
We know a lot about the Lady Gaga who we see in the media, but what was she like when she was a camper? We asked Hi-Rock alumna, Brooke Beebe, Gaga’s counselor, a few questions about the now pop-star’s time as a camper at Hi-Rock. Back then, from 1999-2001, everyone knew her as a kind, fun Algonquin camper named Stef. Lady Gaga was like many other Algonquin girls. She loved sailing class, arts & crafts, and of course, getting ready for the social. Stefani was “always happy to help” her cabin mates. Other girls were often “borrowing clothes from her, [and] she did their hair and makeup. [Stefani] loved to help people feel their best.” Even then, her sense of style and helping others feel good about themselves was obvious.
Brooke tells us that Stefani “loved camp and always wanted to be a counselor. She would have been a great one. She was very nurturing.” As many of us can relate to, Hi-Rock was a home away from home for Gaga. “Camp was a pretty special place for her growing up, it was a relief for her to come out here and be a different person for the summer. She always wanted to stay longer.”
Gaga was dedicated to music at a young age, and began to pursue it more seriously during her teen years. Although everyone knew her as a camper who loved to sing, no one knew how hard she had already been working on her musical career. Stef was “always singing,” Brooke recounts. After lights out in the cabin, Brooke, and her co-counselor Regina, had to tell Stef to “stop singing, we are going to get in trouble.” Her response? “One day I will be famous” and she continued to sing from her bunk.
We are very proud of her success as a musician. She is an inspiration to other Hi-Rockers to follow their dreams.