Moo’s Musings — The “Camper Gang” Paper

Maiah Reilich-Godino

English 110


The Disturbing Reality Behind Pro Life Support


       Have you ever been riding in the car with your mother, heated leather seats, snacks in the back, bluetooth radio playing. You come up to a stop light and standing in the center of the road is a man holding up a cardboard sign. His teeth are chipped and blacked, and his sign read “homeless, anything will help.” your mom rolls up the windows and locks the doors. She looks at you and says “ never give people like that money. They are bad people. You stay away from them.”  When I see that man, I have a different reaction. I think about what brought him to this point. Did he have parents that loved him. Did they send him to school with a packed lunch everyday? Did he get to ride around with his mom, sit on her heated leather seats and learn the difference between right and wrong? Or was he just another throwaway. A child born under unfortunate circumstances. Forced to be brought into this world even though every odd was stacked against him. Was he given away? Packed into the overcrowded underfunded foster care system. Bouncing from family to family like a defective ping pong ball never finding his place. Was he abused? Was he scared when he went to sleep? Did he cry for his mom and wonder why he wasn’t good enough to keep? When a mother is forced to have a child despite the inability to care for it, this is the result. Foster care, abuse, homlessness, incarceration, and more. This is why it is so imperative that we allow each individual human being to make decisions about their body. This is why I am pro choice.

       I would like to start by sharing some personal stories from my life. No I was not put into foster care, and yes my mother does love me very much. However despite those facts, for my last two years of highschool I was registered as a homeless youth. In that time I met many kids who are very similar to the man in the example above. Maybe him when he was sixteen. Have you ever heard that song “Young Dumb and Broke?” Those would be the words I would use to describe us kids. But what else could you expect? They didn’t have a mom to teach them how to be smart. They didnt have a dad to provide them with money and teach them about work ethic. And they were all so beautifully innocently young. We called ourselves the Camper Gang. The reason for this was the living arrangement. None of them had a home to go back to, or if they did they were too afraid to step foot in it. So we made our own home, created a new family. About 16 or 17 young, dumb, broke kids, living in a busted up camper in the back of a girls yard. A.K.A “The Camper Gang.” 

        Now why is this relevant? Well let’s take a look at some statistics for a second. Currently there are approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system. Out of those 400,000 kids, approximately 40-50% will become homeless in the 18 months following their emancipation. 1 in 3 of these children will enter the system due to drug abuse within their family’s home. Official statistics show as many as 28% of children experience physical abuse within their foster care homes. And an overwheliming 81% of foster youth reported sexual abuse. Let’s pause and take a moment to think about that. Why are these facts so important?

        Speaking from personal experience, these events have a severe, permanent impact on a person’s psychological well-being, and their ability to grow into a functioning member of society. Imagine trying to force yourself to write a nine page AP history report but you can’t get the pen to stay steady because the withdrawal symptoms are making your whole body shake like a leaf. Imagine hating yourself because you are not as smart as Beacky. But Beackys dad kisses her like she pure sunlight and helps her study every night. Your dad hasn’t answered your calls in over three years. Imagine picking up the phone and listening in shock as you hear that you won’t be seeing Hunter again. Hunter isn’t here anymore. “He’s in a better place now.” Imagine being laughed at in cheering practice because you start crying. But you are crying because you just received a text from your step-mom saying all of your belongings will be packed on the porch for you to pick up because your dad has started drinking again and she can no longer provide a home for you. Just try to imagine that.

       Being pro choice is not being pro abortion. That is an unfortunate yet incorrect belief held by many improperly educated individuals. Pro choice is in simple terms, the right to choose. America is a country of free liberated people. The lines begin to blur when we allow the government to make decisions about what people can and can’t do with their bodys. I understand that every life is important, and I know that in a better world, every baby born would be a blessed bundle of joy brought down from the stars. But that is not the world we live in. It is unfair to fight for every child to be brought into this world, but once it arrives, decided that your responsibility is done. I love my mother, I love my sister, and I love my friends. I am so beyond grateful for my experiences. They have shaped me into the strong, beautiful, independent, and intelligent woman I am today. But I was one of the lucky ones. Do you remember “The Camper Gang?”The 16 or 17 kids that made their own family? Well they didn’t all turn out so lucky. About half of those kids are now either incarserated, or dead due to suicide, overdoses, or gang violance. They didn’t get to fly off to Tennessee and attend a fancy private college. They got left behind and thrown out.

       So I just want you to think about this before you go to sleep tonight. Are you willing to take on this responsibility into your conceouse. If you intended to force a mother to bring a child into this world can you live with yourself knowing the potential outcome. Are you going to accept responsibility for the 19 year olds body that just got dragged out of the river. He jumped off a bridge because death was less painful than waking up tomorrow morning. Are you going to acknowledge all of the children stuck up in this world all alone, forced to think that hell is a place called home, nothing left to do but get their clothes and pack, they say their bout to runaway and never come back.”


Ludacris – “Runaway Love”