The afternoon sessions were basically the same four sessions offered at the BSA’s National Annual Meeting. I sat in on the web and Internet (the session was actually called “Digital Roadmap”) session and instead again of being plastered with PowerPoint(tm) slides (“see how many transitions we can fit onto a slide!” *smiling*), instead we asked and answered questions dealing with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the BSA’s marketing websites and stock photo resources, and “what is YOUR Council doing which you want to share with the rest of us?”
The takeaways? Here’s mine, which I’ve shared with the BSA’s Social Media and marketing teams (and which I’ll be sharing with folks this fall via my Facebook and personal blog, as well as through presentations in 6 Councils so far….that calendar’s getting full!! *heheheheee*)
– Our Scouts TODAY have less of an attention span than a goldfish, research has proven. It used to be less than a squirrel. You want to get…see you already have turned off… you want to get your message in there within EIGHT (8) seconds.
– As many of your figured out, the “kids” are NOT on Facebook. They are there because Mom, Dad or Aunt May are there, and they are trying to please us by being “there”. There’s so many other forums where “youth discussion and reflection” are posted…and most of them are “self-insulating” by the usage of “double words”, profanity, rough “behavior” and trash-talking — to KEEP your eyes and ears from hearing the REAL MESSAGES.
– those REAL MESSAGES: we’re still trying to figure out our place in the world. The world’s screwed (not the word they use) and why can’t we adults figure out how to deal with things — we have, and we’re just kids. We have friends of various ages and are not limited to those in our school, community, state or even the United States. We love technology but it reminds us that we are sometimes too dependent upon it — just like YOU. We want to do things OUR WAY, which yes, means that we may have to do it “old school” but we have so much more stuff now to allow us to explore and explain “new school” — if you will listen and not shut us off. Scouting is a great thing to belong to — but it is not for every friend of mine nor is it always for me. Let me get to Scouting (or band, or drama, or math or social studies for that matter) on my own terms. Don’t worry, we may say “stuff” but a lot of what we say (and do) is for the shock effect. We want to be treated as people with developing minds and ideas — let us develop.
(any of those sound familiar? I can remember saying many of those things in my youth. You probably could relate too. Scouting’s not going away, gang. We have to make it relate more to today’s youth.)
– There is a “return on relationships”. In talking with Scouting people, I refer them to the “meeting in the parking lot” after the actual meeting or activity is over with. I wrote about it in a piece for one of my books called “I’ll Meet You in the Parking Lot”. Virtual meetings and activities may come to past — it always has in some places as the distance one must get to a location gets greater and greater as our Councils expand their reach.
However we have to also remember that the impact of an activity — a meeting, a luncheon, a work session — is multiplied and increased when those participants ON THEIR OWN seek out and engage with those others attending that forum if for no other reason than “can I get your email address? It sounds like your Troop and mine are struggling at the same points, and I just want someone who knows what I’ve been going through…”
So that was it. I am encouraging your feedback from my notes.