scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: It's "us" versus "them"
Tue Aug 29 2000 - 23:12:29 CDT
Ha, I don't care which side of the aisle you're on, it still is....
BSA has been turned into a publicity campaign, in this case a NEGATIVE
Every time I open a paper I see some blurb about United Way not funding some
councils (IMHO - every Scouter STOPS giving to UW and gives to FOS instead
and who will come out ahead, the Boy Scouts or United Way?).
Or ACLU using the Supreme Court decision to prevent BSA access to public
property (Trust me, when they did this in Chicago, they lost precisely zero
units because of it -- all were moved to places HAPPY to charter a unit --
and the City lost the ability to be involved with its youth more).
Or Californians booing at a Flag Ceremony because of Boy Scouts participating
(Want to talk about desecrating the flag? How about not shutting your mouth
and quieting the room to provide it the respect it deserves? I'd take that
law over one against burning it in protest any day, even if it would cause
sporting events to never be held since you can't shut the crowd up).
Or my own Art Golub in the Chicago Sun-Times (Oh THANK YOU for finally
listening and going to Irving!!!) writing about the bill to pull the charter
in congress. (Note: Art's a nice guy, even interviewed my family and did an
article on Chris' bus driver one time. He was good enough to give External
Communications equal time.)
But what are YOU doing in response? Sitting here at the keyboard writing to
Scouts-L? Lotta help that is. Preaching or crying to the choir doesn't help.
What should you be doing?
1. **EVERYTHING** YOUR UNIT DOES should have a press release sent to the
local papers. Since they all take faxes, its easy. If you're afraid to write
one go to the area on www.presbyterianscouters.org where I put every simple
paper on how to write a press release I could find and follow the steps.
Cleanups, Award ceremonies for EVERY AWARD - and list all the names and
awards, too, like schools do for honor rolls and the like, service projects,
camp-o-rees, first aid meets, parent's organizational meetings, heck, give
them a list of your meeting dates, times, and locations to put in the
community calendar section if they have one.
And since congresscritters accept faxes and e-mail's, send it to them, too.
They need to know FROM THE FIELD what good things the program is providing to
America's youth. Heck, invite them to visit a meeting if they are ever in the
Don't plead, argue or fight, just tell them the GOOD NEWS.
Do they already know that? You'd think so, but some people grow up so
insulated from the real world they may have no concept. SO TELL THEM.
2. INCREASE YOUR UNIT MAILING LIST. You need to send that unit newsletter to
the parents, to the leaders, to the Chartering Organization, to the local
papers, to the council, and to the local and state and federal officials you
vote into office so they know what is happening in Scouting and all the good
things you do. They may hardly ever read it, or someone may only pull one
article out of every 100 newsletters that gets to the elected official, but
that's one more note about GOOD NEWS that he can use when he gets asked to
support the BAD NEWS.
3. LEARN ONE NEW ACRONYM: SEP. *S*omebody *E*lse's *P*roblem. Is the
Congressional Charter something that will make or break BSA? SEP. Will it
change how I run the program in my local unit? Nope. Will it change anything
in the near future? Nope. Will it mean Scouting disappears? Nope. Therefore
SEP. The bandwidth spent on it already could've gotten out enough articles
telling about what good things Boy Scouting does to offset the bad press.
4. READ ABOUT YOUR NEW CHIEF SCOUT EXEC. About how much he did for United Way
and other organizations. Realize there are professionals out there doing this
stuff at every level of the organization ON TOP OF the things *we* ask them
to do. Do you think all the work they do will go unnoticed by the groups they
help? By the individuals who are members of companies that donate? Not if you
help them with the added publicity they won't.
And remember, this CSE's been in your shoes as a volunteer. In fact, he's the
first CSE to walk a mile in your boots because he's the first one who trekked
the trails at Philmont while CSE (I wish I could've been in the backcountry
camps during THAT trek, adults having coffee with cinnamon in it for the
umpteenth time sitting on the porch of a staffed camp and a staffer asks:
What do you do for a living, sir?").
#1 son met him in Irving. #1 was waiting for an elevator at National and the
new CSE walked up and asked him what he was doing, why he was in the
building, listened to everything the kid (yup, Venturing, under 21, a kid)
had to say, down to earth, easy to talk to, impressed the kid in the time it
took to ride a couple floors. Impressed him enough he forgot he should have
asked for the chance to ride up to the 4th floor and interview him for a
5. WORRY ABOUT PROGRAM. Your unit's. Make it as strong and as supportive as
you can, make sure it supports the CO and keeps your meeting place neat. Once
as a SM I had two Scouts break windows during a church clean-up, but we'd
done so much for them already they didn't even break a sweat, just boarded
them up and had the glass replaced, didn't complain, didn't ask for a dime.
Of course, we'd done things like sweep and wet mop and polish their community
room floor when their janitor had a nervous breakdown and called them when
one of their outside lights went up in flames in the parking lot and....
You get the idea. We were worth more to them than two pieces of broken glass.
And to those with units with a church as CO, you know how somewhere there had
to be some church member to whom those two panes of glass meant more than the
6. IGNORE THE ZEALOTS. You'll find this problem everyplace, the newspaper,
the guy with the big mouth and changing opinions on the TV, every direction
you turn. Forget them.
I'm a volunteer. My job is a program for kids. All the rest? Repeat after me:
S. E. P.
If someone wants to hassle me I'll gladly walk away and let them fight with
themselves, or beat their chests in pride for "winning". I need to deliver
the promise to the kids, and the adults who want to try to turn this into a
fight can do it on their own time.
I'll just keep telling the rest of the world the good things BSA does and see