The Survivors are returning to San Francisco for our 21st annual Survivors ProLife Boot Camp.
Last year I asked humorously, "San Francisco? Are you crazy?"
I didn't know what to expect. After all, San Francisco is a liberal, pro-choice, immorality hotbed and what would be the reaction to the anti-abortion message of our young Survivors?
I feared violent reactions, police harassment, aggressive counter protesters and angry passersby. For the most part it didn't materialize. What common incredulous response did we get?
"What are you doing in OUR city?!?!?!?!?"
How dare the Survivors take a stand in what they call -"The City." Now it is not only "The" City, it is "their" city!
How dare these young people boldly stand in the public square and declare abortion to be the evil of their day?
But they did! And the news covered us like an unexpected snow storm!
The San Francisco Police Department, long used to angry and violent protestors from the left, was impressed by the young Survivors. The Survivors were bold but polite, strong but not violent, and courageous in the face of the angry citizens they did meet.
The SFPD described one Survivors event in a San Francisco Chronicle article as "well planned and perfectly executed" - that is a great endorsement of the training of the Survivors.
I love activism in San Francisco!
It is a hotbed of liberalism and an international tourist destination.
The distance from one location to the next is only a matter of miles! In, fact we only left the city once to travel to nearby UC Berkeley to take a stand in Sproul Plaza where again our young Survivors engaged and answered every argument thrown at them with ease!
San Francisco is the perfect place to train young people to be bold and to know they can hold their own intellectually, scientifically and underpinned by their faith and the rightness of their cause, they can win the day!
Don't discount the Survivors because they are young!
I was recently in a national pro-life leaders strategy session. The best of the best from all over the country and do you know what I noticed?
We are old!
It made me realize the Survivors must continue to raise up anti-abortion leaders as if this fight is going to last for generations and fight for all we are worth to end abortion now!
We must continue to refresh our ranks, not with namby-pamby pro-life activists who just want the world to love them but rather activists who believe abortion is the killing of a little baby and will act like it!
And graduates of Survivors training camps know that they will not be loved by this world while they are confronting the evil of their day.
They know, and the next graduates will know, that social transformation is not a popularity contest and the greatest of social reformers were hated long before they ever had streets named after them.
Now I am proud to say that graduates of our Survivors ProLife Boot Camps are bold! They were trained and equipped and prepared to fight!
And they are everywhere! They come up to me at walks and marches and conventions and say hello. Many of them I do not even recognize -they were kids when I trained them!
Many of those young people trained are today's youngest and brightest leaders.
At our Dallas training camp and last year in San Francisco, we had former camp graduates who did our trainings. Leaders who are leading in their own right in Students For Life of America, Stanton Health Center, Priests for Life and many other fine organizations!!!
It makes me proud! It should make you proud!
For it is and always has been because of friends like you that the Survivors ProLife Boot Camps have continued year after year!
Twenty-one years ago, pro-life college campus groups were nearly non-existent. When the Survivors would go onto campuses the administrations were often so angry they would order illegal arrests!
The Survivors were constantly harassed and arrested! The Survivors won every one of those cases and continued in the training you helped provide and now today the tide has changed.
Campuses no longer arrest the Survivors for they know they will not back down. The Survivors are advocates and they will not surrender their First Amendment rights and they will not be silent about the killing of their brothers and sisters in the womb.
The Survivors graduates make great leaders. Groups all across the country have Survivors graduates actively working and leading.
Our friend, Mark Harrington of Created Equal knows the value of our training camps and the value of our graduates! His team is and has been led by numerous graduates of Survivors camps.
This is why we have our Survivors ProLife Training Camps: To recruit, train and equip young people to continue on in the fight for life in whatever organization God calls them to and wherever God calls them to!
We train and equip young people so when God calls they can answer:
"Here I am Lord, send me!"
This year at camp, we will see some graduates joining us from our very first Survivors camp, twenty-one years ago! Yes, Twenty-one years ago our camp was made up of less than twenty young people and the oldest was just 17!
They are still in the fight, leading on organization boards, leading organizations and still fighting the good fight across this nation and around the world!
The Survivors training camps transforms teenagers and college students!
Just one example I love to speak of is that of Hector Moreno. Hector was a well-educated man, a District Attorney for Santa Clara County in California. How did I meet Hector?
