Dropping Out: Slavery Without Chains

Author Randolph Randy Camp

Author Randolph Randy Camp

After a long day yesterday one of my neighbors knocked on my door. She wanted to know if I could speak with her 16 year old daughter because her daughter was seriously considering dropping out of school. The moment my neighbor said the words ‘dropping out’ my ears automatically perched up and I quickly asked, “Where is she?”

Although initially I got the dramatic rolling of the eyes, the young lady gave me enough respect to listen to what I had to say. I told her that certain cultures and societies believe that females shouldn’t be allowed to read books, go to school and get a basic education. And I went on to tell her that this belief is backwards and a society that keeps its girls from reading books and getting an education is only hurting itself  in the long run because that makes their whole society or country weak. “To me”, I continued,”keeping girls from reading books and going to school is a form of slavery, the kind of slavery where you don’t  physically see the metal chains but they are definitely there, keeping you down and in place.I further explained to her that we often take our public school system for granted when we should be grateful for it.

Today, as I’m thinking about this young lady and her very concerned mother, I wonder if she went to school this morning. I hope so. – Randolph Randy Camp

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Failing as Humans, Passing as Robots

Author Randolph Randy Camp

Author Randolph Randy Camp

What’s happening to us? Are we failing as human beings and passing as robots? Just look at myself for example, here I am sitting at this computer typing symbols into space when I could be calling or visiting one of my children who I haven’t seen in awhile.

Are you an executive sitting behind a big glossy, oak desk reading a computer screen full of numbers? If so, as an executive, when was the last time you actually made a big impact on someone’s life, perhaps authorizing an impromptu, well-overdue promotion to one of your employees?

After I finish this post, I’m going to call one of my kids. I don’t think I’m quite ready yet to become a robot.  And although I like being human, I need to work on being a better human. – Randolph Randy Camp

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No Complaints

Author Randolph Randy Camp at East High School in Buffalo, NY

Author Randolph Randy Camp at East High School in Buffalo, NY

How often do we complain about minuscule stuff? My morning started off just like any other morning. Hardly anything was going right, and the complaints quickly began to pile up. I woke up to a nagging knee pain, and then, later, I had to go back inside to put on a thicker shirt because it was a bit chillier than normal this morning. By now, I was running late for an important meeting so I reluctantly skipped my routine visit to the coffee shop…and then, it hit me. It was at this very moment when my ‘wiser self’ reminded me of the morning, a couple years ago, when I was working at the Buffalo Veterans Hospital.

As usual, my mornings at the Veterans Hospital started off with me going down to the cafeteria to get my large cup of coffee. This one particular morning would be permanently engrained in my memory because I was in a hurry and I didn’t do my typical ‘sip-test’ after I’d hastily mixed in a little cream and sugar.

When I got into the elevator to return to my work station on the ninth floor, I had a chance to take a test-sip of my coffee and it was just plain awful! Needless to say, I let out a profound ‘f-bomb’ as the others in the elevator turned their heads to me. When we finally reached the ninth floor, the elevator door opened and a wheel-chaired double-amputee cheerfully greeted us with, “Good morning, ladies n’ gents!” as he wheeled himself into the elevator. After seeing this man with no legs, I immediately felt ashamed at myself for complaining about the taste of my coffee.

No, today I’m certainly not perfect and I still sometimes complain about life’s minuscule things. I wish that my ‘wiser self’ would pop up more often to remind me that I truly have nothing really to complain about.

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

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Start A Conversation


America’s teen runaway and youth homelessness issues are increasing. Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away each year. There are a number of reasons why these kids were motivated to leave home, and the long list of risk factors involved doesn’t seem to be getting shorter anytime soon.

There are agencies, shelters, and various youth-oriented organizations out there trying their best to reach out and help these troubled and at-risk teens but, in reality, the true helping process simply begins with you and I.

Every day we see these homeless kids hanging out on our city streets, sometimes panhandling or begging for change or food. Personally, my actual concern for these young people stems from ‘the survival question’, meaning that once a kid runs away how will he or she now survive? This is my main concern and objective in bringing more awareness to this issue. After a kid runs away, he or she will face many questionable methods of survival on the streets. And this is one of the reasons why I wrote ‘Wet Matches’.

