Meet Zaira Perez. Today she is 16 years old but she has been a leader at Survivors Camp for the last 3 years. Zaira is fearless and always the first one to raise her hand to volunteer to lead an event.
Zaira commands the respect of her fellow campers, all her peers, because she is passionate and not overbearing. When Zaira makes decisions to move people around during a street event, the other kids know it is because she is trying to make their time more effective.
Because "more effective" means more babies' lives are saved!
Zaira is a picture, a snapshot of the importance of Survivors ProLife Training Camp!
For the last 19 years Survivors ProLife Training Camp has produced a new crop of enthusiastic young people, who are trained, equipped, and motivated to fight for life.
Survivors ProLife Training Camp produces leaders! That's what we do!
Dozens of today's leaders across the nation came to one of our summer camps - as campers - before they were leaders. Camp prepared them to lead.
Now camp is less than four weeks away and tomorrow's leaders are on their way!!!
Every year the lazy side of me asks - Do I really have to spend two weeks of my summer leading a camp?
But the thought is fleeting because I remember the young people and the refreshment they bring me as they learn the truth about abortion and get fired up to save lives.
Listen to what Zaira wrote about camp:
"Camp is the only thing I look forward to all year! It is a very awesome experience because you meet many amazing people and learn many things that you didn't know before. You learn that 3,500 innocent babies are aborted every day and the huge injustice that it is. Training prepares you to go out into the street for activism. When you arrive to your first event you are nervous but then you get into the conversations and find it is very fun. When I go to events, I am very hyped because I love defending the unborn and showing others the truth behind the abortion industry."
Yes, Zaira is "very hyped" and her being hyped excites me and motivates all of the Survivors leadership team to give their all to train up a new group of young people.
We get to see them blossom and mature. We get to see their passion rise up and be effectively directed. In dozens of young people like Zaira every year!
Zaira is a great example of everything we strive to accomplish at camp. But she is not alone. Veronica is another great example of our recent camp graduates. Now she is in college and has started a campus pro-life work AND a pro-life group in her city.
Veronica says: "Going to Survivors Prolife 'boot camp' was one of the best things I've ever decided to do. Before attending camp, I was clueless about what it means to be pro-life, and when I left, my knowledge greatly increased. During the amazing twelve days of the camp I learned a lot, made really good friends, and got so much closer to God. Most of all, I received a passion for pro-life work, a passion to save the innocent.
I was so excited the first day I went out on the streets to do pro-life activism. I remember thinking, "This is it, V, today's the day we save lives!" I felt like God was standing right next to me the entire time I was doing activism. I said so many good things that I would not have been able to say before, things that changed so many people's minds about abortion.
The first day of camp I shyly walked up to the girl's dorm, expecting to be a loner, but by the end of the first day I had made so many friends who I'm still very good friends with today. I made a lot of them by accidentally hitting them with a basketball while playing "Knock Out." Sorry guys.
The talks were very motivating and the messages were powerful. I highly suggest attending camp as soon as you can. It's a life changing experience that I will never forget! I can't wait to go again."
I look forward to seeing young people like Zaira and Veronica at camp again but I also look forward to the new fresh young people who come to camp because I know their lives will be changed!
It happens every year and it will happen this year too!
I want to share just one more testimony before I close. This is what Joshua Cummings said about camp:
"I truly don't think it is possible for anyone to work with Survivors, for even just one day and not have a passion for saving babies be set on fire inside of them. Working with Survivors for only one week made me a lifetime committed "Abortion Abolitionist."
I didn't know what it was going to be like working with Survivors. It turned out to be a very encouraging and educational experience, not to mention being exciting and worthwhile. Wait, "worthwhile" is the wrong word. It doesn't begin to capture the importance of what Survivors does. The work of Survivors is beyond worthwhile. Survivors saves lives and changes hearts, two things that have immeasurable importance.
