About a year ago, I was in our local Scout Shop, and I saw a booklet called Choose to Refuse. While I was looking through it, one of the employees told me that they had a big supply of them and asked if I wanted to take some. I'm so glad I did!
Drugs: A Deadly Game! is the drug abuse prevention awareness program from the Boy Scouts of America and Boys’ Life magazine. And Choose to Refuse is the official youth booklet for the program.
In the middle of the booklet is a fold-out poster with a pinball machine image. Inside the pinball machine is a “Gross Out!” cartoon character. Various parts of his body are marked showing the damage that drugs, alcohol and tobacco can do. Because the cartoon guy is so yucky, the Cub Scouts are strangely drawn to him. My Webelos spent quite a bit of time reading about the effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
On the back side of the poster, you'll find “Fight the Good Fight” which profiles classes of drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) with a description, what it includes and what harm it can do to you.
While all of this information is good for the boys to know, the most important part of Choose to Refuse is the NICE way to say “no.” Many kids reluctantly drink or smoke or take drugs because they don't know how to say “no” to their friends. The four step NICE way teaches them how to say “no” while keeping the relationship with their friends.
- N – Say “no.”
- I – Follow with an “I” statement such as, “I don't want to get in trouble.”
- C – Change something such as the subject, the person you're talking to or your location.
- E – Use a pre-arranged exit plan.
Practice these steps by role-playing with your Cub Scouts, and encourage your parents to continue practicing at home. It's easy to tell your kids to “just say no,” but they probably need more than that. I believe practicing how to say no with them will help our boys more than anything else we can say to them.
Yours in Scouting,
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P.P.S. The images in this post are scans I made of the BSA booklet, Choose to Refuse. They are copyright of the Boy Scouts of America.