Anyone who has ever been a Scout will recall the big range of crafts you could learn from an early age.
I was a Scout (in fact, an Air Scout) in my pre-teens, and I have hazy memories of troop meetings, camping trips and jamborees. I also remember acquiring levels of knowledge and skills on subjects that would result in being awarded a badge I could display on my uniform.
In those days (we’re talking about the 60s) you could earn badges for proficiency in things like first aid, map reading, hiking, tying knots, and all manner of field-type crafts.
You can still do such things today but the list expanded a while ago into a wider range of highly practical and relevant skills-acquisition to suit changing times.
A report in today’s Telegraph says the Scout Association in the UK has announced 42 new topics for which Scouts can earn their badges – including one for public relations.
The Telegraph quotes Andrew Thorp, spokesman for the Scout Association, saying that the activities may be new, but the skills they taught, such as teamwork and communication, had been central to scouting for a century.
For PR, we are a very media-driven world these days and it’s about how we can teach communication to young people in a way they can understand.
According to the Telegraph’s report:
[…] Those hoping to earn the new public relations badge, which will be available for Explorer Scouts aged 14 to 18, must give a talk to another organisation about Scouting and secure media coverage for a Scouting event. They will also need to "understand and show use of the Scout brand."
Anything that helps younger people better understand the value of effective communication must be a good thing. And ditto helping those younger people see the value of effective public relations.
There’s hope for the future of the PR profession!
Modern Merit Badges…
Thanks to Neville Hobson for pointing out that Boy Scouts in Great Britain can now earn a merit badge in Public Relations. It’s one of forty-two new subjects that British Scouts can choose from along with the more traditional things…
This is something I would love to see adopted over here in Canada.
The PR badge would not only help encourage more youth to think about a PR career, but it could also help Canadian Scouting communicate a more modern image.
I currently volunteer with Scouts as a PR advisor. We’re facing a shrinking membership and an outdated public image.
Having youth members with PR skills would be a huge shot in the arm to changing public perceptions. An army of grassroots Scout ambassadors could really make a difference.
As a former UK Scout working in PR I also think it’s great news a PR badge has been introduced – it’s also great the Scouts has received such favourable media coverage. I wrote a post on my PR blog – http://www.paulprdixon.blogvis.com – about it too. Cheers, Paul.