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How about Proactive PR? Our Competition is taking shots.

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The one formidable competitor is TL/USA. File under "Who's next, quoth the lawyer."

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Advertising would invite parody.  If BSA put out a commercial, the entertainment media would immediately come up with parody sketches about scouting.  Many of them would be certain to include allusions to sexual abuse.  The so-called comedy shows are very clever about this.  They could take any positive message that BSA PR people might come up with and make it look sinister.

If the scout uniform is used in the commercials, fair use rules might allow them to be used in the parody.  The more visible the PR campaign, the more vicious the parody.  If BSA bought commercial time during the super bowl, for example, the resulting parody would be merciless.  Do we really want that?  

Edited by David CO

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Girl Scouts may not want to chuck too many stones at us.   A quick Google search brings up several stories involving abuse in the GSA. Here are 2 examples.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1997-04-23-9704220891-story.html

http://www.news12.com/story/40808134/former-girl-scout-troop-leader-sentenced-for-sexual-abuse

I quit the Girl Scouts in the 5th grade after moving back to Florida.  We went to sign up night at the school and got a real weird vibe from the MALE Girl Scout leader.   I told my mom I think I am done with scouts.   She agreed it was weird and so we left.

What is the required training for a GS leader?   Their website is pretty vague.  Did not see anything about required training or YPT.   They have a 161 page safety check points book.  That I highly doubt most people actually read.    FTR the full version of the BSA GTSS is 110 pages.  

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, David CO said:

Advertising would invite parody.  If BSA put out a commercial, the entertainment media would immediately come up with parody sketches about scouting.  Many of them would be certain to include allusions to sexual abuse.  The so-called comedy shows are very clever about this.  They could take any positive message that BSA PR people might come up with and make it look sinister.

If the scout uniform is used in the commercials, fair use rules might allow them to be used in the parody.  The more visible the PR campaign, the more vicious the parody.  If BSA bought commercial time during the super bowl, for example, the resulting parody would be merciless.  Do we really want that?  

And how is this hypothetical scenario different than what's currently being done by the media?  

Correcting false information, and pushing back on hit stories currently out there is better than letting the opposition control the narrative. 

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Wait a second, don't they contradict themselves on the last point?  And pretty much every other point in this memo...    It says this is from an email from the GSA Orange County.  

The talking points below come via an email from the Girl Scouts of Orange County, California.

Marketplace positioning talking points following BSA’s filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

  • First and foremost, Girl Scouts is and always has been a completely separate and independent nonprofit organization from any other youth-serving or scouting organization and is not now and has never been affiliated with, partnered with, a subsidiary of, or otherwise engaged with any other youth-serving or scouting organization.
  • Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Boy Scouts of America (BSA) were founded separately, incorporated separately, and have existed as two completely separate and distinct organizations for more than a century. That has not changed, nor will it ever.
  • Girl Scouts of the USA does not share or overlap membership or finances with Boy Scouts of America.
  • BSA’s decision to admit girls did not signify a merger, partnership, or any other formal or informal joining of our two separate and distinct organizations.
  • The bankruptcy filing by BSA does not have any financial impact on Girl Scouts’ finances, which are strong.
  • In terms of Girl Scouts of the USA’s pending litigation against Boy Scouts of America for trademark infringement, GSUSA will continue to protect our trademark rights and pursue its infringement claims against BSA.
  • Girl Scouts was not part of BSA’s decision-making process to file for bankruptcy, either formally or informally, and so cannot and will not speak to the internal motivations, finances, or decisions of another completely separate organization.
  • Girl Scouts is proud of its more than 100 years of dedicated and expert service to girls—and girls only—in an environment that is girl-led, girl-focused, supportive of girls’ positive development, and, above all, safe.
  • At Girl Scouts, we do not comment on the actions or circumstances surrounding any other organization. As the single-largest and best girl leadership development program in the world, we remain focused on our mission of serving girls and preparing them for a lifetime of leadership.

 

 

I call this talking out of both sides of your mouth.

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Pale Horse said:

And how is this hypothetical scenario different than what's currently being done by the media?  

There has naturally been a lot of stories in the press about the BSA bankruptcy.  This is to be expected.  The press would be remiss if they didn't report on it.  This is real news.

I will admit that I don't watch much late night TV, but the best/worst of the parody sketches usually get repeated in the daytime press.  I haven't seen any parody sketches arising from the BSA bankruptcy.  The so-called comedy shows seem to be laying off of scouting (for now).  This could change.

A PR campaign would almost certainly trigger a response from the entertainment media.  BSA cannot saturate the media sufficiently to overwhelm negative press.  First of all, they don't have that much money.  Even if they did, the bankruptcy court wouldn't allow BSA to spend the money that way.  A PR campaign would be a losing battle, and would just make things worst.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, David CO said:

There has naturally been a lot of stories in the press about the BSA bankruptcy.  This is to be expected.  The press would be remiss if they didn't report on it.  This is real news.

