Grad night. The night 12th grade students look forward to all year. Planning for after-grad has most likely been happening for months, maybe even since the beginning of the school year. The party itself usually happens right after formal convocation and can last until five or six a.m. the following morning.
Graduation nights across the province see an increase in the number of alcohol-related incidents. As a parent, you can influence your child’s decisions when it comes to alcohol and even help to plan and promote a safer “dry” grad.
What is a Dry Grad Party?
A “dry” after-grad party is a supervised party where no alcohol or other drugs are allowed. Dry after-grad parties aim to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm. Students, teachers and school administrators generally plan the formal grad, but parents often take the lead on dry grad planning.
The Dry Grad Guidebook for BC has five essential elements to help you plan a dry grad for your teen:
- Finances. Start planning the budget early on. Appoint a treasurer and work with the committee to develop clear guidelines.
- Communications. Have a communications plan and decide the best way to inform and stay in touch with the planning committee, students and parents.
- Fundraising. A dry grad can range from $10,000-$30,000. Plan ways to fundraise money to help cover the costs. Consider raffles, contests, and reaching out to local businesses.
- Event management. You’ll need to plan ahead and think about the venue, first aid, security, and volunteers.
- Activities, prizes and food. Having fun, entertaining activities can help keep students from leaving the dry grad for another party. From games to performing artists think about what will keep the grads at the party.
But how do you even have a productive conversation about alcohol with your teen?
Start the Conversation
Seize any opportunity to talk about your family’s values when it comes to alcohol. You might see something on the news or during a television show. Talk about the choice you saw made and how substance use can interfere with goals and plans.
Explain what alcohol is. Talk about intoxication and what happens to the body as you continue to drink and blood alcohol content rises.
Model the choices you want to see your child make. Parents are the biggest influence on kids’ choices and behaviours. There is no right age to talk to your kids about alcohol, so talk when it’s likely to be most comfortable and makes the most sense.
Visit AlcoholSense BC to get more tips for having open and empowering conversations with teens about alcohol.
Talking to your teen about alcohol and safe ways to celebrate the end of high school can help keep your child, other graduates and the community safe.
HealthlinkBC: Dry Grad Guidebook for BC