The unit charter of Troop 88 is granted by the New Birth of Freedom Council, Boy Scouts of America to Saint Katherine Drexel Parish, in accordance with the requirements of the bylaws, rules and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America. Troop 88 will follow and incorporate all the Policies and Procedures of the Boy Scouts of America in the implementation of Scouting Programs.
Rules and Regulations
The New Birth of Freedom Council is the primary means of delivering the Scouting program and is the main point of contact between the Boy Scout organization and our Troop 88 volunteers. According to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) councils are free to develop their own applications of Internet and Web technology, as long as they observe the rules and regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, as required by their charters. The Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, No. 57-492, and the Charter and Bylaws of the Boy Scouts of America, No. 57-491, are primary resources for these policies and procedures. As such Troop 88 shall adhere to Rules and Policy as provided by the New Birth of Freedom Council and the Troop 88 Sponsoring Organization. Guidelines, such as this document, are issued to provide more specific and detailed guidance at the Troop 88 unit level.
While the National Council provides guidelines by which it will acknowledge local councils' sites and refer others to them, each of these sites is the product and possession of the local council, and as such is representative only of the council that maintains it. Therefore, The Troop 88 Website is representative of only Troop 88 and makes no representation for the BSA District, Council or National Council.
While adhering to National and local council policy and guidelines, Troop 88 has established their own policies concerning their use of the Internet, the term Troop 88 Website used in this document refers only to the Website used by Troop 88 and generally follows the numbered guidelines below. The Troop 88 guidelines may be altered or amended to provide updated information as required to provide a comprehensive Scout Program in accordance with National and local Council guidelines.
1. The Troop 88 Website is hosted off-site at a hosting facility and is not connected in any way to the New Birth of Freedom Council Website.
2. Troop 88 has direct control over the content of its official Web site.
3. The content of the Troop 88 website shall be appropriate to the Scouting movement.
4. The Troop 88 Website cannot contain links to any sites that contain material that is not appropriate to the Scouting movement.
5. The Troop 88 Website cannot contain any advertisements or commercial endorsements.
6. The Troop 88 Website cannot engage in the electronic sale of BSA Supply Division merchandise or competing products.
7. The Troop 88 Website cannot replicate any BSA publication currently for sale through the Supply Division.
8. The Troop 88 Website must abide by all laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property, and by those pertaining to the Internet.
9. The Troop 88 Website shall consider the safety and privacy of their members and participants by obtaining the necessary permissions to release information about or images of any individual.
10. The Troop 88 Website shall maintain any and all personnel information behind secure password protections, i.e., maintain public access pages and private registered Troop 88 members only pages.
The information that follows supports these guidelines by providing more specific information on practices and procedures that may be implemented for producing and maintaining a Troop 88 Website that successfully meets these guidelines. Additional information is presented that extends into areas that the guidelines do not address to cover topics and procedures that are advisable, but not strictly requisite.
The Troop 88's membership and the general public regard a Boy Scout Troop’s Official Website as an authorized publication of that Troop and Sponsoring Organization. Because the Troop 88 and Sponsoring Organization will be held accountable for the content of its site, the site content should be wholly owned and controlled by the Troop. Under the current agreement entered into with ScoutLander.com, content of the Troop 88 Website is wholly owned by Troop 88.
Currently Troop 88’s Website is hosted by a third party, Scoutlander.com under the domain name of troop88.scoutlander.com and is not registered. If, in the future, a proprietary domain name is registered, the "registrant" on file with the InterNIC (http://www.internic.net) should be the Troop 88 Sponsoring Organization. At the very least, the "administrative contact" designated during domain registration should be an employee of the Sponsoring Organization.
The content of the site should be owned by Troop 88 rather than any individual, and that is most easily shown by having a copyright statement on the site. Of course Troop 88 may reproduce (with permission) material from other sources, but the site content itself must be owned by Troop 88. The copyright statement can be a simple "© 2010 Troop 88, Adventure District, New Birth of Freedom Council, Boy Scouts of America" at the bottom of the Web page.
