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Thread: Explorers and Alcohol

  1. #1
    JerryLewis JerryLewis's Avatar
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    Explorers and Alcohol

    Hi.
    The following letter I found on the Welsh Explorer Scouts Forum.
    http://www.explorerswales.escouts.net/forum/index.php
    It is also in the Glamorgan West Forum.
    http://www.gwscouts.org.uk/index.php
    It was received from HQ & does give very clear advise that alcohol should not be drunk by Explorers under 18. Personally I support this & as I have just started leading our local Explorers I had no intention of letting them drink alcohol at our activities. I think the letter should go further & also stop leaders from drinking at activities - I'm not aware of any that do drink I guess not many anyway.


    Graham Haddock wrote:
    Dear Colleagues,

    ALCOHOL AND EXPLORER SCOUTS

    In recent months, we have received several enquiries and concems about the position of The Scout Association with respect to alcohol consumption and the Explorer Scout Section.

    Despite having carried out some research into the legal aspects of underage drinking in the different counties of the UK, it seems that the legislation in this area is open to interpretation. Whilst it is clear that the purchase of alcohol by anyone under the age of 18 is illegal in all parts of the UK, the various laws goveming the consumption of alcohol are not.

    Despite this unclear legal position, there are other issues for us to consider as the largest uniformed, co-educational youth organisation in the UK. Firstly, we run a serious risk of damaging our reputation if we allow Explorer Scouts to consume alcohol on Scouting events and activities. This is particularly so against a backdrop of growing national concern about increased alcohol consumption by young people, and the associated health and social problems that can arise as a consequence. As a valued and respected youth organisation, we should be actively discouraging alcohol consumption.

    Secondly, most parents would not expect young people less than 18 years of age to have access to alcohol at our events. Some Leaders have suggested that we use a "parental consent" system which might then permit Explorer Scouts to consume alcohol in a responsible way. It is our view that this would be difficult to administer and that the requirement to police such a system would pose an unfair burden on our adult leaders.

    Finally, this issue raises serious child protection concerns. Alcohol has been a major contributing factor in a significant proportion of recent child protection cases dealt with by HQ staff. It is our clear view that allowing Explorer Scouts to consume alcohol at Explorer Scout and other Scout events presents far too great a risk for young people, and places adults in a potentially compromising position with regard to the law and their responsibilities for child protection.

    In order to protect both the young people and adults involved in Explorer Scout events it is our clear advice that no under 18 year-olds consume alcohol while on Scouting Activities or attending Scout events.

    Yours sincerely,

    Graham Haddock
    National Commissioner for Explorer Scouts

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    Having only just turned 18, i see both positive and negative

    positive: too many reasons to list, end of the day, this is the rule that should be enforced when there are a large number of explorers gathered

    negative: if it is just for example a group meeting, as long as it is regulated (ie as long as the leaders dont let it get too far and the explorers are say over 16) surely it cant hurt?
    also, it might just encourage explorers to drink more heavily once their 18 and for example going on their first camp as network,

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    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    also, an outright ban would encourage drinking behind the backs of the leaders. mainly because it has always been that explorers are adult enough to make their own desicions. i don't think our group will ever enforce this sort of rule. thankyou for the information all the same!

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    Awards Team David's Avatar
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    as someone has said above making a complete ban would just mean that the drinking would go too far and where the leaders are not able to help etc.

    without our group openly allowing drinking (it gives the wrong image) we are allowed to. at the campfire after all the little ones have gone to bed we are allowed to, though not in excess.

    if there is an outright ban then when people turn 18 they will be drinking heavily as they have not had the chance. however if they have been allowed to drink in moderation then it will be no big deal. wow i can drink, no difference there.

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    Escouts Team mattcollins171's Avatar
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    well, we had a BBQ last night at explorers, and i can say that i had a few pints of Guinness, and a couple of other people had a few pints. And tbh i dont see a problem with it, by law you are able to smoke yourself to death (no i dont smoke) and kill yourself in a driving seat. So what is the problem with having a drink or two on an evening. It is up to the person in hand, there are a few of us who dont like the taste, of bear/larger yet.

