Our Stories

November Spotlight- ScrollUp Consulting

ScrollUp Consulting has completely changed the face of The Laurel Foundation by creating a brand new website for our nonprofit! ScrollUp Consulting made designing a new site to better serve our clients and donors seem like a breeze, and created a beautiful new platform for us in no time at all.

Not only did ScrollUp Consulting create a simplified and modernized site that works across multiple devices, they also made sure that our website was secure, fast, and most of all, accessible. Its obvious to see why their company is considered a top contender in the web development, computer support, and cloud integration field!

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The Laurel Foundation was connected to ScrollUp Consulting through its amazing founder, Sellers Stough. Sellers, aka Celery, has been donating his time at Camp Laurel since 2001 as a camp counselor. Sellers has volunteered in many different roles within our programs and has been a wonderful advocate for our nonprofit within the community. We could not ask for a more dedicated, passionate, and supportive volunteer!

Thank you Sellers for all that you have done for The Laurel Foundation through your work as a volunteer and through your professional skill sets as a web designer. You have helped make such a huge impact on the children, youth and families The Laurel Foundation serves throughout the years!


See all of the great work Sellers Stough and ScrollUp Consulting does by visiting their website, scrollupconsulting.com or adding them on Facebook. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them for all your web development and computer support needs- we could not give them a higher recommendation!!!

Margot AndersonNovember Spotlight- ScrollUp Consulting
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Why I’m A Camp Laurel Counselor

Working as a camp counselor has made me who I am today. Through volunteering at programs like Camp Laurel, I have gained confidence, found self-acceptance, and secured a happiness deep within myself that I would not have found otherwise. Although everyone has their own journey that brings them to camp, I wanted to share my personal story with you here.

It was on a dark and stormy day when I stumbled across Camp Laurel. Ok, so maybe not dark and stormy, but it was a memorable day in 2014 for sure! I was sittin’ on my fencepost, chewin my bubble gum (chew, chew, chew chew), playin with my yo yo (wee-oo wee-oh), when along came Caaaaaammmp Laurel. (Ah, couldn’t resist adding in a camp song!) Having a family member who passed away from AIDS, I felt an immediate personal connection to the non-profit and wanted more than anything to get involved.

I made it my mission as a newly adopted member of the Camp Laurel family to peal bananas, raise the roof, pop the corn, mash potatoes, and put a smile on all of my campers faces. I wanted to help them forget whatever troubles they may be grappling with, even if just for a while. I gave these kids a friend, someone judgement free who too wasted all of mom’s money on endless amounts of bazooka zooka bubble gum. But more importantly, I gave these kids someone who cared about them, because I know from personal experience how important having that caring person in your life can be.


For the majority of my young adult life my sexuality was a secret weighing heavily on my heart. Fear of losing friends, fear of disappointing parents, and fear of society were major factors that kept me from accepting this part of myself. With time this secret broke my spirits and the shame I felt for being gay made me incredibly unhappy.

Whenever I was upset growing up my mom would say “Laugh. It makes you feel good. And if you can make someone else laugh, that makes you feel even better. Go make someone laugh today.” It only took me what, 18 years? but I’d finally decided to heed her advice. Make someone laugh…

I thought back to the last time I had tons of fun and made some awesome folks laugh and immediately thought of camp.

About eight-some odd years ago I went to camp as a camper and the memories that experience gave me are some of the happiest memories I have to this day. At camp I got to develop my communication skills with others. I got to try new things I’d never done before like canoeing, horse-back riding, and hiking across large expanses of uneven terrain carrying half my body weight in a backpack on my back (fun stuff, really, that last one in particular). But what I enjoyed most about my experience as a camper was that I was able to make life-long friends, have fun, and let my worries fly out the window.

Seriously, my biggest worry as a camper was the bug issue. I hated bugs then, and I’m not PARTICULARLY fond of them now. But how awesome is it that I can say with complete honesty that THAT was my biggest worry!

So several years ago I decided to go back to camp, only this time I was going back as a counselor. Fortunately for me, my experiences as a counselor did not disappoint.


Volunteering at programs like Camp Laurel not only gave me a chance to get involved, but also offered me a judgement free environment where I could once again forget about the worries in my own life and just make a child laugh. In time I found myself tapping into these parts of myself that had been dormant for so long, waiting to break free. Acting silly, dressing in crazy costumes, singing and dancing to crazy songs; I felt happy and it felt amazing. The gratification I received over the years in return for all the silliness and hard work was far more than I’d expected. There’s no greater feeling in the world than watching a kid smile, and thinking “wow, I played a part in that.”


