camp joshua, nevada right to life, prolife, pro-life, abortion, respect life, youth

Young Pro-Life Leaders Gather at Camp Joshua, Nevada

camp joshua, nevada right to life, prolife, pro-life, abortion, respect life, youth

“So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown.

As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpets,

they raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat…”

(Joshua 6:20 NRSVCE)

The theme is Christian and the biblical wall of Jericho is the metaphor referring to:  “Building a culture of life and bringing down the walls of the culture of death”.

Camp Joshua in Nevada is one of three types of camp experiences in a pro-life series designed by National Right to Life, Louisiana Right to Life, and Wisconsin Right to Life and currently hosted in 12 states.  This unified national camp idea grew out of pro-life organizations that started their own local camps is places such as in Oregon more than 10 years ago. This is how these organizations describe the camp series:

  • Camp Esther is a day-long or weekend camp educating middle school students to take the first step into pro-life leadership. Students learn that they have a role in the pro-life movement, and that they are not too young to begin defending life. They learn that, for such a time as this, they must be leaders, just as Queen Esther of Persia, who saved her people from genocide.
  • Camp Joshua is a three-day or weekend camp teaching high school students to bring down the walls of the culture of death as courageous pro-life leaders. Just as Joshua brought down the walls of Jericho, the young men and women of Camp Joshua will lead their generation in building a culture of life and bringing down the walls of the culture of death. By transforming character into action, they will “Be Joshua” to a world in need.
  • The Nehemiah Leadership Institute is the third in the Life & Leadership Camp series, and is designed for advanced students who are serious about tackling pro-life issues. Students in the Nehemiah Leadership Institute will learn practical strategies for addressing life issues in the real world, and will leave the Institute well prepared to make a significant impact in their communities. Years after Jerusalem was laid waste by the Babylonians, Nehemiah led the movement to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in order to create a civilization that would be a light to other nations. At the Nehemiah Leadership Institute, through a combination of expert academic instruction and on-the-field practical experience, students learn that they are the people who must rebuild the walls of the culture of life.

The Nevada Campground

Last Saturday (May 2, 2015), I had the pleasure of visiting the second of three days at our Nevada Right to Life camp held at Lake Tahoe. The original 30 acres was sold to the Nevada Farm Bureau in 1938 for creation of a 4-H camp. It has a beach front and many outbuildings. Multiple use is its history as the very first were 450 Seventh Day Adventist campers. It has been used as a 4-H camp every year since 1939. The camp is currently owned by the State of Nevada and is under the direction of the University of Nevada. Western history can be a bit quirky. Shown in the camp’s history are rights to “two miner’s inches (32,313,600 gallons) of water per day from Folsom Spring.”

The Kids

After lunch seven young people volunteered to talk to me about their experience. Kylie, JorJean, GG, Chad, Sarah, Theresa, and Kane. Seven great high school age kids, and this year all happen to be Catholic. One was home schooled and the rest  from Catholic and public school. The camp has been held for four years and has welcomed non-Catholics as well. They all came here for various reasons. High School friends had been here before or family friends suggested it. Sarah’s father asked her if she was interested in going after he received an email from her Catholic High School about the camp.

Chad has “Walked for Life” in San Francisco with his family but says that, “Coming up here is a way to experience what it is about…to be able to put your feelings about the issue into words.”

So I asked provocatively, “If I was an atheist baby hater what would you say to me?”

JorJean responded, “I don’t think it’s a religion issue. Religion I guess is a part of it. It’s about science, hard facts that you can’t deny.

I asked, “What facts would you tell the person?”

JorJean: “It’s more than a fetus, it’s a human life, and it’s not a mother’s life. It’s not her body that she is terminating.”

Chad: “…the actual child has taken hold of the whole process. Technically he’s kinda using the mother’s body… the mother becomes part of the child’s body, the fact that it’s (the mother) the food source and everything else, instead of the child actually being the woman’s body.”

I asked, “Why do think people don’t think a fetus is a person?”

Kylie: “They base it in the maturity of the brain. They aren’t sure if a fetus is coherent and like understanding and isn’t aware that it is alive.”

I asked, “Is there a difference between a person and a human being?”

Chad: “They call something a fetus because they can’t attach emotionally to it. They don’t understand what it is, or, they can’t see it or feel it so in their mind it’s just a weird entity. It could be a tumor for all they know.”

Kylie: “A human being is the race of us all and a person is the individuality of each.”

Why Did You Want to Come Here?

I asked, “Have you been to the abortion clinic there in Reno? Have you prayed there?”

All hands went up but one.

Sarah: “The reason I’m here today is because I saw some people outside a clinic holding up signs and they said that, you know, stop basically bugging the mother because abortion is completely okay and it’s their choice, it’s not a fetus, it’s a mass of tissue. That’s why I came here because I wanted to learn more about you know why it’s not just a mass of tissue, what is it actually? And, it is a human being. And, I came here and learned about the horrifying details of the abortion process. I completely have a new view on everything just yesterday and today. I feel that’s all it takes. When you realize what is actually happening it opens up you eyes and heart because you reach out to these children, and they are human beings, and they are kids, they don’t have anyone, they can’t stick up for themselves, they don’t have anyone. And, that’s why we are all here so that we can learn about it and explain to other people what we have learned today.”

We talked for a while longer and Kane, GG, and Theresa added their comments which just confirmed to me that all of these “kids” are among the best that America has produced for this generation.

What Can I Say After This Eloquence

Just that I hope you see the value in this kind of learning experience for your children. They had speakers on various topics Friday and Saturday. Cairn Lindloff, a University Assistant Dean of Students, volunteered her time to give the Myers-Briggs personality test to the campers and discuss the different personality types and how to get along with those types. Liberty Pike, the Communications Director for Oregon Right to Life, lead working sessions on life issues and how to conduct you in conversation with pro-choice people. She has been working in pro-life since she was 16 years old and is here with her husband and a very tiny beautiful baby.

All of this was put together by Mellissa Clement, President of the state Right to Life affiliate who also sits on the National Right to Life Committee. A great smile, warm personality, clever wit, seemingly endless energy, and a good example to all who know her.

For more information:

The camps go here.

National Right to Life go here.

Nevada Right to Life go here.