The PRSA Mid-Atlantic District and its members orchestrated the country’s fourth successful PRSA Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) district boot camp, April 4 to April 6, at Harrisburg University in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
The boot camp sold out quickly and attracted 15 APR candidates. “Our district is the only district in the nation to sponsor an APR boot camp, and now we’ve conducted one four years in a row,“ said Liz Smith, APR, who served as Mid-Atlantic District chair in 2015 and spearheaded the boot camps with the help and support of PRSA National and chapters in the district.
Smith served as day one boot camp trainer to prepare candidates for their afternoon panels. Amy Hill, APR, and Jason Kirsch, APR, served as trainers on days two and three of the boot camp.
Amy Hill, APR, served as chapter host of the district boot on behalf of the Central PA Chapter and ensured everything ran smoothly from start to finish.
Hill, Kirsch and Smith are all volunteers from the Central PA Chapter. APR candidates had positive comments about the boot camp.
Kathy Mulvihill and her staff from PRSA National reviewed applications, set up registration and organized panels.
“We had an outpouring of support from APRs from Central PA and throughout the district volunteering their expertise to serve on panels of three for each candidate,” Smith said. Numerous panels took place simultaneously during day one of the boot camp.
The Central PA Chapter served as the host chapter due to its support, hospitality, airport and train location, and proximity to a Prometric Testing Center for candidates to take the test on day three of the boot camp. The number of seats available for the boot camp is limited by the number of seats available at the testing center.
It is very important for candidates to start preparing for the boot camp months in advance by completing a questionnaire and portfolio and studying for the exam before the boot camp. PRSA National offers a study guide and public relations textbooks for students to read prior to the boot camp. Most candidates use the study guide and read one of the recommended textbooks.
“If you are considering attending the Mid-Atlantic District’s 2019 Boot Camp, it is not too early to start planning,” Smith said. (Dates for the Spring 2019 Mid-Atlantic District boot camp and location will be announced by December of 2018.) The boot camp is open to APR and APR+M candidates located within the district and throughout the nation.
Please follow this link for information on the recently completed April 2018 boot camp to reference how a boot camp is organized and how to prepare: https://midatlanticprsa.wordpress.com/events/prsa-mid-atlantic-apr-boot-camp/
“Together we are paving the way to increase the number of APRs in the Mid-Atlantic District and across the country,” Smith said. “Most chapters in our district do not offer APR training sessions, especially with national-caliber trainers like Hill and Kirsch, so there is a real need for the district boot camp,” she said.
“The Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s APR Boot Camp was extremely valuable. I had studied the PRSA materials for a long time, and the boot camp helped me pull it all together to take the APR exam. It also gave me the chance to discuss real-life situations with PR pros from around the country. Not only was it helpful in earning my APR, it was fun to establish mutually beneficial relationships (to use PRSA-speak) with PR practitioners whom I now consider friends.”
– Sean Connolly, APR, Senior Director, Bravo Group
“The number of participants at the boot camp was ideal, and it was helpful to hear all of the experiences of these high-level PR professionals as we worked through the KSAs for the panel presentations and the computer exam. The presenters, Liz, Amy and Jason, all did a great job of preparing us for both the presentation and exam and getting us thinking like the APRs we were to become. I feel like a more experienced and prepared professional for having attended it.”
– Paul Shepherd, APR, Senior Director, Communications and Marketing, ROSE-HULMAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY