Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families has a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board.
Leanne is a Honduran adoptee and has been attending Latin American Heritage Camp for over 20 years; she originally attended as a Camper, but has also served as a Counselor, Coordinator, Presenter, and Director. She continues to volunteer at LAHC every summer because she has gained so much from camp including lifelong friendships, learning about her culture, and being able to help other adoptees and their families – she joined the Board to give back to an organization that has given her so much. Leanne is an elementary teacher and enjoys working with kids and watching them excel, so she is excited to support the organization with Programming to ensure that HCAF remains inclusive, engaging, and accessible for all campers and their families.
Kelli Anderson, President
Kelli works as a real estate agent for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Elevated Living in Evergreen. When not selling real estate, she enjoys an active mountain lifestyle biking, running and enjoying the outdoors. Kelli has also been active in the local real real estate board (Mountain Metro Association of Realtors) and local charter school board (Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen). Her family includes, a biological daughter and son-in-law, 2 grandsons and 3 adopted children from Korea. The family has attended Korean Heritage Camp for over 15 years. Kelli is beginning her 4th year as a Director for KHC and has traveled to Korea four times to visit birth families and foster mothers. KHC has provided her family with a lifeline to Korean culture, amazing friendships and support with adoption related issues.
My family and I have been coming to CHC II for nine years (since our daughter, Abby, was 5). I’ve served as director, silent-auction coordinator, adult -programming coordinator, elementary -programming coordinator, and registration coordinator for CHC II, and I’m interested in joining the HCAF Board so that CHC II is represented on the Board. Also, Heritage Camps has been an absolute gift to my family, and I want to give back to HCAF and help in any way I can to ensure that other families can experience Heritage Camps for years to come.
I am a recently-retired attorney who practiced in civil litigation with the California courts for more than 20 years before retiring. Before my career as an attorney, I worked in fundraising and event -planning for nonprofit organizations.
Shawn Candelaria, Treasurer
Nathan Heffel is the Senior Host for All Things Considered on CPR News. He also hosts Real Talk with Denver 7 and CPR News on Denver 7.
A domestic adoptee himself, Nathan is the parent of an amazing daughter, Maya – also a domestic adoptee. Along with his husband William, the couple went through the Denver County foster-to-adopt program fostering Maya from birth. They adopted her shortly after her 2nd birthday. They live in Lakewood, Colorado with their two dogs Odin and Apple.
He is beyond thrilled to be a part of the Heritage Camp board, and strongly believes in its mission and positive impact it has on adoptees across the country.
Julia is an adoptee from India (and Denver native!) and has been attending Heritage Camps since the first India camp in 1995. She has been a camper, counselor, workshop teacher, and is currently one of INHC’s co-directors. This community has had a profound impact on her life and motivates her dedication to HCAF. Julia’s mom was also very involved in the HCAF community and served as a camp co-director and coordinator, and now Julia is thrilled to be carrying on the family tradition of volunteering for Heritage Camps. With a background in global mental health and program evaluation, Julia has been serving Denver communities for 10 years in various capacities such as crisis clinician/therapist, nonprofit volunteer, and now as Senior Program Manager for the Office of Nonprofit Engagement. In this role Julia works to build the capacity of small, local nonprofits as well as strengthen Denver’s nonprofit sector as a whole. In her free time Julia and her husband enjoy traveling, golfing, attending sporting events, and spending quality time with their friends.
Sanjiv is a Senior Project Manager at KDC Architects/Engineers, PC in Denver. Sanjiv, his wife Namita, and their two daughters, have been instrumental in bringing authentic Indian culture to our Indian/Nepalese Heritage Camp for many years. Sanjiv joined the board because “after 12 years of being in awe of the generous parents nurturing these balanced and beautiful adopted children, and both surpassing differences and man-made limitations to form a worldly family unit, I feel privileged to be on the board of this organization.”
Samuel is a Korean adoptee with a long history with Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, as a camper, counselor, and member of adult adoptee panels at camp. His parents helped found Latin American Heritage Camp for his adopted sister. These camps helped shape his identity, bolster his self confidence, and facilitated meeting life-long friends; in joining the board he strives to ensure all 9 camps continue for others in a similarly meaningful way. When he’s not volunteering for camp, he enjoys practicing architecture, designing/building furniture, or camping in the mountains.
