Posts Tagged ‘Promotion’


Happy Birthday Scouting (BSA)!

Wow, has it been 98 years already? It seems like just a few years ago when that unknown Boy Scout in England helped William Boyce find his way in the fog of London. And look what the BSA has accomplished since then. Ten of millions of boys have been involved with Scouting. Hundreds of millions of hours of community service has been done around the country. And look at all the boys who earned Scoutings highest award, the rank of Eagle Scout. I ask, has there been any other youth group in the history of this great country that has accomplished as much as the Boy Scouts of America?

And to think, it all begin in the USA because of the good turn of one Boy Scout in England! It just goes to show that you never know what that daily good turn could lead to, do you?

And do not forget to watch the videos on Youtube that were listed in a previous blog entry. Let’s see if we can get something shown on the front page today.

In my last blog entry I asked the question, “Who’s job is it to promote Scouting?” I believe that the regional and national offices should be doing a better job of promoting Scouting within our states and on a national scale.

However, I will admit that troops and packs need to do some promotion within their own neighborhoods, and even in their cities. Here are a few ways we promote Scouting within our community of 3200 people.

The schools are always a good place to start, if the school district will allow you into the schools. The very loud and vocal minority of Scout haters has been trying to close down this option across our nation. This year we hung posters in both elementary schools. We also had a booth during the district’s open house held before school began.

Two local weekly newspapers have been very willing to print articles I write for them, along with one or two pictures per article. The articles usually pertain to a court of honor, or review what the Scouts did doing an activity or camping trip.

Our community access television station has been very supportive about playing shows we provide them with about our courts of honor and activities. Of course, I am usually the one filming, editing, and producing the videos. A local business sponsors the programs so there is not any airing cost to the troop.

The web is another way to promote Scouting locally. It is a great place to place pictures and keep the community informed. Of course, you need to get the word about your site out to your community. And you need someone to take care of it and keep it updated. Our troop has had a site for several years and has gotten to be quite large.

Last, but not least, there is old fashioned word of mouth. Scouts need to enthusiastically talk about Scouting to their friends and piers, and not hide the fact that they are a Scout as if it is something to be ashamed of being. The same applies to adults and parents. After all, if we are afraid to promote Scouting within our own community, what kind of message are we really conveying to others?

We have all heard the slogan, “Outing is half of Scouting”. It is very true, of course. Most boys are in Scouting for the outings. Now, let’s take the last half of Scoutng and apply it to a different word that is equally important – promoting. I think Boy Scouting could use a lot more promoting. Think about it. Membership is down nationally. Councils have a hard time meeting their goals. Many troops are having a hard time recruiting members.

Promotion is essential for success in today’s world. A business advertises to bring customers through its doors. A new video game is promoted and sells millions of copies. Promotion is done nationally, locally, and even through word of mouth.

But when do we see Boy Scouting being promoted? Almost never, at least around these parts of the country. However, I see plenty of negative news about the BSA in the newspapers, on the internet, and on the national news. What kind of opinion does the pubic form about Scouting when that is all they see or hear?

And where is the National BSA during all of this? They seem to be comfortable sitting silently behind their desks in Texas, making the occasional public statement. They need to get out of those padded office chairs and start talking to people working with the boys more often.

Those of us invovled with the Scouting program know it is one of the best programs available for a young man to belong to. But with all the negative news and stories over the last few years there are now many boys and parents who may have the impression that Scouting is a thing of the past.

Hogwash! I say. Boy Scouting and its ideals are more important now then ever. But we need to get the word out about it, and what the program offers boys and their families.

So, who’s job is it to promote Scouting? Most troops and packs do not have the money, people, or skills to do it. I would think it is the council’s responsibility to do local promotions. But it must be the regions and national offices responability to promote Scouting on a larger scale. If they don’t, then who will? The national office needs to promote Boy Scouting in addition to Cub Scouting! I am so sick of seeing so much effort going to the Cubs, and almost nothing going toward the older boy programs. (Unfortunately, if a boy quits during Cub Scouting it is very difficult to get him involved with Boy Scouting.)

Okay, that is enough of my ranting and raving for now. I welcome welcome your comments and opinions. Do not be afraid to leave a comment.

MEL2Back in 1986, some folks in Melrose decided to start using the television access channel given to the city by the cable company. They formed the first board of directors for what became known as Mel-TV 3.

It started as a primitive operation by today’s standards. (I currently have much more editing power in my computer at home then the station did back then.) No one on the board had any television or editing experience. It was a “learn as you go” type of training employed. The station was run completely by volunteers. Programs had to be loaded manually into tape decks at the time the program would be aired. Nothing was automated.

I was the scoutmaster of the Boy Scout troop at the time. (And still am the scoutmaster.) I had played around with a video camera and thought this new Mel-TV 3 station would be a great way to get some free PR for the Boy Scouts and let the public see what the Scouts have been up to. The people at Mel-TV 3 were happy to air any programming I gave them. They needed anything they could get at the time. A local business sponsored the programming.

We began by taping our courts of honor. The only editing required was to add some titles at the beginning and the end of the program. I took on the editing responsibilities and discovered I liked doing it. I had found a new hobby.

I began bringing a camcorder along on camping trips and to summer camp. I edited pictures from our Philmont trips into slide-shows with the boys doing the narration. The Scouts and I even did some original programming. The troop became a regular source of material for the television station.

Well, here it is, twenty years later. The troop still provides programming for Mel-TV 3. In fact, we provide from five to ten shows per year for them. Things have changed a bit though through those years. VHS is out, digital is in. I do the editing on my home computer instead of going to the station’s studio. And much of the programming from the last couple of year’s is burned to dvd format.

I have never had a parent complain about the Scout programming. The Scouts and their parents enjoy watching the shows. They really like the dvd’s produced throughout the year. The tapes and dvd’s have made great keepsakes.

Yeah, it is work to film the events and edit the programs. But I think it is worth it to keep Scouting visible in the community. I would suggest that you look into doing the same in your community.