I will admit that I don't watch much late night TV, but the best/worst of the parody sketches usually get repeated in the daytime press.  I haven't seen any parody sketches arising from the BSA bankruptcy.  The so-called comedy shows seem to be laying off of scouting (for now).  This could change.

A PR campaign would almost certainly trigger a response from the entertainment media.  BSA cannot saturate the media sufficiently to overwhelm negative press.  First of all, they don't have that much money.  Even if they did, the bankruptcy court wouldn't allow BSA to spend the money that way.  A PR campaign would be a losing battle, and would just make things worst.

 

 

I think we have to distinguish between an advertising campaign and a PR campaign.  An advertising campaign is a bunch of commercials designed to sell Scouting.  A PR campaign could be a proactive effort to get out there into the media and talk about what they are trying to do.  They could get spots on news talk shows, on the morning TV programs, etc.  

If the news is reporting it, now's the time to get out there and share our vision.  I've said this before - the BSA ought to go out and hire a really good PR person to serve as spokesperson for the organization.

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I think we have to distinguish between an advertising campaign and a PR campaign.  An advertising campaign is a bunch of commercials designed to sell Scouting.  A PR campaign could be a proactive effort to get out there into the media and talk about what they are trying to do.  They could get spots on news talk shows, on the morning TV programs, etc.  

If the news is reporting it, now's the time to get out there and share our vision.  I've said this before - the BSA ought to go out and hire a really good PR person to serve as spokesperson for the organization.

Isn't that what we want a chief scout executive to do?  

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16 minutes ago, David CO said:

Isn't that what we want a chief scout executive to do?  

I don't - no.  Running a large organization and leading a PR campaign are very different things.  

Leading an effective PR campaign means knowing how best to utilize the different media options available to accomplish the BSA's goals.  A good PR person would have established media relationships as well.

You want the CSE to be able to speak for the BSA, but absolutely should not be leading the effort.  Most major organizations that do PR well have a dedicated PR staff.  GIven the image and membership problems of the BSA, we really ought to invest here.

I believe this is one of the failings of the BSA in the past 50 years.  The BSA has misunderstood how to get public mindshare in the advent of TV and now digital media.

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Jackdaws:  The "kindest" thing that can be said about the release you referenced is that the competitor organization invites the reader to infer that girls are unsafe in Scouts BSA, but are perfectly safe in their organization: ".... and above all, safe."  Our Scouts BSA Troop for girls is about as absolutely safe for a girl as any organization could possibly be.  We enforce everything.  In the BSA having alcohol on outings is immediate cause for removal from the activity and lifetime dismissal from the organization.  I would take that action in a heartbeat.  In comparison, read some of the comments made by volunteers by the competitive organization on a popular and public site their volunteers post to on a regular basis.  I've simply cut and pasted statements and only deleted the names of minor children referenced.  I do not know much about that organization and its programs, but I gather from the comments that the drinking of alcohol takes place on  weekend trips to hotels and other "glamping" locations.  In all fairness, there were comments from other posters on that site that urged the competitor organization's alcohol policy to be enforced.  Because that organization is apparently positioning itself as a pristine protector of youth protection policies, they have invited public inquiry into the type of behavior you can read about below: 

She was not the only one who drank on that trip (I did not and I am a pretty regular drinker...but I just follow that rule very strictly for GS trips). A group of moms went and bought wine from  the hotel lobby and drank it. Most of the moms didn't have more than a glass but I think (deleted minor girl’s name)'s mom had been drinking her own supply all evening or is a total lightweight.

We did another trip about a year later and I told all of the moms not to drink ((deleted minor girl’s name)'s mom was not on that trip, nor was (deleted minor girl’s name)). I know at least one other mom snuck in a bottle of wine. Against the rules but as long as nobody is impaired I'm not going to get tooooo upset about it. I will just remind everyone again...

The very first GS event we had (a simple overnight at a hotel with a pool), I honestly didn't know the rules and neither did anyone else and we all brought wine. But again, we didn't over consume it. Like 2 glasses over the entire course of the evening. Then I ended up doing the camping training and indoor/outdoor overnight training and I found out it was against the rules but I think these moms like each other so much it feels like a social opportunity to them as well. So the two other trips we've taken they drank (I did not) but only (deleted minor girl’s name)'s mom was out of control. I will continue to remind them not to drink on GS trips but I'm honestly not going to go crazy enforcing it if nobody is driving and I can't tell they've been drinking. It's weird though because at our school's overnight camp there's a no drinking rule and as far as I can tell nobody breaks that one.

This reeeeaaaally bugs me. If parents don't follow the rules, how can the parent expect their girls to follow the rules.

And I should mention the time (deleted minor girl’s name)'s mom got so drunk I had no idea they were even drinking. I was down the hall in a different room with another chaperone and 3 girls and we were sleeping!! I just heard stories from other moms the next day.

They are the parents I've got for the troop I've got. I've asked them not to drink and it seems like some of them don't want to adhere to that on overnight trips but short of a major confrontation about this I don't know how to force them to stop.