By God's power I became extremely bold in confronting abortion, and you will, too when you start fighting abortion with Survivors. We did a lot of activism in Albuquerque: we stood on street corners holding signs picturing aborted babies, we handed out lit and talked to people about abortion and the risks a woman takes if she has one, and we leafleted cars getting out thousands of drop cards.
What I've listed doesn't begin to cover all that we did. The most important part about Survivors is the fact that you are trying to save children and protect women, but the second most important thing is that you are spending your short time here on earth wisely, and you have a life changing purpose when you choose to save children from abortion."
I have one more camp graduate I would like to highlight - Lauren Handy.
There are some people born and gifted to be activists and Lauren is one of them. She took her training and went to Washington, DC and had a huge impact there. She joined our friends at Created Equal for a period of time.
Lauren even held a week long - mini Survivors Training Camp - in the DC area. One of those she trained at her mini-camp works in our office today!
And that young lady, Maria-Jose, is now our most effective recruiter!
What a blessing to see young people take what they have been given and run with it! It is the fruit of your investment in Survivors. Thank you for supporting this work!
It is young men like Joshua, and young ladies like Zaira, Lauren, Maria-Jose and Veronica who will make the difference in our fight for life.
These are tomorrow's leaders - wait - they are today's leaders!
I could fill hundreds of pages talking about great young people
who have come through our camp and are leading somewhere today
in their cities today -- and some statewide and even nationally!!!
Now as the date of this year's Survivors Summer Leadership Training Camp rushes towards us - I am already smiling as I see the list of new people grow and my heart is warmed to see some young people from past camp signing up again.
One very exciting aspect of camp is seeing young people who were
campers in the past volunteering their time to join our leadership team!
From teen to team leader, oh how they have grown! That is what camp is all about!!! Recruiting - training - and equipping young people to take a stand!
This is the issue of their day!
It is their turn to take a stand!!
It is their turn to make history!!!
They only need to be able to get to camp. We ask them to give up two weeks of their summer vacation to learn to be an effective leader in the pro-life fight.
And they do so willingly!
Sometimes the only standing the way of a young person coming to camp is money.
We keep the cost of camp as low as we can at $450 per person - but in reality it does not even begin to cover our actual cost to put on the 12 day camp.
Retreat centers cost a fortune, food to feed upwards of a hundred young people is an enormous expense - even though my wife does the cooking!
Then there are vans and insurance and materials. And flights for national leaders to come share their experience and to encourage the young people in fighting the good fight!
National leaders do not get paid by Survivors for their time of training at camp. They give of their time generously.
Still at the end of the day - camp is expensive.
But I do not want to have to say no to a single young person who can't come to camp because of finances! And I don't - I just can't.
Already I know of over ten young people who will be at camp on scholarship. Why?
Because I know the investment in them is going to pay off!!!!
Will you help me? Will you help Survivors to put on one of the most recognized pro-life events of the year? Will you invest in the life of a young person today?
Camp is under four weeks away - would you sponsor a teen with a scholarship and send a gift of $450 today?Or could you give a partial scholarship of $225 or even $112.50?
If you will you will be investing in the future of our nation, children will be saved because you gave and leaders born.
Camp is here and we need all the help we can get. Your gift of $35, $50, $75 or $100 would be a tremendous blessing.
And if God has blessed you extraordinarily and you can give a gift of thousands that will make an unbelievably huge impact.
Your gift is your gift and each gives as God provides and I am personally thankful for each and every gift.
I love these young people. I love the great things they will do. But I always know it is friends like you that make it all possible.
Thank you for you generosity today!
Your friend for life,
P.S. Camp is less than four weeks away. The fruit of this camp is in the testimonies of the young people you read today - and hundreds more just like them. Please give the best gift you can today, invest in tomorrow's leaders and give to make this camp possible. Thank you again.
Yes Jeff - Do not say No to a single young person who can't afford camp. I want to invest in our young people this summer. Enclosed is my gift of:
$112.50 to help with a ¼ scholarship!