I truly understand and am very much aware of the fact that a lot of people may feel sorry for these runaway and homeless kids but feel somewhat helpless because they feel that, as one person, their impact won’t make a real difference to such a big tremendous social issue. At one time I felt that way myself, but trust me, the helping process is honestly simple and your ‘little’ personal impact will start a tidal wave of healing and help. It starts like this: The next time you see a homeless youth in your town, instead of ignoring him or her, just simply try to start a conversation. – Randolph Randy Camp

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

Posted in at risk youth, Author Randolph Randy Camp, bullying, coming of age, homeless youths, social issues, teen runaways, troubled teens, troubled youth, wet matches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Writing Tip: Take The Metro

Author Randolph Randy Camp

Author Randolph Randy Camp

If your words and thoughts aren’t flowing, and you feel yourself slipping deeper into writers’ block, take my advice: Park the car and take the metro.

Too often we isolate ourselves from the very world in which we are writing about. For one day at least use public transportation for your daily errands. The many voices and sights you’ll see and hear while riding the bus or metro train might enlighten and possibly ignite a new spark in you. In short, don’t isolate yourself too much.

And if you’re already using public transportation to get around your town, and you still find yourself sometimes in a bit of a writer’s slump, then try taking a long walk in the city park. A good walk is one of the best ways to clear your head from all of the built-up clutter and let new thoughts flow in. – Randy Camp

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

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The Wishful Traveler

Randolph Randy Camp at Travis Air Force Base

Randolph Randy Camp at Travis Air Force Base

I grew up poor in rural Spotsylvania County, Virginia. I was a nerd and absolutely loved going to school because it was an escape from my sometimes dismal surroundings. I loved reading books about different cultures around the world and I would dream about going to these exotic places one day.

When I’d joined the US Air Force (after high school) I was able to travel the globe and actually visit some of the places and cultures I’d read about as a child.

I was fascinated by the Australian Aborigines, and when I was fifteen years old, I took part in my own ‘walkabout’. Let me explain: When I was 15, I went on a ‘journey’ from my rural hometown in Virginia to the bustling City of Philadelphia. Well, the juvenile court system said that I was a ‘runaway, and you should’ve seen the look on their faces when I tried to explain to them that I was simply on ‘my walkabout’.

Thank God for the US Air Force because during my numerous overseas tours, I was very fortunate to visit one of my favorite places, which is Japan. Not only did I visit mainland Japan while traveling in the Air Force, but I also got a chance to see the Island of Okinawa, Japan as well.

I certainly know what it’s like to ‘want to see the world’ but you maybe stuck in a financial bind and unable to fly and travel at will. Please take a lesson from me and just go to your local public library and you’ll be amazed at how far those books will take you. – Randolph Randy Camp

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp 

Posted in at risk youth, Author Randolph Randy Camp, coming of age, rcstories, Spotsylvania County, teen runaways, troubled teens, troubled youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Those Rappahannock Dreams


Jalan had Shelly’s back. Crystal had Jalan’s back. And God had Crystal’s back as they joined together to give five homeless teens a second chance at a better life. Robbie is one of the homeless teens in ‘WET MATCHES: A NOVEL’ who plays the guitar and sings…

Leaves fallin’ down and tears in my eyes
I sit by this river and cry and cry
But just like running water…running water
These Rappahannock dreams keep passin’ me by
But some day soon I’m gonna get away from here
Just like running water…clear and clear
I sit by this river and cry and cry
Somebody please…please
Tell me why these Rappahannock dreams keep passin’ me by

*RAPPAHANNOCK DREAMS was written for the character Robbie in ‘Wet Matches: A Novel’, an award-winning story about a colorful group of homeless teens getting a second chance at a better life.
US Copyright Reg# PAu003585960 R. Camp

Learn more at http://www.goodreads.com/randolphcamp

Posted in at risk youth, Author Randolph Randy Camp, bullying, coming of age, Rappahannock River, rcstories, Spotsylvania County, teen fiction, teen runaways, troubled teens, troubled youth, Virginia books, wet matches, writer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment