Adventures Are Never Guaranteed

Some of the hardest stories hit too close to home. Recent news has surfaced that a rising seventh grader has died in a zip lining accident at Camp Cheerio. While there are many theories about what may have happened or have gotten tangled, an inspector noticed that “the tether, rated at 7,000 pounds, broke,” leaving the girl to fall 43 feet (13 meters) to her death.

Some of you may recall I wrote about my experiences there several years back, when I was only a little older than she was. I was on that zip line, several times in fact. There were safety measures to make sure no one got hurt. And here were safety measures in place for her, too, but they all failed.

The zip line had been inspected three months prior, in accordance with the American Camp Association accreditation. The staff had been trained. So, what went wrong?

We may never know for sure, but one thing is certain: both Camp Cheerio’s land zip line and water zip line have been closed indefinitely. If they ever do decide to reopen the courses, it will probably take awhile for the counselors to feel comfortable using them. And it will take the public a lot longer to trust putting their kids on them.

Having been on the land course, I can attest that it gave a rush of adrenaline that I had never experienced before. I can only hope that this young girl was so full of adrenaline that she was more in-shock than filled with fear during the fall.

Adventure seekers know something might go wrong during any experience. That’s the risk they take. Most of the time, everything is fine. But accidents do happen. Some can be avoided more than others; however, the only way to avoid them entirely is by not doing them in the first place. For those who want to truly live and experience the thrill of adventure, this is not an option. More safety regulation could be a good thing, in moderation. Too many restrictions might cause more harm than good.

My best advice: have your affairs in order before you go bungee jumping, sky diving, or any other death-defying activity. Have fun and be safe.

Hers was a quick death at that height, but it definitely won’t be a quick recovery for the camp.

For further details on the tragedy, click here.

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