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It's better to error on the on the side of caution in areas where you are responsible for other people's kids. No alcohol on weekend or summer camp for adults, leaders or not. Not a good idea at all. There's too many things that can go wrong on a campout anyways, why would you allow this to come into the picture? If a guy can't go a weekend or week camping without a drink - or understand why it isn't a needed, then I don't want that person camping with a unit I'm involved in - he has bigger issues going on. Kids get enough of alcohol influence around them all over the place. It doesn't need to be there in Scouting too.


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I admit when I was younger, I looked the other way when it came to alcohol at camp. I knew folks who snuck in a nip, made "Irishman's Surprise," and had nip every now and then. Heck I remember after a stressful day on summer camp staff, with permission,going out of camp and having 2 beers and complaining about things with 2 other staffer who had the night off. My thinking was that if it did not affect performance and taking care of the scouts, it was ok


But something happened and that opinion changed. And it was the 2AM Lost Camper in the thunderstorm. You got to BE PREPARED for anything at any time.


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"Of course I cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food"

==W. C. Fields==


Alcohol abuse is one of the hidden problems in our society and world. On the one side, we are reminded how cool and mature it is to be a "knowledgeable" drinker ("I do not often drink beer, but when I do, it's Dos Equis, Stay thirsty, my friend."), and that to have fun, it is better to be fueled with methenol. ( I happen to prefer Berliner Wiesse).

Oh, I tried various "aids" to free the inhibitions, but I discovered early that I liked being able to remember the fun I had the night before. (what is a hibition, if an inhibition disuades one from an action, does a hibition urge one on?)

That said, I don't see any reason to allow ANY alcohol use during a Scout event. Camp trip, hike, canoe, District Awards Dinner, makes no difference. We are setting an example, Carrie Nation not withstanding.

If the adults in escort on the trip cannot go without the taste of the hop or grape for THREE DAYS, I would suggest they have a different, bigger problem than mere ignorance of the Troop rules, rather written or merrely "understood". I might take them asside and privately, politely, in low key, ask them what's important in their lives, their boy and family, or the beer?

As to the OP, I favor a warning, and a general discussion and then proceed.

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>>If the adults in escort on the trip cannot go without the taste of the hop or grape for THREE DAYS, I would suggest they have a different, bigger problem than mere ignorance of the Troop rules, rather written or merrely "understood". I might take them asside and privately, politely, in low key, ask them what's important in their lives, their boy and family, or the beer?

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Rules for summer camp staffers on their time off should be no different than rules for any other worker. You can do whatever you want, but don't do anything stupid.


Even police officers, firefighters, paramedics, ambulance drivers and ER doctors, who could be called upon in an emergency, aren't banned from having a drink when they're off-duty.


The same should apply to camp staffers who get one night and one 24-hour period off a week (in my experience, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on a weeknight, and noon Saturday to noon Sunday). If they want to go have a beer with the guys or have a glass of wine at a romantic dinner with their significant others, that's cool. But don't get so trashed that you can't respond in an emergency.


The camp director and program director should schedule nights off so that there are a sufficient number of staffers in camp to deal with emergencies. And those should be balanced, so that all the senior staff isn't off on one night leaving only the junior instructors and CITs on hand.


But anyone drinking on camp property should be fired. No ifs, ands or buts.

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I used to look the other way when there was a late night sip of "Boy Scout Juice"; however more recent experiences make me think the prohibition is probably best enforced. The loss of inhibitions seems to at best result in an increase of loud cussing and inappropriate gossip/sex talk that appear a bad example. Other times I have observed, I shall say, rather "vigorous political and religious discourse" that disrupted the usually harmonious adult area. Finally I must agree on the need to respond in the middle of the night to unforeseen circumstances.


I agree the negative parental feedback as well as bad PR could be pretty substantial if things go south.


I am not saying that working with the boys I did not REALLY want a stiff drink on occasion but if you cannot go without for one weekend you have a bigger problem.

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Getting back to the OP's question, I think the best answers about what needs to be done were those that said it depends on the CO's policies. The whole thing stinks even though it doesn't sound like there was technically a BSA rule violated. The rule specifically says "at any activity", and the word "at" seems to imply some physical proximity. Unless of course the vehicle driver was listed on the tour permit as a driver. If something had happened on their little side trip, it was in connection with the scout camp activity, so there's potentially a real can of worms with your CO's and the BSA's insurance. It doesn't matter if there were scouts in the car at the time. While these two adults may have left the camp site, they were still participants of the unit activity, correct?


