By Joleigh Little and Derrick Jones (with help from Meghan Hellrood, Evita Duffy, Jacinta Schimdt and Rachel Grosskurth of Marathon County Teens for Life in Wisconsin)
Editor’s note. This article appears in the July issue of National Right to Life News. The 36-page issue can be read in its entirety (and forwarded from) www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsJuly2014.pdf
Empowered teens came together to learn the moral, ethical and logical values surrounding the pro-life movement at the 44th annual National Right to Life Convention, in Louisville, Kentucky, June 26-28.
These teens attended “Camp Life” presented by National Right to Life’s official youth outreach program, National Teens for Life. The idea behind “Camp Life” was to give attendees an intense three-day training program that would enable them to return to their states invigorated and ready to take the message of life to their communities.
Hearing the stories and knowledge from various speakers, gave teens in attendance new inspiration to act on their pro-life views. Convention organizers made certain that the teens were treated to sessions with some of the brightest minds and leading experts in various areas within the movement. Author and bioethicist Wesley J. Smith and Dr. David Prentice teamed up to answer questions on stem cells, human exceptionalism, and a number of other intense topics. They congratulated the teens on being present and active in the cause of life.
Melissa Ohden, who survived an abortion in 1977, told her story to a spellbound audience as her daughter, Olivia, played in the back of the room with a friend. “If they had succeeded in taking my life, neither of my daughters would be alive today,” a very pregnant Ohden said, indicating Olivia and referring to her other daughter, Ava, who will make her appearance “on the outside” sometime in late July or early August.
“It was a very interesting experience,” said Collin Trice, 15, of Arkansas. “I learned a lot and made new friends. I know now how to get connected, and I can help the pro-life movement. That’s what I’ll take from this experience!” Collin has taken what he learned to heart and has been interviewed on the radio in his home state in preparation for Arkansas Right to Life’s Camp Joshua, coming up July 25-27 in Humphrey, AR.
The information shared by the speakers at the NTL convention has also helped to strengthen the teens’ arguments when debating the abortion issue among their peers. Young people have a unique voice in the right-to-life arena as they are both survivors of the abortion plague that has wiped out ¼ of their generation, and also the first line of defense when a peer discovers that she is pregnant.
“We need more teens who are willing to fight for life,” said Dale Casperson, 16, of Wisconsin. “I truly believe more people should learn about abortion.” Dale will be attending Wisconsin Right to Life’s summer leadership camps in her home state July 13-18. She will learn more about how she, and others, can get involved and make a significant difference in the lives of the vulnerable.
Collin and Dale were just two of the dozens of teens from across the country who came together to participate in Camp Life. They, along with the speakers who educated them throughout the week and the adults who helped get them to this year’s convention, make up the ranks of the right-to-life movement. They are proof positive that our Movement is stronger than ever as the fight for the lives of the unborn and the medically vulnerable moves into its fifth decade.
“This convention empowers teens with information that allows them to educate their peers,” said Derrick Jones, Communications Director for National Right to Life, and co-advisor to National Teens for Life. “In the future, I see tens of thousands of more teens who will become outspoken advocates and defenders of life.”
Jones’ sentiment sums up the feelings of many who have long advocated for the right to life. Young people who care enough to invest their time and talents in the work of saving lives give us great hope for the future.
Next year’s National Teens for Life Convention will be held in New Orleans, LA from July 9 to 11. If you know a teen who is passionate about the cause of life, please encourage them to make plans to attend.