It is no secret that the volunteers at The Laurel Foundation are some of the most passionate, caring, and creative individuals you can find. Whether they are running programs, assisting with fundraisers, or acting as mentors our volunteers consistently go above and beyond to assist our families and support the mission of The Laurel Foundation. Within this pool of amazing individuals there are occasionally volunteers that stand out as exceptional, even against this already amazing criterion.
Due to her incredible passion and her dedication to supporting the families we serve, The Laurel Foundation is delighted to announce that Shout Out is our 2014 Volunteer of the Year
To find out more about how we were able to score such an outstanding volunteer, we asked Shout Out how she first got involved with The Laurel Foundation
In 2010 I was volunteering for the organization Team in Training and I wanted my friends Laura Crow (Cheese) and Molly Fite (Sparky) to run a half marathon fundraiser with me. Cheese did NOT want to run with me, so she decided to strike a deal- if I did her charity, then she would do mine. Honestly, I didn’t really want to do it at first. Camp scared me because I had absolutely no experience with kids at all. I never worked at a camp before, or ever even babysat! It was a really intimidating thought. Cheese made it a challenge though, so I said ‘You’re on!’ and applied. As soon as I got to my first day of training, I knew that I had found a place that felt like home. I’ve been a part of the Camp Laurel family ever since.
Since she started, Shout Out has been a steady fixture at both our Summer and Winter Family Camps. Not only has she been an outstanding counselor, she has taken on many different roles at Camp Laurel throughout the years.
Since I started in 2010, I’ve been to six camps. I’ve been a Cabin Counselor three times, the Program Director twice and most recently the Head of Relief. If I had to pick my favorite role at camp, it would be the Program Director. I really enjoy handling all the logistics of the position and it really appeals to my creative nature. Program Director allows you to see camp as a whole and to get to know all our campers from all different cabins.
My favorite memory of camp was when AstroBunny, Coco, and myself were acting as judges for an Evening Program at Future Day this past summer. The campers were competing to see who could transform their cabins into the best planet. After only about fifteen minutes of prep
time, the campers presented their planets to us through stories, skits, and by transforming their cabins through decorations. We thought we knew how creative our campers were, but we were completely unprepared for the cabin tours! All the cabins were amazing, but oh my god, the intermediate boys were absolutely ridiculous! They had such hilarious performances that had us laughing so hard that we actually started crying. It was amazing.
As much as camp has been a big part of Shout Out’s life these past few years, she has been a big part of The Laurel Foundation as well. In addition to taking on many roles at camp, Shout Out has stepped up to support our campers and their families in a myriad of other ways. She is a common presence at The Laurel Foundation’s office, where she regularly takes on some of the less glamorous jobs that keep camp running smoothly- recruiting volunteers for day events, requesting donations for camp supplies, putting together program manuals, and everything else you can think of! Shout Out’s dedication to supporting the children, youth, and families living with HIV/AIDS that The Laurel Foundation serves is beyond compare.
I keep coming to camp because I love being with the kids. I think that our campers are some of the most amazing people in America. They are inspiring and hilarious, and they help put life in perspective for me. Between our campers and the counselor community, Camp Laurel is a place that truly feels like home. Anyone who has met me knows that I have a ton of natural energy. Camp Laurel is a place where I’m accepted for who I am and where what makes me different is what makes me valuable. Camp is filled with unique people, who love each other and Camp Laurel fiercely. While
all camps are great, Camp Laurel is a uniquely magical, special place due to the love our counselors feel for the cause and for camp itself. I know that the kids see how special camp is through the depth of the love that our counselors show.
Shout Out, you have been such an amazing blessing to our organization and we cannot express just how thankful we are to have your support! You are a joy to our campers and counselors alike and we don’t know what we would do without you.