Re: National's Web Site
(no name) ((no email))
Thu, 11 Jul 1996 12:51:41 -0500
John Pannell asked "Why have a site at all?":
>If the goal is to show what the BSA will easily agree to this can be done
>without the time and expense of creating a web site. A simple statement
>of policy could settle that. As it stands, IMO, the web site has no reason
I want to turn the clock back to a period shortly after the last National
Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC). In the "hotwash" of the
conference, a significant thing was discussed: the impact of the Internet
and in particular, on "electronic Scouting" as demonstrated when after
the opening night, when 112 Arrowmen corralled around a water fountain
and talked with each other about "being online" and how to use this
to further the ideas of the Order of the Arrow. During that review,
many Scouters expressed what a good idea this was and "how to get
This evolved into a series of discussions at Philmont's Volunteer Training
Center during the following summer, and many of us "electronic Scouters"
were well-prepared. We brought excerpts from our "discussions". We
brought instructions on how to reach online sites and support structures.
We started to see entire Wood Badge courses being managed not by
the traditional pen and paper notebooks, but by the electronic versions.
The BSA's National Executive Board had to do *something* and that
something was to "investigate this new trend". At the same time, recall,
that the public has received a rather negative series of tastes of "being
online": adults luring youth to their homes, youth running away to
new "online friends" (making the idea of "running away from home"
even more scarier), and porn online and the relative "ease" of getting
and viewing it. We talked about those things here on this forum during
Finally, we get some signs that the BSA has "softened up" somewhat.
We get the famous "we don't want anything to do with the Internet"
letter along with a paragraph which tells it all: a committee has been
formed to look at the merits of being online. "If we think it's something
we should do, we'll get back to ya".
The decision was already made a few months back, after the impact of
the NOAC "Electronic Scouter" meeting was clear.
The first baby steps were that "passive" set of web pages. Yeah, it
bites rocks. But it gives for the FIRST TIME to that timid Council
Scout Executive, some sort of idea of what the Internet is all about
(remember: many of our Council Scout Executives are rather older men,
with very little if any computer "knowledge" or background) and
what the BSA's site looks like. It looks exciting. It looks informed.
"This is what your site can look like and what kind of information
you can provide".
As the "baby" starts to move, we'll see more and more content.
We won't see publications right away, because many of the publications
are already in (or should be) in the hands of the volunteer and
professionals in the field, and part of the costs of the publishing
and distribution of the printed materials helps PAY for the web site
and the rest of the BSA's national program.
I wouldn't be surprised if the BSA's official web site turns out to be
the forum that we're looking for from the national organization. But
it won't come overnight and there's still a lot of concern and fear
about opening wide the "Internet box".
Funny, John, how a small event can have a significant impact on a
program. I'm glad we all met back then because it woke a lot of BSA
>Well, if all a local council office does is distribute publications which
>can more efficiently be distributed in another way then the answer is
>simple: we don't need a council office. We are not yet to this point.
We both know that this is NOT the only purpose of the local Council.
The local Council also serves as the center of the operation of the BSA
in our communities. It is the place where our insignia and recognitions
are recorded and distributed for presentation to our youth and adult
members. It is also the place where we rally for financial support to keep
this program going for another year. and where we meet to discuss how
to make the program work and grow.
We can do many of these things electronically now, but with only a
fifth of all Americans with personal computers and less than that Scouters,
there has to be a way that the GENERAL public and those other Scouters
that don't have 'net access to get Scouting information and materials.
>However, when we reach the day that such access to the Web is commonplace, I
>think it would be a good decision to "automate this task" by distributing
>publications via the WWW. By then, internet commerce would be commonplace
>as well and thus the BSA could continue to charge for information as they
I would love to see that happen, John, as well (it'll cut down the weight of my
four-pound notebook for SURE!!! *laughter*)....it will eventually. However
for the present, and for the immediate future, I don't see it occuring simply
because "he who holds the information holds the keys" and "information
is power" (power, power...) and I don't see the BSA giving over that power
to its volunteers or even their local executive staffs.
>>But again, there's a lot of youth that haven't seen the site and would
>>view it and say "kewl! The BSA has a web site!! I wonder if my
>>Council has one, too!"
>I doubt this. IMO, they would yawn at the boring site. Then if this really
>becomes a model of what councils are to do, they would also yawn at the
>equally boring council site. Get the opinion I do not think very highly of
>the current site?? <g>
*grinning* yeah.....I'm not a big fan of it, either....but to that new Scout
finds the BSA's site, it could be a good experience for him (for the first time
Thanks for the comments!
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services of Kentucky (502.826.7046) __)_
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