Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan.

Auntie Says: ANGP? Tis the season

ANGP?

It means All Night Grad Party. I know, I know, you don’t need a lecture about safety, drinking, drugs, or making smart choices. After all, you’re a senior and about to graduate … you know it all.

I also know that every year a parent is met at the door by a police officer and told that their graduating teen is dead or injured because of an accident at some bush party or a choice made to get behind the wheel drunk or stoned. There’s also the lifetime sentences caused by alcohol/drug-fueled sexual assaults, permanent disfigurement from a crash, fights, or humiliation through video and social media.

Take a second, stop and think. Don’t get so caught up in the build-up and “tradition” of all night parties that you lose perspective that you’re graduating so you can start a new life, not end it.

I’m not saying that you can’t party. That’d be unrealistic just make sure you do some planning and be smart. So, here’s a checklist for you.

1. Know who you’re with. That sound so simple and straightforward, but you’d be surprised how many young people will get into cars with a group of strangers all because there’s a common theme of ‘party.’ Stick with your friends and make a decision together to stay that way. Keep an eye on each other. That’s what friends do.

2. Know where you are. Again, this sounds so simple, but if you’re going to a bush party in the middle of nowhere, for example, the roads all look the same at night and you could easily get lost. Do you have enough gas in the car? Also, will you still have cell service?If you’re out of range then it’s even more important to pay attention to point No. 1.

3. Know who your designated driver is. Every time you go out you need a designated driver. If you have a group of friends then you can rotate and switch it up. If you’re in town, make sure you have someone to call. I don’t care if it’s the third cousin of your best friends brother in law — have someone reliable and mature enough to pick you up if trouble surfaces.

Note to parents/aunties/friends: If you have an agreement with a young person to call you (no matter what time or circumstance) to pick them up, then just do it. Don’t lecture or judge or ground because believe me, next time they won’t call.

4. “No” means no. That goes for everyone — male, female or otherwise.

5. Drugs, to me, are a loud resounding no. If you’re at a party, you need to know what’s going on around you and not be so hammered that you can’t see straight. With so many pills, and even marijuana, being laced with fentanyl, it could be the end. That would really suck.

6. Are you going to the ANGP to be part of the crowd or because you want to? The parties aren’t mandatory and are not a rite of passage. They’re a reason to get drunk, act stupid, and make an ass of yourself. Think about it.

7. Don’t forget it’ll all be recorded for prosperity. Do you want your boss to see you passed out? Or your auntie to see you naked and running through the fields. Umm, I hope your answer is no — ’nuf said.

8. Find an alternative to the ANGP. Grad committees did this by adding in and supporting Dry Grad. There are many ways to celebrate and have fun with your friends without getting wasted and putting yourself (and possibly others), in harm’s way.

9. Don’t be a statistic. You don’t want to be that roadside memorial tribute with the fake flowers and half filled balloon flopping in the wind. A dead teenager kills all their potential. Get it?

10. Last, but definitely not least have some respect for yourself and others. Stop and think about how your actions, words, and choices are a reflection of who you are and how they can affect another.

Have fun, but be safe.

Faye Arcand is a freelance columnist living in the South Okanagan.

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