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Alcohol consumption outside the US?


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#1 Brewmeister

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 08:42 PM

I have a question as it relates to a Venturing crew that is doing some international travel. If it matters, on this particular trip we happen to have 1-to-1 parent/youth ratio. (Each crew member has exactly one parent along.) The BSA guidelines on alcohol consumption are clear--"It has no place in the scouting program." However as you know, different locations outside the US have different attitudes toward alcohol consumption and some countries have lower drinking ages, etc. Just in case any questions come up about this, I was trying to figure out how to answer them. In doing research I found some documents at different councils that recognize the situation and that units in other countries may operate differently but don't provide any guidance. I see "no place" in the G2SS as being clear--we're a US-based Venturing crew so nobody should be doing any drinking, adults or youth even if legally allowable. Thoughts?
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#2 qwazse

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 09:36 PM

It's generally a good policy to hold yourselves to the same standard overseas as you do at home. Seabase Bahamas is a good example. Youth are not to drink alcohol. Neither are adults while supervising them. I know of crews where adults would take it in rotation for those who wanted to stop at a bar. When we went, our adults simply committed to non-alcoholic beverages the whole time. No problem. At the end of the day I never grudged anyone in my crew a cigar if they were over 18. But, they were to be discrete about it. Likewise, if an adult wanted to get a drink I wouldn't have been bothered. But I think our little adventure was better for nobody having imbibed.
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#3 Sentinel947

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Posted 05 October 2014 - 10:09 PM

G2SS seems pretty clear to me. Just because the country has changed doesn't mean the BSAs rules have. I'm no Prohibitionist but It's not that long a trip, everybody who's legally eligible to consume alcohol should have enough self discipline to go without for the trip.
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#4 packsaddle

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 05:21 PM

Anyone who can't go a few days without alcohol needs to look for some other passtime...youth AND adults.
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#5 st0ut717

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 05:43 PM

Packsaddle but where would we find the answers? :) but seriously....I have been thinking about this a bit. One you didnt say where you where going. I could forsee a formal dinner where the host would expect the dults to partake as part of the culture.. France, Portugaul, Italy Greece for example. and there are others where any alochol if looked down upon unless you are in intimate company. e.g. a dinner with a host in Japn would have tea not sake. and others wher it it forbidden Saudi Arabia OK thats the cultureal issue.. but lets also talk about reality... You are overseas. you are weather you know or not and like it or not you are ambassadors for the US. If one of the scouters has too much because hey man it greece WTF could happen...dealing with a foriegn police is NOT fun this can turn a fantastic trip into a nightmare in an instant. Greek Ouzo is made with raw poopy seed oils and has mild heroin affect. (military cut us some slack on that test whew) just because you can....(and I am not sure can or cant not my expertice) doesnt mean you should. If you are being hosted for a dinner and the host offers acceppct one glass with dinner to show respect for that culture. otherwise abstain.
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#6 skeptic

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 06:44 PM

Not sure too many would want to partake of "raw poopy seed oil" drinks; but that is just me.:rolleyes:
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#7 qwazse

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 07:33 PM

Not sure too many would want to partake of "raw poopy seed oil" drinks; but that is just me.:rolleyes:


Opa!!!

If you like black licorice, you'll be fine with Ouzo. Too fine, maybe. ;)
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#8 st0ut717

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 04:02 PM

Too be fair I did have a scotch in my hand :)
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#9 packsaddle

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:20 PM

I am fairly confident that no one finds answers in alcohol.
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#10 Rick_in_CA

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 05:20 AM

I think it's important to have a policy in place before you go, you need everyone to understand the rules so there are no surprises. You also need to research the countries you are going to.

I had a conversation with a scouter a few years ago about his boy scout troop doing a trip to Germany. They went camping with the German troop that was hosting them, and then they spent a week at a German scout camp. When camping with the troop, the adults and older scouts drank beer. At the scout camp the trading post sold beer to older scouts. Other things that surprised him were boys and girls sleeping in the same tents (a whole patrol shared a single tent - the German troop was coed) and when it got cold, they lit fires inside the tents. The tents the troop used were traditional German scout tents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohte
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#11 Stosh

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:20 AM

Okay, try this on on for size. Scout Sunday is also Communion Sunday. :) Are the boys expected to refrain from their religious practice because they are in uniform or do they not wear their their uniform on Scout Sunday so they can have Communion? If one were to sit down and ponder every situation, they could probably find a problem with every rule someone comes up with trying to solve a problem. Stosh
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#12 Stosh

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 08:24 AM

I think it's important to have a policy in place before you go, you need everyone to understand the rules so there are no surprises. You also need to research the countries you are going to.

I had a conversation with a scouter a few years ago about his boy scout troop doing a trip to Germany. They went camping with the German troop that was hosting them, and then they spent a week at a German scout camp. When camping with the troop, the adults and older scouts drank beer. At the scout camp the trading post sold beer to older scouts. Other things that surprised him were boys and girls sleeping in the same tents (a whole patrol shared a single tent - the German troop was coed) and when it got cold, they lit fires inside the tents. The tents the troop used were traditional German scout tents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohte


There are a ton of wall tents out there that have stove vents in them for the purpose of having a wood burning stove inside the tent. One can buy them brand new yet today, this is not something unique only to older tents.

