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BSA needs to redefine the district "Public Relations" chair

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Too often the district PR chair is viewed just publicity.  How do we get our scouts visible?  I think this is short sighted and misses huge opportunities.  


The PR chair should be expanded to focus on connecting local scout units with opportunities.  For years, I've seen individual units try to integrate into larger community events.  They may do well for awhile, but problems occur.  



  • Individual unit level scouters become too busy and great events are lost forever
  • Individuals only contact one or two units to be "involved"
  • Outsiders often reach out to scouting contacts thinking they are reaching ALL scouts.  But really they are reaching just one unit or one leader who may or may not be receptive.
  • Essentially, "city" or "county" events are really good for many units, not just "one" unit.


I think we could redefine the district PR role to be almost like the district activities role ... but OUTWARD facing.



  • Own (create and maintain) a tracking list of events and opportunities
    • City and county parades
      • Marching in the parade
      • Handing out water
    • City and county festivals, fairs, parades, city government special events
      • Have a booth
      • Sell food as a fundraiser
    • Special events with fire departments, police departments, parks departments, etc
      • Watch for things that would be good go-see-it for tigers, wolves and bears
      • Watch for things that would match with Webelos pins
      • Watch for things Boy Scouts might plug into
  • Get scouting units aware and involved in events in their communities
  • For each event, recruit unit level leaders to be the contact for all units in that city for that one event for that one year
    • Bob - Would you be the contact point for the local four packs for the fire departments open house this year?  Promote it to the scouts to get them to "go see it"
Edited by fred johnson
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You've just describe a lot of the functions of a District Activities and Civic Service Committee.


Yes and no.  I can see your view, but I disagree in reality.   The following is from what I've seen in the district's where I've been part of the district staff.


#1  Civic service part is consumed by the major activities.  Maybe one or two "service" projects will be done such as planting trees or helping to open a camp.  But that's about it for service.


#2  The activities committee already has a full plate with running many major events:  fall camporee, klondike derby, spring camporee, district pinewood derby, district dinner, summer district cub event.  Each of these events is big and takes lots of planning.  Even if it was emphasized that the activities/civic service committee also had to do the above, it would usually be lost or treated 2nd class in the effort to make the district big events successful.


#3  I've never seen the activities committee look at things such as 


                     - When are their city celebrations?  Parades?  Special events ?

                     - Are there special events by the fire department, police, medical, hospital or other community groups we can leverage ?

                     - Are there businesses in each city doing special events ?

                     - Are parks and rec in each city doing something?  

                     - Have the cities planned service events that the local scouts can support ?

               - I've never seen the district activities committee contact Pack ***** and let them know their city is hosting a ****** on **** date ?

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Great ideas. I found that PR is limited by the imagination of the leaders. I always felt that Scouting For Food is one of our best PR opportunities because the scouts get to personally meet the public one house at a time. I know our Cub Scouts had a wonderful time going door to door asking for donations because they met (and saw) some of the most interesting people. And visa versa, most folks seem to enjoy meeting these very young boys doing service work. BUT, the Council wanted to do Scouting For Food even bigger and better, so they decided scouts should just leave bags at the door with instructions to fill the bags and leave them on the patio to be picked up on another arranged day. The process left the meeting of the scouts and public out. And honestly, less food was brought in as well. I manage to change that process in our district, but not council.


Another idea is for the Troops to camp at their CO at least once a year. We did this back when I was a young scout and I remember the congregation of the CO church visiting the campsite after service and talking to the scouts. At first I thought it boring, but when an adult really wants to learn about your experience as a scout and see how you live in a tent, it turned out to be very cool. For those Troops that don't have COs with appropriate camp sites, local parks and fields.


There are so many ways to bring the public to the program. I once presented the idea to do the District Camporee at the local park. The idea was for all the patrols to camp Friday night at their CO location, then pack up the next morning and back pack to the park stopping for skills competitions along the way. The whole town would be busy with scout skills activities and Scouts hiking around by patrol in their pack packing gear. All locals would be invited to the campfire presented at the football field with a band finishing the evening. One day maybe.


As I said, it is just a matter of using the imagination.



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You've just describe a lot of the functions of a District Activities and Civic Service Committee.


I was thinking of how to say it better ....


 The activities committees I've seen turn quickly inward to succeed with the big ticket events:  fall and spring camporees, district dinners, klondike derbies, district pinewood derbies, etc.  And thus relatively quickly stop using the 2nd part of the name ... civic service committee.


Essentially ...


     Activities / civic service committee - inward focus toward the district membership

     Public relations committee - outward focus toward the community


     Activities / civic service committee - creating and administering scouting events and service

     Public relations committee - finding and promoting community events and service

Edited by fred johnson
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