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!