Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Friday, May 09, 2008

Learning to Enjoy Speaking in Public

On April 26, 2008, volunteers from the Houston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and the Shell Toastmasters Club hosted the first-ever Public Speaking Workshop to help Girl Scouts earn the Girl Scouts of Northern California's Public Speaking Interest Patch.

Held at the fabulous Program Place, the workshop was designed to help Girls learn about the different types of speeches, as well as practice listening and non-verbal communication skills. Girls were asked to complete research about a topic of their choice prior to the workshop and developed speeches that they then presented to the entire group.

Most importantly, Girls learned that practicing and being prepared to speak in public helps build confidence and eliminate a little of the nervousness. After the workshop, one girl commented, "My favorite part was working with others in making speeches and preparing speeches with professionals."

A special thank you to the following PRSA Houston volunteers: Vannessa Wade, Bill Zander, Nancy Mills, APR, Nancy Elmohamad, Emilee Fontenot, and David Casey. Also a thank you to Yolanda Bynum of the Shell Toastmasters Club for taking the time to be there and work with the girls.

Yolanda (speaking in the photo above) placed first in the Toastmasters Division Q International Speech contest on April 26. She will now compete in the Toastmasters District 56 International Speech competition. The name of her speech is ""One Day You'll Thank Me." Congratulations, Yolanda!

Extra: One of the Girl Scouts who attended the workshop will give a short speech at the July 2 PRSA Houston Luncheon. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Girl Scouts Recognized for Achievements

It's no secret that I am a strong supporter of the Girl Scouts organization. This year's Annual Senior Recognition Event for the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council took place on May 4, 2008 at the lodge of Camp Agnes Arnold. In attendance were more than 120 Senior Girl Scouts, their family members and friends. This was my second year to chair the event, and I was pleased to have Sophia Carmon as a co-chair.

We worked with a Girl Planning Board comprised of 12 young ladies (11 are pictured here) who gained valuable event planning experience, as well as leadership hours. The theme the girls delivered on was “Honoring Our Precious Jewels," and what a fun event!

During the ceremony, Girls were honored for receiving their Gold Award, being a graduating senior, and/or celebrating 10 years of Girl Scouting by receiving their 10-year pin.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. This award is achieved by less than 5% of all girls who join Girl Scouting.

There are seven requirements that must be completed to earn the coveted Gold Award.

1. Build a Framework: The girl must take into consideration what she is currently involved in, amount of school work during the year and any other commitments that might impede time that she would have to work on the Gold Award. She will then create a timeline to discuss where she can fit her pre-req modules into her daily life. This gives her a guide to follow.

2. She will decide on three Interest Project Patches and one Studio 2B focus book that she is interested in and will take those to completion. When she has completed her patches and focus book, she will need to find a leadership project and complete 30 hours of leadership either in the community, her school or within the scouting framework.

3. Complete the Girl Scout Career Award. For the Career Award, the Girl Scout has two options; the first would be to really focus on her future, her career options and what University she could attend that would allow her to complete her chosen degree. She would do this by visiting numerous Universities, speaking with professors, working with college counselors, attending college fairs, trade fairs, researching degree options, housing options, job shadowing or securing an internship with someone that has a career that she is interested in pursuing. The goal in this option is for a girl to select the right career and the right University that will have everything she needs to be successful.

The Second Option is called “FAST TRACK.” A girl may elect to either secure a paying job or create her own business. If she “Fast Tracks” she must secure employment in a career/start a business that she is interested in as an adult or at a minimum be able to learn valuable skills such as communication and leadership skills that she will be able to use in her Career. She must log a minimum of 40 hours in either option before she goes to the next step.

4. Complete the STUDIO 4B Challenge. This Award does not have any hours associated with it but has four steps that must be completed. The Challenge Award Focuses on the Assets as well as the needs in the girl’s community. She challenges herself to find out things that could be improved in her community and then network to find community minded people who she can enlist to help her.

5-7. These final steps focus on a Girl Scout’s decision about what community Leadership project she will create and develop that will become her Gold Award Project. She will go through the council approval process and for the next few months she will be working very hard to accomplish the outline she has developed for her Leadership project while using all the skills she has learned in scouting. The project will take determination, communication, patience, sacrifices, ingenuity and sweat to complete the minimum requirement of 65 hours.

I am very proud of all of the girls that were honored on May 4 and was extra happy to learn that a few of them are considering careers in public relations and communications!