Hill$ongers hospitalised – updated*

Pic:Tahlee Ministries Inc.

The Newcastle Herald reports…

“Six ambulances and a rescue helicopter were needed to treat at least 16 people  at a religious camp and concert held on a remote property near Karuah.

Police said 1300 teenagers aged between 15 and 18 had spent four days at the Tahlee property as part of the ‘‘wildlife summer camp’’ being run by Hillsong Australia.

But emergency services were ‘‘stretched to breaking point’’ when paramedics, police and the Hunter Westpac rescue helicopter sped to the property on Thursday night following reports that people had been crushed in a ‘‘mosh pit’’ incident.

A police spokesman said one girl suffered suspected spinal injuries after ‘‘falling’’ from a pile of gym mats while 15 others were treated for a range of issues including heat exhaustion, an asthma attack and neck injuries.

An Ambulance Service of NSW spokeswoman said four people were taken to hospital, including two in the helicopter, with head and back injuries after being trampled on.

One girl remained in John Hunter Children’s Hospital  in a stable condition.

However, a Hillsong spokeswoman last night  claimed all the patients had suffered heat exhaustion and just needed treatment at the camp.

The spokeswoman rejected claims that anyone was injured in the ‘‘mosh pit’’ at a concert being held.

The camp is an annual four-day festival for teens aged between 15 and 18.

The venue owner is Tahlee Ministries, a Christian organisation that has been holding Bible camps at the site since the 1940s.

Tahlee Ministries director Reverend John Anderson also denied kids has been injured during mosh pits.

‘‘There were no major issues, it was a hot day and the kids were out in the sun and came back in the tent in the evening, some suffered heat stroke and as a precautionary measure they were transported to hospital,’’ he said.

‘‘There were activities in the big tent and with large numbers of young people there were a few collisions but it wasn’t major.’’

But the venue itself may be in legal trouble after it allowed the festival to go ahead without approval from Great Lakes Council, ignoring a request to obtain council approval for the event.

The council’s investigations and prosecutions officer Greg Pevitt said Tahlee Ministries had been told it would need development consent for the event after  complaints from neighbouring residents when it was held last year.

Reverend Anderson said the group ignored the request because it believed its initial consent dating back some decades applied.

‘‘We’re still negotiating with the council about the need for a DA, and I suppose we’ve had a difference of opinion to this point,’’ he said.

It’s that difference of opinion that may land both parties in court if a solution is not found.

‘‘If we can’t resolve it amicably, which I hope we can, it might result in it ending up in the Land and Environment Court for arbitration,’’ Mr Pevitt said.

He said the council had not been informed of  injuries  at the festival.

‘‘We contacted the venue and strongly advised against running the event without a development application and their response was that it was too late and the event had already been planned,’’ he said.”

From http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2031356/teens-hurt-at-hillsong-concert/?cs=12#slide=1

 

Hill$ong Youth blogs…

“In an effort to ensure that the facts are reported accurately, we wanted to follow up on a recent story written for the Newcastle Herald regarding young people at a recent Hillsong Summercamp.

Contrary to what was reported, no youths were injured in a ‘mosh pit’ setting. In fact, several young people were treated by an on-site first aid team and Newcastle ambulance authorities for heat exhaustion due to hot weather conditions- common to a summercamp setting. One youth complained of neck pain due to a fall sustained after fainting – she was taken to hospital for observation and released the next day, though there were no spinal injuries as reported.

Comprehensive risk assessments are done prior to each camp and Hillsong Church and Hillsong Youth are committed to the ongoing safety of all young adults in our care; following strict Work Health and Safety guidelines, including the external hire of medical professionals at each of our 4 summer camps, and the provision of ample amounts of water. It is paramount that we create a healthy and safe environment for young people. To some, the presence of helicopters and ambulances may have been overkill, though our position is that you can never be too cautious when it comes to the treatment and observation of young people; and we thank the medical teams involved for their swift response and diligence.”