As someone who felt different and isolated in my younger years, I found it fascinating coming back as a counselor  to see what diverse group camp brings together! The kids and many of my fellow counselors were a unique and awesome bunch from all walks across the globe, but at camp none of our differences mattered. What mattered at the end of the day wasn’t what made you different, it was what brought you together.

I made life long friends as a counselor, and without even realizing it, BOOM! (chicka boom), I’d grown into a more confident individual.

I’ve reached a place now where I’ve found confidence, self-acceptance, and happiness deep within myself and I know I couldn’t have done it without the self-esteem and confidence boost working as a camp counselor has given me. Laughter healed me just like my mom said it would and now, 5 years later, I am still bo diddly boppin’ back to my pizza shop and volunteering at summer camps across California, healing others, one laugh at a time.

-Dimples (aka Alishia)


Margot AndersonWhy I’m A Camp Laurel Counselor
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The Mad Hatter Party

Just in time for Halloween, The Laurel Foundation is hosting it’s first theme party…The Mad Hatter.  Held at the famous Lantern House in Venice Beach California, the event will have a hosted bar and food.  Prizes will be given out for the best costume and the best hat.  So whether you like to dress up or not, a hat is all it takes to come to this PARTY!  All proceeds will go to The Laurel Foundation and help to send children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS to our programs in 2016.

So save the date and purchase your tickets today!  Tickets are $50 and Sponsorships are available.

Hurry, as this party WILL SELL OUT FAST!



TIME: 7-10PM


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For more information please contact Ari Ruiz at The Laurel Foundation’s office – 626-683-0800

Margot AndersonThe Mad Hatter Party
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19th Annual Golf Tournament

The Laurel Foundation’s 19th Annual Golf Tournament will be held on November 2, 2015 at the prestigious MountainGate Country Club.  The day is filled with 18 holes of golf, skill testing golf contests (putting, longest drive, etc.) with great prizes, and a fully catered after party and awards show that will include a DJ, hosted bar, and more!

Join us as a Corporate Sponsor or individual player and help us to send over 500 children, youth and families to The Laurel Foundation’s programs in 2016.



Margot Anderson19th Annual Golf Tournament
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Summer Camp 2015

Summer Camp 2015 – This summer, The Laurel Foundation ventured to a new location to host its Summer Camp.  Hosted at Jameson Ranch Camp, just outside the Sequoia National Park, this 500 acre camp site was just what our campers wanted!  Like never before, the children were introduced to so many new activities, such as mountain boarding, horseback riding, sailing, kayaking, zip lining, rock climbing and more.  The kids truly had the time of their life!

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This camp program offered not only brand new activities, but offered program time in which the kids could work towards achieving personal goals and enhancing their skill sets.  The kids got to sleep under the starts in open cabins, and work on a farm tending the small animals, collecting eggs in the morning for breakfast and milking a cow.  They learned how important it is to work together as a team to build a community.

When camp ended, all the kids wanted to stay!  The magical world we had created will always be remembered and we look forward to our next summer Camp Laurel at Jameson Ranch Camp!

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Margot AndersonSummer Camp 2015
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October Donor Spotlight- Craig’s Crew

Craig’s Crew has been supporting The Laurel Foundation and the families we serve for years, donating meals for day events, the annual Holiday Party, volunteer training weekends, and so much more! Craig and his team truly have a heart for serving the kids and never hesitate to support our families in any way they can. Whether its grilling up hamburgers for 100 individuals at our Holiday Party or connecting us to resources within the community, Craig’s Crew is always willing to help out and step up.

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Craig’s Crew is not just a strong supporter of The Laurel Foundation, they are also a strong advocate for many other service organizations in the Los Angeles community:

We put a high priority on giving back to our community, to those in need, and to mentoring others to become successful; regardless of their calling or situation.

Thank you Craig for all that you do for The Laurel Foundation and the many other nonprofits and service agencies you support! We so appreciate all that you do for our organization and can’t emphasize what an impact you’ve made on the children, youth and families we serve! We love you Craig’s Crew! See more of the great work Craig Tolliver and his company does by visiting their website, www.craigscrew.com.

Margot AndersonOctober Donor Spotlight- Craig’s Crew
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Confessions of a New Counselor

Camp Laurel was such an amazing and unforgettable experience. I first stumbled upon the Laurel Foundation through an email from my college. I read the short synopsis of what they do for children affected by HIV/AIDS and when I looked more into it, I found the camp counselor position to be very interesting and something I knew I would love to do.

ta9mrConfessions of a New Counselor
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July Donor Spotlight – The North Face

This summer, The North Face is helping The Laurel Foundation get kids excited about exploring the outdoors through The North Face Explore Fund! The North Face Explore Fund is dedicated to helping kids experience the outdoors, and is a tireless advocate of the wonders and transformative nature of the outdoor world. The Explore Fund provides $500,000 annually in grants to nonprofits focused on helping kids get active and get outdoors!

