N ext year, we’re going to the Bahamas! That’s what Korie Robertson thinks every year just before Christmas. Although filming for the Robertson family’s show Duck Dynasty has wrapped until January, it’s the beginning of hunting season and the annual holiday activities with all the brothers, aunts, grandparents and cousins that can get a little crazy…and fun! But let’s back up to where it all began. In West Monroe, Louisiana, Korie Howard grew up the oldest of two siblings—a brother and a sister. Her parents, John and Chrys Howard, were the type of folks who always had a home with an opened door. While the kids were growing up, the Howards had teen church at their house every Sunday night. And as a matter of fact, they still do—even though they no longer have any teens of their own, except for the grandkids. “It was just a real hospitable home,” Korie reflects. “We always had people living with us.” Their guest bedroom was never empty, whether it was a teenager who needed a place to stay, a family that had just moved to the area and didn’t have a house yet or several mothers and children who came to them from an abusive situation. 24 MTL Magazine / www.mtlmagazine.com “I loved having babies in the home,” Korie recalls. “I got to be a little mamma for a couple of years while they lived with us until they could get back on their feet.” In fact, two of the mothers who lived with the Howards actually chose adoption for their children. Since then, Korie and her family have been contacted by those children who are now adults and have been blessed to hear how much her family meant to their family at that time. Throughout her years at home, Korie’s parents owned different companies, including Howard Publishing, and worked at the summer camp her granddad started, Camp Ch-Yo-Ca (short for Christian Youth Camp). With her mom as the camp director, and later the head director, “our family basically lived out there during the summer,” Korie shares. “It was a big part of our life.” But something also happened at Camp Ch-Yo-Ca when Korie was only in third grade. She met a fourth grade boy named Willie Robertson. Willie and Korie fell in love under the stars on a moonlit walk…well, kind of. Every Thursday night, the camp had a “moonlight hike.” Granted, Korie admits, it was right after dinner and it wasn’t even dark; but still, the hike was a big deal for the campers as it was determined who would ask whom to walk with him. When Willie asked Korie to go with him, she was over the moon. “I thought he was the cutest thing I’d ever seen,” she says.