Zach was picked to attend the Boy Scouts National Youth Leadership Training program (NYLT). The boy applies,the Scoutmaster gives a recommendation,and then he is either chosen or not. The program is for 6 days,and the boys are taught various things such as how to run a patrol,leadership skills,etc. NH's NYLT takes place at Camp Bell,in Gilmanton Iron Works (GIW,incidentally,is the setting for the famous novel Peyton Place. The author based it on people she knew).
We dropped Zach off on Sunday for noontime.Once everyone in his particular patrol arrived,they hiked two miles into woods,up a mountain for their week long training. The only buildings are the shower houses. They do have tents on platforms with cots for the boys to sleep in.
I had to take this photo of Zach when we dropped him off. I am so proud of him being chosen. You can tell how excited he was to have his Mumma take his photo in front of everyone. :)
The weather forecast for this week is thunderstorms off and on all week long. My Dear Friend Michelle and I were saying at yoga class Monday that we hoped they had some sort of shelter in case a bad storm came up. Her son Ethan,is at NYLT with Zach. They wound up being in the same patrol.
Monday night around 11:30 the phone rang,and it was the ER at Lakes Region Hospital in Laconia,NH. Zach was in the ER,and he had been in a lightning strike. He had a burn on his heel,but he was OK,and she told me to hold while she connected me to Zach.
When Zach got on the phone,he told me what happened. Apparently,a storm came up quickly,and it was a bad one. The only had time to get under a staging area. It looks like they may have used it for some classes or for meals. I got the photo from the WMUR (Channel 9) webpage:
Lightning hit a nearby tree,and the electric current traveled through the root system,coming out to where they boys were. There were approx. 30 boys and leaders under the tarp. Zach said everything was bright white,then a very loud clap of thunder followed. There was pandemonium,of course,with yelling and screaming. Zach says he yelled for everyone to "shut up" because "they were hurting my ears".
No one felt any effects until 30-40 minutes later. Some boys complained of tingling sensations in their arms,legs,or down their sides. One boy had blurry vision and his left side was numb. Some, like Zach,felt burning and spider web like markings started to show. Because the storm was still going on,they could not go down to the main building at the base of the mountain. Adults and older boys who had experience and training did first aid on the boys as best they could until the storm passed and they were able to go down to the main building,where most of the boys were put into buses. Six boys who had burns on their chests were driven by truck. They all went to the Belmont fire station (23 boys,3 adults) where they were assessed and then they were all sent to various local hospitals depending on their injuries. Some boys were just shaken up,but those like Zach who had burns, etc,were brought to Lakes Region. Zach had a burn on his heel,and a blister that popped. He said on a pain scale of 1-10,it was a 15,but when he spoke with us,it no longer hurt. His ears had rung for a brief period,but that,too,went away. Michelle's son has a burn on his back.
Zach sounded fine,but tired. He complained that he didn't get a chance to finish his dinner,because as soon as he started eating,that's when everyone was brought to the hospital. He joked that they all should get a "I Survived a Lightning Strike" merit badge. I knew he was fine.
This is the tree that got hit. Again,the photo is from WMUR Channel 9 in Manchester,NH.
Zach is back at camp,and everything seems to be fine. I have been a bit of a wreck,just thinking about how close he came to getting either seriously hurt or killed. A lightning expert was on the news discussing this and he said that it is very rare that so many people get hurt from one bolt,and that there must've been a very large charge of electricity.He was shocked that no one was killed. Usually someone is in that circumstance.
This week just happens to be Lightning Awareness Week.
We are so very grateful that he is OK.