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Team Fort Collins still in exploration stages of social host ordinance

Team Fort Collins is a group located on the top floor in the old post office in Old Town. The group has a mission to “prevent the abuse and illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, especially among youth and families by promoting healthy lifestyles,” according to the Team Fort Collins website.

“I think everyone wants the next generation to be as healthy and strong as possible,” Ashley Kasprzak, Team Fort Collins executive director, said.

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Since 1989, Team Fort Collins has been providing education to middle and high school students about the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse.

Kandy Wise, a parent who is on the board of directors for Team Fort Collins, has been involved with them for about four years.

“My son was 14 and I saw some things going on that most parents would stick their head in the sand and not deal with,” Wise said. “And that’s why I got involved.”

After seeing her son going through problems, Wise went to the police, who she said were of no help, but they directed her to Team Fort Collins for support.

“They (Team Fort Collins) are a great organization and were very helpful to me,” Wise said. “They are a good source for parents as well as kids to help promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Team Fort Collins strives to educate youth on the substances and choices that are presented to them. Kasprzak explained that this is so youth can make an educated decision about what they want to do.

“Since marijuana has been legalized, there are a lot of questions,” Kasprzak said. “Students have a really interesting perspective about the harm of marijuana since it is advertised as natural and herbal.”

The group’s mission is to enable schools, businesses, workplaces and the Fort Collins community to support and promote responsible choices and healthy behavior.

Team Fort Collins also works with servers and bartenders at restaurants in Fort Collins to train them on safe serving, according to Kasprzak.

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“We want to decrease the amount of people under 21 getting alcoholic drinks at bars, educate about over-serving and promote safe rides home,” Kasprzak said.

Along with educating youth, families, bars and restaurants, Team Fort Collins works with the community.

The group has been looking into implementing a social host ordinance in Fort Collins. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a social host ordinance is a measure that would hold party hosts, tenants and possibly property owners responsible for underage drinking, regardless of who supplied the alcohol.

Kasprzak said this would be a way to hold adults responsible for underage drinking at parties and it would raise the awareness that it’s illegal to give alcohol to minors.

“It would start a discussion about safe parties and who should be there,” she said. “Some communities have fines to enforce this.”

Team Fort Collins said they are in an exploration phase with the idea, seeing what community members are interested in and what the Associated Students of CSU thinks.

Lindon Belshe, director of government affairs for ASCSU, said the discussion has been dormant for awhile, but they are worried about the idea because house residents may not know minors are there.

“We had hesitation due to the residual effect it could have on students,” Belshe said.

Kasprzak said Team Fort Collins believes in independent and personal rights, and that it is not in conflict with promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

“We really believe that youth who can experience life without drugs and alcohol can be the best of themselves and that’s what we want to promote,” she said.

Collegian Writer Corrie Sahling can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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