The administrative components of a Website, namely the procedures by which the content decisions are made and implemented, are not necessarily evident visually in the Web site itself. These matters should be considered carefully, however, as they have the potential to create profound problems in the administration of Troop 88's Website.
Troop 88 has made their own arrangements for Web site hosting—this service is not presently provided by either the new birth of Freedom Council or the National Council.
It's worth noting that there are a number of services that offer "free" Web site hosting, but require sites they host to display banners and/or contain links to other member sites, whether within a page or in a separate window that pops open when the site is visited. These services should be avoided entirely.
The current hosting site for the Troop 88 Website does not require advertising links for the pages of content. In the future if this should change then Troop 88 shall transition the Troop 88 content to another hosting site to comply with National Council guidelines.
Location of Hosting Server
Troop 88 MUST NOT host their Web site on one of the adult leader’s business, the Sponsoring Organization’s or a home local network. Such an arrangement could allow hackers to enter the Website and in turn have access to records on the business network, Sponsoring Organization’s or home computer desktops. Web sites must be run externally via a hosting service.
Control of Content
While it is common practice for the Troop 88 Webmaster (a Scout leadership position) to develop files and programs for the Troop 88 Website, a BSA registered Adult Leader shall be assigned by the Troop 88 Scoutmaster and control content. The Troop 88 Website shall be reviewed and governed by the Troop 88 Scoutmaster and the Troop 88 Committee and that these Adult Leaders shall define the goals of the Troop 88 Website and determine the content and resources that will be published in pursuit of those goals.
All materials destined for the Troop 88 Website should be reviewed and approved by the assigned Troop 88 Adult Leader before they are published as part of Troop 88's Website.
Links to Council and District Web Sites
National Council does not recommended that councils acknowledge "official" sites for units. There are currently tens of thousands of unit Web sites on the Internet, and it would be difficult for a council to allocate sufficient resources to monitor all the various sites developed by units in its area. Furthermore, since most units lack adequate resources to develop respectable and safe Web sites, a vast majority of unit sites are wrought with safety and liability issues that could become problems for the council were the sites endorsed as officially representative.
While it is permissible, by the guidelines, to provide links to sites that provide content that is appropriate to the Scouting movement, it is especially important to clarify (perhaps through an explicit disclaimer) when linking to Scouting-oriented sites that units as well as youth and adult members do not represent or serve as agents of the Boy Scouts of America when disseminating information over the Internet.
The safest course of action would be for the council to remain completely uninvolved in and, inasmuch as possible, unaware of any Internet publication produced by any group or individual not authorized to serve as a representative of the council or the Boy Scouts of America in the online medium.
Troop 88’s Website has a link on the New Birth of Freedom Council Website on the Adventure District pages. As such, it is extremely important that Troop 88 Website content adheres to the highest Scouting standards, paying particular attention to ensuring there are no safety and liability issues that could become a problem for the New Birth of Freedom Council.
In these guidelines, interactivity means direct communication via the Website among the Troop 88’s personnel, its membership, and the public.
National Council Perspective
The National Council has chosen not to provide contact information on its Web site because usually it is more appropriate for people to contact their local council rather than the National Council. Exceptions are made very rarely, on individual pages where under normal circumstances the content makes it appropriate for individuals to contact the National Council directly.
Conversely, local councils communicate directly and bilaterally with program participants, volunteers, and the general public through other media, and it would be is just as appropriate for the council to extend this practice to the Internet. The lack of interactivity on the National Council site should not be construed to imply a policy that applies to councils.
As such, Troop 88 provides on the Public Access pages contact information for the Troop 88 Scoutmaster. Other contact information, while available on the secure protected pages, is not available to the public. The Troop 88 Scoutmaster can, when contacted, provide contact information of other Adult Leaders and or Parents of Scouts at their discretion. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will the Troop 88 Scoutmaster provide contact information of any Scout under the age of 18 to the public without express consent of the Scout’s Parent or Legal Guardian. In such cases it is often better to provide only the Parent or Legal Guardian’s contact information.