    And may i bring you up on a point, by law you are able to have a drink at the age of 5, and at the age of 16 you can have a drink with a meal.

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    Awards Team David's Avatar
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    i believe that it is at 14 that your able to have one with a meal.

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    Escouts Team mattcollins171's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David
    i believe that it is at 14 that your able to have one with a meal.
    ok, i knew it was around that age.

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    DESC - Richmond RichmondDESC's Avatar
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    This topic came up at a county meeting we had last week. As people have rightly said, there are both pros and cons for a total alcohol ban, but I think you should concentrate on the last sentence...

    In order to protect both the young people and adults involved in Explorer Scout events it is our clear advice that no under 18 year-olds consume alcohol while on Scouting Activities or attending Scout events.
    The Scout Association are not making a rule out this, it is their clear advice

    The concensus of opinion amongst the DESCs was that if there was a good, working policy in place which has no problems then carry on with it, but at your own risk. If there is an alcohol related incident or a complaint regarding the presence of alcohol the blame will lie fairly and squarely at the feet of the leaders in charge.
    However, if you are worried about having alcohol on camp it is a good tool to have to show the explorers as a back-up as to why they can't drink. Make Graham Haddock the big bad meanie, they are not liable to meet him

    As with most things scouting - sometimes common sense must prevail.

    One word of advice though - this letter was prompted by a complaint to HQ from a parent that their 15yo had been given alcohol by a leader - that is just plain stupid! Never, ever supply alcohol for them!
    You are only young once - but you can be immature forever!

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    I was wondering whether county would make a suggestion as to what should be done!
    Last edited by Graham; 12-12-2006 at 02:05 PM.

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    Account Closed Raksha's Avatar
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    As a parent as well as a Scouter, I would question the ethics of having alcohol on camp for Explorer age youngsters. I was shocked (honestly) to discover that a previous Scout Leader within our Group thought it was OK for PL's to have a drink (before the age changes I hasten to add) at Scout Camp.
    This will not be happening under my Leadership.
    If an experience is exciting and enjoyable, why do they need alcohol at all? They should know all or most of the people they are with and be able to relax with them. Surely on a camp there is so much to do anyway, when would they have time?
    I have a 16 year old son, he drinks at home under our care and is being encouraged to view drinking sensibly and not to follow our example! He is allowed to drink if we go out for a meal and is also encouraged to sample different wines and beers so he can discover his likes and dislikes. Even so, I would not welcome him continuing this journey at an Explorer meeting. I know when he goes to college etc and I mustn't wrap him in cotton wool, and all those arguments, but as a parent, I would not want him drinking at Scouts.

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    DESC - Richmond RichmondDESC's Avatar
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    Speaking on a personal level, the unit I run has its own policy, which is basically no alcohol to under 16's, and only to over 16's with parental permission. We have a limit of 2 cans of average strength lager or bitter - and this is usually reserved for the last night. We have quite strict penalties for anyone consuming over that limit, or drinking "banned" alcohol, or giving it to younger members.
    I have actually found that on a good, active camp they do not really want a drink.

    It is a very difficult situation as most parents would accept that their 16+ yo children probably do drink and, as mentioned above, most would allow them to drink in their company. Most people over 16 can also find places that will serve them (I can provide a list of places round here that will sell to underage!) and personally speaking I think it is better to regulate it than ban it and risk driving it underground.

    Let's face it, a beer is nice after a meeting night, let alone a week of camping!
    You are only young once - but you can be immature forever!

