written by Maria G., Wisconsin Right to Life Intern and First-Time Teen Impact Camp Counselor
Another year, another fantastic Teen Impact Camp. What started in the small basement of Solon Springs Hotel in 2003 is now a 5-day intensive camp that offers training on pro-life apologetics, connections with the pro-life community, and slip ‘n’ slide fun, all in the same day!
This year Wisconsin Right to Life’s Teen Impact Camp enjoyed a new location: Ripon College. Bovay Hall was a charming place, with an exciting game room stocked with pool, ping pong, and air hockey, as well as a classroom perfect for each educational session. On Sunday evening, 20 pro-life teens arrived on campus. From Sunday to Friday, each day’s work built off the day before. Hence, days one and two were dedicated to understanding the basics of the pro-life view. President and founder of Life Training Institute, Mr. Scott Klusendorf, joined the team and dedicated the first 3 sessions to presenting the pro-choice argument, offering a response, and preparing the students to master pro-life apologetics. Mr. Klusendorf first entered the room in a brightly colored shirt and hat, playing his nefarious UCLA alias, “Dr. Zeke Diversity.” Dr. Zeke proceeded to present an hour-long pro-choice argument, completely fooling the students who quickly pushed back with their pro-life knowledge. It was a great exercise for understanding how pro-choice advocates understand the world and the abortion discussion.
One game of slip ‘n’ slide kickball and a few shared meals later, the group traveled to Madison, Wisconsin. WRTL Legislative/PAC Director Gracie Skogman met the teens and arranged for an educational and exciting morning at the capitol. The teens enjoyed talks and Q & As with State Senator Julian Bradley and State Representative Donna Rozar, some of the state’s most outspoken pro-life politicians. Next was a fascinating tour of the Senate and Assembly chambers, as well as the Governor’s conference room. The day concluded with beautiful views of the city of Madison and its lakes from the Capitol’s Rotunda.
Upon returning to campus, the teens enjoyed squirt-gun tie-dying, one water fight (staff included), a Great Slime Make-Off Competition, and time spent preparing each team’s Group Project. Between these, the campers learned about the dignity of the elderly from Caitlyn Trader (WRTL Director of Bioethics), fetal development and abortion methods from Lizzie Cantrall (WRTL Region 1 field representative), the abortion pill and abortion pill reversal from Matt Peeters (WRTL Region 3 & 4 field representative), the importance of voting from Heather Weininger (WRTL Executive Director) and her politically passionate friend, Jennifer Meinhardt, and so much more.
Friday morning left one last task: Group Project Presentations. The teens’ newly formed friendships radiated energy, creativity, and joy. Many groups put on comical, but educational, skits and musicals. It was a wonderful way to conclude the week and demonstrate everything they had learned.
“Overall, camp is an amazing opportunity for teens to come and learn about the movement, hear and interact with speakers they might not normally get to, and to meet other teens like them. We are able to supply them with resources to go home and make an impact in their communities. We want this camp to continue to grow and attract more teens from all over the state (and possibly the nation). We want to give the teens the knowledge, resources, and confidence to go home and make a difference in their communities.” – Matt Peeters (“Dad” of camp)
Special thanks to the WRTL Chapter Growth and Development Team including Doreen Shirek, Joleigh Little, Matt Peeters, and Lizzie Cantrall, as well as all counselors, WRTL friends, and supporters who helped make Teen Impact Camp 2022 come to life. We’ll see you next year!