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13-year-old boy dies in boating accident at Christian camp

| GoFundMe

A 13-year-old boy who died while attending a Christian summer camp in Minnesota after a spinning boat propeller struck him during a tubing accident is being remembered as a believer who touched the lives of many and created uplifting content on social media. 

Andover and Coon Rapids resident Benjamin Rennie was killed in a boating accident on Lake Six at Camp Cherith last Thursday, according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department. 

Founded in 1947, Camp Cherith is a Christian summer camp serving children from 16 states and 160 churches. Among other things, the camp incorporates fishing and waterskiing activities. Its name is derived from the brook God sent Elijah to for spiritual refreshment.

The sheriff’s office states that Rennie and another child were riding on an inner tube that was being pulled by a boat at around 4:15 p.m. at the camp on Thursday, according to WSAZ

The boat was being steered by a 27-year-old camp employee when both of the children fell off of the tube. While trying to get out of the water and onto the boat, Rennie was accidentally hit by the boat’s propeller. 

Officials reported that the two children wore life jackets at the time of the incident. 

Rennie was pulled out of the lake and those at the scene called 911. 

An emergency helicopter was traveling to the scene of the incident as staff members from the camp attempted life-saving medical procedures on the boy. But, before first responders could arrive at the camp, the child succumbed to his injuries. 

Camp Cherith Executive Director Kendra Mohn announced the incident in a post on the camp’s Facebook page.  

“It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you a tragedy that occurred at North Central Camp Cherith this afternoon. At about 4:15 p.m. a camper died in a boating accident,” the statement reads.  

“Staff members attempted life-saving care while emergency responders were enroute. I am sad to say, professionals were not able to save the camper’s life. Please pray for this camper’s family and all those grieving after this accident.”

The sheriff’s office confirmed that no foul play or alcohol was not involved.

A couple of GoFundMe pages were established to support Rennie’s family, including one set up by the family as a memorial fund that has raised over $1,200 as of Thursday. Rennie is recalled as being a Christian YouTuber who “made several uplifting videos on TicTok, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms.”

“He was a helper, he was innovative, creative, and a loving 13-year-old boy,” the GoFundMe page established by Rennie’s uncle states. 

“Ben touched the lives of so many people around him. He was loved by his family, friends, and colleagues. We are heartbroken by his sudden loss, and we want to give him the farewell he deserves.”

Another GoFundMe page has been organized by a woman named Shannon Scolley to raise money for Rennie’s family. Launched on June 23, the campaign has since raised over $800. Scolley said she knows what it’s like to lose her son in a tragic fashion. 

“As parents who also lost a son in a tragic basketball accident in 2020, we know far too well how a tragedy like this affects everyone involved- most notably- the family. With the shock, sadness, anger, confusion, helplessness, hopelessness and devastation something like this brings about,” Scolley added. 

“We wanted to do something to help ease any of the financial burdens that will arise for the family. Our son was also a camper at Camp Cherith; and the camp, the campers, and the staff hold a special place in our hearts,” Scolley continued. 

“Every dollar raised will be given directly to the family to help with funeral, medical, and any other expenses that will arise as they deal with this tragic loss. Please help us raise this family up in prayer and please give any amount-big or small- to help the family in this tragic time.”

Scolley plans to shut down the campaign she launched in the near future now that Rennie’s family has started its own GoFundMe account. 

Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: [email protected].

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