Recently, community leaders and youth rose to an interesting challenge. The Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce (CACC) held its Business After Hours event, involving the usual alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Held at the Cortez Cultural Center (CCC), this particular event offered youth the chance to meet and mingle with business people and community leaders. Brought together by the School Community Youth Collaborative (SCYC), the youth helped plan the evening, enthusiastically spicing up the soda list with mocktails. Intended primarily for themselves, the mocktails would also focus the adults on the question, Is alcohol really necessary in order to have a good time?
At the last minute, apparently someone thought that there wasnt going to be enough alcohol so more was purchased. However, when this well-attended gathering ended and the leftover liquids were tallied by an interested adult, the alcohol was mostly untouched. When contrasted with the empty bottles of mocktail ingredients Tornado Twist, lemonade and sodas one of the results of the evening was clear: Alcohol was not as essential a part of that context as it might have been.
Weve come a long way in reducing social costs of alcohol use, particularly regarding traffic accidents (thank you, Mothers Against Drunk Driving). But this and other social costs of alcohol use still loom large.
I commend all of the adult leaders/planners from the SCYC, the CCC, the CACC and the rest of our community who helped our youth create an educational opportunity for all. I was not thereI learned about this second hand. But I plan to attend more often what the CCC hopes will be more alcohol-limited, mocktail-heavy, youth-educator events. A process has been set in motion; it is up to us all to make it continue.