Re: Scout Show
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Wed, 14 May 1997 16:32:53 -0500
George Huffman asked:
>Our Council has started to plan for a two day Scout Show for the spring >of
1998. It will be held in an outdoor facility with camping for participants
>(Boy Scout Troops and Family-Cub Scout camping). We are rather >curious as
to what others have found to be keys to success for their >Scout Shows.
Keys to successful Scout Shows (aren't you glad that I had this on the top
of the file cabinet that I was rearranging?? *broad grin*):
* A clear "concept" and "picture image" of what your're looking for (Atlanta
Area Council, Atlanta; Middle Tennessee Council, Nashville;
Great Salt Lake Council, Salt Lake City)
In the package that you send to the chartered partners and unit leaders,
include a page which describes WHAT IS a Scout Show as seen by your staff
members. There's a alful lot of new Scouters that have NEVER been to a
Scout Show, have NEVER heard of one, or have NEVER participated in one
before. This will also dispell the ideas that some Scouters have that a
Scout Show consists of "High Adventure-type" things like rappelling from the
top of the building or rope bridges suspended over water or pinewood derby
races or flashing lights and sirens every twenty minutes from the Explorers.
By giving your staff's concept of what kinds of things goes on during a
Scout Show, you eliminate most of the questions that field Scouters (and
some professionals) have: What goes on and what kinds of things can we do??
A CONCEPT is DIFFERENT from a THEME. The "Theme" simplifies for the
audience the environment under the "concept" is carried out.
* Varied amount of display space (Old Kentucky Home Council, Louisville)
Try to get units with similar-type themes spaced out so that visitors won't
see "rope-making machines" twice on the same aisle (or in the same section).
But DON'T ask units to seek approval on a booth topic in advance or you'll
get a poor turnout.
* Varied amount of "white space" (Atlanta Area Council, Atlanta)
Don't "bunch up" display space just because you can do it. Visitors love to
see exhibits, but they enjoy seeing space between them to "rest their eyes
and ears" before the next group. At Atlanta's Scout Shows, there's a
built-in "spacer" between every five booths, to allow for such things as
telephone/electrical/water pipes, walk-throughs for staff members and
for the *uneventful* emergencies.
* Varied amount of action (all Councils)
People come to such a thing for three reasons: to see their sons/daughters
in action, to see what "Scouting" is all about, and to because someone sold
them a ticket and they're curious. Make them see what Scouting is all
about, emphasize the youth involved in the program, and give them value for
the contribution to Scouting that they made.
* Various types of activities (all Councils)
Most shows have exhibits centered around the theme of the show. Include
also such "everyone knows about it" things like uniform placement and wear,
summer camp and day camp activities, questions and answers for key Scouting
volunteers and professionals, a map of the Council and how it's divided into
Districts, and program booths for Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Exploring (and
I'll add here, their options and special programs within them). Don't be
afraid to add "wincers" like youth protection, risk management, professional
and volunteer selection, and United Way/Friends of Scouting/Sustaining
Membership Enrollment....the community wants to know that Scouting is being
run professionally, that the program is being managed profieciently, that
the people involved as leaders and coaches are selected with care and
concern, and that everyone involved are doing it with the good of the
community's youth in mind.
* Plan for "Plan B" (all Councils)
If you have an outdoor show, what do you need to do to move it indoors?
If you have an indoor show, what do you need to do to move it outdoors?
Situations, even at the very last minute, may dictate you to move it or part
of it out or in and you need to BE PREPARED for such a instance.
*Roving displays (Scioto Area Council, Portsmouth; Golden Empire Council,
Explorer Posts and OA dance teams provide the best form of such a "roving
display". While other events are being set up, and during "low traffic
times", those displays and demonstrations can be moved from place to place
within the confines of the facility. These add additional color to the
overall event, places visitors and observers right "in the middle of things"
and gives them a close-up look at Scouting today. The roving display need
not be dramatic but illustrative of today's Scouting program and
managed/emceed by Scouts/Scouters that are familiar with the program, the
demonstration, and can answer questions from the "small crowd".
*Various "Hands-On" demonstrations (all Councils)
The Scout Show should be "interactive" to coin a popular computer phrase.
The program should have a overall theme but if there's a neat way of cooking
popcorn that a unit does; a set of skits that a unit does really well; or a
travel destination that doesn't exactly fit to the overall theme of the
program, let them do it. At the same time, let the audience feel, hold,
work, move, throw or click as much as can be done during the entire event.
Let THEM, not your Scouts and Scouters, get tired of doing "all of those
things that Scouts do". They will have a better appreciation for the entire
program, understand that Scouts aren't limited to "hiking and camping and
cooking", but rather can do just about anything, and that your Council is
providing a set of programs with their partners to develop better citizens
and leaders of the future.
* Invite your various partners to set up exhibits run by Scouts (Mike Walton)
While there's much to be said for a unit-developed booth, there are many
booths that are professionally created which *doesn't take* a professional
to run. For instance, the US Soil Conservation Service has a super static
display of the water cycle which they can request, assemble and take down
just about anywhere. But it doesn't take a SCS employee to explain to
visitors how the water cycle works, nor does it take a SCS employee to
explain how to get a free analzyed soil content sample. A good Scout,
particularily those that have earned or working on the Soil and Water
Conservation Merit Badge or on the Environmental Science Merit Badge can do
the job a *lot better* (okay, he won't look like the marketing professional
from the SCS, but this is a SCOUT SHOW).
The same goes for other exhibits by the power companies, the communications
firms, the car dealerships, the landscape companies, and the like. Even
things like life and health insurance, city and county governments, police
and fire protection, rescue services, just about anything that an adult can
stand there and talk about at those "other fairs" and shows, a Scout can do
(with some coaching and assistance from the chartered partner representative
or others). This further cements the relationship that the chartering
partners have with the units, and allows the chartered partner to see up
close "what they have bought" and support.
Hope all of this helps, George...it's mostly from a survey I did in 1991,
but much of it still applies even to today!!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://www.vhm.com/~uscardnl/
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