Geeta Sharma and her husband, Sukumar, are parents of a teenage daughter adopted from India. They have been actively involved with Indian/Nepalese Heritage camp for over fifteen years. Geeta has been a coordinator for elementary school and high school programs for several years and is the co-director of INHC. As an adoptive parent who grew up in India, she has a unique perspective on the role of both adoption and culture in individual identity. While she is passionate about bringing cultural values and customs to camp programs, her goal as a board member is to ensure that the support and friendship of the camp community, so crucial for her family, is available to all adoptive families for a long time to come.
Ben is a freelance musician based out of the Denver metro area. He works as the percussion instructor at Overland High School, is a sales associate at Denver Percussion, and writes music for local schools and groups. Ben is an adoptee from Guatemala and has been attending Latin American Heritage camp for over 20 years. Ben attended camp as a camper for 18 years before becoming a counselor, presenter and now counselor coordinator. He continues to come back year after year because of the life-long friends he has made. His area of focus on the HCAF board is to expand and create strong community relations with adoptees and their families.
Eric Voogt, Director Emeritus
Eric is President of the law firm Inman Flynn Biesterfeld & Brentlinger, P.C. based in Denver, Colorado. Eric and his wife Alison have a biological son, Mason, and an adopted daughter, Sophia, from Hanoi, Vietnam. Eric loves to travel, play tennis, ski and bike. Eric and Alison deeply appreciate the positive impact that Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp has on not only Sophia, but their entire family. They love the feeling of community and the confidence it gives their daughter. Eric is looking forward to helping continue HCAF’s great work for adoptive families.
Lara Waters is a Systems Engineer with Lockheed Martin. She and her husband, Chris, adopted two boys from Russia in 2011 (ages 2.5 and 3.5). The Waters started attending the Russian / Eastern European / Central Asian (REECA) Heritage Camp in 2012. Lara and Chris have been lunch coordinators for seven of those years. Lara was the Adult Workshop coordinator those seven years too, and in 2017 also served as the co-director. The Waters enjoy watching movies, hiking, and taking family trips (with the primary theme being to U. S. National Parks). Our REECA weekend always brings us closer together as a family and fulfills all of us, and I would like to help HCAF continue to grow and be known to others.
Scot was an engineer for a decade but now directs data analytic and strategic projects at Charles Schwab. He and his wife, Becca, have three teenagers – two adopted domestically with Latin American heritage and the youngest adopted from South Korea. Scot enjoys travel hacking, eating (and cooking) adventurously, and playing piano, organ, tennis, and volleyball. The Wayes have been to Korean Heritage Camp (KHC) since 2016 and visited South Korea in 2017 to experience the culture firsthand and visit their child’s foster mother. At camp, they have found a community that has helped support them tackle challenges facing adoptees from mental health to racism to belonging while experiencing Korean culture and having fun with families that look like them. Scot hopes to give back to HCAF by supporting strategic planning and data-driven decisions so camps stay strong and grow for all families that participate.
Jessica is a graphic designer with her own freelance business, Planet X Design, based in Boulder, Jessica and her husband, Dana, have a son adopted from Ethiopia and a daughter adopted from China. They have attended African/Caribbean Heritage Camp since 2011 and Chinese Heritage Camp since 2014. Heritage Camp has played a big part in their family’s life, from the insights they gain in parenting to the relationships their kids are forming with peers and counselors. Jessica believes in the mission of HCAF and is excited to contribute to the overall direction and growth of Heritage Camps.
Our advisory board is comprised of adult adoptees and members of the various cultural communities represented at our camps.
Members meet at least twice a year to strategize about the ways that we can continue to strengthen the HCAF experience, with particular attention to how we center the experiences and perspectives of adoptees and create authentic cultural experiences at camp. Advisory board members attend their respective camps each summer, and are also often involved throughout the year in the development of camp programming.
The Advisory Board generates ideas about how to utilize their expertise, lived experience, and talents, which are assessed and implemented by HCAF’s staff and Board of Directors.