Margot Anderson

Summer Camp Mulberry Volunteer Flyers

Summer Recruitment Time. Here are our Camp Mulberry volunteer recruitment flyers.

Please share with anyone who might be interested in volunteering! You can download the images and share them on social, in your school, work, or anywhere!

Margot AndersonSummer Camp Mulberry Volunteer Flyers
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Summer Camp Report 2023

SUPPORT, GROWTH, FUN AND AUTHENTICITY

The Laurel Foundation, now celebrating its 31st year of dedicated service to youth affected by HIV/AIDS and transgender/gender-diverse youth, has successfully concluded its 2023 summer camp sessions, warmly welcoming over 120 young participants to its programs. Nestled in the breathtaking San Bernardino National Forest, this program united youths aged 6-17 from across the nation in an emotionally and physically secure environment.

Backed by a team of seven dedicated volunteer medical staff, 11 compassionate volunteer mental health professionals, and 42 enthusiastic volunteer counselors, these young individuals, many of whom were experiencing this kind of acceptance for the first time, were empowered to live authentically.

While Camp Laurel (tailored for youth affected by HIV/AIDS) and Camp Mulberry (designed specifically for trans/gender-diverse youth) follow a traditional camp model, they incorporate optional workshops that enlighten the youths about topics such as gender identity, gender affirmation surgery, HIV education, fostering healthy relationships, self-advocacy, community building, and more. For numerous participants, this marks their first exposure to such vital information from mental health or medical professionals.

Additionally, the youths are imparted essential life skills and provided with coping strategies to help manage anxiety and depression.

The enchantment of camp is a unique experience, known only to those fortunate enough to have encountered it. One parent expressed their heartfelt gratitude to The Laurel Foundation:

“I attended summer camp every year from ages 8 to 17 and LOVED IT… and I’ve always wished for my child to have a similar experience… but for obvious reasons, there were concerns about sending them to a traditional summer camp. We were immensely grateful to discover Camp Mulberry last year… and we anxiously hoped we’d secure a spot this year… you guys absolutely delivered.

Thank you for EVERYTHING you do for all the trans kids you work with year-round. Our child has ADORED everything you’ve done. In fact, I believe one of their favorite aspects of camp was getting to spend time with the counselors. While they enjoy meeting trans kids their age, they get exceptionally excited when they encounter cool, fun, older trans individuals. I think they simply appreciate and almost crave having older trans role models, people who are thriving in the world and convey, without explicitly stating it, that they too can succeed and they are not alone.”

One parent commented “Camp Mulberry has allowed my kiddo the freedom for at least one week out of the year to not feel “othered”. He feels at home with other trans and enby kids and can participate in everything without fear or judgment.”

The Laurel Foundation stands as the nation’s sole cost-free program dedicated specifically to trans/gender-diverse youth and youth affected by HIV/AIDS. This year, it earned the prestigious recognition from Newsweek as one of the “Nation’s Best Summer Camps”. This accolade is a testament to the dedication of the countless volunteers, mental health and medical professionals, and generous donors who ensure the program’s continuation for the sake of these remarkable kids.

With expenses doubling this year to run its programs, The Laurel Foundation diligently worked to ensure that all children who desired to attend could do so. Regrettably, they were unable to accommodate all the youths on the waitlist. Their aspiration for 2024 is to guarantee that every child has the opportunity to attend. To contribute to this noble objective, please visit their website and make a donation. “It’s for the kids!”

Margot AndersonSummer Camp Report 2023
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Camp Mulberry Summer 2022

EXPRESSION, GROWTH, AND A PLACE TO BELONG AT CAMP MULBERRY 2022

Camp Mulberry 2022 is one for the books! As campers arrived at Pathfinder Ranch, their pre-camp jitters started to give way to excitement as they began to see familiar faces of their camp friends and meet their counselors. This year Camp Mulberry was busy with 40 campers aged 9-17. Our counselors were ready to welcome them, and from the very beginning there was bonding and it was clear to see the sparks of life-changing connections beginning to form.

