Monday, January 14, 2008

UK scouts earning badges in public relations

Check this out: it seems that scouts in the UK are now able to earn badges for… public relations.

Yes, that’s right. The organization that brought us campfires and knot-tying tricks is branching out.

The “PR badge” is one of 40 new badges introduced recently by Britain’s Scout Association.

A spokesperson for The Scout Association notes that young people need to hone their communication skills, and that encouraging them to deal with the media helps them achieve this goal.

"It's a hugely media-driven world these days, whether it be through TV or radio or the Internet,'' says Andrew Thorp. "We're offering [young people] skills to talk about what they enjoy."

In order to earn their new PR badge, scouts must contact a media outlet and pitch a positive news story about scouting or write a paper on PR and get it published.

“We're still teaching communication -- it's just in a modern and relevant way,'' says Thorp.

As one of my Loyalist PR students pointed out to me, it will be interesting to see whether this move has any kind of impact on the gender demographics of the field.

For those of us who have worked in the industry for years, it’s somewhat refreshing to see such a positive project spotlighting an often-misunderstood industry. In my humble opinion, I believe the new PR scout badge is a great way to educate young people about what it really means to work in the field of public relations.

P.S. Kudos to the PR team at The Scout Association… this whole badge thing is racking them up some pretty major global media coverage (this blog included!). Well done!


Karen Pierce Gonzalez said...

Well, you just never know, do you?
I think it's a great idea to get youth to promote what they are doing.
It's happening anyway on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and elsewhere in the social networking world ...
Clearly this approach has a pro-Boy Scout message. However, as long as the Boy Scouts aren't "forced" to do it because the organization wants to cut back its PR budget, then I say congratulations.
The most important lesson here is to learn how to approach the media, which is something that many people are afraid of!
By the way, if's it's all right, I'd like to link to this posting in my February E-News.
Best, Karen Pierce Gonzalez
Karen Pierce Gonzalez Public Relations

LoyalistPR said...

By all means, go ahead -- cheers!

Christine said...

Assisting these scouts in developing their communication skills will definately be beneficial to them. Not only in their day to day lifes, but also in the career they choose to persue.