You can't police adults every second if they're inside hotel rooms, nor should you, of course! At some point if they're going to break the rule, they're going to break it, but that doesn't mean you should soft-pedal telling them in advance that it does apply to them. I get a sense here of moms who maybe have gotten a bit used to thinking of GS overnight events as chances to catch up--which they are, but with rules attached.

Man, if ever a situation warranted drinking, it’s chaperoning a bunch of Girl Scouts.

I pretty much chug a big glass of wine after each meeting. We are planning a camping trip this summer and everyone in the troop will be invited but it won't be an official GS trip (not using troop funds,etc.) so if parents want to have a beer by the campfire...so be it.

Maybe drinking wine would make them less annoying.

And yet at our outings/camp outs half the moms are drinking 'tea' from an insulated cup at 9pm....

By “their” room does that mean drunk (deleted minor girl’s name)’s mom was sharing a room with (deleted minor girl’s name)? Or with the other parents who had gone drinking? The latter is more forgivable than the former I think.

She was in a room with (deleted minor girl’s name) and another hot mess mom who was only in the troop a year and the 2 girls (and the dog). Other hot mess mom was crazy but she apparently didn’t drink much.

I'm a boy scout mom and I am disgusted by this. My kids are eagle scouts and grown now and I never saw a parent drink while being a chaperone on any trip or outing. It wouldn't be tolerated and the leaders would SPEAK UP.

You really need to stop turning a blind eye to parent chaperones drinking on trips. That's NOT ok. It's even worse to have a "if I don't see if but you're not drunk its fine" unofficial policy. It needs to be a dry weekend, with a parent HH at the end of it (after all girls are home) if they really need an excuse to drink together.

I don’t think the moms having one glass of wine are the issue here. Although they should knock that off.

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30 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

  In the BSA having alcohol on outings is immediate cause for removal from the activity and lifetime dismissal from the organization.

Hi @Cburkhardt   

Here are the relevant rules from my GSUSA council, emphasis mine.  

In my connection with GSUSA I have never seen adults bringing alcohol to, or drinking on outings.   

I don't know where you dredged up those comments,  but in my experience that is not normal.

Quote

Substance Use and Abuse Policy
GSEMA has an obligation to its girl members and their families/guardians, its volunteers and staff to maintain a
drug and alcohol free environment. GSEMA prohibits:
 Use, possession, transfer or sale of illegal drugs.
 Use or being under the influence of legal substances (including but not limited to alcohol, tobacco,
marijuana, or any other medications without a prescription), when in the presence of girls, including while
driving girls; when carrying out a Girl Scout program, including meetings in private homes; or otherwise
volunteering on behalf of GSEMA.
Any volunteer engaged in the use, possession, transfer or sale of illegal drugs; the improper use of legal
substances; the use or being under the influence of legal substances when in the presence of girls, when carrying
out a Girl Scout program, or otherwise volunteering on behalf of GSEMA is subject to immediate release from
their volunteer position.
Any volunteer or member engaged in giving illegal drugs, legal substances (including but
not limited to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or medications not explicitly prescribed and given express written
permission to the girl(s)) will be immediately released from their volunteer position and their membership will be
terminated.
Alcohol may be served at adult-only fundraising/donor events or adult-only gatherings with prior authorization
from the GSEMA Executive Team. The Executive Team, at their discretion, may provide authorization for alcohol
to be served on GSEMA properties when the properties are being rented by individuals/groups/organizations for
non-Girl Scout related activities (such as facilities rentals for weddings, parties, etc.).

 

 

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I don't think we should engage in any fights over which organization is more "safe" for youth. Leader and adult use and abuse of alcohol have been issues at plenty of BSA activities too. While it's all inappropriate, there are those who could argue relative safety. I don't want to go there, and I think it's beneath us anyway. I can't account for what Girl Scouts says. 

Good PR for us will be local. BSA has pretty much boxed itself into a corner. Putting a light on what our kids are out there doing every week is something we actually can do at the grass roots level. It's helpful to remember the real audience though. Parents and leaders love to post and see photos of uniformed scouts lined up at a COH or some other ceremonial event. Most kids don't look at that  kind of thing and think they'd give their right eyetooth to join. 

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I don’t know anything about the competitor organization.  Those  comments and others like them are easily found on sites.  My point is that the implication in their release is wrong. Neither organization today is any safer than the other, and to claim otherwise is incorrect.

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36 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

My point is that the implication in their release is wrong.

I got a very different impression of the overall emphasis of their talking points.   Mainly that they want to emphasize that GSUSA is not part of BSA.   Note the repetition of words like "separate" "independent" "never been affiliated" "distinct".         The first five points really try to hammer this home.     In contrast the word "safe" is mentioned only once, and only near the end where you see it only after you have read to the end.

A great deal of the general public seems to think that the two organizations are acutally somehow the same.  

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I would agree. I think they've got their own problems that they are trying to address by distancing themselves from BSA.  

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