While the week was busy with the classic camp fun: archery, hiking, ropes course, and canoeing, there were also one-of-a-kind offerings, like workshops on Healthy Relationships and Gender Euphoria. These were led by our “help team”, camp volunteers who support the community with mental health expertise. Opportunities to participate in the tried-and-true camp favorites and experience special workshops and moments created just for our population of transgender and gender-diverse campers is what makes Camp Mulberry a truly special place. 

Both of our camps this year were challenged by late summer weather, and just like Camp Laurel, Camp Mulberry was not thwarted by the afternoon downpours of August monsoons. Our campers and counselors adjusted to the changes and challenges of each day and made the most of their time together in cabins and activities. One of the highlights of any camp experience is watching a community grow and figure out how to face each day working together and learning about one another, this year was no exception.

All of our counselors brought their own skills and talents which were put on display through lively and creative evening activities that they designed and led. Campers grasped those opportunities to let their style and humor shine through in everything they did. From a superhero fashion show, complete with superheroes that end transphobia, to an air band competition that got everyone on their feet with hits from Weezer and Guns and Roses performed by cabin groups, to a night of dreaming of a whole new world and what that would look like that at our Dream Vision Gallery night, our campers gave it their all and brought the house down with heart and humor.

Every year, camp ends with a very special campfire that includes skits and sharing, both silly and sincere. This year was especially unique, as it was hosted by one of our Senior campers, who totally rocked it. While the evening always starts out with very, very, very silly skits and songs from each cabin, it’s also a time when we celebrate accomplishments and have a chance to share wishes for the future. This year, for the first time, the Camp Mulberry Legacy award was given out to a former camper who returned as a counselor. As “Bronco” was handed his award, you could hear murmurs from campers as they realized this is something they can work towards, too. 

Closing campfire is also a time to see how our campers have grown during the week, and sometimes over the years. One thing that is consistent, is that as the campers share their hopes and wishes, we are reminded that the camp experience is more needed than ever. Camp Mulberry is a life-changing place for these incredible young people to play and learn and grow, in a place where they are unconditionally accepted for who they are. Being part of this camp is an honor, and it can’t be done without all the different parts of our community playing their role.

None of this would be possible without brave campers who say yes to trying something new, parents who believe in what camp can do, loving counselors and volunteers who understand how to connect and have fun, and the support of medical and mental health professionals to step away from their own busy lives to step into the world of camp, staff members, board members, and donors. Thank you to each person who made this week possible, you were part of something that will stay with campers for the rest of their lives!

Margot AndersonCamp Mulberry Summer 2022
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Camp Laurel Summer 2022 Report

On July 31, 2022, The Laurel Foundation once again hosted its summer camp session for ​children and youth affected by HIV/AIDS. With excitement in the air, 24 counselors and volunteers waited for the bus full of happy campers to arrive. Instead, our first day of camp was greeted by a mountain monsoon, changing plans and forcing both kids and counselors to work together as a team to overcome all the obstacles Mother Nature shared.

But if you’ve been to camp, you know, teams can survive anything! And that we did! The storm came and went but did not wash away our spirits. In fact, the storm brought us all closer together and made this summer’s Camp Laurel even more powerful. We learned that there are times when we need to rely on one another, be open to others’ thoughts and opinions and that communication is key to problem-solving. 

Camp Laurel Summer Camp 2022

The great thing about Camp is that we learn all these life skills and take them back to the “real world”, helping us in our daily lives. The resourcefulness and quick thinking of counselors helped get camp started even as we rearranged in the wild weather, and the patience and resilience of our campers was a reminder to all of us about why we take time out of busy lives to spend a week at camp.

Our goal at The Laurel Foundation is to empower the youth so that they have the tools to build productive, successful lives. We strive to build independence, self-esteem, community, self-advocacy, and communication skills. We do our best to accomplish this by providing an emotionally and physically safe environment, where the kids participate in classic camp activities such as swimming, hiking, mountain biking, archery, high and low ropes, arts and crafts, and more. Thanks to the wonderful partnership we have with Hollywood Heart, we also added activities such as mindfulness, and puppet making! We also had Chef Katie join us again this year!

Through all of these activities, campers set personal challenges, used their creativity, and tried things they wouldn’t usually get to do at home. With the support of their peers, all strived to achieve their goals. We saw campers climb up the high ropes and complete the entire challenge course, learn to ride a bike for the first time, manage to ride over rocks and sticks on the mountain trails, make their first tie-dye shirt, sleep under the open sky and watch shooting stars, roast marshmallows on the campfire and eat s’mores, participate in the hula hoop contest at our Carnival Night, shoot a bulls-eye at archery, or learn how to make a charcuterie board with cheeses and spreads.

By camp’s end, the growth in our campers was evident. Campers who came to camp wanting to learn a new skill and were ready to push their perceived limits, climbed the high ropes, lead an evening program, mastered a new craft, or learned how to cook. For many, learning how to calm one’s self through mindfulness was an unexpected tool they could take home with them to help them through tough times. The things that are gained at camp have a life-long impact.

For some, the impact of camp is more subtle and has an impact on the heart. Youth that started out hesitant about camp and reluctant to trust their peers, learned that they were accepted for who they are, and as a result, were able to truly enjoy camp as their authentic selves for the week. At the end of the week, teenagers who arrived aloof and uninterested in camp truly did not want to leave. Even after 29 years, it’s clear that what Camp Laurel offers is still relevant and deeply needed for all ages.

So many people make this life-changing experience possible. Thank you to all our community who helped to make Camp Laurel happen this summer. We thank everyone, from our donors, mental help team volunteers, medical volunteers, counselors, and staff. It takes a village, and we are grateful to you all. You gave each camper a week that will live in their hearts for the rest of their lives!

Margot AndersonCamp Laurel Summer 2022 Report
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Trans Youth on Finding Support and Community at Camp Mulberry

Camp Mulberry

GMA logo

By Yi-Jin Yu June 30, 2022

At first glance, Camp Mulberry, a weeklong summer camp in California for children and teens, might look just like any other sleepaway camp that offers kids the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. But what makes Camp Mulberry extraordinary is that it’s a cost-free camp specifically for transgender and gender-diverse children and features volunteer staffers who are also trans themselves.

Camp Mulberry was established in 2016 by the nonprofit The Laurel Foundation, which runs a camp for kids impacted by HIV and AIDS after they noticed a need for a camp for trans kids.

PHOTO: In past years, Camp Mulberry has been hosted in Big Bear Lake, California. This year, Camp Mulberry returns for a weeklong in-person camp in Mountain Center, California.

Courtesy Camp MulberryIn past years, Camp Mulberry has been hosted in Big Bear Lake, California. This year, Camp Mulberry returns for a weeklong in-person camp in Mountain Center, California.

“We reached out to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and they absolutely said there was a need, and specifically not an LGBTQ camp — there’s definitely those out there, which is definitely needed — but specifically for transgender, gender diversity,” Laurel Foundation CEO and founder Margot Anderson told “Good Morning America,” adding that the camp is named after the mulberry tree, which is capable of switching its sex.

Six years later, there’s still a need. A 2022 study by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ-focused suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization, shows that nearly two in five LGBTQ youth say they live in a community that is unaccepting of LGBTQ people.

A “really special” and inclusive camp

Jordan Held, a licensed clinical social worker, and therapist, has worked with Camp Mulberry for the past five years and is now one of the camp’s co-mental health directors.

“For some of these young people, it’s the first time they’ve ever been around an entire group of people not only that affirms them and supports them, but that’s like them. And so that’s what makes this camp really special,” Held said.

Held said some of the kids who’ve attended Camp Mulberry may be struggling with various issues — from family and peer rejection to self-harm.

“The benefit of having mental health providers as volunteer staff at the camp is that when crises come up, there are professionals who know how to deescalate, how to communicate effectively with these young people and really get on their level. So I like to say that it’s a regular summer camp with therapeutic components,” he added.

Izzy, 10, who first went to Camp Mulberry last summer, was excited to attend and appreciates that the camp provides mental health professionals and counselors.