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The Laurel Foundation is honored to partner with The North Face Explore Fund this summer to provide even more dynamic programming for the at-risk children and youth attending our 2015 Summer Camp. Through this exciting program, we will be introducing the kids to a whole new view of the outdoors by providing a week of outdoor education activities, guaranteed to help the kids fall in love with the natural world!

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Join The North Face and The Laurel Foundation’s movement to get kids exploring the natural world by trying a new outdoor activity! There are tons of ways to get get out and get active this summer. Start by joining The Laurel Foundation for free paddle board lessons, swimming, and beach sports at our upcoming Family Beach Day! Give your children a week of outdoor education, including horseback riding, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain boarding, and archery, at our 2015 Summer Camp program!
Adventure is calling!
Margot AndersonJuly Donor Spotlight – The North Face
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Message from a Former Camper

 Hi Everyone my name is “Spike” which is my camp name or Erik in the real world.

I have been fortunate enough to be apart of Camp Laurel and The Laurel Foundation. It has changed my life.

My sister was diagnosis with AIDS and passed when I was 10 years old, She had a son Anthony who was 3 when she passed.

Living life in the real world was hard, people were scared of us. At that time people where prejudice, crude, and scared.

It was like I had to be secretive about my sister having AIDS and then secret about her passing, just to fit in. My family was devastated we all were finding ways to cope with life and it was hard.

My mom, went on to educated women about HIV/AIDS and got connected with organizations to learn more about the virus, and she found The Laurel Foundation.

Thank God She did. Home life was a bit of a mess: my parents were divorcing, my grandfather passed away, and I was giving in to peer pressure. I was a very rebellious child at the age of 13. I went to my first camp and I will never forget it.

paddles blogIt was a Fall Camp Laurel session and it was a trip to Space Camp in Northern California. I had never really been outside of Los Angeles so I was scared to meet all these new people. I came to realize that it was so much fun and then something happened. I got into some serious trouble. I was very rebellious and was told I would be sent home. Scared I pleaded that I would change my behavior. I have never been in a place where I was so accepted, free from society and free from the prejudices of HIV/AIDS. I didn’t want to go home. Margot Anderson (the Founder), bless her heart, saw something in me and gave me a second chance. Needless to say I was good from then on. I even received the Apollo award, at a later camp program, for being such a great role model for other campers. Me a role model, yes! From that one moment at my first camp my life was forever changed. I found a family that understood me, an extension of who I am.

I loved camp so much that when I started to grow up and it was time for me to move on … I just couldn’t! I decided to become a camp counselor.

Being the first or one of the first people to go from camper to counselor was an amazing experience. It gave me huge respect for the counselors I had as a child and all counselors. It was long hours, but so worth it. Plus, I had the energy for it. I loved my cabin kids and I saw myself in them at their age. Now I was able to give back to them, what The Laurel Foundation had given to me so graciously. It was the best time I had ever had.

DSC_8415v2But it didn’t stop there! So remember how I said my mom was a bit of a crusader well it’s true my mom suggested we create an AIDS Ride for The Laurel Foundation.

The ride was suggested to The Laurel Foundation by my mom and with the help of MANY, it was created. It was FANTASTIC and continues today as an annual fundraiser for The Laurel Foundation! My mom rode every year up until she couldn’t and then I jumped in and rode. My first bike was a mountain bike, heavy and rough. Every year after that first ride I would get better things … like a bike!

It is my highlight of my year to raise money and give back to The Laurel Foundation. Riding for the kids is an amazing experience.

The Laurel Foundation has change my life and given me a sense of self, honesty, fun, and family.

I am fortunate to have The Laurel Foundation in my life because if they weren’t, my life would be VERY DIFFERENT.

Thank you Margot for that second chance.

Thank you Laurel Foundation.

aka Erik

ta9mrMessage from a Former Camper
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What Camp Laurel Means To Me

The Laurel Foundation became part of my life when I was 7 years old. My mom went to North County Health Services and they mentioned it to her as a way for me to be around other kids that were also affected by HIV/AIDS. My sister and I had an understanding that our mom was sick, but we didn’t really know exactly what it was.

ta9mrWhat Camp Laurel Means To Me
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