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NC Scout dies after falling off cliff

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The Associated Press

September 23, 2012



Authorities say a 16-year-old Boy Scout has died after falling off a cliff at Stone Mountain State Park.


The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Christopher Overcash of Kannapolis died Saturday.


State parks spokesman Charlie Peek says the teen was with a group of Boy Scouts that had camped overnight at the park. Overcash was about 100 yards off the marked trail on the mountains summit when he fell.


The mountain is a 600-foot-tall granite dome.


Wilkes County emergency director Greg Hendren says the call for help came around noon Saturday. The teen died at the scene.


The state park consists of more than 14,000 acres, bordering the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Thurmond Chatham Game Lands.



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Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.


Fading light, dims the sight,

And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.


Thanks and praise, for our days,

'Neath the sun, 'neath the stars, neath the sky;

As we go, this we know, God is nigh.


Sun has set, shadows come,

Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds

Always true to the promise that they made.


While the light fades from sight,

And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.



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My troop went camping at Stone Mountain this past weekend. I was at a Lodge event and didn't go. The state park is in my council and is about roughly 1 houraway from where we live. The troop he was with is from a town much further away and was camping there that weekend as well. For those not familiar with the mountain, it is basically eroded away to expose a huge rock bald. Although past deaths and injuries have led to some better marked trais, warning signs, and railing; there are areas where the gradual slope can intice people to go too far out on the rock.


As fate would have it, both my troop and his were on the summit at the same time. It appears that both groups were off the marked trail, exploring the rock face. The Scout who died walked past my troop and said something along the lines of "I'm going to see how far I can go". My friends have guessed that he walked too far downhill on the open face, lost balance, and tumbled down a ways before falling off a pronounced cliff.


Well, my friends were the last ones to see him alive on the summit. That's if you don't count the rock climbers who saw him in freefall. His unfortunate death really affected my friends. We have decided as a troop to never overstep similar park boundaries again.


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Yah, hmmmm...


Thanks for sharin', whitepine. That's sort of what I figured, and what I remembered of da place from a visit some years back. It's not easy to "fall" off a cliff there, eh? But da gradual slope tempts folks to walk out too far.


Prayers for your guys. Yeh all should do a get-together this week and let 'em talk it out. Consider callin' your council or workin' with your CO to get a professional counselor to come in. There's no shame in that. How folks frame things in their mind in da first week or so after an event like this sorta "sticks" with 'em a while. Yeh need to give 'em that time to process, with guidance. Goin' to some troop "policy" decision is a natural coping reaction, but it doesn't address da deeper issues, eh?




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Unfortunately, having experienced a sudden tragic loss of one of our boys, I can "ditto" what Beav said. It might only be one or two kids that need professional counseling, but your SE, if he's had the heads up that your troop was on the scene, should be able to "fast track" that. (Without our council staff's intervention, one of our boys would have had to wait an additional 4 weeks to see a counselor!) There might be someone qualified to come talk to parents and help them be on the look-out for signs of post traumatic stress disorder.


Stuff like that where you might think "We'll muddle through on our own." or "We didn't bear the brunt of it, so we don't need/deserve any help." That's where keeping your pros in the loop can actually pay off.


A lot of the "talking it out" is for the parents. We had the boys get together the day after. They mostly laughed and played games while us old folks met upstairs and shed a few tears and shared some worries. You'll find that a year from now there may be a parent who doesn't want your troop to go back to that trail. If adults manage to talk that through in advance, it might help folks accept emotions that might re-surge down the road.


Of course the boy's own troop will have the worst time of it. Getting your troop together might help you all figure out the best way to extend them your sympathies.


Anyway, we'll be praying for y'all.

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Boy oh boy.


I know we all want to bring 'em all back safe and sound when it doesn't happen for someone we all can feel their pain. Awful.


Whitepine, ditto the help. You just never know. I will give an example:


My sons' brand new assistant principal at their middle school suddenly died after only 3 weeks on the job. No one really knew him other than seeing him watching the halls between classes. Very little interaction with him. Most of the kids did not seemed fazed --I mean they really didn't know the guy. Maybe a little sad but that as that. But my older rough and tough son kept bringing it up and was bothered by the sudden loss of a father-type figure; the reality of death shook him up. (Guy felt bad with the flu on Wed, Pneumonia by Thursday, Hospitalized on Friday, Died on Saturday). So he needed someone to talk him through it. So it is really hard to predict...furthermore unless any of us know the complete family history of each and every boy you never know how this kind of thing might "trigger" a response. Sometimes if a boy has lost a sibling or parent in the last few things an event like this can churn things up.


I agree reaching out to the other Troop is a good opportunity. Your boys and theirs crossed paths that day--you are already connected...

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