Audience Location and Troop Boundaries
Due to the world-wide reach of the Internet, the Troop 88 Website can interact with the members of other troops, districts and councils and with the public outside its geographic domain.
Though a site visitor's location is not immediately evident, and technology provides no definite way to determine it, here are a few techniques to help councils determine the geographic locations of their Internet correspondents:
Any on-line form that enables the user to communicate back to Troop 88 can ask (even require) the visitor to give their city and state.
A password may be provided to Troop 88 Scouts, Scout parents and Adult Leaders to ensure resources in one or more "restricted" areas are viewed and used only by the Troop 88’s own members.
In any dialogue (such as an e-mail exchange), it may be necessary to ask.
Chat, guest books, and bulletin boards are three forms of interactivity that are generally inadvisable for Troop Web sites because they require dedicated resources to monitor and control them sufficiently.
Chat Rooms. These are on-line forums in which users "converse" by typing messages to one another in real time. Recent advances have also made it possible to audio- or videoconference on the Internet. The first concern should be youth protection issues; also "chat" makes it impossible for Troops to control the text content of their sites. Because conversations take place in real time, messages are immediately posted to the site for others to view. Also, because chat participants are anonymous, often there is much less discretion exercised than in most forms of conversation.
Troop 88 therefore shall avoid "live conversation" " technology altogether on the Troop 88 Website. If it seems necessary for a special purpose, protective measures should be taken, such as
a "chat" forum could be open only during certain time periods
access to the forum could be restricted so that only those who have been given a password may participate
an authorized moderator could stay online and eject participants who break the rules
software countermeasures could censor speakers on-the-fly.
Even with such measures, incidents can occur.
Currently Troop 88 does not host Chat.
Guest Books. Guest book programs allow site visitors to leave a message, and are generally not a problem unless the log file (which contains all the comments visitors enter) is visible to the public. In that case, anyone can add text, graphics, and even programmatic components to the Troop's Web pages that will immediately be viewable to other visitors. If a guest book is used, the log file should be kept in a location that is not visible to other visitors, but which must be downloaded using administrative software (Telnet/FTP) in order to be read. The Troop 88 Adult leader responsible for the Troops Website shall then review that material before posting it to a publicly accessible interface.
Currently Troop 88 does not use a Guest Book.
Bulletin Boards and News Groups. These are a form of chat in slow motion: Users post messages and others may read and respond at a later time. Bulletin boards have the same inherent risks as chat, but since conversations do not occur in real time, there is opportunity for better moderation. Users may be allowed to send their remarks to a private section of the Web site, but the remarks should not be posted to the site for others to read until the council has approved the content for publication on its site.
Currently Troop 88 does not use Bulletin Boards or News Groups.
Troops are prohibited from engaging in the sale of BSA Supply Division merchandise or competing products via the Internet. This should not prevent Troops from promoting fundraising efforts, but the actual purchase should take place off-line. Though electronic sales of items other than Supply Division merchandise or competing products has not been prohibited, it is discouraged unless the Troop has the resources to develop a secure e-commerce system.
Currently Troop 88, while having a single public page asking support, does not conduct electronic commerce online.
Troop 88 Webmaster
As previously discussed, the Troop 88 Website will have a BSA Registered Adult Leader controlling the Website content and be overall responsible for the overall design, content and functionality of the Troop 88 Website, with the guidance and direction of the Troop 88 Scoutmaster and Troop Committee. The assigned Adult Leader is responsible for all changes to the Troop 88 access. In 2010, Boy Scouts of America added as a Scout leadership role that of Webmaster within the BSA Troop structure. Troop 88 has incorporated that Troop Leadership Position into the Scout organization. This Scout Webmaster will assist the Troop 88 Adult Leader in updating and making changes to the Troop 88 Website. In order to make these updates and changes the Adult Leader will grant editorial rights to the Scout during the duration that Scout holds the troop leader/
Privacy and Youth Protection
The Internet is perceived as a threat by some individuals, and they are vehemently opposed to having their images or personal information available to others. This perception is not unjustifiable, as demonstrated by periodic media coverage of predators who exploit the Internet to select, locate, and contact their victims.
