Camper dies in swing accident at Carolina Point camp

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Bert Perry's picture

but this needs to be said; if we are going to do things like bungee jumping, zip lines, 120' high swings, whitewater rafting, and the like, we "fundagelicals" need to get religion on the issue of safety.  Lawyers in this area salivate when they see evidence that a group has neglected basic safety measures, to put it mildly.

(this is something of an issue for me because the church I'm attending narrowly avoided having a number of funerals because kids couldn't be bothered to portage or wear life jackets on a canoe trip....)

Prayers and condolences to the family, but let's take basic safety seriously.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

We never had amusement park kind of rides at camp (multi-years at Boy Scout camp in my youth):

Instead:

  • Lifeguard and water safety
  • Swimming the mile (for the first time)
  • Bird merit badge
  • Et Cetera

That being said ... I am praying for the Grimes family

Greg Long's picture

Bert, I understand what you're saying, but remember that people have died at amusement parks, too. We don't know at this point if it was due to a lack of safety protocols, failure to abide by safety protocols by the staff, a camper unbuckling herself from safety equipment, equipment failure, or what.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Bert Perry's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Bert, I understand what you're saying, but remember that people have died at amusement parks, too. We don't know at this point if it was due to a lack of safety protocols, failure to abide by safety protocols by the staff, a camper unbuckling herself from safety equipment, equipment failure, or what.

Yes, they have, and it's worth noting that when it does happen at such a place, there is a big to-do where you go through 8ds, FMEAs, and all kinds of things to make as certain as possible it doesn't happen again.  Hopefully it happens.  If it doesn't, lawyers will be loaded for bear the next time it happens, and if they don't deal with it, it WILL happen again.  It's a question off when, not if.

One big reason I'm a bit intense here is because I've seen too many cases where people just "blew off" basic safety issues in our circles.  Electrical panels blocked by cleaning chemicals (in NEC since 1899, BTW), laughing at kids not wearing life vests and such, not terribly concerned about making sure kids' workers have background checks, and the like.  My daughters noted that people responded to the incident on the river with "well, you could die driving".

Well, yes,  but we don't tell drivers not to sweat not using a seat belt, or encourage them to knock back a few drinks before taking the wheel, do we?   Using a life vest and portaging around rapids are every bit as basic as buckling up and driving sober.   There are points where we've really got to get our safety thinking caps on.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Bert Perry wrote:

One big reason I'm a bit intense here is because I've seen too many cases where people just "blew off" basic safety issues in our circles.  

 

I saw an instance in the late 90's where a Baptist church was needing to get its youth group to an event 150 miles away.  The group was larger than the 15 passengers their van would seat, so what did they do?  They took out a couple of the bench seats and had a bunch of kids just sit loose (unbuckled) on the floor!  150 miles each way, @ 70 mph down the highway...

They made it both ways w/o incident, but what would have happened in a crash or a rollover?  (Shudder...) 

(BTW, I voiced my concern to the pastor, who simply shrugged it off.)

 

Tragic accidents are one thing, but "accidents just waiting to happen" are another.

Bert Perry's picture

Now I'm going to be fair here; I do not know and likely never will know whether the camp was negligent here.  But that said, those who are concerned about safety might do well to read this, and any church that still uses vans to transport people (adult or child) needs to take a look here. I don't know whether churches, camps, and schools are "behind the ball" here, but we can definitely improve.

Side note; vans are a big deal because they put a lot of weight over the rear wheels (increased risk of blowout) and have both a short wheelbase and a high center of mass--the classic failure mode is rear wheel blowout.  You get more tire failure, and when it happens, it's a much bigger (more lethal) deal than with a passenger car, minivan, or SUV.  Had the situation Larry describes gone bad, you're talking about at least half a dozen fatalities as kids would have been thrown from the vehicle before the vehicle rolled over them.

Churches, and their affiliated camps and schools, need to get a handle on issues like this, unless we desire to hand over the keys to the facility to a plaintiff's lawyer after a tragedy.  

 

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

What do you suggest? Chuck Phelps' church rented professional tour buses (I think they rented them...they were certainly professional sized tour buses), and for whatever reason there was a major accident and we all know what happened!