“If you ever want to talk to someone about something, you can go there and talk to them about it,” she said. “You get to be with the people that are like you. You don’t need to worry about stuff.”

PHOTO: Mati, 14, has attended Camp Mulberry four times so far and has even met one of her best friends at the camp.

Courtesy Camp MulberryMati, 14, has attended Camp Mulberry four times so far and has even met one of her best friends at the camp.

”That extra thing that we can all relate to”

Mati, 14, has been to Camp Mulberry in person three times (and one virtual session in 2020) and says it was at camp where she met one of her best friends.

“I feel like [last year] was … the best year. I made more friends than usual,” Mati said.

“For me, it’s like, I don’t even think about the fact that we’re all trans really that often. It feels like a normal camp and it is a normal camp. It’s really nice and fun. But there is that extra thing that we can all relate to, which I think is nice,” she added, noting that she’s excited to return this summer and reunite with old friends.

Mati’s mother, Cristy Mereles, is a therapist who works with trans youth and said she’s heard from clients who’ve also attended Camp Mulberry.

“A lot of my clients that have the chance to go to Camp Mulberry will say things like, that is a time that their gender noise can just be quiet for a week, gender noise being that inside dialogue, thought patterns that are constantly awake and aware and on guard. Is somebody going to question me going into the bathroom? Is somebody going to question me buying this outfit at the store? Is somebody going to question my gender, period? And they say that for that week, they get a break from that,” Mereles said.

”Inspiring to see how I could be living my life”

Jaxon, also 14, says Camp Mulberry was a “big part” of his 2021.

“It was fun to be in a space with everybody like me. And it felt really inclusive and accepting,” he told “GMA.”

PHOTO: Jaxon, 14, says Camp Mulberry felt "really inclusive and accepting."

Courtesy Camp MulberryJaxon, 14, says Camp Mulberry felt “really inclusive and accepting.”

“They housed everybody by pronouns and age instead of their assigned gender. And there were adults that had gone through transition and it was cool to see people who had met their goals and it was inspiring to see how I could be living my life,” he said.

Zayne attended Camp Mulberry for the first time last year too and, at first, he wasn’t sure if he was fully on board since it was about eight hours from home. But after he arrived, Camp Mulberry counselors welcomed him and soon, he joined in on the fun and games and ended up meeting close friends at camp.

PHOTO: Zayne, 13, describes the activities offered at Camp Mulberry as "epic" and says he loves archery the most.

Courtesy Camp MulberryZayne, 13, describes the activities offered at Camp Mulberry as “epic” and says he loves archery the most.

“I’m so scared of meeting new people, no matter what. So that was a little bit interesting. But I always thought it was pretty cool that we would all be together in a camp,” he said.

The 13-year-old describes the camp, which offered everything from high ropes and swimming to archery — his favorite — and even a fashion show, as an “epic” experience. By the end of the week, Zayne said he was sad to leave but he’s looking forward to returning again this summer.

“I think the fact that a bunch of people from the LGBTQ community have the opportunity to go and be in one camp where it’s specifically all of us and we can just go there and hang out and be totally normal to society … it’s nice that we can do that but then not be bothered by anyone else,” he reflected. “We can all hear about things and learn things but also just have a totally normal camp.”

Like Zayne, Jaxon, Izzy, and Mati, Justice Smith is excited to return to Camp Mulberry but this time, it’ll be his first year as a counselor.

“I had that experience. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so fun. I would love to give back to other trans kids,” Smith, 19, told “GMA” of his desire to become a counselor.

PHOTO: Justice Smith is a former Camp Mulberry camper and told "GMA" he's excited to return as a counselor and introduce a new generation of campers to the Camp Mulberry community.

Courtesy Justice SmithJustice Smith is a former Camp Mulberry camper and told “GMA” he’s excited to return as a counselor and introduce a new generation of campers to the Camp Mulberry community.

“Now in a way, I am the adult that I looked up to so much and asked a million questions about their life and I have a good life and I’m doing things that I want to do with my life. So I am excited to share that with a new generation,” he said.

