Clair Williams Camp Joshua NC Testimony

 

I was so nervous to walk into the building my first day of Camp Joshua nearly five years ago that I almost didn’t. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t sure what was expected of me. What if I wasn’t pro-life enough? What if I didn’t know anything, and everyone else did? What if I was going to be put on the spot figuring out how to defend my pro-life views? Little did I know that one weekend at Camp Joshua would change how I viewed and understood the pro-life movement and the important work that we do. So in the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I began a new pro-life journey.

I remember feeling so welcomed the whole weekend. I got to hang out with other pro-life high-schoolers, having fun playing early-morning Pictionary and creating skits that somehow made analogies between pizza and pregnancy. We learned the basics about abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and stem-cell research, even hearing talks from a few experts in those areas. We learned strategies for defending the pro-life stance through basic apologetics, and we even practiced using that information in context, trying our hands at playing the devil’s advocate. We watched a movie about adoption and healing after abortion. We had crash-courses on pro-life activism and pro-life laws and legislation (from a legislator!). We heard the real-life testimonies of a woman impacted by the horror of abortion, and a woman struggling with the heartache and hope of adoption. I never felt so close to the heart of the pro-life movement as I did that weekend.  I learned so much in just a few short days. When I look back, I am amazed at just how much we were able to accomplish in one weekend. I had never even heard about some of the things we discussed before camp, so it was eye-opening to learn what being pro-life really encompasses. As I learned more about all of these terrible injustices, I became incredibly passionate about what we do as defenders of human dignity. I discovered that I could make a difference in my own community. Now I knew how to defend my pro-life views in the face of adversity. Now I was prepared to make a real, meaningful contribution to the pro-life movement. I was so inspired by that weekend, and my renewed vigor led me to start a pro-life club in my own high school, using the tools and resources that Camp Joshua had given me.

I enjoyed Camp Joshua so much that I didn’t hesitate to return twice as a peer mentor, and last year as a camp counselor, doing presentations on activism and starting pro-life clubs. I think last year’s camp was probably my favorite, because I seem to remember there being some sort of pro-life America’s Got Talent show, which featured an incredible Simon Cowell impression, a surprise visit from the Queen of England, and a terrible Lady Gaga imitation by yours truly which made me realize that I don’t know all the words to any Lady Gaga song. There have been games of telephone that ended up in different languages, impromptu soccer matches, s’mores and camp games around a bonfire, pool volleyball, apologetics volleyball, educational pie-in-the-face, and a fetal development obstacle course that included an overly soapy waterslide. My favorite thing about Camp Joshua is getting to see the creativity and genius of some absolutely hilarious yet unapologetically pro-life skits, and having fun with my pro-life peers.

It has been so rewarding to watch the growth of this camp and to see the commitment, love, and compassion of the high-schoolers who attend. Every time I go back, I learn something new, and I am constantly reminded of how important this work is, and how important it is that our younger generation, MY generation, steps up to fill in the shoes of those who came before us.

Now I’m in my third year at Appalachian State University, where I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to successfully re-start our pro-life club, and we have already started to make a difference in creating a positive pro-life presence on our campus. Camp Joshua NC was the starting point, the foundation, of my dedication and commitment to the pro-life movement. I was once afraid to speak up. But through Camp Joshua, I have found my voice. And I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless, until the dignity of every human life has been restored, from the moment of conception until natural death. More Information about Camp Joshua NC at: ncrtl.org/camp-joshua-nc/