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Brad’s Story

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Brad Langkamp is the Branch Manager at Lead Bank in Kansas City, MO, as well as the Children’s Pastor at Living Waters Family Worship Center. He had the opportunity to pack meals as part of Youthfront’s Something to Eat program with both his employees and his children’s church group.

How did you get involved with Youthfront?
My involvement with Youthfront comes by way of their Something to Eat program. I met Lindsey Miles at a networking event. As she told me about Youthfront and the Something to Eat program, I knew it was a great opportunity to get involved and make an impact for kids and families. After speaking with my team at Lead Bank, they were as eager to get involved as I was. We set a day and Lindsey and team came to the bank and set up the food packaging stations in the bank lobby! We were able to invite customers to pack food; other tenants in the building and everyone got involved. As an added bonus, as children’s pastor at Living Waters Family Worship Center, I am always looking for ways to get kids involved in volunteer work. I was able to bus my children’s church to the bank that same evening to pack the remaining meals! It truly was an amazing experience.

What do you like about the Youthfront environment?
I loved how they customized the experience for both the business and for the church group. For the business it was executed in a professional and organized way, and the fact that they came to our place of business allowed everyone to get involved. For the church group, it was again an amazing experience. The STE team gave a faith-based presentation to the kids about how hunger affects people in Kansas City, and how we can be the hands and feet of Jesus. My kids left inspired and feeling like they made a difference, and are eager to continue similar efforts in the future.

What are some of the biggest challenges parents face in today’s culture and how can Youthfront partner with parents to help combat those challenges?
Being a parent in today’s world is a challenging endeavor. There are the same challenges there have always been… peer pressure, what crowd our kids get involved with, etc. Then there are new challenges… electronics, video games, online security, etc. Youthfront gives young people a place to go where they can be around great leaders and role models, as well as other young people who are benefiting from the same guidance. The youth can be exposed to a world outside of the day-to-day mundane in a safe environment. As for Something to Eat, I LOVE the flexibility for parents, youth, churches, businesses, and everyone involved to pack meals for families in need.

What do you think are some misconceptions about youth and what do you think they’d want their parents or youth leaders to know about being a kid?
Kids understand more than adults give them credit for. They have thoughts and feelings and they are important. As much as folks want to give kids more freedom, kids yearn for and need guidance from their parents and adult mentors. As adults we have lived through a lot of the same circumstances and stressors kids face, and our input and guidance can make a world of difference. Kids want to be loved, and we all have opportunities to build trust and show them love.

Do you have any advice for parents of campers?
My biggest piece of advice for parents, and I preach and plead for this every year before camp, is to not treat camp like a vacation from your kids. The kids are spending time at a camp that could change their life, but those changes need to be cultivated. Think about how you prepare your child for camp. Are you just packing a bag and shipping them off, or are you preparing them mentally and spiritually by asking questions, praying with them, setting expectations for camp? Think about how you engage them when they arrive back at home. Rather than asking the easy questions like “Did you have fun?,” engage with them in a deeper way. Help them reflect on their time at camp in a more meaningful way. What was your favorite/least favorite part of camp? Who made the greatest impact? Think of questions that make them think more about their week and the lessons they learned. If kids are simply sent off, and there is no engagement after the return home, there is an increased chance that the lessons learned will not be sustained. Also, do not be afraid to engage your kids’ counselor about your child’s week. I think I can speak for all counselors when I say we care deeply for the kids we take to camp, and we would love to help your child grow.

Brad Langkamp, Branch Manager at Lead Bank & Children’s Pastor at Living Waters Family Worship Center

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