Not long ago, I blogged about troops that put out the unwelcome mat and then are surprised that the world doesn’t beat a path to their doors. I neglected to mention one way they do that, and that’s by having bad information on their Be a Scout pin.
In case you’ve just returned from a trip to a remote island without internet access (if such a thing exists anymore!), Be a Scout is a BSA website that lets potential members find packs, troops, crews, and ships by simply entering their ZIP code. Search results for each unit include the chartered organization, meeting place, contact information and–if the unit specifies it–the unit’s website (which could be a Facebook page.)
Recently, I was trying to track down a volunteer for a Scouting magazine article I’m writing and ran into a dead-end. Her pack’s Facebook page was listed on Be A Scout, but the Facebook page was for a closed group, meaning only members could see anything on the page. In the past, similar searches have sent me to dead websites or one of those pages telling you the URL is up for sale.
So what you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Three things, I think. First, update your troop’s pin based on the information in this helpful guide from the BSA. Second, do a search on Be a Scout to see how your troop’s information appears. Third–and this step is essential–have a friend who’s not involved in your troop do a similar search. That will ensure that critical information visitors need is accessible to people who visit your website or Facebook page.
These days, the BSA is increasingly promoting the Be a Scout website as THE place to go to get started in Scouting. That’s a great thing if your unit’s pin is updated. And if your pin’s not updated? Then it’s a great thing for the troop down the street.
Need more great troop program ideas? Check out The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is available in both print and e-book formats at https://www.eaglebook.com/products.htm#scoutmasters.