Scouting events and activities are often covered by the local media because of press releases sent out by BSA councils. On a national level, every available medium—including radio, newspapers, television, and the World Wide Web—is used to support local marketing efforts and increase awareness of the Scouting program.
In the January 2000 issue of Parade magazine, a striking advertisement depicted one of the most recognized symbols in America. To the casual Sunday reader, it was simply the Scout sign. With a closer look, though, one noticed the image was created from myriad tiny portraits, each of a Scouting volunteer. "Behind every Boy Scout is a Scout volunteer," the advertisement read. "Ordinary people who've taught extraordinary lessons. Individuals who've mentored generations ... they've created an impact that's nothing less than profound."
Making Americans aware of the truly profound effect they each can have on young people's lives through the Boy Scout program continues to be a priority of the BSA's national marketing efforts. Through print ads such as those in Parade, USA Weekend, Redbook, Forbes, and Hispanic Business, Scouting's message of serious values reached more than 157 million existing and potential volunteers in 2000.
Another priority of BSA marketing—making certain kids know Scouting is more than pitching tents and tying knots—was effectively addressed through two new public service announcements in 2000. More than 1.5 billion viewers had a chance to watch Scouts help an elderly woman traverse a steep ravine in one announcement and return a man's wallet as he scaled a rocky cliff in the other announcement.
On a national level, the Boy Scouts of America uses every available medium, including radio, newspapers, television, and the World Wide Web, to increase awareness of Scouting's values-driven message.
On a local level, councils work with support of the national office to bring that awareness home to each community, family, and individual in their area.
"People in the community need to know that Scouting has a very important message for our youth and can contribute to our youths' lives," says Neil Lupton, council commissioner for the Boston Minuteman Council. "We represent the citizens of the community in which we live."
Council members in Boston focused less on advertising and more on local news coverage to bring their message to the community in 2000. Because of the council's steady distribution of press releases and media packets, Scouting events are often covered by local reporters, and community leaders involved in Scouting are often profiled in newspaper feature stories.
In the Greater Alabama Council, district leaders—and even unit leaders—are given training on how to write press releases and establish contacts within their local media. Smaller news vehicles, such as local cable companies, community newspapers, and city council newsletters, are not overlooked and have been effective in bringing packs, troops, and crews especially close to their own communities.
The Greater Alabama Council has also recruited talent to help revamp the council newsletter and other literature. The improved design and content have increased awareness of council events and energized volunteers.
"We've enhanced our camping pieces and our council newsletter significantly using full-color printing," says Randall Haines, vice president of marketing for the council in 2000. "Today, they're more than just notifications; they're true marketing pieces."
Local marketing efforts such as these bring the BSA closer to the people and communities at the heart of Scouting and, supported by national awareness campaigns, ensure that the Boy Scouts of America program reaches as many young people and adult volunteers as possible.
Increasingly, parents and their children must choose between a dizzying array of youth sports and activities. Through marketing efforts, the Boy Scouts of America strives to let them know that Scouting not only provides fun but also the values and character-building skills that will help young people succeed far into the future.