Stosh
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#13 Brewmeister

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 11:46 AM

I told the crew that it was a "dry" trip (adults and youth) since we are a US scout troop, and nobody questioned it. Sometimes you can overthink things, but it's good to be prepared, so to speak.
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#14 Rick_in_CA

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 03:28 PM


There are a ton of wall tents out there that have stove vents in them for the purpose of having a wood burning stove inside the tent. One can buy them brand new yet today, this is not something unique only to older tents.

Stosh


Yes, but in the BSA we are not allowed to use as much as a candle lantern, let alone a stove in tents. The German troop had small open fires inside their tents. That was what bothered the scouter telling me the story the most (along with coed tenting), not the beer.

From the GTSS:

No flames in tents. This includes burning any solid, liquid, gel, or gas fuel—including tents or teepees that feature or support stoves or fires; and any chemical-fueled equipment or catalytic heaters.


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#15 Stosh

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 04:20 PM

A one write rule that covers all aspects of an issue will most certainly devolve to the most restrictive. I have had candle lanterns in tents, open candles, cooked under dying flies, etc. I have done the wood stoves inside tents and NONE of those tents/tarps were nylon. That also means none of the items inside the tent were nylon as well. Of course meadow crashing next to the campfire on a cold night might be pushing the rules a bit. :) It used to be a fire-guard was a person, not a set of tools and buckets. But then I'm a lot older than a lot of those on the forum. I do remember the pre-nylon days. :) Anyone remember what a "bug light" was? Baker tents were great in colder weather (think reflector oven). Stosh
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#16 mattman578

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 03:50 PM

This is and interesting topic and a lot of fun. But for me brings up a question. I was recently at a conceal event and as I was walking around the tents groups I noticed that some of the parents had beer in there camping cups I did not say anything because the only reason I could tell they were drinking was the beer in there cups they were keeping there composure and were not stumbling or whooping it up. Now I am a recovering alcoholic so my judgment might be a bit off did I do the right thing by not saying anything ?
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#17 Sentinel947

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 03:56 PM

This is and interesting topic and a lot of fun. But for me brings up a question. I was recently at a conceal event and as I was walking around the tents groups I noticed that some of the parents had beer in there camping cups I did not say anything because the only reason I could tell they were drinking was the beer in there cups they were keeping there composure and were not stumbling or whooping it up.

Now I am a recovering alcoholic so my judgment might be a bit off did I do the right thing by not saying anything ?


It's a tough call. If it was your own unit, I'd absolutely say something. If it's somebody else's unit, I'm really hesitant to be the BSA regulation police on somebody else's unit. Personally if I was in your situation, I would have left it alone. Not my unit and I could call somebody at the Council, but I couldn't prove it if I wanted to. Maybe I'd say something to their Scoutmaster if I knew him.
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#18 Rick_in_CA

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 04:26 PM

A one write rule that covers all aspects of an issue will most certainly devolve to the most restrictive. I have had candle lanterns in tents, open candles, cooked under dying flies, etc. I have done the wood stoves inside tents and NONE of those tents/tarps were nylon. That also means none of the items inside the tent were nylon as well. Of course meadow crashing next to the campfire on a cold night might be pushing the rules a bit. :) It used to be a fire-guard was a person, not a set of tools and buckets. But then I'm a lot older than a lot of those on the forum. I do remember the pre-nylon days. :) Anyone remember what a "bug light" was? Baker tents were great in colder weather (think reflector oven).

Stosh


My camping experiences growing up with the family were almost all sleeping in canvas tents. The exception was when we went back packing or snow camping. To this day, the smell of canvas in the sun means camping to me. Yes nylon tents are much lighter than canvas, but the canvas breaths in a way that nylon doesn't. We had lanterns and propane heaters in those tents. My boy scout troop growing up used nylon tents (so we could back pack with them), canvas was for summer camp. I did see a troop using Baker tents at a camporee once. They said that they took them back packing, but they also took a couple of mules back packing to carry them.
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#19 Stosh

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 04:39 PM

My buddy and I carried 1/2 of a pup tent each like the military and did just fine. Now if I want to backpack, I have a one-man tent. or just use my poncho. I've even set up my 1/2 pup tent as a shebang and it worked nicely. if it rained, throw the poncho over the opening. I guess I don't need as much comfort as boys expect today. Stosh
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#20 Crew21_Adv

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 10:24 AM

Brew, Greetings! There are a few BSA (and GUSUSA) programs abroad, through Direct Service and overseas BSA councils. The G2SS rules are the same, there is no more boldface in the G2SS and they are guidelines, but should be read and complied with wisely. In many other national Scouting organizations, often parents are titled Commissioners and the Scoutmasters are what the BSA would consider BSA College Reserve or Eagle Alumni. When camping with other Scouting organizations, it is sometimes wise to discuss the American traditions so that other leaders become aware of our separate sleeping and sanitary concerns, or restrictions on alcohol during events, and our program safety concerns. Many other nations Scouting organizations would assume we administer the program the similarly. Such as, rappel without belay, dive without a buddy, sleep/shower in the same facility and enjoy a beverage around the campfire. After learning a few of our similarities and differences, most other Scouters are happy to abide by our G2SS for a brief weekend. Scouting Forever and Venture On! Crew21 Adv
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