Teen Mania names ESOAL oversight committee

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - We showed you a controversial program in September that's become tradition at Teen Mania Ministries" East Texas headquarters.

The event, called ESOAL offers Honor Academy students an "emotionally stretching opportunity of a lifetime. That's what ESOAL stands for. For nearly four days, teenagers are put through strenuous exercises and sleep deprivation to--as their website says---learn to rely on God's strength.

Teen Mania suspended the ESOAL program after our in-depth look and promised to create an independent panel to review the program's safety measures. Last week Teen Mania named the 8 people now responsible for the planning of next year's event. One of the panel members has resigned. Here's who remains:

Kelly Cox, Nurse Practitioner
Kevin Karrenbrock, Physical Therapist
Russ Bailiff, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Todd Cox, Youth Minister
Molly Adkins, Registered Nurse
C. David Rowlett, Medical Doctor
Cune Pena, Fitness Owner

Cuney Pena wasn't familiar with ESOAL until being contacted by Teen Mania two weeks ago. "I thought it was more of a spiritual boot camp type situation," said Pena. "I didn't know there was physical activity involved. In my field you have to make sure people are capable before you start them on anything."

With 22 years of training experience, Pena says the program may need to adapt to fit a variety of participants.

"They'll still get the push that they're wanting from the program but it won't necessarily be the same across the board," said Pena.

The committee members tell us they plan to start meeting in January and will continue through next year's ESOAL.

We contacted Teen Mania for an interview, but they would only agree to a live interview.  Time constraints and other news of the day did not allow that. However our invitation for an interview, still stands.

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