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    Ancient Old member Martyn's Avatar
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    In order to protect both the young people and adults involved in Explorer Scout events it is our clear advice that no under 18 year-olds consume alcohol while on Scouting Activities or attending Scout events.
    Yep I'm going to use this get out clause too

    If you try and ban it - you will drive it underground - and you only find out when they have had way too much - Thats from Experience

    Parental permission - Yes of Course and I will not not buy them alcohol directly - Indirectly (Cheese and Wine prestantion evening/beer tasting evening) - No permission slip - No alcohol - it's not that hard to enforce

    this letter was prompted by a complaint to HQ from a parent that their 15yo had been given alcohol by a leader - that is just plain stupid! Never, ever supply alcohol for them!
    One Persons stupidity causes problems again

    I am also waiting for the next letter
    About 16 year olds Smoking that it's not allowed to give cigarettes to ES
    and the one after that
    About 16 year olds sleeping together .......
    Both not against the Law

    Are we going to add stuff to the end of the purpose of Scouting like 'without learning about alcohol or any other bad thing that happens in the world'

    Sorry I'm getting cross about this again - I have all ready ranted at the DC

    I am still going to argue about the Letter at the next County Meeting - It was not required or wanted

    Martyn

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    Explorers and alcohol - depending on the area that you live in, will always go hand in hand. I live on the Wirral Peninsula, near Liverpool, and I am not that old to remember being a Venture Scout and having a can or three (underage) on a Venture camp. I would feel very hypocritical saying that my explorers could not drink, remembering what I used to get up to on camp.

    An outright ban on alcohol, as mentioned in previous posts, will drive the situation underground. I, as an Explorer leader, would prefer to know that Explorer's were drinking, what they were drinking and how much. I would not like to live in ignorance of the fact that explorers were drinking behind a bush, trying to keep out of sight of me because of a ban I was trying to implement.

    By knowing that an Explorer was drinking - and keeping track of what he/she was drinking, I think I could control the situation, and prevent it from getting out of hand. By banning drinking, I am sure my Explorers would drink behind my back. In this case I would not know who was drinking, or how much. This case, I believe, would be irresponsible of me, as I could not try to prevent it from getting out of hand. I therefore would much rather know, than live in ignorance. I would prefer to take the moral ground, rather than the legal ground - I must act in the best interest of the Explorer, no one else!

    An Explorer Leader must act as they feel best on this one - there is no right or wrong answer - the above is only my opinion. The question of Explorers and alcohol is a difficult one. It has however, existed for a long time in the guise of Ventures. I am sure the SA thought that by creating Explorers with the age range of 14 - 18, rather than the Venture age range of 15 - 20, the problem would be solved - I think it has made the problem even more difficult.

    The Scout Association should not try to implement a rule and apply it to all ESLs. Every ESL has a brain, and can weigh up the pros and cons for themselves. There is no correct solution to the problem, only a moral decision which must be made by the ESL(s). My personal position is to let explorers drink in my presence, this way I can keep an eye on it and stop it if it gets out of hand. Not every ESU has to be the same though, ESLs should do as they think best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn
    I am still going to argue about the Letter at the next County Meeting - It was not required or wanted
    It may not have been wanted, but IMO it was required.

    In the current climate it is not hard to imagin the media getting hold of a story about scouts drinking (they won't care whether they are explorers or what - scouts are scouts) and blow it out of all proportion. If the Scout Association can turn around and say that they have advised that under 18s shouldn't be allowed to drink then that will (to a certain extent) divert the bad publicity to the individual unit instead of the association as a whole.

    It would be entirely irresponsible for the Scout Association to allow the bad judgement of an individual leader to adversly affect the reputation of the rest of the association.

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    Moderator jshirra's Avatar
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    lets be honest, which group has had someone get completely p***ed more than once on camp? the entire point of Explorers IMHO is to have a safe environment to experiment with your new freedom. For an ESL to not trust their maturity enough to allow them to drink it is very insulting. our unit has basic rules of no spirits (and tbh this actually gets broken, but as said before it is underground.) We have NEVER had any trouble with alcohol. we have a great team of leaders who understand that people have only just been allowed to try out most of this stuff so just let you get on with it and send ya to bed when you...lets say experiment too much! Many of you will see this as a problem...i see it as something that only happens once.

    our group is an open group also. this kinda gives us a bit more free rain over what happens. i can understand these rules being more relevent to a religiously attached group.

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