It seems that every generation has some trouble talking with the one that follows. New culture, new music, new technology, new lingo all create just a little gap between the older and the younger. So how does one reach the next generation to talk about something as enigmatic as religious vocation, especially when there are less religious able to communicate to what some have nicknamed, “digital natives?”
That’s exactly what we asked Communication Majors at La Salle University; If you were in the Christian Brothers’ shoes, how would you talk to you about considering a religious vocation? With the help of Communications Professor Dr. Michael Smith and his Public Relations Campaigns and Cases Class (Fall Semester 2012) and Public Relations Writing Class (Fall Semester 2013), students researched the Christian Brothers, the current state of religious vocations, and how best to market to the key demographic. The “Just Try It On” campaign plan was born in the PR Campaigns and Cases Class, grabbing the attention of young people, especially young men, through print and other visuals, to consider tryng on the life of a Brother, and inviting them to learn more through social media and digital marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and an online blog. This past Fall in the PR Writing Class, the rubber met the road, creating the campaign and putting the pieces of Just Try It On together. The first video is already on the District website (www.fscdena.org/justtryiton), with social media channels being created. Just Try It On will officially premiere, right where it started, at La Salle University, during a basketball game in February, complete with print and other visuals, to raise awareness of the need for Christian Brothers, and how one can connect via social media.
Even by providing a simple # (hashtag) young people can engage in the conversation about religious vocation online, where they are most comfortable. As they learn more, it’s our hope that those who feel called, may quite literally call back, on their mobile phone or other device, and reach out to the Christian Brothers. For most every Christian Brother, their vocation started first with an invitation. For today’s young people the written invitation has been replaced by an informational post on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter, or video message on You Tube; but the mission to touch hearts and educate the poor is still loud and clear.