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.