Mission and History of Camp Bob Waldorf

Camp Bob Waldorf enriches the lives of youth throughout Greater Los Angeles with the tools and support system they need to thrive from elementary school to college and beyond, driven by the values of community, inclusion, identity and respect. Through our residential summer camp programs, weekend retreats, outdoor backpacking trips, college scholarship programs and mentoring activities, we provide over 1,500 underserved children each year – regardless of their family’s financial ability – with a safe, nurturing environment where they learn to be creative, responsible, and thoughtful individuals.

Our non-profit camp is owned and operated by Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA) and sprawls over 112 acres in the beautiful Verdugo Hills in Glendale, California. We are accredited by the American Camp Association, which approves camps’ standards of operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff.

Camp Bob Waldorf prohibits discrimination against any camper, family, or staff member because of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. All personnel responsible for camper recruitment/registration and staff hiring/supervision are charged to support this effort and to respond promptly and appropriately to any concerns that are brought to their attention.

Key Milestones

  • 1927: First camp program organized. Boys from relief or “marginal” families were eligible for a recreational program that stressed character-building activities in facilities of other organizations.

  • 1938: Camp Max Straus opens its doors in its first and current facility in the Verdugo Mountains of Glendale, California. Health becomes a major area of focus as the camp served youngsters considered undernourished and in need of a special diet, rest, and closely supervised activities.

  • 1945: Eligibility focus shifts to boys with problems in their relationships at home, at school, and in the community, as well as for boys with certain physical limitations, on a non-sectarian, multi-racial basis.

  • 1948: United Way assumes a major share of the financial responsibility for camp.

  • 1980s: Camp becomes coed. A teen backpacking program was started in the late 80’s thanks to long term funding from the estate of Victoria Witherbee. The program was named “Witherbee Wilderness Camp,” known simply as “Witherbee.”

  • 1990s: A Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program was established to prepare teens for staff positions in the camp community through skills in leadership, safety, and programming.

  • 2013: Kibbutz Bob Waldorf launches, providing camp experiences driven by Jewish values and ritual celebration for children under engaged in Jewish life.

  • 2015: Camp’s name changed to Camp Bob Waldorf on the Max Straus Campus in honor of a former camper and Little Brother, Robert Waldorf.