November 2016

2017 Summer Camp Site Visit

Summer Camp is over half a year away, but we couldn’t wait to share the exciting news about our new campsite with you! Last month we took a tour of the amazing Pathfinder Ranch campsite and absolutely fell in love with everything about it! The amazing programming, gorgeous scenery, comfy cabins, and outdoor exploration opportunities absolutely won us over and convinced us that this has to be Camp Laurel’s home for the next year!

We wanted to share our excitement with you, so Gadget took a ton of photos when we went to visit Pathfinder Ranch last month. So lets get going on a quick picture tour!


Coming into Pathfinder Ranch, we were immediately blown away by the amazing scenery. Located in the foothills of the Idyllwild mountains, Pathfinder Ranch provides the ideal setting for camp with rolling hills, wooded trails, and an abundance of natural wonders. Our favorite spot is the onsite lake, complete with ducks, fish and island lookout. 10151426_512436935526876_6201575247935196820_n

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Nothing gets our campers more excited than to interact with animals at camp! Pathfinder Ranch offers some of the best horseback riding instruction in Southern California and gives campers the chance to ride through gorgeous wooded trails in the national park bordering the facilities.

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Campers will also get a chance to help out with the other animals on the site, including chickens, pigs, goats, reptiles, and one special chinchilla!

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The cabins provide the comforts that help our campers (and staff) wind down from a day full of outdoor adventures. We particularly appreciate the connected bathrooms and shower facilities!

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Pathfinder Ranch also has some of the coolest meeting spaces we’ve seen! Imagine holding an all camp program in a room with a climbing wall built on one side, or having the Final Campfire inside a fort!photo-sep-30-10-48-03-am

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Finally, we loved all the programs that Pathfinder Ranch has to offer! You can’t have camp without rock climbing, and Pathfinder Ranch’s multisided rock wall offers a fun program for all experience levels!

Their choose-your-own-adventure climbing tower gives so many options for our campers to challenge themselves!

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Not only does Pathfinder Ranch have a zip line the campers can climb up to, but it deposits you ON AN ISLAND in the middle of the lake!!! Can’t get much cooler than that!

And of course, campers will get to experience camp favorites like archery, arts and crafts, and cooking.

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We could not be more excited to bring Camp Laurel’s Summer Camp program to Pathfinder Ranch this summer! With a new campsite and later school start dates (LAUSD just voted to push the start of school back to the end of August), we are once again going to be able to offer a full week of camp for the kids, allowing for more activities, more team building, and just more CAMP!

This is definitely going to be a program to remember and we hope to see you all there! So save the date and please join us August 14 – 20 for Summer Camp 2017!

Margot Anderson2017 Summer Camp Site Visit
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Former Camper Gives Thanks

My first camp was when I was eight years old and I am now twenty-two. I have been a part of something so special for the past fourteen years and although it is sometimes hard for me to open up and share my story, I want to encourage others with similar situations. Camp Laurel is for kids and their families who are affected with HIV. Having someone in my family born with this disease is what introduced

me to this camp world. At eight years old, I didn’t understand the meaning behind this camp. All I knew was that it was the coolest place to be! As I grew older, I began to realize why
we come to camp and how it changes the lives of people, for the better. Camp Laurel has become a safe place for children and teens to meet others who they can relate to and most importantly, gives them the opportunity (when they’re ready) to express themselves without any judgments. It’s a place to escape the stress, insecurities, the bullying, and all the problems from the outside world. It’s a place where we can all laugh, cry, love, reunite, and create memories. A place where we don’t discriminate against people with HIV, religion, sexual orientation, or gender but rather, view everyone as equal human beings. For many, it’s the only place they can actually be themselves and be surrounded by incredible people who open their arms, mind, and heart.

For me, camp has made such a huge impact and I am forever grateful for the life-long friends I have made throughout this whole experience. Since I turned eighteen, I have been returning to camp as a voldsc_5044-2unteer counselor and I see myself doing this for as long as I can. I hope to be a role model for these kids and educate and bring awareness so that we continue to expand what we call our Camp Family. Most of us are still discovering ourselves and my heart beats with happiness knowing that such an inspiring place like this exists for children, teens, parents, volunteers, and anyone who wants to be a part of something so extraordinary.

Someone recently asked me what I am passionate about. After letting that question sink in, I realized that we don’t always find passion in a hobby or a job but rather, it can also coexist in people. The thing I am most passionate about? I am passionate about this organization. I am passionate about the people who get involved. Most importantly, I am passionate about these kids and their families who although are living with a horrible disease, can still see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

I want to end this message with the hope of spreading the word and giving an understanding to others of ho
w much we care about this organization and how important it is to the life of a child. We have a saying at camp that we hold dear to our hearts and that is, “It’s for the kids”. They’re the reason why I choose to advocate and give back and why many others also choose to do so. I would like to personally thank all the donors and future donors, camp counselors, doctors, nurses, facilitators, staff, and anyone else who chooses to be a part of this loving family.

With much love,

Taquito

Margot AndersonFormer Camper Gives Thanks
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