Mark_Smith's picture

This was at a Young Life camp, which is by NO MEANS a fundamentalist organization.

Young Life is a big movement with teens and college aged people. Does anyone out there have information about them other than what is on their website? Any past dealings with them?

I have attended a few meetings they have had on campus, and I can't decide. They brought in speakers from Focus on the Family to talk about sexual issues for single adults, but they are deliberately vague on their statement of faith (ie we seek to improve the lives of all youth, etc. The name of Jesus is not overtly mentioned at all in the website, or at any meeting I went to.)

Jim's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:
.... but they are deliberately vague on their statement of faith (ie we seek to improve the lives of all youth, etc. The name of Jesus is not overtly mentioned at all in the website, or at any meeting I went to.)

https://www.younglife.org/About/Pages/StatementOfFaith.aspx

Young Life’s Statement of Faith
Preamble

We the members of the Young Life mission – trustees, staff, instructors at Young Life schools and volunteers – join together in our affirmation of the following articles and our central purpose of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ and introducing adolescents everywhere to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith.

Article I

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the final and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

Article II

In the Scriptures, God reveals Himself as the living and true God, Creator of all things. Perfect in love and righteous in all His ways, this one God exists eternally as a Trinity of persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Article III

God made man and woman in His image that He might have fellowship with us. Being estranged from God by our disobedience, we are, as sinful people, incapable of a right relationship to God apart from divine grace.

Article IV

The only Mediator between God and all human beings is Jesus Christ our Lord, God’s eternal Son, who as man fully shared and fulfilled our humanity in a life of perfect obedience.

Article V

By His death in our place, Jesus revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having risen bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven, He rules as Lord over all and intercedes for us as our Great High Priest.

Article VI

The Holy Spirit, through the proclamation of the Gospel, renews our hearts, persuading us to repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit we are led to trust in divine mercy, whereby we are forgiven all our sins, justified by faith through the merit of Christ our Savior, adopted into God’s family as His children and enabled so to live in the world that all people may see our good works and the Gospel of grace at work in our lives and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Article VII

God, by His Word and Spirit, calls us as sinful people into the fellowship of Christ’s body. Thus He creates the one holy, catholic and apostolic church, united in the bonds of love, endowed with the gifts of the Spirit and summoned by Christ to preach the Gospel and to administer the sacraments, to carry on the ministry of reconciliation, to relieve human need and to strive for social justice.

Article VIII

God’s redemptive purpose will be consummated by the return of Christ to raise the dead, judge all people and establish His glorious kingdom. Those who are apart from Christ shall be eternally separated from God’s presence, but the redeemed shall live and reign with Him forever.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Mark_Smith wrote:

What do you suggest? Chuck Phelps' church rented professional tour buses (I think they rented them...they were certainly professional sized tour buses), and for whatever reason there was a major accident and we all know what happened!

 

All I'm saying is that churches shouldn't blithely flout safety concerns.  The Phelps' incident was a tragic accident.  Like I said, "Tragic accidents are one thing, but "accidents just waiting to happen" are another."

Cramming & overloading about 26 people into a van designed for 15, with a majority of them sitting unrestrained on the floor, is on the other hand an example of an "accident just waiting to happen."  It shows an utter disregard for safety concerns.  As Bert pointed out, if a serious accident with injuries or deaths were to occur under such circumstances, that church would be criminally liable.

Jim's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

This was at a Young Life camp, which is by NO MEANS a fundamentalist organization.

Somewhat of a generalization because Y/L has a campus ministry and Kru has a H.S. ministry but: Young Life is to High Schools what Campus Crusade is to Colleges

Neither are fundamentalist organizations. But again speaking generally (Larry Nelson had an article about this!): Fundamentalism has largely ignored the public schools and secular colleges

Mark_Smith's picture

is all over campuses. And go to a meeting...there is little mention of Jesus. The adult mentors are too often from liberal leaning churches.

Jim, have you attended a Young Life meeting?

Jim's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

is all over campuses. And go to a meeting...there is little mention of Jesus. The adult mentors are too often from liberal leaning churches.

