Left Hand Laurel: Leandi Langenegger
July 15, 2017
When Leandi Langenegger moved herself and her three children to Gunbarrel four years ago, she wondered how long it would take before they felt they belonged in Boulder County. Through her connection to Boulder Valley Christian Church, they found an extended family as well as community.
Her contacts at the church led her to become involved in Camp for Change, which Langenegger credits for a dramatic shift in her goals and sense of purpose. Since becoming a volunteer at Camp for Change, she has enrolled in CSU Online to get a degree in social work and is training to be a placement manager for the camps. She feels the training she has received makes her a better mom. Her children accept her busy and complicated schedule, because she is engaged and enlivened by her participation beyond her full time job and her role as a mother.
Camp for Change is actually three summer camps designed specifically for children in the foster care system whose lives have been impacted by trauma, violence and the effects of substance abuse. Positive experiences like those offered by Camp for Change can mitigate the harmful effects of abuse and neglect. Hope for a better future is a foreseeable outcome of these experiences.
Langenegger volunteers for a weekend camp near Estes Park with the teen and preteen girls -called TRAC (Teen Reach Adventure Camp), where the participants enjoy team-building activities and social events in a safe, accepting atmosphere. There is also a TRAC weekend for boys featuring extensive outdoor activities and a five-day overnight camp for younger kids, which includes a huge birthday party for all the campers, some of whom have never enjoyed a proper birthday celebration.
The children can relax and have fun in a nonjudgmental environment. “If everyone there is in foster care or has a parent incarcerated – there is no need to explain and no pressure to fit in,” explains Langenegger. In addition to the upcoming summer dates, there is mentoring throughout the school year with Kids Night Out and wholesome activities for teens. Langenegger gets enormous satisfaction from her association with Camp for Change.
Cathy Howe, Connections and Care pastor at the church, introduced Langenegger to Camp for Change. “It is a perfect fit,” Howe said. “Leandi has a huge heart and also the skills needed for these challenging relationships. The program benefits immensely from her involvement.”
Although Langenegger ‘s time is taken up with work, school, church commitments and volunteering, she still enjoys recreation with her family. They like camping and touring the western states. Her son volunteers with Kids Night Out and her daughter insists on making bracelets for the campers as a gift.
Skilled professionals are needed at the camps as well as for year-round fundraising efforts, which include a golf tournament. Private donors make the camps possible. Mentoring and local volunteers are needed year-round.
If you think you’d like to be a volunteer and are willing to attend training and submit to a background check contact [email protected] or call 720 255 4536. To donate, check out the website http://www.campforchange.org.