ORTL’s Annual Pro-Life Youth Leadership Retreat Proves There’s Reasons for Hope

Ashley Sadler

Communications Director

Many people are concerned about where our culture is headed – and it’s not hard to understand why! It seems like a lot of individuals today, especially teenagers and young adults, are confused and misguided about important issues, including abortion and euthanasia.  

There are certainly reasons to be concerned. But there are also plenty of reasons for hope! 

Quite a few young people actually do understand the importance of standing up for the most vulnerable and want to dedicate themselves to making a positive difference in the world.

Here at Oregon Right to Life, we have the privilege of meeting some of these inspirational teens and young adults each year.

Every spring break, pro-life Oregon students between the ages of 16–21 join us for “Launch,” our annual youth leadership retreat.

Launch is an immersive four-day experience that helps young people become vital members of the pro-life movement. Participants meet like-minded peers, learn effective apologetics strategies for opposing abortion and euthanasia, and develop strong leadership skills.

Students who have participated in Launch in the past tell us the retreat has equipped them with many practical pro-life skills.

“Launch has been an incredible opportunity for me to learn how to better defend my position as a pro-life person,” Allison R. told us.

“I’ve learned so much from this Launch experience, especially understanding pro-choice people’s position and how to effectively and compassionately talk with them,” Mary L. shared.

“I’ve learned so much from this Launch experience, especially understanding pro-choice people’s position and how to effectively and compassionately talk with them.”

At Launch, young people engage with presentations by experienced pro-life advocates and speakers from the Equal Rights Institute, Save One, and Physicians for Compassionate Care. 

These speakers help our young pro-life advocates learn to listen effectively to people who support legal abortion, demonstrate empathy for women in difficult pregnancies, and share their own pro-life views with conviction.

Catherine B. said she particularly appreciated the tips shared by Equal Rights Institute President Josh Brahm. In his talks, Brahm strongly emphasizes the importance of speaking with pro-choice people in a friendly and relational way, recognizing their concerns and points of view. He contrasts this conversational strategy against a type of adversarial approach that frequently makes people feel even more closed off to the pro-life message.

Eden N. told us that Launch “really helped me learn a lot – mostly about how to really have compassionate arguments and to listen to the other person and really make my arguments a lot better.”

“I really appreciate Launch for helping me do that so I can help more people become more pro-life,” she said.

“I really appreciate Launch for helping me [have compassionate arguments] so I can help more people become more pro-life.”

And Launch doesn’t just teach students about pro-life issues—it encourages them to get actively involved in their local communities. Past Launch graduates have gone on to do exactly that. For example, some have started pro-life student groups or become volunteers with pregnancy resource centers. Some have even gotten involved in the political side of pro-life advocacy, promoting life-affirming legislation. In whatever way they choose to help, Launch graduates often become a powerful force to help spread the pro-life message.

We look forward to seeing this year’s students at Launch from March 24–27! 

If you weren’t able to apply this year, we hope you’ll make plans to come next time around! In the meantime, there are also plenty of things you can do to get involved in the pro-life movement in your own community, including:

  • Visiting or volunteering at a pro-life Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) 
  • Becoming a member of a church or campus pro-life group
  • Organizing a vigil outside a nearby abortion clinic
  • Joining a local chapter of Oregon Right to Life

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