Head couneslor Kaylie Love Murphey, who is openly proud of being transgender, says bringing the traditional camp experience alive for young trans kids in particular is an “amazing experience” and means so much to her.

PHOTO: Kaylie Love Murphey first started volunteering as a Camp Mulberry counselor in 2018 and will return as head counselor this year.

Courtesy Camp MulberryKaylie Love Murphey first started volunteering as a Camp Mulberry counselor in 2018 and will return as head counselor this year.

“I grew up going to camp. I was in Boy Scout camp when I was a kid. And even as a kid, there’s always something off,” Murphey said. “I couldn’t be myself at camp. And when I heard about the experience that these campers can be themselves. It just sounded like an amazing experience that I wanted to help make happen.”

Through camp, Murphey hopes to instill the idea that support is out there for trans children and that they’re not alone.

“They can learn that not only is it OK to be transgender,” she said. “There’s millions of people going through the same journey that [they’re] going through. And there’s millions of people that have already gone through certain struggles and we can support each other. And that’s a beautiful experience.”

Margot AndersonTrans Youth on Finding Support and Community at Camp Mulberry
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Camp Mulberry – Summer 2021

Camp Mulberry, already unique in itself, was especially remarkable this year because it was the very first year we used the name: Camp Mulberry! For 4 years, this camp was known as “Camp Laurel Session 2” while we searched for a name that captured the essence of this very special camp. Camp Mulberry was named after the mulberry tree, which is unique in that it is gender fluid. The new Camp Mulberry name reflects the love, spirit, and PRIDE of who this camp represents.

This summer, we traveled to a new camp site, Pathfinder Ranch, with all new activities for them to explore. Upon arrival, campers could see the horses, chickens, and alpacas waiting to greet them along with all our volunteers! After COVID tests and check-in, cabin groups got to unpack, unwind, and meet their cabin mates. With social distancing in mind, our first evening program brought all the cabins together for LGBTQIA+ & Disney Trivia! Campers loved testing their own knowledge and found that maybe when they didn’t have the answer, a teammate did! It was the perfect way to develop a sense of unity among the cabins.

Another special factor about this particular camp: this was the first time we welcomed campers ages 6-9 years old which was a huge step into independence for these campers! For its first 4 years, Camp Mulberry was reserved for transgender/gender diverse youth ages 10-17, and this year, our older campers got to model the pride and culture of our camp for the new youngsters!

Creating and keeping alive camp traditions was a huge part of what really brought us all together this year. Thanks to Lovebug, one of our Head Counselors, we were able to do our traditional flag ceremony where we raise a pride flag to signal the start of camp and mark us as a community united in pride. Lovebug made it even more incredible this year by revealing a custom flag that had bright, beautiful rainbow pride colors AND our new Camp Mulberry logo! It was truly powerful moment where we really let campers know they were safe and accepted.

Our volunteers did an amazing job creating a space where campers felt empowered and safe to get out of their comfort zones. Connecting and meeting new friends needed more support this year (since we had spent a year in isolation during the pandemic) and volunteers did a great job helping campers navigate a new “normal”. Additionally, the new campsite was home to creatures and animals not seen at camp before, which made it a space where campers could explore and share new experiences with their cabin mates. Campers got to safely hold and learn about turtles and snakes and hang with goats, alpacas, chickens, pigs, and horses! Luckily, Pathfinder Ranch staff were well trained and knew how to help put everyone at ease as they interacted with the animals. Our campers are so awesome for being open to new experiences!

This summer, we introduced our beloved C.I.T. (Counselors in Training) program (at Camp Laurel) to campers at Camp Mulberry so that they could dive deeper into leadership, advocacy, and communication within camp and in their lives outside of camp. Our campers had great discussions and even got some preparation for interviews and applications. Despite never seeing this program in the past, our seniors stepped up to the plate and even lead our final campfire and talent show.

Campers also enjoyed traditional camp activities such as arts & crafts, archery, high ropes, and pool time. Arts & crafts proved to be a favorite this year as many friendships were solidified with friendship bracelets! These bracelets were proof that our campers were able to develop meaningful connections that will last them a lifetime.

