Archive for the ‘website’ Category

Hooray! Scoutbook is now free for all troops and packs to use. The Scoutmaster of Troop 68 brought laptops to our last troop meeting to introduce this program to the Boy Scouts. I think things went well. The boys seemed to be having fun checking it out during the meeting. Time will time if they actually use the program.

As the advancement coordinator of our troop though, I am not finding the love. Maybe I misunderstood how this program was to be used. I thought I would be able to go online with Scoutbook and update the Scouts advancement or see what they have accomplished and update my records. So far I have not been able to do any of that.

It seems that only the troop’s “key three” have access to the Scout’s information. I understand the need to keep things private but it is not helping me in my position. As far as the “key three” accessibility, I understand the scoutmaster and the committee chairman, but the charter organization representative? Really? Like many charter organizations across the country, ours is not very involved with the troop. I highly doubt that our charter rep even knows about Scoutbook, much less wants to access it.

After playing around with Scoutbook for awhile I have found I have no use for it. In fact, I grew very frustrated with it. Like I stated earlier, maybe I am trying to accomplish something with it that it was not designed to do, and if that is the case I see no reason for me to go back to it.

Am I missing something? Do you find it useful for your troop? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about Scoutbook.

I collect Scouting memorabilia. That includes a collection of coffee mugs. Sometimes I forget what I really have in the collection so I was a little surprised to discover something the other day.

I am a member of a few Scouting groups on Facebook, including a brand new group called Boy Scout Collectables. The group was created by a member of the Scout Patch Collectors page after a discussion started that a group was needed for things other than patches. The new group has grown slowly and has about 21 members as I write this. I have a feeling it will grow as the word gets out.

Since this is a new Facebook group I decided to share a few of the things I have collected with the members. I decided to take a picture of these coffee mugs since they had a cool Scouting caption and picture on one side. I was surprised to discover the Viking Council logo on the other side. Since the Viking Council of Minneapolis no longer exists I guess they have really become a bit more collectable.

I invite you to join the Boy Scout Collectables group on Facebook and share your collection. It can be found at

t68smallYou may have noticed recently that you were not able to access this blog or the troop’s website. The site was offline for a few days to transfer everything to a new server since the old server was having issues. It was an older server and was wearing out.

David, an alumni of Boy Scout Troop 68 who hosts our website, put in a fair amount of work getting everything transferred properly. The reason it took awhile was due our troop’s website being huge. In fact, he set me an email telling me how big it was. How many troop websites do you know of that have 17 gigabytes of data!

There are two reasons for the size of the site. One, there are thousands of photos posted in the galleries. Two, there are over 100 videos posted to the site featuring the Boy Scouts performing skits and songs, interviews with former members adult leaders, old Scouting promotional videos I have come across, and plenty of videos featuring the puppet known as Buttons, the radical Boy Scout. Many of these videos were posted in the early 2000’s.

Everything was successfully transferred and is view-able once again. Some day I am going to have to go through the site and start revising and deleting certain things that are sort of obsolete these days. Maybe when it gets cold this winter and I have nothing better to do.

homepageIn some ways it is hard to believe. It was in May 2006 that I began the website for Melrose Boy Scout Troop 68. Over 11 years ago! I spent a lot of time posting to the site. Too much time some months. The site has grown to over 200 pages and features thousands of photographs from the last three decades.

That was then, and this is now. I do not spent very much time updating the site since I stepped down as the scoutmaster a few years ago. In fact, it has been nearly four months since I have updated anything. Until today. I had a little free time this morning so I decided to work on a few pages. First was the home page. I updated the meeting schedule, posted a current group picture, and made a note that the annual popcorn sales have begun. Then I went to the yearly program page and posted the recently approved program for the 2015-2016 year. Last, I updated the Order of the Arrow patch gallery with the 2015 NOAC patches of the Naguonabe Lodge.

There is still a lot of work to be done updating various others pages but that is enough for this morning. I wish I new more about the current way to create awesome photo galleries and pages but I am stuck in the 2000’s. I have not had, or maybe should say taken, the time to learn the latest and greatest in web design. Maybe some day.

Or maybe some day I will just pass this site off to someone new and let them manage it. It could happen.

Internet_ExplorerI admit it. I am an Apple guy. My home computer is a 2007 Mac Pro. My last three computers were Apples. I own three versions of the iPod. I use my iPad several times each day. But I do not own an iPhone. At least not yet.

What this all means is that I do not use Internet Explorer. IE has not been available on Macs for probably ten years or more. I do occasionally use it at work, when I am forced to. This also means that there are portions of the B.S.A. website that I cannot access from my home computer since you have to use IE to get to them. For example, advancement recording.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine. Why in this day and age would a such a large organization create a website, or portions of a site, that are useable by only one browser? This makes absolutely no sense to me, unless Microsoft paid them to do it. Hmmmm…

When I heard this past weekend that their is a major fault with Internet Explorer that could allow a hacker to remotely take over a computer I thought of the B.S.A. websites, and had a chuckle. When I heard on the radio this morning that the Homeland Security office is advising people not to use IE I had another chuckle. Thousands of Scouting families could be putting their computers at risk due to a flaw in the Microsoft program.