Jim, have you attended a Young Life meeting?

I attend "Old Life" (AARP) meetings Smile

 

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

So sad to hear about the loss of a child. So far I don't believe they've found the cause of the accident. 

I agree with Bert, in that some of my experiences at youth camp and as the parent of a camper there was a disregard for sensible safety precuations. In some circles it's downright sissified to be concerned about safety. 

We stopped doing the youth camp thing years ago - it just wasn't worth it. Few advantages, dozens of problems. None of us have missed it.

Ron Bean's picture

I'm a pragmatic member of AARP. Their discounts on travel, insurance, etc. enable me to be a better steward of my limited finances. Their discounts are much better than the ones my Christian college alumni association offers. AMAC is catching up. When they get there, I'll switch.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

What do you suggest? Chuck Phelps' church rented professional tour buses (I think they rented them...they were certainly professional sized tour buses), and for whatever reason there was a major accident and we all know what happened!

Mark,granted tragedies can happen in any case.  I remember a case where a number of Red Wings hockey players were severely injured when they'd rented a limo--turned out that the driver had been smoking dope and that led to tragedy.  But I maintain that we can "pick our odds" by doing things like taking a quick walk around a vehicle to look at the tires, for obvious dripping fluids, and to talk with the driver.  If in doubt, don't.  Same thing with adventure sports, swimming, climbing walls, whatever--there are basics that you can follow to make anything safer, or to decide you're not going to do it at all.  To draw a picture, I'd sooner ride my bicycle 100 miles to summer camp in 90 degree heat than in a 15 passenger van with worn Firestones.  Change that to a 12 passenger van with Michelin LTX M/S with lots of tread, and my Trek stays at home.  See the picture?  You might end up doing the same thing in a few years when your daughters start dating--take a look at the vehicle the gentleman is driving before you let her go.  

Let's build on the Phelps case.  Given that any vehicle--from my Trek to a semi--has at least two if not four ways of slowing the vehicle down (front, rear, emergency brakes and the "low" gears on the transmission), when you go through your 8D and "five whys", you're most likely going to find that the bus driver and his company either tolerated poor maintenance or speeding.  Hard not to speed on I-465, I know from experience, but when you're in a bus, you don't have to let people push you around, no?  And it is possible that a walk around that bus, or a look at the warning lights and speedometer on I-65 south of Lansing, might have identified the issue.  Not guaranteed, but again; let's take reasonable precautions.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

DLCreed's picture

Mark_Smith wrote:

This was at a Young Life camp, which is by NO MEANS a fundamentalist organization.

Young Life is a big movement with teens and college aged people. Does anyone out there have information about them other than what is on their website? Any past dealings with them?

I have attended a few meetings they have had on campus, and I can't decide. They brought in speakers from Focus on the Family to talk about sexual issues for single adults, but they are deliberately vague on their statement of faith (ie we seek to improve the lives of all youth, etc. The name of Jesus is not overtly mentioned at all in the website, or at any meeting I went to.)

Like any other "Franchise" style para-church organization, you've got strong chapters and weak chapters.  I'm a local church guy who's not particularly enthralled with most parachurch ministries.  That said, I know several of the state and national directors for Young Life as they attend my church.  They are dedicated, evangelistic, love Jesus believers.  Their camps are absolutely GORGEOUS and well maintained.  We've been to their camps and at my former fundy church, we actually rented the facilities for our Christian school and they were fantastic.  We've used swings like the one in this accident at their other YL camp in NC.  They are "thrill rides" without a doubt, but they had staff managing it, safety precautions and a pre-use briefing on safety.  Accidents, tragically, happen.  Sometimes it is also a kid not paying attention or acting silly -- teens do that, you know.  But then again, there have been 7 shark attacks off the coast of the Carolinas this summer alone, so there's no place that is perfectly safe.  Sometimes bad stuff happens.  It's hard, sad, tragic, but it happens.

 

Julie Anne's picture

We took our family to Young Life family camps for a few years.  We went on ziplines and rope courses.  The ropes course was one of the most scary things I've ever done.  There was a straight drop before being caught by the rope swing.  While the rope course was scary, the staff was meticulous in safety. One person put the gear on, another one checked to make sure it was okay. When I was at the end of the rope course before the final drop/big swing, they checked one more time to make sure I was harnessed properly. Every time we went, they were very good with safety procedures.

