By Officer Lee Gilbert, Redmond Police Department
High school graduation comes in June, along with many other opportunities for us to celebrate the accomplishments of our youth. Throwing a party for your kids is a great way to show how proud you are, and reward them for hard work and diligence. When planning your celebration, be sure to think about the challenges that mixed-age parties can present, particularly if you are planning to serve alcohol.
If you are providing alcohol, place the alcohol in a more restricted area than the non-alcoholic beverages and monitor the alcohol closely. Be sure to check guest ID to verify age, and only serve alcohol to those guests over 21. In addition, provide a good example for our youth by monitoring and limiting alcohol consumption by adults. Review the signs of visible intoxication provided by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). Remember that Oregon law prohibits providing alcohol to minors, intoxicated people, or allowing consumption of alcohol by a minor on your property. If your party is large enough, consider hiring an OLCC certified server. Certified servers have been trained in how to check identification, identify visibly intoxicated people, and monitor alcohol consumption.
Consider keeping your party alcohol free. This is the best way to avoid problems with alcohol. Take the lead on demonstrating how much fun a party can be without alcohol. Here are some ideas for great alcohol-free parties:
1. Create a theme for the party based on your student’s interests or talents: dance, sports, art, animals, outdoors, favorite color, etc. Select invitations, decorations, food, and beverage to fit with the theme and set the tone for the event.
2. Plan some interactive games, friendly competitions, or setting aside time for dancing to your favorite play list. Memorable parties are fostered activities which get everyone involved. Find a mix of things which will appeal to all of your guests. Creating mixed-age teams can help to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy each other in a fun setting.
3. Offer a delicious menu or themed potluck. Great food always wins the day. If your guests are bringing food, provide creative non-alcoholic beverages beyond just water, juice or soda.
Celebrate with your graduate, your family and friends in way which honors your student’s achievement. Fostering healthy behaviors at celebrations now can contribute healthy habits in the future. Make this graduation celebration memorable for all the right reasons.