Re: Peer Pressure on Scouts
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 29 Nov 1993 08:47:24 CDT
"David Edward 'Byrdman' Byrd, II" writes:
> I agree that "somebody" needs to be found. I wonder if anybody at
>the National Office is specifically assigned to the task of PR, and if so,
>why are we ignorant of such a person? To honk the horn of APO, we are
>constantly informed of our national officers, national board of directors
>members, and which committee each one chairs. It seems to me that the BSA
>could be just as open with this info.
Blake Lewis, since 1990, has been serving as the "official spokesman"
for the BSA, brother David....the National Office don't have a
"official spokesperson" anymore that wears the field uniform (or even
the dress uniform...in other words, Blake is NOT a professional
Scouter (and has NEVER been a volunteer until his firm took the BSA's
national account, according to one national magazine I read about
three years back that focused on the BSA's new "PR firm and the image
of the "new BSA" " that went nowhere fast.
Within the BSA's National Office, there are two sections of
PR...there's the Internal Communications Division, that coordinates
all inside PR items with the Editoral, Supply, and Council Services
Divisions...that's where your local Council gets the SME/FOS
materials, the posters, flyers and other materials for "School Night
for Scouting", where the computer diskettes and other materials to
support local Council's internal communications efforts are
...and there's the External Communications Division, which is
one-quarter at the National Office and three-quarters in downtown
Dallas. The BSA decided in their first run of cost-cutting, rather
than to pay experienced professional Scouters and hire additional
"professional-technicians" (full-time employees that are NOT on the
professional "track") to do their communicating with the publics, that
it would be cost-effective to hire a professional firm to do their TV,
print and radio ads for their and to communicate the BSA story to the
publics. I mentioned Ms. Cummings in a earlier posting; she heads the
National Office-end of things; I'm not sure who heads the PR agency's
relations with the National Office directly.
In my opinion, the BSA did a rather terrible disservice to all of us
by hiring "outsiders" to do their talking for them rather than to have
experienced professionals, many of them with lots of field experience
and lots more experience with parents of kids wanting to be Scouts or
Cubs. However, the BSA has corrected this grave error by having as
part of a new agreement (which was renewed about a year or a year and
a half ago...) to insist that their PR people work at the National
Office for a period to get the "flavor" of what Scouting is about and
to be registered Scouters so that they have some idea of what is going
on in units...the basics of our programs. The recent "Scouting is..."
promotional campaign was a direct result of that interaction.
But again, I feel, it's a little too late. I still hold the opinion
that only a volunteer or a professional that have had lots of
volunteer interaction in his or her career, can REALLY tell the
Scouting story and be able to relate DIRECTLY to those that they are
trying to "sell the Scouting program" to.
Unlike APO, David, the BSA don't publish a "National Directory" to
anyone except Council Scout Executives, Regional/Area professional
staff, and of course, the National Staff (read that to say
"professional staff"...volunteers at the National level have
ABSOLUTELY NO ACCESS to anyone except the professionals they have
direct contact with. This is done to eliminate "influnce" in those
people. The BSA also changes their folks around about two to three
years, subscribing to the principle of movement to aviod being in a
rut. Finally, the National staff comes from the field, and there's a
lot of times whereby a great Field Director or a Senior DE gets tapped
to serve at the National Office for three years to put their
specialities to great work at a larger level; likewise, there's a lot
of National and Regional folks that get to serve at the Regional level
as Area Directors or at local Councils as Directors of Support
Services or Program Directors to "even out the experience."
Cabot Gupton, a longtime Director of Support Services in the
Transatlantic Council in Europe, is one example of the latter...he
came to the TAC from the BSA's Supply Division, where he was a buyer
and later on Associate Director. I mention his name, because I heard
recently that he's about to retire from the profession (or has already
have) after over 30 years.
It's the Cabot Guptons of the Scouting world that we need in External
Communications, not some 22 or 28 year old slick-looking guy that has
NEVER been a Scouter!
(but then, if the 22 or 28 year old was experienced as a Scouter and
is presently a Scouter...now that's a different story!)
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
AIS/MR Recreation Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_
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