Tailgating

A sea of football fans head down Victory Hill toward Tiger Stadium shortly before the game against South Carolina on October 13, 2012.

A program named Recovery First Tailgaters is looking to change your typical Saturday tailgate routine.

The program, an extension of St. Christopher’s Addiction Wellness Center, provides students with a safe place to tailgate in an alcohol- and drug-free zone.

“We are just a bunch of fun people who don’t drink anymore,” said Director of Business Development at St. Christopher’s Felicia Kleinpeter.

Dwayne Beason, president and owner of St. Christopher’s, started the Recovery First Tailgaters last year with a tailgate for the LSU v. Alabama game. Kleinpeter said these tailgates provide a safe haven for those who are in recovery or are just looking to tailgate without the pressure of drinking.

“There are students that do not want to be exposed to the level of drinking and insanity during an LSU tailgate,” Kleinpeter said.

This week’s tailgate for the LSU v. Florida game will be located in the middle of the Old Alex Box Stadium parking lot and is the third RV on the right.

Flags displaying a tree symbol are displayed at every sober tailgating with the college’s team colors. Free food, games and televisions will be available at the tailgates.

Students who attend the tailgate should not worry about the event being a marketing tool for recruitment or that they will be approached about alcohol and drug treatment, Kleinpeter said. She said the tailgate is just an opportunity to gather a group of people who don’t drink anymore for some college football fun.

“You can just show up, eat food and then leave if you want,” Kleinpeter said. “We just don’t want the community to think that we are soliciting business.”

The only requirement when attending their tailgates is to respect the alcohol- and drug-free environment, Kleinpeter said.

Recovery First Tailgaters is teaming up with other schools across the nation, such as UCLA and the University of Texas, to have sober tailgates.

Kleinpeter said the program trademarked its name and logo, but it’s letting others use it in an attempt to brand the tree with being associated as a safe place.

“If [students] move away and they want to start sober tailgating, they can get the Recovery First Tailgaters logo and start their own sober tailgates,” Kleinpeter said.

The program currently only holds tailgates for college football games but plans to expand to professional football games and concerts.

For more information on Recovery First Tailgaters and a list of its events, visit its website: www.recoveryfirsttailgaters.com.

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