Granted, from the sounds of it this risk should not apply to the Scouting websites. But could another fault be found that could make using those sites a risk? It seems that IE has had more then it fair share of problems over the years. Once again I ask, why would anyone tie their website to a browser that has had so many problems, and a browser that is not usable to many home computers?

I do not plan to ever buy a Windows based computer for my home which means until the B.S.A. opens their whole website to all browsers I will not be able to access portions of it. If the B.S.A. does not feel that my access to their complete website is important, then so be it. I will continue to chuckle every time I hear about a new security risk about IE.

Adults leaders need training. I think most people would agree to that. We need to be trained so that we may properly train our youth leaders to do their job well. Call it “train the trainer” if you want to. We receive this training through various courses offer by our districts and councils. We attend monthly roundtable meetings. The Boy Scouts of America has begun making more online training available so we can do it in the comfort of our homes. And, of course, there are the handbooks and the leaders who came before us.

I have a Twitter account and follow a number of Scouting leaders from around the country. I even follow a few people from other countries. Twitter can sometimes be a pain in the neck when the bots start following you. At others times it can be a great resource. Occasionally, someone will post a link to a great resource they found. Once in a while, someone from an interesting website will find me and start following me. I usually check them out to see if they are worth following in return.

A few days ago a received a new follower so I checked out their website. The site, “Animated Knots”, found at , is quite a site, if you like knots. They feature animations of how to tie dozens of knots, found under various categories. There are knots for boating, fishing, climbing, and rescue. There is a section of Boy Scout knots which you may find helpful for you troop. be sure to check out the “Decorative” knots if you would like to learn how to tie a monkey’s fist or a turk’s head. Learn these knots and you could be the envy of your troop.

By the way, if you would like to follow me on Twitter you can find me at .

100 Days of Scouting: Day 13.

A few years ago, I started posting videos about Boy Scouting to YouTube to share them with other Scouts and Scouters. I soon began seeing more people posting Scouting related videos and thought we should have a channel group to post our videos. I began a YouTube group called “Boy Scout Stuff”. While most of the videos of the group were ones that I posted, there were others who began using to group. The group grew to 135 members and 176 videos.

A couple months ago I began having problems approving new videos posted to the group, and new members who wished to join. I thought it might be a problem with my computer at first, or that YouTube was having a few problems. I tried again tonight to approve 8 new members to the group but I was not able to get past the spinning ball. So I Googled the problem to see if anyone else was having a problem. I quickly discovered that many more group administrators were having the same things happen in their groups.

Google/YouTube has decided to drop support of YouTube groups. According to YT-Josh, who claims to be a Google employee:

Hey folks – bad news here I’m afraid. We’re no longer supporting groups and will likely remove them from the site in the next couple months.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that we have some cool ideas about how to re-create groups in the context of collaborative channels. Probably going to take awhile, but stay tuned.

And again, sorry we can’t continue to support the old groups.

Well, thank you very little Google/YouTube! Not only did you quit supporting our groups, but you want to eliminate them? Once again, thank you very little.

It will be interesting to see what these new collaborative channels will be. Until then, I guess we have no choice but to sit here twiddling our thumbs with a group(s) we cannot change.

It sure makes me glad I have my podcasts.

I heard about the new social media site called Facebook shortly after it started becoming popular, but I did not join it right away. I could not. Facebook started out as a site for high school and college students. I did not meet the requirements until they opened it up to the general public.

I joined Facebook for a few reasons. First, I was not very happy with Myspace (see a previous article). Second, my nieces and nephews were migrating to this new site. Third, some of my former Boy Scouts had joined Facebook. Fourth, I liked the format better than some of the other social sites.

I soon discovered that quite a few Boy Scout Troop 68 alumni had Facebook profiles. I had lost touch with many of them once they graduated from high school. My Facebook friend list began growing. It became not only a great way to stay in touch, but also a great stay to keep up with their lives, and yes, families. I would guess that nearly half of the alumni of Troop 68 of the last thirty years can now be found on my friend list.

Another benefit of Facebook is that the fans of my podcasts, the Melrose Scouting Productions video podcast and the Around The Scouting Campfire audio podcast, have another way to get in touch with me. There is a Facebook fan page for the podcasts. Even Buttons, the radical Boy Scout, has a Facebook profile.

There are Scouting based groups found on the site, even one for our troop’s favorite summer camp, Many Point Scout Camp. The Central Minnesota Council has a profile page. Just a few of the groups of which I am a member include:

1st Facebook Scout Group –

Many Point Scout Camp –

You Know You Are A Boy Scout When… –

Do I spend a lot of time on Facebook? I would say not really, unless I get involved with a chat. I check out the site a few times a day for a few minutes, post something once in a while, and add pictures to my photo albums. It usually is only a several minutes per visit. I try not to get too caught up in the site, but I also try to stay in touch and up to date with friends.