Tell The Story Of Scouting
Scouting is one of the most well-recognized “brands” in America. Show people our logo and they’ll probably know that it’s the Boy Scouts of America, even if they don’t know anything else about our program.
The problem is: just because someone recognizes our logo or a Scout in uniform doesn’t do much to convince them to join. In a world of so many opportunities and choices for families and their children, it’s up to all of us to provide information about how those families can join Scouting and why those families should join Scouting.
So how do you do that?
It may not seem revolutionary, but a simple, up-to-date website can go a long way to helping families find your unit and decide whether it’s a good fit. A search for “best free website builder” and the current year will provide you with a good starting point. No matter which platform you choose, you really ought to do the following:
Include a calendar – Modern parents plan their calendars months in advance. By including meetings and outings on a detailed online calendar, you’re giving parents and Scouts fewer excuses for missing activities down the road. But if you’re going to prominently display a calendar, be sure it’s up to date.
Keep it updated – If the most recent activity on your unit’s online calendar is from 2015, that sends one of two messages to potential recruits: (1) this unit has stopped operating or (2) this unit is unorganized. There’s some work involved in keeping a website up to date, but it’s one outward-facing sign of a vibrant, active pack, troop, crew, or ship.
Add your website URL to BeAScout.org – BeAScout is the Boy Scouts of America’s platform for people to search for Scouting programs near their home. Along with your unit leader’s contact information, your website URL will help these families find all of the information you want them to know. Learn how to update your unit’s information on BeAScout.org by visiting this page.
Appoint at least two people to update the site – Many hands working on a website make everyone’s job easier. So giving admin powers to multiple users makes sense, especially if someone goes on vacation or gets swamped at work. For troop, crew, or ship websites, at least one of the admins should be a youth to keep their needs and interests in mind. After all, “youth-led” applies to the online realm, too.
Avoid personal info – Visitors to the site should be able to see the time of your weekly meeting, a way to contact the Scoutmaster, a summary of your unit’s recent successes, a few photos and other key information. Don’t keep information like Scouts’ last names, trip itineraries, members’ contact info, or anything else that could be used maliciously, on the unit’s website.