Although Lagom Landing is the fruit of a long-time dream of founders Rock Castor and Laurel Nelson, hundreds of people have been a part of the journey. Family, friends, church and presbytery colleagues, and community members both literally and figuratively built the dream of Lagom Landing.
Both Rock and Laurel benefited from “gap years” of their own. Rock, not knowing what he wanted to do when he graduated high school, went to Papua New Guinea as a volunteer for the Highland Christian Mission. He was exposed to gravity-flow water systems and simple pole construction, and within six months was writing home, “I’ve figured out what I want to do!”
Laurel spent a year with the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Young Adult Volunteer program as a volunteer in Jerusalem. Inspired by the faith of Palestinian Christians, she found her calling to become a Presbyterian minister.
When Rock and Laurel met, they both talked of creating a place where young adults could learn hands on skills and, at the same time, discover who they are and how they are to be in the world. The dream grew and matured as they fell in love and married, and has continued to be supported by family and friends and especially young people who have given feedback, labor, support, and prayer to developing this dream. With the sale of some land from a farm settled by Laurel’s Swedish ancestors in Colorado, Laurel and Rock were given the seed money for Lagom Landing. Laurel left her position as pastor at a Presbyterian Church, while Rock kept building through his company Rock-Bilt Homes. They purchased sixty acres of land north of Dansville, NY in the Town of Sparta, NY. They soon formed a Board of Directors, which met for the first time in July 2010. Lagom Landing was granted 501(c)(3) status as a not-for-profit in October of 2011. The first class of students started in the fall of 2012, and we are now in our fifth year of operation with students.
The program was named Lagom Landing to honor the blessing of the Swedish ancestors who courageously headed into a new land in Colorado. Conscious of the biblical admonition against hoarding, Rock and Laurel continue to want to share what they’ve been given, and the word “Lagom” sums up this desire. The Board and Directors envision Lagom Landing to be a place where people learn moderation, generosity, and sustainability.