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Marketing outdoor training courses

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  • anacbuff
    Over the years since becoming a trainer I ve heard many leaders gripe about having to attend training. More than any other the outdoor skills courses seem
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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      Over the years since becoming a trainer I've heard many leaders gripe
      about "having" to attend training. More than any other the outdoor
      skills courses seem to be the main focus of these complaints. Mostly
      I hear things like: "I am an Eagle Scout", "I've been camping in the
      backcountry all my life", "I am an experienced backpacker", "I know
      how to do all those things in the course", "I was a camp counselor at
      Camp Know-It-All for x-number of years", etc.

      It occurs to me that in my district we are not marketing the course
      correctly. Hence my question: How do you all advertize, market, drum
      up business, etc. for the outdoor courses (BALOO, Web. Outdoors,
      Intro. to Outdoor Leader Skills)?

      Hoping to hear pearls of wisdom...

      Carla Bigelow
      Island District Training
      ADC - Fidalgo Island
      Mt. Baker (WA) Council
    • Sean Scott
      Carla wrote: Over the years since becoming a trainer I ve heard many leaders gripe about having to attend training. How do you all advertize, market,
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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        Carla wrote: Over the years since becoming a trainer I've heard many leaders
        gripe about "having" to attend training. <snip> How do you all advertize,
        market, drum up business, etc. for the outdoor courses (BALOO, Web.
        Outdoors, Intro. to Outdoor Leader Skills)?

        Carla,

        I've run and promoted four BALOO courses, and my approach was simple. You
        may be Daniel Boone or Baden-Powell for all I care, but backcountry camping,
        backpacking and military experience don't prepare you to deal with Cub Scout
        camping! It may seem like a simple activity, but the camping aspects are
        just one part of a much larger picture--preparing a fun, safe, memorable
        first outdoor experience that will make boys want to continue camping, and
        continue in Scouting!

        BALOO teaches you how to plan and carry out a pack overnighter, which is far
        more than camping. It has value that will carry over into your den and pack
        meetings. And, it's required for you to get a tour permit!

        Honestly, the more experienced you are, the more you need BALOO training!
        An expert is usually the worst person to give advice, because they tend to
        assume certain things about their audience--namely, that they'll become just
        as involved in the activity as the instructor is. As a computer expert, if
        you ask me what you need to do simple web-surfing and document writing, I
        have no perspective for the simplicity of your wants or needs. I only know
        my fast, powerful machines, the expectations that go with them, and my
        constant need to run lots of complex, intensive applications. In reality,
        you'll be satisfied with far less machine (and expense) than I would
        recommend. Likewise, in making recommendations for camping gear, that means
        more sleeping bag, tent and stove than a first-time family may need.

        The same carries over into the other activities that take place on an
        overnighter.

        Of course, it helps that we have a great reputation for making things
        extremely fun for the participants, use theme based training, interesting
        course flyers, and constant promotion through email and event appearances.

        Our BALOO training had a Hawaiian theme and we made "official" uniform
        shirts--gaudy, obnoxiously loud Hawaiian shirts with all of our BSA patches,
        knots and badges sewn in place, and even epaulettes and loops. It's hard to
        miss bright yellow and orange in a sea of khaki, and it creates an
        expectation and air of fun before the event ever starts!

        HTH,

        Sean
      • Larry D. Ohs, Attorney at Law
        There have been many marketing ideas bounced around this list over the years on marketing outdoor training programs; generally they boil down to make the
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
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          There have been many marketing ideas bounced around this list over the years
          on marketing outdoor training programs; generally they boil down to make the
          training worth attending (teach them something new) and make it fun. Several
          of us liked Sean Scott's Hawaiian shirt uniforms to promote BALOO [Ann, I'm
          forwarding copies of his emails directly to you]. We just held our first
          BALOO training and drew 32 participants by just promoting it in the Council
          newsletter and website; plus emails and postcards to registered leaders; of
          course, the BSA/Council making the training mandatory for packs to go
          camping helped! We'll be doing BALOO twice each year so we will have to use
          some of those marketing ideas ourselves the next time.

          As far as your "know-it-all" leaders, tell them taking a pack, Webelos den
          or troop of (fill in the appropriate ages of the boys) on a weekend campout
          (which may be their first ever!) is far different camping than "the guys"
          who have been going deer hunting together for ten years. Even summer
          camp-experienced leaders will find changes from how they did things ___ # of
          years ago. Tell them they need to know how BSA requires leaders to do the
          camping now--I'm thinking of youth protection issues here. You also can tell
          them they need to learn age appropriate cooking, camping, activities,
          campfire programs, etc. so the younger Scouts are not overwhelmed and older
          Scouts are not challenged. Expecting Cub Scouts to be camping like Eagle
          Scouts is a quick way to lose those Cub Scouts! Good luck.

          I see Sean Scott has replied in the time I've prepared this response [don't
          you just hate it when work interferes with your Scouting hobby :-) ] so
          read it directly from him too.

          Larry Ohs
          Arborland District Training Committee
          Cornhusker Council Youth Protection Lead Trainer
          "...and a good old Fox, too." W5-63-00




          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "anacbuff" <AnacBuff@...>
          To: <scouter_t@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, April 05, 2002 10:11 AM
          Subject: [Scouter_T] Marketing outdoor training courses


          > Over the years since becoming a trainer I've heard many leaders gripe
          > about "having" to attend training. More than any other the outdoor
          > skills courses seem to be the main focus of these complaints. Mostly
          > I hear things like: "I am an Eagle Scout", "I've been camping in the
          > backcountry all my life", "I am an experienced backpacker", "I know
          > how to do all those things in the course", "I was a camp counselor at
          > Camp Know-It-All for x-number of years", etc.
          >
          > It occurs to me that in my district we are not marketing the course
          > correctly. Hence my question: How do you all advertize, market, drum
          > up business, etc. for the outdoor courses (BALOO, Web. Outdoors,
          > Intro. to Outdoor Leader Skills)?
          >
          > Hoping to hear pearls of wisdom...
          >
          > Carla Bigelow
          > Island District Training
          > ADC - Fidalgo Island
          > Mt. Baker (WA) Council
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > For subscription and delevery options send a message to:
          > scouter_t-help@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > Scouting The Net - http://www.arkie.net/scouting/
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
        • roundtableguy
          ... Hi there, I ve replied to Carla directly (Hi, neighbor!), but I thought I d share with the group as well. I agree with those who have said (or at least
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 6, 2002
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            > It occurs to me that in my district we are not marketing the course
            > correctly. Hence my question: How do you all advertize, market, drum
            > up business, etc. for the outdoor courses (BALOO, Web. Outdoors,
            > Intro. to Outdoor Leader Skills)?
            >
            > Hoping to hear pearls of wisdom...
            >
            > Carla Bigelow
            > Island District Training
            > ADC - Fidalgo Island
            > Mt. Baker (WA) Council

            Hi there,

            I've replied to Carla directly (Hi, neighbor!), but I thought I'd
            share with the group as well.

            I agree with those who have said (or at least implied) that the best
            thing you can do with training is make it fun. The thing that
            encourages me the most (true story) is when 4 or 5 people come up to
            me and say that they want to go again, just because they had a great
            time the last go-around!
            Another thing I think is helpful is the right venue. Some had
            suggested to me having BALOO at a church, school, or city playground.
            As far as I'm concerned, that's a prescription for falure. Last year
            we had it at one Scout Camp, this year, we're having it at another.
            What better place to talk about outdoor activities than at the place
            where it can all happen?
            Along with doing my best and having patience, I've come to the
            following conclusions:

            1. Think way ahead.
            2. Advertise at roundtables, on district and council websites, and in
            local scouting publications.
            3. Do whatever else the DE and others will let you (i.e., I was told a
            big "no" for direct mailing).
            4. Given all the above have been covered, all that's left is to have
            the most informative, most fun experience for the folks who take the
            time to get trained for the Cubs and Scouts. These will get that good
            old, "word-of-mouth" going. Of course, offering camping the night
            before and kid care don't hurt either!

            If I've done what I can, if we have more participants than last time,
            and offer a great time, I'm happy!

            Dave P.
            Klahaya District, WA
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