Edwina Nearhood: Teens, booze, and community policing


It's that time of the year! Our high school students are counting down the final days of childhood anxiously. They are preoccupied with adulting and planning new plans and celebrating their transition.

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I heard a story and saw a video that made me want to take some time and say a great big thank you to our local RCMP. The story goes like this.

A large crowd of pretty decent kids had gathered at an adult-free home, late on a Friday night. I am certain the neighbours became quite concerned for the safety of a large number of teens. The call went out and not one or two, but six vehicles arrived at the home.

I was introduced to the concept of community policing by what follows. Three members were throwing a couple of ping pong balls at the beer pong table. The kids were laughing, and the party broke up quite respectfully. Some alcohol was confiscated in a lighthearted manner. Well done! It's a good thing to give credit where credit is due – both to the RCMP and to the teens. 

We are fortunate that the community comes together and creates a safe grad program for our young adults to celebrate a right of passage. But please, please, please be safe.

I came from a graduating class that had a pre-grad party where someone was killed. That someone did not make it to grad, they did not make it to their life. It tainted what should have been a very happy time in many lives. This is not the way anyone wants to say goodbye. That first taste of freedom, driving a little bit faster than necessary, distracted by all that is going on, can be taken away in a moment. 


Talk with your teens. Every family has a preference and a rule about drinking. Create a safe place for them when it comes to this. Make a contract with them that they can call you at any time of the night if they need a ride home. Your part will be to pick them up, bring them home safely, and say nothing more about it.

The next day, congratulate them on being responsible and say nothing more other than, "I am so glad you made it home."

There are a lot of mothers out there who wish they had the opportunity for a do-over. In this day and age, the day of instant communication, there is no reason for anyone to drive home drunk. Take your friends keys away, take the FOB, do what it takes. 

Kids will be kids. I think I learned on the first day of parenthood to never say never. If only I could have had my second child first, by the second time around, I knew a thing or two.

I am not saying to teach them to drink, but have some real conversations. Can you stop drinking after a couple of drinks? If not, understand you have a problem with alcohol.

Can you go to a party and have fun without alcohol? If not, let’s talk about why.

Do you enjoy feeling sick after drinking? Then what is your body telling you? Is it worth it?

How is your mental health? Understand the effects of all substances. 

Yes, our kids are on the doorstep of adulting. Are they prepared with all the tools? Be safe and celebrate!

Once again, thank you to the RCMP of Fort St. John for using the community policing approach and keeping our kids safe!

Edwina Nearhood is a lifelong resident of Fort St. John.  Her 30-year experience in the appraisal industry offers a unique lens on the challenges associated with the economic forces impacting real estate and the community.

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