Most of my friends know that I volunteer with Scouting: taking the news of the everyday adventure that the young people and adults of Bedford Scouts have to the wider public. I do so, because I love Scouting. I love how it develops everyone involved physically, mentally, and spiritually. My family has had a long connection with the Movement. Both my grandfathers were Scouters, and both grandmothers were in the Girl Guides. My father was a Scout and my mother a Guide and still is involved in training Guiders in Northern Ireland. It was rather inevitable that the three boys in our family would go to Scouts.
Most of my friends know that I love books. Those who have been to our flat will know that the books impose their presence on nearly every room – even the stairs. There are various sections within our library: gay books, Christian books, Catholic books, Scouting books. And it is to the last that I turned today. I dipped into Public Occasions, edited by Leslie Arkill and Rex Hazlewood. Although the book was published by The Boy Scouts Association it still has much to say to us today:
A well-known publicist once told the Girl Guides–“You not only hide your light under a bushel, but you put the bushel under the bed.” It has also been said of Scouters that they are a peculiar race of people who go into a huddle, and whose deliberations seldom reach the outer world. Whether you accept or reject these comments matters little, but viewed from a professional angle Scouting has just the kind of dramatization which lends itself to display, more than to any other form of publicity. Adventure, action, variety, and worldwide interest are the features for creating attractive and colourful displays. Those [Scout Groups and District Scout Councils] who have professional publicists in their midst are fortunate, but anyone with enthusiasm and determination can achieve good results, bearing in mind a few elementary principles. All good displays are built on four principles:—
- To attract attention.
- To create interest.
- To arouse desire.
- To induce action.
The first of these principles is all important. Should the display fail to attract attention, the remaining three principles cease to have effect.
We have many opportunities to create interest in Scouting, from a poster in a local library or a sign outside our meeting places and campsites. The Scout Association has worked hard to create a brand that helps us tell the everyday adventure. We have recommended colours of green and purple. Even back in 1948 these colours were recognised as good colours for display as Public Occasions puts it:
Green, predominant in nature, is cool and refreshing. It is emblematic of youth, life, vigour and plenty. Green is strongly influenced by tinges of blue or yellow and often partakes of their significance. It is an excellent colour for display.
Purple, a colour between blue and red, is considered the colour of royalty and dignity. It is associated with wealth, power, splendour and luxury. The bluish-purple tints and shades, violet and heliotrope, symbolize truth, love and suffering; whilst the reddish-purple tint possess attributes of truth and happiness. Dark Red, Dark Green, Orange and Brown and White may be used attractively with purple.
And when we look at the style guide for Scouting in the 21st century these colours are all there… We just get told about it in a different way. So, when someone from Scout Headquarters starts saying that we should be using the colours of green and purple when producing material for the public’s view as they are recognizably Scouting colours, please bear in mind that they have been for years. They help us tell the story.