Virginia’s new pro-life leadership program, “Camp Joshua,” a great success!

By Megan McCrum, Camp Coordinator

Virginia’s pro-life high school students at VSHL’s first Camp Joshua (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Chirico)

Camp Joshua is a weekend pro-life camp for high school students, designed to educate and inspire teens to “bring down the walls of the culture of death.” The Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL) hosted their first “Camp Joshua” Virginia over the first weekend of August 2012.

Nearly 60 high school students from all over the state of Virginia attended Camp Joshua. The campers learned from dynamic guest speakers including abortion survivor Melissa Ohden and Family Research Council’s stem cell expert, Dr. David Prentice. Local Virginians also spoke at the camp, including Sommer Hansen, president of the local pregnancy center ComfortCare, and Marc Barnes, the young author of a popular Patheos blog, “Bad Catholic.”

The campers were led in small groups and other activities by a fantastic team of counselors, made up of college students and young professionals. An atmosphere of joy in the goodness of life was present throughout the weekend, as campers made new friends tossing the Frisbee and swimming during recreational free time, completing a scavenger hunt challenge in teams, and playing cards at night.

VSHL President Olivia Gans Turner spent the whole weekend at Camp Joshua, teaching the campers how to effectively reframe the abortion debate, sharing her personal story about the impact of abortion, and having a good time getting to know many of the campers. Olivia was inspired and energized by the young high school campers, as she shared:

“One young lady told me that she had been looking for something since she was in junior high that would help her be a true and successful advocate in her high school for the babies. She left camp with plans to start a pro-life club at her school. She told me that thanks to this weekend she knew that she had the tools, and the responsibility, to get the job done!

“Later, during the Saturday night campfire while we roasted marshmallows, a young man told me that he had learned more about being pro-life than he’d thought possible. And he said that after sharing with so many other pro-life teens he felt more confident to speak out in defense of human life.

“This is why VSHL wanted to host this wonderful event. We believe in the power of youth to lead us as we build a culture of life in Virginia! Wherever they go next, we know these teens have been inspired to take the pro-life message with them!

VSHL hopes to make Camp Joshua an annual event for Virginia’s high school students. If you are interested in hearing about future pro-life camps in Virginia, “like” the Virginia Society for Human Life Facebook page, or join the email list at

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