Below are just a few of the wonderful emails we have received from camper parents.

“She reported that she found her people – she has an increased confidence and pride – over all a great experience she hasn’t stopped talking about it and would like to connect with friends she met at camp.” Camper Parent

“My camper shines after camp. It really gives them such a boost of happiness and confidence.” Camper Parent

“My child had the opportunity to be independent, make new friends due to an environment conducive to getting to know their cabin mates well, chance to try participate in activities they would normally avoid (eg, horseback riding, swimming in lakes), increased confidence and increased interest in crafting and drawing.” Camper Parent

Margot AndersonCamp Mulberry – Summer 2021
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Camp Laurel – Summer 2021

Camp Laurel was a huge success this summer even during a pandemic. We knew how important it would be to have this camp for the kids so that they could reconnect and make new friends. After spending over a year at home in isolation, we knew leaving home and their families would be difficult, but our campers took that leap of faith knowing camp is a second home and a safe space.

This year’s theme is P.R.E.S.S. Play, which was all about unpausing our lives, learning from the past year and finding ways to get back to our ‘normal’ lives. Our goal was for campers to learn how to PERSIST and reach any goal they set, RISE above any hardship, EXPRESS their true and authentic selves, gain the STRENGTH to speak up for themselves and out about the things they care for, and the SPIRIT to make a difference in the world.

The first day, campers were dropped off in a very organized and safe manner. Each one was given a COVID test before joining their cabin AKA their “safety bubble” for the week to ensure everyone would leave camp healthy and would not put anyone at home at-risk. Once with their cabins, campers got to unpack, meet their cabin mates and create a cabin name. Although it was important to keep masks on and stay in our bubbles, all cabins were still able to be together (socially distanced) during meals and evening programs which was so valuable for the sense of community. A big shout-out to our counselors for keeping campers safe and reminding them the importance of the masks and bubbles!

The first evening program was our fabulous Runway Show where cabins worked as a unit to create an outfit for their counselors out of recycled materials. Campers were able to get so creative with the supplies, EXPRESS themselves and even wrote stories to share with other cabins that brought their designs to life! This was a great ice breaker program that encouraged campers to speak in front of the group and EXPRESS themselves through their costume!

The next morning, cabins were off to enjoy activities like archery, low ropes, arts & crafts, sports, water fun, and more! These programs invited campers to step out of their comfort zones, RISE to try new things, step up as leaders, and get creative. Water fun was especially fun since we were up in the mountains and had the sun beating down on us. One of our counselors, Shout Out, re-created her incredible dunk tank for campers and counselors to give trivia a SPLASH! This allowed campers to have fun in a safe space with their cabin. Another great activity was gaga ball which was also made possible by Shout Out and her cabin, THANK YOU EXPLORERS! Each program encouraged campers to explore a new aspect of themselves to build onto. Low ropes was all about trusting oneself, trusting another person, and encouraging others. Arts & crafts was where campers could EXPRESS themselves, be that through a self-portrait, tie- dye shirt, or friendship bracelets. Archery, reminded campers how important practice is and PERSISTING through challenges in order to reach a goal.

If you ask our younger campers what they want to be when they get older, many will say: a C.I.T. (Counselor In Training) which is a long-standing tradition for senior campers of classes focused on enhancing valuable life, leadership, and other skills. The program looked different this year, but we wanted to ensure our seniors got a glimpse into it so that they do not miss out on the experience. Spicy, a former camper and C.I.T. herself, lead the classes this year and really gave our seniors an unforgettable experience! One of the classes helped prep our campers for various interviews and applications which they can take with them when they want to get jobs or apply for schools. The whole week prepared them to step up as leaders for our Final Campfire and be our MCs which was great for our younger campers to see the older ones stepping out of their comfort zones!

We are so proud of our summer camp this year. With the help of our volunteers, staff, donors Board of Directors and our entire Camp family, we were able to provide an emotionally and physically safe space, 100% COVID free for each everyone! Campers went home with a sense of community, independence, and feeling more confident in their abilities. Camp Laurel built back the community that so desperately needed to connect, we are truly grateful for all the support in making summer Camp happen this year. THANK YOU!

