Letter: A solution to teen drinking problem in Barrington

To the editor: It was sad to read the article in the Barrington Times that we had another house party with underage drinking going on. Such drinking events provide a sobering challenge by defiant teenage attitudes about drinking and those such as Kathleen Sullivan of the Bay Team and Chief John LaCross who work tirelessly to bring educational opportunities and programs of awareness on alcohol abuse among underage drinking youths. I salute them for their effort.

As your former director of recreation and now a community member, I think it has reached a point where there is a need for a recreational outlet for this teenage population.

This is a challenge to engage the teenage population and their parents to step up to this problem of teenage drinking. As the director, I tried to engage a number of individuals regarding the need for recreational programming for this population, but I was unsuccessful. I talked to the town administration, high school administration, some teams at the high school, and young people walking aimlessly along the bike path but failed to get a commitment.

You cannot have a quality recreation program with a director that works 20 hours per week and full-time in the summer. You need a full-time qualified experienced professional.

Parents of teenagers and their teenage children need to commit to becoming more involved in the lives of their children and to create a challenging recreation outlet that provides worthy use of leisure time. These parents have a part in this effort as volunteers. No program can fund all the supervision required to oversee recreational activities.

Funding is a big challenge, but look at the funds the parents of the graduating seniors raised for the after prom night. Let’s develop some fun things to raise the necessary funding needed for such a commitment. Our beach is good revenue source. Let’s open it up to the public.

Resources are limited, but putting various departments together like the schools with a strong intramural program, PAL program (not active at this time), and the BAY team to create recreational opportunities along with the message about underage drinking.

Let’s get rid of the negative attitudes towards such an idea whenever it has been mentioned and think positively towards fixing the problem by engaging professionals, parents and teenagers in a conversation about recreation and teenage drinking.

I have often said in my tenure, “if there is a will there is a way.” I am hopeful that the public, parents and teenagers will step up to provide the leadership to curbing teenage drinking and create a quality recreation program for themselves and the Barrington Community.

John Taylor

Barrington

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2 Comments

  1. Joe Sturm said:

    I can remember many years ago as an “unseasoned” professional, I wrote a very similar letter to the editor of the Barrington Times. Idealistic and hopeful, yes, realistic, no. Teens are going to constantly push the limits and it’s parents, teachers and professionals be dammed. I don’t have an answer to the whole problem. I do have an answer to some of the problem as I live it. As a coach for the BHS hockey team, our policy, established by the head coach, is one of no tolerance. If any players are caught even near a party or illegal activity they are gone, off the team, no questions asked. This works for these boys because they want something that is more important than getting drunk. They get it. God Bless the others, I truly mean that.

  2. Evan Andrews said:

    As a teenager, I agree there is no way to stop the teen drinking or teenagers getting in trouble unless they have something to do. The teenagers get yelled at for walking around town even if they are not doing anything wrong. I also heard the teenagers were told to leave the basketball courts at the middle school by the police even though they weren’t doing anything wrong and the lights were still on at the courts. And also bringing up past tragaties won’t help anything. The teenagers care about it but that doesn’t make them want to stop and the parents are clearly having a hard time getting through to their children because everyone learns when they become a teenager not to smoke or drink. If there was a place for teenagers to go every once and a while and have fun there wouldn’t be as many of these incidents. I personally think there would be more kids having fun and somewhere to go if there was. Plus parents would know where their children are at all times. If we got something for teenagers to do that they would actually enjoy it might help this issue.

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