184 Councils now have Web Sites (( Does Yours ? ))
Ed Henderson (biged@SCOUTER.COM)
Wed, 3 Dec 1997 12:33:06 -0600
Wether they are "official" or not, there are now 184 Councils out of the
364 in the United States that have some kind of web presence. Almost every
week some council is going on line with information about their calendars,
districts, key volunteers, etc. Hundreds more Districts, O.A. Lodges &
Chapters as well as BSA Camps are also going on line.
Early on, many of the web sites were done unofficially by volunteers, often
as an attachment to a troop page. Now, more and more, Councils are going
to the effort to register their own domain names, some even have E-Mail for
all of the Districts. A growing number of councils also have discussion
lists like Scouts-L.
Early on, it was many of the smaller & mid sized councils that took the
lead on having a web presence. Many of the giant size 55 & 56 councils for
whatever reason were Internet silent. Several volunteers in some of those
councils told me that the professional staff was taking a very strict
interpretation of Jere Ratcliffe's 1995 Internet Memo. That has all
changed now as councils are increasingly embracing the Internet. Within
the last few months San Antonio, Miami, and Dallas have all gone on line.
Some councils have really gone the distance. Tiny little George Washington
Council in New Jersey may be the most Internet connected council in the
nation. That one council has over 100 unit pages listed and this is from
one of the smallest councils in the Northeast Region.
Councils are also recognizing that the Internet can literally boost
attendance at events, especially summer camps. Camp Tesomas in Minnesota
has a very complex and dynamic web site. Thunder Scout Reservation in
Georgia, which was among the very first camps in the nation with a web site
three years ago has just released a new site that is fully interactive. (
If you go to our NetRoster right now our camp section is off line for
another few weeks for some major revisions. ))
It has been some time since a volunteer has reported being told to shut
down a web site because the council did not want any information to be
published on the Internet. That was common a few years ago. Today it is
much more the norm for a council to gather its Internet Scouters together
and encourage Internet usage. More and more Pow-Wows, Scouting
Universities, and O.A. Training events feature sessions on using the
Internet (I taught one at a Conclave last year called the WWW on the WWW).
Today councils are dealing pro actively with the Internet. Many have
committees now which set up guidelines for unit sites as well as
establishing organized methods for council news to be disseminated on
sites. DE's are getting personal PC's in many councils and now KEY THREE
personnel are being encouraged to use the internet as a new tool for
keeping in touch with volunteers.
As 1997 comes to a close this month there has been startling achievements
made across the board. In January of this year the Scouter.com NetRoster
site had a total of 586 units, today that number has surged to over 2,300.
Alan Houser's Troop 24 site list also exceeds 2,000 Scouting Unit Web
Links. Neither of these sites, even as comprehensive as they are now list
even close to all of the unit web pages that exist now.
The Scouter.com Web site is growing, expanding & changing! I invite
everyone to stop by and check it out. If your unit has a web site or even
just an E-Mail contact I hope you will list it if it is not there now.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City