About Arrowbear Music Camp


In 1942 Fred and Edna Ohlendorf (he was Supervisor of Music for Long Beach School District) wanted to give his All City Junior High Orchestra an outing at the end of a very successful summer season of wartime effort performances. They headed to Arrowbear where F.J. Schinnerer (Edna’s father) had a church camp. For one week the fifty-six campers combined musical studies with an outdoor mountain vacation in an extremely rustic situation culminating in a concert at camp. Campers had a very worthwhile experience and parents and teachers saw the value of a musically oriented vacation. The seed was planted. The next year everyone wanted to return. The retreat grew into a multi-session summer camp with full activities.


  1. To develop a deeper love and understanding of music by giving campers a balanced program of music which includes playing and singing, listening, as well as information about composers, musicians, etc.
  2. To provide musical youth with a mountain vacation in the beautiful out-of-doors away from the distractions of city life and the strife and turmoil of world conditions.
  3. To give young people a camp experience, where under the supervision of experienced teachers, they get valuable experience in getting along harmoniously and working together co-operatively.
  4. To give young people a wholesome, healthy program of regular hours, good food, plenty of sleep, and everything that makes for a healthy life.
  5. To develop character and leadership in youth—the future citizens of our country and world.

I believe in music as an enrichment for anyone, and I believe that the more they can perform in beautiful organizations of great music and get inspiration and happy memories of great pieces performed...the richer their lives will be.— Fred Ohlendorf

Times have changed, the camp has grown and thousands of campers have come through. The camp is still run by the same family and we continue to give musical youth the thrilling camp experience that has become so dear in the hearts and memories of our alumni.


A cornerstone of our program is the idea that the musical experience is enhanced by the social connections between all of the campers. To this end we involve all the campers in the camp activities and focus on large group musical products. We also guide the campers through concerns as a group to create a large circle of bonded friends. Our staff works hard to downplay the competitive nature of many musical and social experiences.

At Arrowbear we are proud to offer summer camp programs for young people who love to make music. We focus on creating a healthy, fun atmosphere for those who want to come to the mountains and make music with others. Many of our alumni have gone on to prestigious music schools and professional orchestras or have become music educators.

The rustic setting and camp routine encourage thoughtful moments mixed with the music and fun. Campfires add strength towards personal growth and the developing group of friendships at the end of each day. As a result when our sessions end the campers know and have regard for each other. This adds up to beautiful music, great friends and timeless memories.


The camp is located between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is on 100 forested acres, touching national forest, at an altitude of 6,300 feet.

Most of our time is spent outdoors under an oak and pine tree canopy. Full group rehearsals take place in tarp-covered cement “bowls”. Other facilities include a dining-social-concert hall and kitchen, snack bar/camp store, first aid building, “O” (administration) building, a swimming pool, and several other general purpose buildings and rehearsal areas.

The separate sleeping areas each consist of a barracks style dorm with bathrooms, an open-air cabin and a tarp-roofed porch. The closeness and arrangement of the living quarters add to the “one big family” group experience.

The wood exteriors blend with the beautiful rustic setting of the woods and rocky mountain terrain of the area.