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Laguna Beach

 Volume 14, Issue 96  |  December 2, 2022


Laguna Logo 2022

Ruby Samson launches fundraising initiative SEA Your Future in hopes of changing lives 

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Fifteen-year-old Ruby Samson, a sophomore at Laguna Beach High School, is understandably busy with studies, surfing and working. That’s one of the reasons she cherishes her time alone on the water and those encounters sparked the name of her fundraising initiative SEA Your Future. Its goal is to provide the experience of surfing and the ocean to kids who don’t have the means or opportunity, and in the process, change lives.

Ruby Samson closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Ruby Samson 

The name SEA Your Future holds layers of meaning for Samson. “It took a long time to come up with the name,” she said. “The ocean is a place to clear my head. When I’m in the water, I think about my life and future.”

The vision of SEA Your Future is to provide funding for transformative surf and ocean experiences. As explained on its website, “It will focus on less fortunate teens who cannot easily reach the ocean. They will learn to surf and experience the incredible power of the sea. SEA Your Future’s mission is to make this opportunity available to as many teens as possible. As they embrace the gifts of the ocean and surfing, this experience will inspire and change futures in a positive way!”

ruby samson kids in water

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Courtesy of Endless Summer Surf Camp

Ruby on far left at Endless Summer Surf Camp

Samson set up in “Do Good Village” at the Coast Film & Music Festival on November 12-13, with volunteers walking around all weekend to tell people about SEA Your Future. “We got a lot of donations at the film festival,” she said. “A few friends helped pass out flyers. The goal was to let residents know about it and a lot of locals came to the festival on Sunday night.”

Inspiration

Samson came up with the idea for SEA Your Future while attending Endless summer Surf Camp over the past few summers. “I’d been thinking that there are so many kids who’ve never been to the beach or had the opportunity to surf,” Samson said. “We are blessed because we live so close to the ocean. I wanted to start a fundraiser in which kids can learn to surf and love the ocean and have a good experience.”

Samson also worked as a counselor at Sli Dawg Surf Camp during the past two summers. Sli Dawg Surf Camp is also known as the premiere Laguna Beach Surf School, which has been operating since 2001 and is affiliated with Laguna Surf and Sport.

 “I’d been thinking that there are so many kids who’ve never been to the beach or had the opportunity to surf,” Samson said. “We are blessed because we live so close to the ocean. I wanted to start a fundraiser in which kids can learn to surf and love the ocean and have a good experience.”

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However, it took a while to get it going. “I partnered with Endless Summer Surf Camp and the Boys & Girls Club of Central OC and will be fundraising to send six kids from the BGC Santa Ana teen center for a week-long overnight surf camp the second week of July at Endless Summer Surf Camp (at San Onofre State Park Campground in San Clemente),” Samson said. “Each candidate will fill out a questionnaire and write an essay on why he/she wants to attend the camp. The only criteria is that they need to know how to swim.”

“SEA Your Future will furnish everything so there will be no cost for those selected,” said her mother, Jen.

ruby samson walking

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Ruby has big plans for SEA Your Future

Established in 1992, the Endless Summer Surf Camp offers personalized surf instruction on the beach, in the water, professional surf photography and video analysis back at the camp. The focus of the sessions is on water safety and surfing instruction while having fun in the sun.

Busy times

In addition to serving as a counselor at Sli Dawg Surf Camp during the summer, Samson is on the surf team at LBHS and works part time at Laguna Surf and Sport. 

However, surfing isn’t the only sport in which she excels; she’s also on the LBHS Varsity Lacrosse team, serving as one of four captains. “I fell in love with Lacrosse,” Samson said. “Due to the lack of players, it died out a few years ago, but the Junior Varsity team won the first year as a real team.”

When not in the ocean or on the field at LBHS, in the classroom, her favorite courses are English and Spanish, and she loves to write.

ruby samson on wave

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Courtesy of Endless Summer Surf Camp

 Ruby has been surfing for 10 years

Samson has been surfing since she was five years old when she participated with her dad in a “Daddy and Daughter” surf camp in San Diego. Her parents, Jen and Jeremy, grew up in Michigan, then came to LA and eventually to Laguna when Samson was three. Jen is an interior designer and owns Jen Samson Design. Jeremy is the general manager at Big Canyon Country Club. Her sister Stella is in seventh grade at Thurston Middle School, where she is a member of their surf team.

“Stella helps me with SEA Your Future, and once she’s in high school, she’ll need to step up,” said Samson.

Giving back

The idea of “giving back” is not a new one for the Samson family. Samson grew up with parents who both advocate and consistently practice it.

“When she was at Top of the World Elementary, Ruby went on a trip to a Mexican orphanage, took gifts and spent time with them,” Jen said. “For the past four years on Christmas morning, we’ve taken homemade breakfast and coffee to the homeless at Main Beach.”

When the family recently traveled to Ollantaytambo, a city in Peru, they bought school supplies and delivered them to a local school. 

We always try to do something charitable while we’re traveling,” Jen said.” We planned it ahead of time. We connected with an organization called World Leadership School who does a lot of charity work there, and once we landed in Peru, we went shopping for school supplies. The children there were so excited for us to visit and provide them with much needed school supplies."

“All the students there were so excited to be back in school after nearly two years of no schooling at all due to the pandemic,” Samson said. “It was a beautiful and rewarding experience for all of us.”

ruby samson with girl

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Courtesy of Endless Summer Surf Camp

 Ruby with camper at Endless Summer Surf Camp

Samson loves to travel, and has been to Thailand and Costa Rica (to name a few) but doesn’t have a favorite spot. “The surfing is amazing in Costa Rica, and one of my favorite places to surf is Mexico. I love everywhere we go. The places all are so special but in a different way.”

Seeing the future 

The goal of SEA Your Future is to raise enough money to cover all costs for the kids, which also involves seeking donations/sponsorships for the tuition, camping necessities (sleeping bags, flashlight, lanterns, etc.) surf gear (wetsuit, towels, etc.) and transportation to and from the camp. Everything the kids will need to attend. 

Samson sees a bright future for SEA Your Future. “We want to increase the partnerships with a number of corporations, so we can send more kids to the camp,” she said. “I would also like to see it expand to other places.” 

“She also wants to host a small local SEA Your Future Surf Contest with the proceeds going to SEA Your Future,” Jen added. 

In response to the comment that Samson has a lot of confidence for a 15-year-old, Jen said, "She has always been so self-assured and goes to the beat of her own drum. I have no doubt that she will contribute to do something very special with her life!".

ruby samson hat

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Hats come in yellow or charcoal. The logo was designed by local Max Marron, a LBHS grad who is now attending art school. There are plans to expand the SEA Your Future line with stickers and T-shirts.

Samson’s vision for SEA Your Future is to create new opportunities and mindsets through a connection with the ocean and surfing, and in the process, change lives. After meeting her, nothing seems out of the realm of possibility – the sky is the limit.

For more information, go to www.seayourfutureca.org.

For how to donate, go to www.gofundme.com/f/seayourfutureca.

Follow them at Instagram @seayourfutureca

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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