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walk in the woods

Supplemental Training for Youth Leaders

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1 minute ago, blw2 said:

That's a very interesting take on it I think....   I agree that the position, and several others like it, aren't used because they aren't needed.

I think the marketing angle, or I suppose more correctly the recruiting angle is only a small part of the web site.  As a parent, i certainly did try to search out web sites for prospective units for my kid....as a way to try to get a read on the unit, types of things they do, hopefully for a biography of the adult scouters involved, etc.... but that's only such a small part of the web site....

but form a youth perspective if that's all the web site is, then that says something for sure.

I'd agree that folks don't generally use things like web sites for the unit.

They don't go there to keep up with announcements and such

they don't go there for communication all that much

It makes for an opportunity for a historian to "scrapbook" and record adventures and history, but really nobody looks ta that kind of stuff often...

We used troopwebhost, and folks did log in to make payments with the paypal link some, but not really all that often... I found having the calendar feature, that would sync over to my google account very useful, but otherwise I'd agree that web site functions aren't really used by people....

I use something for youth leaders (I am currently SPL, my 2nd term AND FINAL ends in May) called Trello. It’s like a organizational private board where everything is posted. The meeting plans, PLC minutes & agendas, calendar, themes, contact list, and a whole bunch of resources. Works fine for us. We don’t use anything besides what’s required by BSA for management. We use remind for messaging, google docs for attendance. 

 

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Posted (edited)
51 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

The reason the ISLT course wasn't hosted as much as some of us would like is that it was a one and done course. The course was fun the first time, it was a wasted Saturday for those who repeated it a second time. At best it was a once a year course for new leaders. 

Our scouts that attended previously would help run the games and support the SPL.  And they still enjoyed the games.

But I agree, it can waste a Saturday if already taken once.

Edited by fred johnson

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Thanks for the feedback everybody.  No takers for my session so maybe @ItsBrian is right that it's an unused position.  Ironically, I reviewed a number of Troop websites found by searching and they were uniformly years out of date.  With the coming membership change I wonder if it's right to say nobody will be searching for Scout Units on the web.  Several sites linked to FB but the pages that were open appeared to be adult-driven.  Maybe we should change the position title to Social Media Curator......:)

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7 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Thanks for the feedback everybody.  No takers for my session so maybe @ItsBrian is right that it's an unused position.  Ironically, I reviewed a number of Troop websites found by searching and they were uniformly years out of date.  With the coming membership change I wonder if it's right to say nobody will be searching for Scout Units on the web.  Several sites linked to FB but the pages that were open appeared to be adult-driven.  Maybe we should change the position title to Social Media Curator......:)

I’ve looked at other troop websites too before noticing how out dated it is. No one uses scoutlander anymore (I don’t know if anyone ever did), and there’s really no need for a website that can cost over $150 a year.

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yeah, if it were up to me, I think it might be worth keeping a very basic web site updated.....

just frequently enough so that the correct SM and other primary contacts/bios can be posted....maybe once a year photo update just to show some cool things getting done....just enough for the new prospective parents mostly to get a feel for the troop.

....really nothing more than a current brochure type thing....

and that's a might/maybe kinda thing

I think it's really the members only thing for the treasurer, troop member address book, and the live calendar are the only thing worthy of maintaining.

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2 hours ago, blw2 said:

yeah, if it were up to me, I think it might be worth keeping a very basic web site updated.....

just frequently enough so that the correct SM and other primary contacts/bios can be posted....maybe once a year photo update just to show some cool things getting done....just enough for the new prospective parents mostly to get a feel for the troop.

....really nothing more than a current brochure type thing....

and that's a might/maybe kinda thing

I think it's really the members only thing for the treasurer, troop member address book, and the live calendar are the only thing worthy of maintaining.

That’s why I use Trello, (You should look it up) it’s only for leaders and Troop if they want. And it’s completely free!

We have a little blurb on our COs website (that I made for them).

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It's funny how regional this is.  Is our neck of the woods all of the bigger troops and packs have web pages.  They are mostly a combination of recruiting site, picture host, and calendar repository.

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On 3/11/2018 at 11:13 AM, ItsBrian said:

I’m a youth still, and I’m sure you all know that we know how to use technology well. I would just instruct the webmaster what he has to keep updated, and whatever else a webmaster does. It’s not really needed to use district resources to train one of the least important and easiest job.

Sure - no sweat. Who needs training? These days anybody can create cool websites. https://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com/

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12 hours ago, blw2 said:

yeah, if it were up to me, I think it might be worth keeping a very basic web site updated.....

just frequently enough so that the correct SM and other primary contacts/bios can be posted....maybe once a year photo update just to show some cool things getting done....just enough for the new prospective parents mostly to get a feel for the troop.

....really nothing more than a current brochure type thing....

and that's a might/maybe kinda thing

I think it's really the members only thing for the treasurer, troop member address book, and the live calendar are the only thing worthy of maintaining.

Only once a year photo update? I'd suggest you need to go for more than that.

We are moving to, if we're not already at, a world where if an organisation is not on the internet they may as well not exist. You want to find info on something or someone and the internet is the go to source. And your troop website is the first thing a prospective member or their parents or a potential adult volunteer will see. So yes keep it simple, make everything easy to find the important information (with THE most important being how to get in touch and join or volunteer) but also make it look fun and positive. Lots of photos of the most recent events. And I mean camps, high adventure, action packed stuff. Not courts of honour or stiff photos in uniform. And I don't think once a year cuts it.

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4 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

Only once a year photo update? I'd suggest you need to go for more than that.