It was in my Operation Rescue days and his office was prosecuting me for blockading baby killing centers. Hector was a good man and he went to a great local church. I did my time for saving babies and many years later started Survivors.
When Hector heard of our Survivors ProLife Boot Camps he sent his own precious daughter, April.
Now, April was a quiet and demure girl.
April graduated our camp and later that year I was standing with Hector in San Francisco after the first Walk for Life. The Survivors were there doing an after-walk event.
As I stood there with Hector, suddenly some angry passerby stopped to engage, but mainly yell at, the Survivors for daring to speak the truth about abortion.
As the yeller walked away smug in her banalities, suddenly a young girl stepped out of our line to challenge her face to face!
The demure April Moreno!
As I stood next to her father, a district attorney -I watched his mouth drop open!
Was that really his little April going nose to nose with an angry San Francisco citizen and not only holding her own but backing her down!???!??
Hector told me he would never have dreamed April could ever be so bold. He thanked me and therein the entire team of people who train at Survivors training camps for transforming his beautiful little girl into a fearless, faithful defender of life!
That is one of my favorite stories, but it is one of a hundred. Survivors training camps transform young people into courageous and bold Soldiers of the Cross!
How are they transformed?
The young people are transformed with training from national leaders from all across the country and the world.
Those who have taught and led at our training camps reads like the who's who of national and international pro-life leaders!
Let me take a moment and try and remember the organizations that have sent leaders to train at Survivors:
Priests for Life, Created Equal, Students for Life of America, Rock for Life, American Life League, Stand True, Stanton Health Centers, Stand to Reason, Life Training Institute, Christian Defense Coalition, Life Legal Defense Foundation, Operation Rescue, Youth Defense from Ireland, Abortion Free New Mexico, CEC for Life. On and on it goes - I know I am forgetting dozens of organizations who have graciously given in the past to train Survivors.
I thank them all again and apologize for those omitted!
That is what I love about the pro-life movement - they sacrifice their time and their energy willingly and graciously to train and equip others to fight for life!
The Survivors do not pay our speakers, sometimes we are able to help with airfare but each and every speaker and trainer who comes to camp is sacrificing to be there!
I love them and thank them for their sacrifice and generosity.
These leaders know our camp is a financial loser. They know the staff of Survivors sacrifices to make it possible. My own wife and children and friends do all the cooking during camp, sometimes for upward of 100 people!
Everyone gives of their time and energy and finances to make this camp possible!
This is why we are able to keep our nearly two-week camp at only $450.00. That is only $45 per day for food, housing, staff, transportation and a myriad of supplies!
But I need your help! I want to make this camp even more affordable!
I want to offer a special discount, an early bird discount through June 15th. What I am thinking is giving this discount to anyone who signs up before June 15th and an even deeper discount for those who come in a group!
There is nothing better than a mini-team coming from a town or pro-life group.
But I can't afford to do that without your help and your own sacrificial giving!
I ask every leader, every speaker, to give of their time and energy to make this camp possible. This camp costs way more than we charge and if I had my way I would charge nothing at all! But I'm not rich so I can't do that.
However, together, you and I and others giving as generously as we can with what God has given us -we can make this camp and early bird discounts a reality.Our lowest group and early bird discount price is $300. That means we will be at least $150 short per person.
Will you give $150 to help make up the difference so a young person can come to camp on the early bird?
Maybe you can give enough for a mini-group of five to come and can give $750? That would be spectacular! Last year we were saved by one very large and generous gift -it really helped us last year and we are thankful to those who can give so generously.
However, in the end, this camp is usually made possible by friends who give faithful gifts of $35, $50 $75 and $100. Your gift does make a difference.
Please give the best gift you can today by clicking the buttons below. These camp expenses come fast and furious before camp ever starts. We need you and your support today if you can. Thank you very much.
Your Friend for Life,
Founder, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust
P.S. Camp this year is July 23rd through August 2nd in San Francisco. As I said earlier, I love activism in San Francisco! It is a hotbed of liberalism and an international tourist destination. It is the perfect place to train young people to be bold and to know they can hold their own intellectually, scientifically and underpinned by their faith and the rightness of their cause, they can win the day!
But we can't win the day if we don't put the camps on! And the only way we can do this is with your support of the work of Survivors and this camp in particular! Please invest in the future of those called to defend life. Give the best gift you can today. Please, we will handle the rest!