Most teens are keen to experience adult life and be treated with respect.
This is a natural part of growing up, but it’s a two-way deal. For it to work, teenagers must give a bit; they can’t just take, take and take.
We’re not talking sheep stations here. I’m just saying that with all the time, effort and money spent on their welfare, teens could do all parties a BIG favour by taking a modicum of responsibility.
Even when you cover all bases at a youth event, you simply can’t hold every kid’s hand before, during and after it.
We can certainly minimise risk with safe strategies that work for hosts, parents and guests. But at some stage, young adults must start to act like … young adults.
Case in point
My security crew and I handled a recent BYO event. Most guests were 18. The
17-year-olds bought permission slips from their parents to consume alcohol.
Using our revolutionary Booze Bag system, our two bar managers tagged alcohol as it arrived, then secured it in our serving area.
As this event was an after-party, we began our ‘water chaser’ system early. This saw each guest drink a glass of water before being served an alcoholic beverage.
In addition to these precautions, we had a good number of responsible parents helping to supervise the party.
These adult helpers were shocked at how much booze the teens brought in. As usual, it came in all varieties, including a bottle of absinthe. During the night, the parents repeatedly said to my staff, ‘Thank God you’re here!’
Prior to the event, I’d met these parents to explain that by managing all alcohol, we’d minimise the risk of kids hiding grog in and around the venue, sneaking off to drink it in the dark or sculling it before entry.
Very sensibly, the parents agreed. (Alas, this isn’t always the case.)
Throughout the whole night, our system worked perfectly. Almost. All guests were kept safe, except for one young woman.
The moral of this story is that at some stage, young adults must take some form of responsibility.
Learning ‘the hard way’ can be terrifying for parents to witness. And for some young people, the lesson is, literally, lethal.
After handling 700+ teen events, I know my safety system is sound. But it requires all players to work as a team.
- Refusing to hold and manage potent spirits merely forces them underground.
- Flooding a dance floor with vigilant parents kills the vibe and often causes a domestic.
- Hovering in the dark, watching over kids all night, is neither practical nor effective.
Teens must play an equal part in their safety.
As you’ll see from the testimonial this event was a big success.
Teens and parents alike had a great time and were very supportive of our alcohol management plan.
In my debrief, I reminded the hosts that, had we not handled the grog properly, half the guests (and much of the venue) would’ve been smashed for sure.
If you leave this blog post with just one thought, let it be this:
Whether your event features BYO or supplied booze, it must be managed professionally.
Naomi Oakley, Founder, Safe Partying Australia.