Archive for the ‘website’ Category


boys life bracketI would guess that most Cub Scouts and many Boy Scouts receive the monthly Boy’s Life magazine so they are probably familiar with the cartoon characters found within its pages. But which character is the most popular? Is it Pedro, the burro? Is it PeeWee or one of his friends? How about Gus or Tiger or Dredd?

The folks at Boy’s Life have decided to find out and have created a “Boy’s Life Bracket” in which you can vote for your favorite character. Round one is now over and the voting in round two has begun. Sixteen characters have been voted done to eight. At the end of the month we will discover who is Scouting’s favorite cartoon character.

Cast your vote at:
http://headsup.boyslife.org/vote-for-your-favorite-boys-life-character/

Have fun, and may your choice be ever in Scouting’s favor.

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    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 http://www.animatedknots.com/ , 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 http://twitter.com/stevejb68 .

    100 Days of Scouting: Day 13.

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      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.

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        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:

        Melrose Scouting Productions – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=23501972197

        PTC Media – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=47770885498

        1st Facebook Scout Group – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2450689742

        Many Point Scout Camp – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2231826715

        You Know You Are A Boy Scout When… – http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2258927974

        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.

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          Several years ago, when Myspace was the social network that everyone seemed to belong to, I created a profile and decided to join the fun. I found some of my friends, started building up a network, and joined a few Myspace groups. Eight of those groups were Scouting related. For awhile, I kept checking things out, including the groups, to see what was happening in this new virtual world. I hate to say it, but I was never quite impressed with what Myspace offered, and it seemed that most of my friends felt the same way.

          I still have a Myspace profile but I seldom go to it anymore. Facebook and Twitter have taken over my virtual social life. I actually had a little time tonight so I thought it would be interesting to check out Myspace again and see what has been happening in those groups I had joined. Nothing much, I discovered.

          For example, there is a group called Boy/Girl Scouts of America. It states that it has 2013 members. But yet, only 4 or 5 messages have been left in the forums this year. In 2010. Out of over two thousand members! Not very active in that group. So I checked out another group, The Boy Scouts of Myspace America. It boasts of having 1981 members. Only two of them have posted anything on the forums this year so far. And I was one of the two.

          Each of the groups I checked had the same results. It appears that many of the people that once used Myspace to keep in touch with other Scouts around the country and the world have left Myspace for other social media. I guess I can not blame them. I did the same. Now granted, most people do not leave comments on group forums very often unless something catches their interest, but I have to say that I do see more activity in the other social sites.

          Do I plan to drop my Myspace site? Not yet. You never know what could happen down the road. It may not currently be as good as Facebook, in my opinion, but I think it is better then another (national) Scouting based social network that some of us have tried and have been disappointed with. But my feelings about that network is another article.

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            The month of January really kicked off the new year to a busy start for our troop’s (and this blog’s) website. There was a total of 26,097 visits to the troop’s website, with a total of 134,705 page views. This includes 10,682 hits to this blog’s homepage. All told, there was over 147.8 GB of data transferred. I think that is a record for the site.

            Of course, most of that bandwidth is used by the video podcast. The top videos of the month of January 2009 were:
            The Leaders of Scouting (Mike H) – 407 hits
            Little Bunny Foo Foo – 455 hits
            The 2001 National Jamboree Video – 480 hits
            The Buttons and Randall Show #3 – 577 hits

            I have to thank David H., a former member of Troop 68, for providing the space and bandwidth for the website. If he wouldn’t provide the troop with the free domain, server, and bandwidth I would not be placing all these videos online for you to enjoy. Thanks David.

            And thanks to all of you for reading this blog, watching the videos, and checking out our troop’s website.

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              The internet has many ways to be “social” in this online world. What began with simple emails has developed into something much more. Now we have sites like Facebook and Myspace to keep in touch with friends and family.

              One social site I have been using for several months is Twitter ( http://twitter.com ). Twitter is a very simple site. All you do is leave the occasional short message about what is on your mind for your Twitter friends to read. And I do mean short. Each Twitter message can only contain a total of 140 letters, numbers, and characters.

              One thing I like about Twitter is that you must approve your “friends” before they will receive your messages, and they must approve you before you receive theirs. Thus, so far, I have not received any spam through the site. There are also no nagging and unsightly ads on your Twitter page, unlike Facebook and Myspace.

              I am not one of those people who tries to get as many people as I can to be a “friend”. In fact, I only have about two dozen followers. Most of them are people involved in Scouting from around the country, including my podcasting friends Chris, Jerry, and Shawn. Look me up if you would like to add me to your Twitter list of friends. You can find me at stevejb68.

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                A little over two years ago I posted the first article to A Scoutmaster’s Blog. Since that day in May of 2006, I have posted 277 articles about my thoughts and experiences in Boy Scouting, along with a sprinkling of other topics.

                A little over a year ago, on April 4, 2006, I posted the first video to the Melrose Scouting Productions Podcast, a podcast about Boy Scouting by Boy Scouts and leaders. There have been 39 videos posted do far, averaging nearly three per month.

                During the month of May, 2008, this blog received 2545 visits (according to Google Analytics), with 2155 unique visitors. The podcast receives even more visitors. I give you these facts not to brag or anything (after all, there are other sites that make these stats seem small by comparison), but to prepare you for the following statistics.

                I have read a couple studies about people who read blogs. It appears that only one or two percent of readers lave a comment or send an email to the blogger. I would have to believe that the stats for podcasts would probably even be worse since mosts people will listen to or watch a podcast away from their computer, or away from the website.

                To tell you the truth, as a blogger and podcaster I find these statistics to be disheartening. I am like the majority of bloggers and podcasters in that I do not get paid for doing this. I do it because I enjoy it. But I will admit, after reviewing the stats for my blog last month and finding that less then 3/10 of one percent of people who visit my sites take the time to leave a comment, I am becoming a bit discouraged.

                Is my writing that bad? Are the articles that boring? Are the videos that painful to watch? Yes, I admit that I am happy to receive the hits and visits that I do, but I would like to know if you, the readers and viewers, are enjoying what you see? Are you finding them to be helpful in any way?

                By posting a comment you are able to leave feedback about how you feel I am doing. It is the only payment I ask of you. Heck, I would love to receive feedback or emails from even two percent of the sites’ visitors. It would be a lot more then I currently receive.

                So, can you find it in your heart to help out a lowly blogger/podcaster? When you read an article that you enjoy or find helpful take a moment to leave a comment. When you watch a video that leaves you with a smile on your face drop me a line and let me know about it. I would really appreciate it, and it encourages me to keep doing it. Numbers are nice, but feedback is great.

                I am not too proud to quote the boy in the movie when he said, “Please sir. I want some more.”

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