Learn the secrets of storytelling in the age of social media

You don’t tell young people why they should join Scouting.

You show them.

That’s the thinking behind the BSA’s new Visual Storytelling Workshops, happening this summer.

Here’s a chance to spend several days learning the secrets of storytelling in the age of social media. The goal? Turning Scouters and Scouts nationwide into visual storytellers, ready and able to share the excitement and adventure of Scouting through audio, video, and photography.

Do I have your attention? Read on to find out how you can sharpen your storytelling skill-set.

What are these workshops?

The BSA’s new Visual Storytelling Workshops are regional workshops aimed at teaching attendees the basics of multimedia storytelling, how to publish to the web, and techniques for passing on what they learn.

After the workshop, Scouters commit to “Training the Storyteller” by teaching the storytelling techniques to Scouts and adult volunteers at local workshops, so Scouts and volunteers can produce compelling stories to share through social media.

The end goal: reaching more youth through the program we’re all so passionate about.

When and where are they held?

Two workshops will be held this summer — one on each side of the country to make travel more convenient.

You can attend either:

  • June 17 to 20, Bert Adams Scout Reservation in Covington, Ga. (near Atlanta)
  • July 29 to Aug. 4, Philmont Scout Ranch (Cimarron, N.M.)

Why are these workshops important?

The BSA hopes to grow the movement by teaching Scouts how to share their exciting Scouting experiences with their friends. But messages from the national office won’t always persuade a non-Scout to join.

Consider this: You need a new lawnmower. If your best friend, whose judgment you trust, went on and on about how well his new mower worked, and then you saw a TV commercial for a competing model, which would you be more likely to buy?

Marketing types call this, “Authentic peer-to-peer brand messaging,” offering one of the most effective ways to influence someone.

What are people saying about these workshops?

The buzz is strong.

Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca believes the initiative has tremendous promise.

“Let’s unleash the hounds!” he said, referring to the vision of thousands of Scouts producing compelling stories about their Scouting experiences.

Incoming BSA President Wayne Perry was also impressed. He called the idea like “Wood Badge for photography.”

Wasn’t this held last summer, too?

Yep. This summer’s Visual Storytelling Workshops are an extension of the inaugural Philmont Photographic Workshop I told you about last year. (View a slideshow of photos from last year’s event, learn photography lessons, and more.)

Then watch this video recapping it all:

Who can attend?

To attend, you must have a passion for photography and be a registered Scouter. In addition, your Youth Protection training must be current.

Space is limited and workshops will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis for those who meet the criteria.

OK, how much?

Believe it or not, the workshop itself is free! You’re responsible for getting to the site and paying for lodging and food.

  • For the four-day Atlanta workshop, the cost is $250, plus your travel expenses.
  • For the weeklong Philmont workshop, the cost is $495, plus your travel expenses.

How do I sign up?

Visit this page to get started and learn more.

Photos by Roger Morgan/BSA

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.