I do have to wonder: if they were so eager to brag back at camp about finding a bar (and spending enough time there to judge it a "great bar"), I'd be worried about them possibly having complained to the bartender and anyone else within earshot about "gotta be getting back to our scout camp". I have experienced a parent hearing about staff alcohol use months after a camp, and that kid never being allowed to go to camp again. And people being banned from returning as staff. And other bad stuff happening to otherwise good people. The details about whether or not any technical "rules" were violated won't matter months after the fact. All people will hear is "a Boy Scout Camp Out where some of the adults went to a bar". Clearly, you have a couple people that are not aware of the potential negative impact their actions and words might have on your unit and scouting in general. Those are the issues where it doesn't matter if the two adults were ever impaired or not.


My advice is you should discuss this with your COR right away. If the driver was listed on your tour permit, you should also discuss it with your DE. Better if both of these people hear about it from you than from someone else. If you were the designated leader for the camp out, there's a chance YOU will be shown the door if you don't talk to your COR and/or head of your CO and they catch wind of it later on. When in doubt, pass the buck up and let them decide what to do.(This message has been edited by drhink)

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The standard at my worksite was "zero tolerance" for illegal drug use, and random tests and required tests after an accident (this is a transit bus system) were the norm. Same for alcohol use. If someone even "seemed" to be impaired, a supervisor was required to order that employee to a pee test and/or breathilizer. It was understood as a condition of employment and the union accepted it, just so the conditions were evenly applied.

Now, this required alot of paperwork and documentation and testification (?), but was judged worth it for the safety of our passengers. If someone came forward VOLUNTARILY and said he might have a problem, he could save his job by going thru counseling and such. If he otherwise tested positive, even with the appeal/protest procedure, he was terminated forthwith.

That said, again, if one cannot go three days without a touch of the malt or grape, you may well have another problem other than a resentment of someone telling you what to do on a campout.

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To answer your several questions, the men are registered with the BSA, and members of the Troop Committee. The men seemed to have gone to the bar for a few "quick ones'; there was no mention of any food served other than the homemade salsa provided to them by the bartender, and they left camp after lunch and before dinner. They were not in uniform. When they returned, they were not overtly intoxicated or impaired. Those of us who remained at camp would have no reason to suspect that they had gone drinking, but for the fact that they felt the need to tell us. -sgk8102


It is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America that the use of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances is not permitted at encampments or activities on property owned and/or operated by the Boy Scouts of America, or at any activity involving participation of youth members. - G2SS


My experiences:

I was invited to a BSA district party - a social event held at a residence. In attendance were SMs, CCs, UCs, SE, DE, etc. All Scouters and their wives/husbands with no youth. Alcohol and food were plentiful. I was rather new to scouting at the time (as an adult) and the presence of alcohol surprised me but did not upset me in any way.


On a canoe trip, I was an SA at the time, I made the comment that the last time I went canoeing was as a youth numerous times (non-Scout) around the ages of 18-23 (drinking at for beer was 18 at the time) and it just seemed weird that here I was canoeing with no beer. Next thing I knew, a husband and wife went out for some food supplies and came back with a 6 pack for 6 adults. They were not aware of any rules forbidding the consumption of alcohol and they were doing it to be gracious and as a favor to the adults (SM and two SAs) who did so much for their son. Well, I made a mistake, said thank you and drank a few of us drank a lone 12 oz. beer away from the boys. We discussed it amongst ourselves about what we should do and kind of felt if we "refused" we would be insulting the "gift giver." Yes, it was a mistake.


Once, had an outing with myself (SM) and four SAs where we brought the troop trailer, and took inventory, repaired equipment, threw out badly damaged equipment, tested stoves, etc. We also cooked three turkeys (deep fried, smoked and box oven) etc. Lots of beer being consumed (no youth present). We were at a non-BSA campground but registered as a troop. A camp employee came by, saw all the tents set up (about 12) and asked where the boys were. We told him - on a hike! Anyway, we accomplished a lot and had a good time.


To get back to the subject at hand - inform the gentlemen about the prohibition of the use of alcoholic beverages at any activity involving participation of youth members. Leaving the premises to drink a beer is a gray area but probably not in the best interest of maintaining a top notch program for the boys.

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