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ScoutDad2001

Alcohol at Eagle Court of Honor Reception

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Question raised to me regarding soon-to-be Eagle scout who is having his ceremony and reception at parent's home. Concern was likely presense of alcohol at reception. (As seems true in just about any community these days, adults expect booze at parties.)

As scouts will be present, and leaders will be in uniform, how to best diplomatically remind Committee and parents that reception must be alcohol-free per BSA policy. Sticky point is that scout's parent is past CC & still influential member, and all the other CMs enjoy their adult beverages. As the SM is a known tee-totaler, she will be blamed and her head will be on a pike, if this issue is brought forward.

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I have attended some Eagle Scout Courts where there is the traditional Scout-type reception at wherever the ceremony was held. The only times that I have seen a reception with alcohol, it was typically a secondary one that didn't started until later at the parent's house. This gave people a chance to go home and change clothes if they were uncomfortable having a drink while in uniform.

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One does not need to go to the ECOH reception if alcohol is served because it is a family party, not a BSA function. The ECOH is a BSA function and then the boys and scout leaders can all leave so those that need to, can enjoy their alcohol. I would notify all the parents of the scouts to be sure to pick them up immediately following the COH because alcohol will be served. There is no reason why the troop can't have a reception of their own at a place where alcohol is not served so the boys can have a treat. I'm sure the guest of honor may have to go to the family/alcohol party, but that doesn't mean the rest of the boys have to go without.

 

When a difficult problem arises, think outside the box and create an alternative that works in the best interest of the boys. Don't let the decisions of others dictate the course of the boy's program.

 

Stosh

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But in this situation, both the ceremony and the reception will be at the parents, with the reception immediately following the ceremony. I doubt that ANY of the leaders, will be willing to even go out to their cars to change, let alone go home, change and return.

 

Plus, remember, scouts will be at the reception, and the mere presense of alcohol violates BSA policy. Unless....

 

Does the BSA consider that a Eagle Scout COH reception (where scouts would be present) held at a private home is NOT a BSA activity, and would not fall under the "no alcohol" policy?

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The ECOH is still a Troop function, regardless of where it is held. I cant believe any reasonable parent wouldnt understand this premise. If a separate celebration is to be held, then it needs to be separate. On the announcement or invitation list the start and end time for the ECOH. Then the private party can ensue afterwards. But I think you all are asking for trouble here and would encourage all leaders to leave at the appropriate time.

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I assume you are the SM, CC, or COR concerned. If not, let them handle it. Let them be the representatives of Scouting.

 

As far as what to do, assuming I was in their shoes, I'd have a very polite word with them, then, drop it. If I was the Scoutmaster concerned, I might have my UC or COR have that polite word.

 

If I was SM and felt supremely strongly about it, I'd make myself not available to the function.

 

The fact of the matter is you only have moral persuasion as a tool. Use it wisely.

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You already know that it is not allowed. Announce it, make a sigh and post it. If the SM can't stand on her own two feet when a BSA policy issue come up she doesn't have what it takes to be a SM. She's there to lead not to teach arts and crafts.

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I owned and operated a couple of restaurants which served alcohol.

The bar area was separate from the dining area.

We have several groups in th area that take a dim view on drinking alcoholic drinks.

Over the years I held many different Scouting meetings in the restaurants.

Any and all meeting where youth or people would be in uniform were alcohol free.

Meetings where there were only adults not in uniform was left up to the individual.

We did have one District Committee member who felt that holding any sort of meeting where there was alcohol was just wrong. The church she belonged too took a very dim view of drinking alcohol.

Having said all that we did have some people who were happy to not drink while the meetings where uniforms and youth were involved, but would wait until the meeting was over and the uniforms were gone and then have a few adult beverages.

I never heard of a Scout holding an Eagle Scout COH in his home.

While the ceremony is entirely up to the Scout. I think I would try and explain to the parents that the ceremony and any sort of reception are two completely different things.

The ceremony should be a celebration of the Scouts achievements in Scouting. Which is a youth organization and as such adult beverages really have no place.

The reception is not part of the ceremony and is not (Or does not have to be.) A Scouting event.

I would try and talk the Scout and his parents into having the ceremony in a different location than the ceremony. This would be the easy way out.

If this can't be done.

I would make it very clear that the ceremony and any reception have (No If's and's or buts) to be two separate functions.

