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May 27, 2011
Ocean City Gets It Right At Its Beaches
 
Congratulations to Ocean City, Md., for a PR-perfect way of handling the annual migration of high school and college graduates to its beaches. Give them lots to do and encourage residents to relate well to the town's cusp-of-life visitors. Irish Kemp, a contributing writer for Ocean City Today, has it right: "Communicate folks," she urges. "Tell ’em about all the goodies awaiting them, such as the absolutely free activities starting May 31 and continuing until the third week of June, courtesy of the local Play It Safe organization..."

Ocean City has a raft of free activities to engage kids, and folks of all ages, on its sunny sands. This is PR strategy at its best. We don't know how it evolved on the Delmarva Peninsula, but at Ocean City, it's fully engaged, with music, fun and games, and temperate advice, at the beaches. Far better than trying to cope with self-propelled, hope-filled young people without a plan. 

"Having to say goodbye to parting peers is a downer," Irish writes. "Urge them to be smart and sign up early on for the week’s free bus pass, miniature golf, dodgeball and basketball competitions at Northside Park, and beach volleyball competitions." She understands, Ocean City apparently understands.

"Be cool," Irish adds, "Treat 'em as you would your own. Let them know that in our town, you don't have to drink to jive. Encourage them to store up positive memories of beach week. Spending time in the town's free lodging jail cell is nothing in comparison to that agonizing ride home with irate parents. Remind the graduates that, if they're tossed out of their paid-in-advance lodgings, the loss of hard-earned savings and graduaton gifts (cash) hurts."

In other words, engage the youngsters. Give them lots to do, and help them stay real. This is a winning PR strategy for Beach Week, which might otherwise be a downer for all.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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