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Re: [Scouter_T] Marketing outdoor training courses

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  • 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 1 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
      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 2 of 4 , Apr 5, 2002
        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 3 of 4 , Apr 6, 2002
          > 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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