Recently, we sat down with OSRUI Alum and current Board Member Neal F. Sabin.
Years at camp: My family first attended camp in 1966 during a Temple Judea Thanksgiving retreat. My first summer at camp was 1967. I was homesick the first two weeks of a six-week stay. Needless to say, I got over it. I attended Kallah, Chalutzim and Avodah and Machon programs. In addition, I spent a semester between high school and college at camp in a program called Ma’ayan. While on staff I was a media specialist, leading film, radio and other media-oriented chugim [electives] for campers.
Currently: Vice Chairman of Weigel Broadcasting in Chicago. Creator of five national television networks including MeTV (the number one all classic TV network in the U.S.), Movies!, Heroes and Icons, Decades, and Start TV. In addition, I re-launched WCIU-TV as “The U” in 1995 and have been with Weigel continuously since that date. 87.7 MeTV FM, Chicago’s seventh most popular radio station is also my creation. My job is to manage brands such as these and encourage creative people to deliver compelling programming and concepts to TV viewers and radio listeners.
Fun OSRUI Facts: My parents helped me string a very long antenna all around the camp for our radio station, WOSR, which broadcast on AM 570 for a couple summers while I was on staff. I also went through the dishwasher and fell into the ice machine during my Avodah summer as part of a movie making adventure. I spent a night sleeping on my bed on the Chalutzim wash house roof. My campers put my bed up there, so I slept in it. Ha!
How camp has impacted my life: OSRUI was key in my development from 6th grade through high school. It was the place I was happiest in my young life. I once asked my dad if he was paying people at camp to be nice to me, because camp was where I found so many special people who made me feel special; counselors, rabbis, and of course fellow campers whom I became friends with over the years. My parents always said that it was camp, and it’s influence on me and my sister Karen, that made our home more Jewish. The freedom and encouragement that camp, and particularly Jerry Kaye, gave me to explore my interests in the media were significant in helping me get to where I am today. I have friends made over 40 years ago at camp that still matter in my life, as does the special place at 600 Lac La Belle Drive in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.