From http://hillsongyouth.com/blog-post/20114/response-to-recent-article-in-the-newcastle-and-sun-herald

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6 thoughts on “Hill$ongers hospitalised – updated*

  1. Not related to this topic, but friends of mine on the Central Coast of NSW have told me that an old church building a few km from Darlene and Mark Zschech’s church, which through a series of dodgy deals was gifted to their congregation, has been sold by the Zschech’s church to a Chinese consortium who plan to use the building as a Buddhist Centre. The congregation who have been meeting there were unaware of the sale until the sold sign went up outside the building. The Zschech’s didn’t even bother to inform the Pastor that he’d have to move out. His congregation now have a few weeks before they have to vacate the premises. A disgusting state of affairs if you ask me.

  2. Let’s be honest, kids getting hurt at summer camp is something that happens at every summer camp. The only reason this was published is because ‘Hillsong’ is in the title.

    Letter published in the Newcastle Herald today:

    “REGARDING the story “Teens hurt at religious gig” (Herald 15/1): I am a 65-year-old volunteer not connected with Hillsong or Tahlee, who attends for the entire time, having done so for the last three years.

    The Herald reporters could have drawn attention to 1300-plus teenagers enjoying a conference, making lifelong friends, attending Christian concerts and engaging in wholesome sports.

    There was no underage drinking, drugs, fights or other “anti-social” behaviour. These kids are polite and “high on life”. Sure, they are not “bulletproof”, though they think they are at times.

    This is anticipated and a scientific recognition of their pre-development stage in their progress toward transitioning to adulthood.

    Accidents will occur in the course of growing up. Our job as adults is to provide a safe, supportive environment when the inevitable occurs.

    Parents entrusting their kids to camp organisers would expect a high standard of “duty of care” to be shown – which is why beaches were patrolled by lifeguards and first aiders were in attendance. Kids were evacuated to hospital as a precautionary measure. I understand that all returned to camp.

    Readers would prefer a society in which kids were safe from being “king hit” and left dying on a street in Kings Cross.

    Attending a church summer camp seems a “no brainer” alternative and sadly, a possible missed opportunity for the aggressors in these sad cases and their families who now face the flow on impact of their son’s actions.

    See your ad here
    How ironic that the day before your article appeared, the Governor-General was attending the funeral of Daniel Christie at Hillsong with 400 grieving mourners.

    Neil Renfree,

    Stroud”

    http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2037233/letter-tahlee-teens-safe-at-camp/

  3. Their statement does not seem consistent with itself. As you said Lance, no pre-warning as would be a requirement of WHS for something that is “common” and serious.

    Another is that they themselves thought the situation was much worse than they claim by the fact “the presence of helicopters” was considered reasonable by them. They are a valuable resource and the emergency services do not send them without good reason.

    Maybe the person who wrote the statement did a poor job, or there is more to the story than is revealed in the statement.

    The media beat up stories, but Hillsong’s statement suggests there is more to the story than Hillsong is admitting.

  4. “….heat exhaustion due to hot weather conditions- common to a summercamp setting….”

    If this is common, then attendees should be explicitly pre-warned of the health risk.

  5. Hillsong Statement:

    “In an effort to ensure that the facts are reported accurately, we wanted to follow up on a recent story written for the Newcastle Herald regarding young people at a recent Hillsong Summercamp.

    Contrary to what was reported, no youths were injured in a ‘mosh pit’ setting. In fact, several young people were treated by an on-site first aid team and Newcastle ambulance authorities for heat exhaustion due to hot weather conditions- common to a summercamp setting. One youth complained of neck pain due to a fall sustained after fainting – she was taken to hospital for observation and released the next day, though there were no spinal injuries as reported.

    Comprehensive risk assessments are done prior to each camp and Hillsong Church and Hillsong Youth are committed to the ongoing safety of all young adults in our care; following strict Work Health and Safety guidelines, including the external hire of medical professionals at each of our 4 summer camps, and the provision of ample amounts of water. It is paramount that we create a healthy and safe environment for young people. To some, the presence of helicopters and ambulances may have been overkill, though our position is that you can never be too cautious when it comes to the treatment and observation of young people; and we thank the medical teams involved for their swift response and diligence.”

    http://hillsongyouth.com/blog-post/20114/response-to-recent-article-in-the-newcastle-and-sun-herald

    Classic Aussie journalism. Sensationalism > Facts.

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