PORTLAND, Ore. --
Camp Rosenbaum, held annually on the Oregon coast, has long held a special place in the hearts of many Oregonians. The camp was founded by Oregon Air National Guard Brigadier General (ret.) Fred Rosenbaum, a holocaust refugee, World War II veteran, Chairman of the Housing Authority of Portland, and at one point, commander of the Oregon Air National Guard.
Rosenbaum’s experiences as a child greatly shaped his life as an adult. Having escaped the Nazi occupation of Austria at the age of twelve and eventually relocating to the United States, he enlisted in the U.S. Military after graduating high school to fight in World War II.
Rosenbaum’s escape from the Nazis gave him the opportunity to become a U.S. citizen and to serve his country. The hate and destruction incited by the Nazi’s rise to power formed Rosenbaum’s belief that everyone has a responsibility to help each other, and to be good citizens.
“The world is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. We have to learn to live together,” Rosenbaum said during a National Holocaust Remembrance Day speech at Portland Air National Guard Base in April 2009.
Rosenbaum’s experience while serving as the Chairman of the Housing Authority of Portland for 15 years, inspired him to establish a camp which would serve at-risk and underprivileged youth. He wanted to give the kids an opportunity to spend a week every summer having fun and just being kids, while at the same time, teaching them the value of being good citizens of the world. His accomplishments and devotion to the state of Oregon earned him the title of “Oregon Treasure” in a Joint Oregon House Resolution in 2010.
Since the inception of the camp, Oregon Guardsmen, first responders, and Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland) employees have volunteered to fulfill a variety of positions with the goal of enriching the experience of campers.
Camp attendees learn the value of team work, cooperation, and respect through a variety of goal-oriented activities. Something as simple as gathering wood for a fire demonstrates that cooperation and collaborative work help the team find success.
Camp Rosenbaum teaches kids to see their own potential to accomplish great things, and to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
“The greatest blessing…was to come to this country, to become a citizen, and to utilize this citizenship to help other people,” said Rosenbaum.
Rosenbaum passed away in January 2010, but his camp continues to make a positive impact in the lives of children and likewise, the volunteers who carry on the tradition that started over 50 years ago.
Of note: The camp was held for 49 consecutive years. Camp Rosenbaum 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, Camp Rosenbaum has continued to support local children. In 2020, Operation Lemonade kicked off. This effort involved the donation of 1,000 backpacks to low-income children in the community. Bags were filled with fun camp activities for kids to enjoy. Additionally, Camp Rosenbaum put out a variety of videos covering camp activities, daily workouts, as well as good citizen videos. Camp is expected to resume in 2022.
For more information about Camp Rosenbaum, please click here.