When it comes time to write those “what I did over summer vacation” essays on the first day of school, these teens are all set. They can “tell all” about their training via a summer camp sponsored by Texas Right to Life.
The New York Times shares a snippet of what life is like at Reveal, a program to train teens to be more effective anti-choice activists, prepared to win over the hearts and minds of those who believe that women should have the right to make their own reproductive decisions.
The room around them has all the decorative touches expected of a rustic retreat; only, next to the wildlife trophies, there are laminated posters depicting fetal development at each month in the womb. A large folding table contained more poster boards, decorated with anti-abortion slogans and symbols, which sat alongside spiral notebooks, craft supplies and a scattering of soda and candy.
This is, after all, summer camp.
The purpose of the camp, Ms. Rumpf said, is to plug students into the movement and help them refine their passion into knowledge they can use to advance the cause in their own communities.
Ms. Rumpf and other counselors said they tried to teach campers to avoid commonly perceived anti-abortion “turnoffs” — in particular, an overly aggressive, judgmental approach. She said counselors focused on a gentler, compassion-based form of persuasion.
“You really care about this woman, and you really care that other people don’t know about this issue. But are they bad people?” she said. “No, they just might not know all of the truth. Because that is really the only way that pro-lifers are going to win anything is inviting them in to talk.”
In case there is any doubt that the trend to outlaw abortion in all cases, for all reasons, the training sessions such as “How to Lobby” or “The Hard Cases” makes clear what the end mission of anti-choice summer camp is. That the camp is held at Messiah Ranch, a “secluded and restful camp built for worshipping the Lord” also serves as a reminder that in essence the camp is another step in trying to establish a religiously- (and Christian) based government.
Although the Reveal camp is in its third year, National Right to Life has been working to help states establish their own versions of these camps for years.
“If your organization is looking to build a youth education program that includes a camp or retreat, National Right to Life is working on rolling out a camp program to help you get started in your state,” wrote Becky Miller, Education Coordinator for Rhode Island Right to Life in 2010.
Balance educating the students with inspiring them. Help them learn about the life issues, remembering to focus equally on euthanasia, abortion, and stem cell research, and bring in the global perspective. Then inspire them with a passion to do something with the information they’re learning. Encourage them to stay involved with your state organization and start pro-life groups in their schools, churches, and communities.
Other camps are sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, and “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust,” who claim that they are “Compelled by the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and our respect for life… We are committed to educating and equipping young activists who have a heart for the pre-born and are willing to be used by God to ‘defend those unjustly sentenced to death.’”