I’ve been coming to The Laurel Foundation since I was 7 years old. As a camper I had amazing experiences and beautiful memories were made thanks to the phenomenal staff and counselors who I looked up to. I wanted to become a counselor one day; it was a dream for mine. But once I turned 18 things changed in my life that blocked my path. This went on for 3 years and of course during those 3 years I felt that something was missing. Goals that I had set for myself came tumbling down one after another. I hit rock bottom and was down there for a while; I lost everything, my dignity, pride, and myself.
I then moved back to my mother’s house, where I started to pick up the pieces and myself. I decided to leave everything behind and start a fresh beginning. Then I remembered The Laurel Foundation (Camp Laurel), where I had encountered great moments, love, and friendship. This was what I was missing, I then asked for an application and printed it out. As I read the application, I felt a sense of relief and was reminded of the support that surrounded me. A few days after I interviewed to be a counselor, I received a call that I had been accepted. I was very excited that I got that chance to be part of camp again. Words couldn’t describe what I was feeling, this was a dream come true for me. From this moment on I felt that nothing could bring me down. I felt accomplished and I knew this time around I would do things right.
The Laurel Foundation means a great deal to me, it’s a part of my life and my second family. It’s a place where we can come together, meet others, interact and build bonds and memories that will last forever. It’s a place where I am not afraid of being myself. It’s a magnificent experience that people can’t understand until they’ve experienced it firsthand.
I’ll admit that as we drove home after Winter Family Camp I cried a lot, not of sadness but of happiness, accomplishment, and appreciation for what it had done for myself and for others. Camp gave me confidence in myself and although it took me a while, it broke down several walls that I had up. The Laurel Foundation has made me the man I am today. I don’t know what I would have done and how I would have turned out without Camp Laurel and The Laurel Foundaiton in my life. THANK YOU!