We are moving to, if we're not already at, a world where if an organisation is not on the internet they may as well not exist. You want to find info on something or someone and the internet is the go to source. And your troop website is the first thing a prospective member or their parents or a potential adult volunteer will see. So yes keep it simple, make everything easy to find the important information (with THE most important being how to get in touch and join or volunteer) but also make it look fun and positive. Lots of photos of the most recent events. And I mean camps, high adventure, action packed stuff. Not courts of honour or stiff photos in uniform. And I don't think once a year cuts it.

well, yes, I agree for most things, gotta be on the web.  and I agree with the keep it simple with the most important thing of how to get in touch

I only wrote once a year, really meaning keep it simple and basic, because I have never gotten the feeling that too many people actually look at the site and use it.  Kinda echos what others said here.  Maybe it's more unit specific,  some groups might use it way more than I saw in my experiences.  In the pack, and again in the troop we maintained some web presence.  It was a lot of work to keep current and we never saw much use or traffic.  In the pack, one of the many hats I took upon myself to pick up to wear was sort of un-official den and pack photographer.  I tried several different ways of posting and sharing photos, tried to get others to share and post their photos too...and folks could download my photos if there was any they wanted to keep.  It was huge work and really was very underutilized.  Nobody else posted anything and very few folks downloaded stuff

I just see it mostly as a recruiting tool, like a brochure.  Something current enough so it doesn't seem like the troop is dead....only high adventure pics clearly from 4 years ago doesn't look good, old generic indoor meeting pics even worse.... but if it's only looked at occasionally by a prospective scout or parent then I don't see a lot of need in huge weekly or even monthly updates.  When I looked at prospective troop sites as a parent, I wanted to get a feel for the types of things they did, say over the course of last year...AND I wanted to get a basic understanding of the adults (SM and such)...a bio page....and of course contact info.

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5 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

Only once a year photo update? I'd suggest you need to go for more than that.

We are moving to, if we're not already at, a world where if an organisation is not on the internet they may as well not exist. You want to find info on something or someone and the internet is the go to source. And your troop website is the first thing a prospective member or their parents or a potential adult volunteer will see. So yes keep it simple, make everything easy to find the important information (with THE most important being how to get in touch and join or volunteer) but also make it look fun and positive. Lots of photos of the most recent events. And I mean camps, high adventure, action packed stuff. Not courts of honour or stiff photos in uniform. And I don't think once a year cuts it.

I agree. We get about 1/4 of our new member 'traffic' from web searches almost never from "Be a Scout". The adventure picks and summer camps snaps need to be there and if the pictures are too dated it makes it look like you are inactive. We get another 1/4 from folks that call council! The rest is a mix of face to face word of mouth, the occasional news article, and the weird word of peer to peer sharing via social media. The scouts still text a lot. 

We have little luck with Facebook (mostly internal to the Troop) and Twitter (folks just get overwhelmed...our High School alone puts out 30 tweets a day). 

The most effective use of time is actually have scouts and scouters going to the cub scout packs and having real world relationships! Figure that. Maybe we should have special "scout ambassador" training.

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1 hour ago, blw2 said:

In the pack, and again in the troop we maintained some web presence.  It was a lot of work to keep current and we never saw much use or traffic

It was a lot of work to keep current: Hence the PoR

we never saw much use or traffic: How were you measuring traffic?

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53 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

we never saw much use or traffic: How were you measuring traffic?

well, a composite of a lot of things really that lead to a "gut-feel read" on the situations

at some points along this trail, I actually looked at web site statistics reports, and most recently the troop using troopwebhost you could see who was logging in and when.

also know from talking to folks that said they never looked at it.... other folks letting me know that they don't have access...long after access was given to them....seeing zero uploads or downloads...almost never receiving online payments through the site tools....oh and then the empirical observation of how many folks would email outside of the web site tools....

With the exception of a small core of active folks, ours wasn't the most energetic crowd of parents and scouts...

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, blw2 said:

It was a lot of work to keep current and we never saw much use or traffic.

I view troop web sites and Facebook existing to keep parents happy.  If it's not there, parents complain.  But if it is there, they may or may not use it.  It's just an expectation of doing business these days.  I don't view any of the troop online presence being for the scouts.  They text each other and use other methods.  And to be honest, I like that.  I want my scouts to be working with other scouts face-to-face and using pencil and paper and putting the paper in their scoutbook.  Let the adults update the troop web site for adult use (communication and calendaring).

Edited by fred johnson
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13 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

I view troop web sites and Facebook existing to keep parents happy.  If it's not there, parents complain.  But if it is there, they may or may not use it.  It's just an expectation of doing business these days.  I don't view any of the troop online presence being for the scouts.  They text each other and use other methods.  And to be honest, I like that.  I want my scouts to be working with other scouts face-to-face and using pencil and paper and putting the paper in their scoutbook.  Let the adults update the troop web site for adult use (communication and calendaring).

The challenge is the everchanging social media preferences

The troop website can be used for:

  • Communications
  • Maybe a weekly e-mail to the registered parents
  • Postings
  • Registrations for events
  • Payments if linked to an online payment
  • Rosters
  • Some public detail

A troop Facebook page is useful for "what are we doing" now updates:

  • Admittedly may not be the favorite platform
  • Able to post annoucements
  • Able to post photos
  • You can limit tagging and who can post
  • Keeps parents / other family members / unit alumni up to speed on items

Then the question is, how to communicate or engage the Scouts.  One option is instagram

  • They can choose to follow the troop
  • Announcements can be posted
  • Photos from events can be posted
  • Scouts can send photos to be posted

Key is that likely the units will need to be one multiple platforms to get messages to different constituencies

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