Here are just a few of the wonderful letters we have received from camper parents.

“Both girls love the experience and enjoy knowing new people. As well as being exposed to new and wild adventures.” Camper Parent

“Both my campers love all what camp had to offer, they both made new friends and got to experience a new environment.” Camper Parent

“My camper has been able to find activities they did at camp to entertain themselves around the house. She also has not talked about a traumatic event that took place about a month before camp.” Camper Parent

Margot AndersonCamp Laurel – Summer 2021
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2021 Volunteer of the Year!

The Laurel Foundation proudly presents our 2021 Volunteer of the Year:

RENEGADE!

The Laurel Foundation would like to extend a huge CONGRATULATIONS AND THANK YOU to our 2021 Volunteer Of The Year – RENEGADE! We first met Renegade in 2017 when we partnered with a student run organization at UCLA known as the Pediatrics AIDS Coalition (PAC). He brought such positivity and energy to every event he attended and the kids were drawn to his friendly nature. Renegade is always ready to lend a helping hand to campers and fellow volunteers to ensure everyone feels included!

Part of our goal is to ensure the professional and personal growth of campers and our volunteers. Renegade applied to intern with us despite a busy schedule at school and worked over 10 hours a week with us. Whether it was helping plan events, recruit new campers and volunteers, help raise money for events, Renegade was always ready and eager to step up and help out! We asked Renegade to share about his journey with us: “My experiences with Camp Laurel have taught me so many lessons that it is hard to keep track. Though in a time when it’s easy to feel disconnected from others, Camp has shown me the value behind breaking down my boundaries and embracing my sillier side to build trust and rapport with those around me. Never have I felt more like myself then when I’m surrounded by our Camp community, and I couldn’t be more grateful for such a feeling.”

“Given all The Laurel Foundation has provided me, including the bonds formed with campers, volunteers, and staff, I always feel more than eager to return to each camp!”

Thank you Renegade for the endless love and bright spirit you bring to every event you attend. We are thrilled to have Renegade return to his second camp this year as a Head Counselor, a role dedicated to counselors that support and help lead all counselors to ensure a great camp experience! We greatly appreciate your commitment to serving all of our at-risk youth and their families! Congratulations Renegade!

Margot Anderson2021 Volunteer of the Year!
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GRATITUDE: A Camp Laurel Cookbook

We are so excited to announce the publication of Gratitude: A Camp Laurel Cookbook. The cookbook is a fundraiser, with special family recipes submitted by our Camp Laurel supporters. We hope you will enjoy this very special book. Perfect gift for the holidays! To arrive before Christmas you must order before December 8, 2020.

Purchase

Margot AndersonGRATITUDE: A Camp Laurel Cookbook
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Launch Your Dreams!

Continuing our mission has never been so crucial. Our virtual programs have served as a vital tool to keep our campers and volunteers connected during this time of social distancing.

Launch Your Dreams was the first of our virtual day programs and guided campers on a journey of how to make their dreams come true. Campers created vision boards to help them picture their ideas and plan the steps they can take to make them a reality. Many campers came up with incredible ideas to support people in situations that our campers have faced or been affected by.  One camper that has struggled with mental health designed a plan for writing/journaling kits that include pens, stickers, and positive affirmations and writing prompts for those struggling with mental health.

 Athletics holds a special place in the heart of one of our campers. His dream is to open a gym for the best athletes from all over to come and train at.

Stray cats have found their way into the dreams of another one of our campers. His dream is to start a Foundation to find loving homes for stray cats, which he has already started in his own community!

With the support and encouragement of our volunteers, campers left the program feeling empowered and capable of making these dreams come true!

Ready to inspire the next generation? Join us for our next virtual program and support our campers! Volunteers must be 18 years old and pass our application and interview process.

Looking to participate: Email Andrea: ARodriguez@Laurel-Foundation.org

Looking to volunteer: Email Lisa: LHardiman@Laurel-Foundation.org

Margot AndersonLaunch Your Dreams!
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