At the end of the ceremony someone should make an announcement that there will be an adult reception and remind everyone that this is not a Scouting function and the rules about adults drinking adult beverages in Scout uniform.

When it comes to explaining the BSA rules on alcohol to the parents, I would make no effort to be diplomatic, the rules are the rules are the rules! Hand them a copy of the rule. Explain with more and more young people having problems with alcohol and underage drinking that the Troop will not stand for any alcohol being served before or during the COH. They also need to tell everyone after the COH that the reception is an adult reception and is not suitable for children.

Eamonn.

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What BSA policy applies to an ECOH? These are optional & not regulated by the BSA! And since it is at a private home, the only rules that apply are the local laws.

 

I don't agree with alcohol at any BSA function, but there is nothing to stop one from serving alcohol in their own home. If it bothers you, don't go.

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Wait for it - I have consumed liquor in my uniform. Liquor served by my council (or by a caterer employed by my council). AFAIK there is not rule against drinking liquor in uniform. There *Is* a rule against serving alcohol when youth are present. There is a rule against serving alcohol on BSA owned property. The events I attended were not on council property, and no youth were present.

 

Now, when our district committee has our December meeting at a local bar/restaurant, we don't wear uniforms. I agree with the premise that if a bunch of us goes out to a bar after a Scouting function, that changing into 'civvies' is a good idea. Because we don't want to give a the impression that Scout leaders don't set a good example about responsible use of alcohol.

 

But drinking in uniform isn't prohibited in any BSA literature that I have read.

 

Would seeing their SM and troop leaders in uniform enjoying an adult beverage set a poor example for the Scouts? Perhaps. Knowing that alcohol will be served, leaders need to make a choice. Sticking to non-alcoholic beverages would probably be wise. However, I don't believe the unit has any say over what the parents choose to do in their own home.

 

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As a Committee Chairman for both a Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop I would make it very clear, at the next Committee Meeting, with my Chartered Org. Rep on the same page, that the consumption of alcohol, while in the Scout Uniform, and in front of scouts while wearing the Scout Uniform, set a poor example and that any leader participating in this poor example would be asked to provide his letter of resignation from unit leadership.

 

I would make it clear that it was acceptable to change from the Scout Uniform and consume alcohol, but again the Scout Uniform represents the ideals of the Boy Scout Oath and Boy Scout Law.

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Ain't hypocracy great?! It's ok for scout leaders to drink as long as they don't wear the uniform? Gotta love it!

 

Who's going to present the Eagle rank to the boy? SM? Don't show up at the house. If the parents are going to make the presentation, then there's nothing to worry about or even discuss.

 

A Court of Honor is the jurisdiction of the troop, not the parents. If the parents offer their home for a location, politely decline because of the alcohol issue and arrange something for the boys of the troop instead.

 

A 10 minute reception at the meeting hall with cookies and punch will be a lot more fun than hanging around a bunch of adults anyway. An Eagle presentation is not a family event, it's a troop event. Keep it that way.

 

Stosh

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It seems to me that all of these suggestions about moving the ceremony, discussing this at a committee meeting, involving the CR or the UC, etc., are jumping the gun. The first step here should be for ''someone'', ideally the CC or SM, to have a conversation with the Scout's parents and ask them not to serve alcohol. If that doesn't work, then you can start considering other steps. ScoutDad, you have not said what your position is with the troop (if any), and you did not mention the CC. I am hoping that is you. Just talk to the people, and calmly explain why this event cannot be treated as a regular party at their house. Perhaps cool heads will prevail. One can only hope.

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You might also remind them that in most states, what they are proposing is against the law, I know it is in NY

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Against the law? Now that is highly unlikely. While there may be one, I know of no location in the US where it is illegal to have a private party in a privatly owned location with alcohol being served, as long as minors are not served. As a matter of fact, by your statement, every resturant in your area that offers wine or beer in the dining area where minors are allowed would be in violation of the law.

 

I am not saying that it is necessarily the right thing to do, but a private, non-BSA reception after the ceremony is completely legal and not against BSA policy. And leaders should not be imbibing while in uniform...but to the best of my knowledge, while it is certainly not appropriate and not the image that we want, BSA does not even restrict a leader in uniform from stopping off to get a beer or buy a bottle while in uniform. The only restriction is at BSA activities.

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