Here's a video of one we attended:  https://vimeo.com/19223379   I've heard that most camps offer similar activities.

We attended a conservative non-denominational church in VA, and a group from church was very involved with the local Young Life group. A lot of teens who go to these camps are not Believers, so obviously it's going to feel more liberal. My friends have been Young Life leaders for years and have seen lives changed as they have invested in these young students.  

Mark_Smith's picture

Ok then, it must just be my state organization, because I would CERTAINLY NOT call my state YL groups overtly evangelical. While many of the adult mentors are baptist, they are American Baptist... 

It must be another case of me living in flyover country, since there are no YL camps anywhere near me.

Mark_Smith's picture

I think you and are making HUGE MISTAKES just to save a few pennies. AARP endorses Obamacare, abortion (under the radar), right to die, etc...

 

Ron mentioned insurance and travel discounts. On what? You can get decent room rates on on-line websites. Insurance? Do yo mean auto insurance? I have simple State Farm, and I have yet to find a rate better...

Bert Perry's picture

My take is that they're solidly evangelical--the trick with the AB pastors Mark notes is that in most of the mainline churches, there is an evangelical segment that is working hard to "nudge" the denomination back to Scriptural fidelity.  100% fundamental, no, but a great portion are our brothers and hence we will do well to pay attention.  They will have some of the same habits we do.

And I hope that things really were in line here, but the lessons I've learned in my profession are in general that when something really bad occurs, there is a cause that we can learn from.  Usually it's something that was forseeable--like the example of worn tires on the 15 passenger van, or not wearing life vests in small craft on a moving river.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Wayne Wilson's picture

It may be different in other places. The local Young Life chapters here are extremely weak theologically and evangelistically. My daughter attended for a time, and got involved in leadership because a family friend was deeply committed to bringing it to our community. She couldn't take it for too long. It is literally 95% fun and 5% watered down Bible story.  The method is to target popular kids at school at get them attending to draw others. They often have "testimonies" from the kids they're trying to reach, which often include praise for sin. They don't correct them, though. It's too judgmental.  Our friends who are deep into it have mentioned their disappointment that so few have come to the Lord out of the hundreds who have passed through their meetings. 

Are people saved in Young Life? I'm sure some are. For many, I fear, it's an inoculation against the Gospel. 

Jim's picture

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tbo/obituary.aspx?n=olivia-grimes&pid=1...

GRIMES, Olivia Paige, age 16, an incoming junior at George Jenkins High School, passed away July 13, 2015. She grew up in Lake-land, FL, attending the church her parents had started, Oasis Community Church where she was avidly involved in her youth group and children's mini-stry. She had a GPA of 4.4 and was aspiring to go to college to create animated movies. Her love for Disney movies, D.C. Comics, and Nintendo games made it into her daily conversa-tions. Olivia's uncanny humor was legendary among her friends and family. She is survived by her father and mother, Phil and Robyn Grimes of Lakeland; sister, Sabrina Grimes of Lakeland; maternal grand-parents, Ed and Dianne Simmons of Dover; paternal grandparents, Ronald Grimes and Carolyn Grimes of Lakeland; aunt, Debbie Bagley (Scott) of Mulberry, uncles, Mike Grimes (Sherri) of Lakeland, Kevin Grimes (Lisa) of Lakeland, Doug Simmons (Kristie) of Dover; cousins, Wesley Grimes, Hope Grimes, Faith Grimes, Tristan Simmons, and Hannah Simmons. A Celebration of Life ser-vice will be held on Sunday, July 19, 2015, at First Bap-tist Church at the Mall, Lakeland, FL. The family will receive relatives and friends beginning at 3pm with the celebration service to follow at 5pm. Family, friends, classmates, and the general public are in-vited to the celebration service. In lieu of flowers the family requests dona-tions be made to Oasis Community Ministries to benefit the children and youth ministries in which she served. Condolences may be offered at: www.lakelandfu neralhome.com.

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