Collecting Personal Information
Troops are urged to be discreet when collecting personal information via their Web sites. Privacy is a delicate issue on the Internet, and many people are reluctant to use sites or interfaces that require them to provide personal information such as their name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, etc. We recommend that Troops avoid using the Internet to gather this information about users unless it is necessary to accomplish the user's goals.
It is especially important to treat contact information carefully: contact information should be used only for the purpose for which it was provided. It is unethical and in some cases illegal to use this data for any solicitation or communication outside the context in which it was provided. The issue is particularly serious regarding contact information for children under 13.
The Federal Trade Commission recommends that charities and companies that collect personal information from online visitors use the following set of four standards—known as "fair information practices"—in creating privacy policies to post on their Web sites:
1. Notification. Visitors to the Web site should be notified as to what personal information is being gathered, how that information is used by the organization, and with what third parties, if any, the organization will share it.
2. Choice. Visitors should be provided with a means by which to contact the organization or take other actions to ensure that their personal information is not shared, if they so choose.
3. Security. Users of the site should be notified of the means by which the organization protects personal information, including protection from any misuse, alteration, or access by unauthorized users. Organizations should strive to ensure that the same level of privacy protection is extended by any third parties with whom they share individuals' personal information.
4. Access. Web site users should have reasonable access to any personal information about themselves that the organization holds, as well as a means of correcting or amending the information if it is inaccurate
Troop 88 does not collect Website visitor personal information.
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
While the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) applies to commercial Web sites, it provides sound guidance for any Web site that is intended for use by children under 13. Therefore, if your Web site collects any personally identifiable information from or about children, you should review and consider complying with this legislation. The full text of COPPA can be found online at http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm. Information on how to comply with the act is available at the FTC's "Kidz Privacy" Web site at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/coppa.htm.
All personally identifiable information from or about Troop 88 registered Scouts is not available to the public.
Providing Personal Information
Regarding e-mail specifically, there remains the potential for a flood of correspondence to overwhelm the Troop 88 members if e-mail addresses are published on the Web site. The presence of e-mail addresses on a majority of Troop sites would seem to suggest that this potential has not become an actual problem.
Contact information should only be published for a reason—specifically, whether there is a valid need for the members and/or the public to speak directly with a given individual because of that person's role in the organization. The council's policy should address these three groups separately, for these reasons:
Youth Participants and Parents
Contact information for youth participants shall not be provided to the public.
Contact information for Adult Volunteers and Leaders shall not be provided to the public. However, in order to provide the public with a contact to obtain more information about the Troop, on the Public Access pages is contact information for the Troop 88 Scoutmaster.
Photographs and Names
Troop 88 shall obtain permission before publishing any photographs on the public access pages of the Internet.
Because some states have privacy laws that could be implicated if a child's photograph is published on the Internet without his parents' permission, ownership of the image alone does not carry with it the right to publish it. Therefore, Troop 88 should obtain permission from any person who is the subject of a photograph before displaying their image or likeness on the Internet.
When using photographs of members, especially youth, it is also important to consider their safety and privacy when choosing captions or ancillary text. Troop 88 has established a policy that no last names will be associated with photographs at all, all photos shall have a "first name only" policy for youth, but may allow the full names of Adult leaders to be published if permission if first granted by the Adult leader.
The content of Web sites generally falls into two categories: marketing material presented to generate public interest in joining or supporting Troop 88 programs, and Troop 88 service material presented for existing members. Both are valid and useful applications of Internet technology.
Though the Internet is a popular medium, and though its popularity continues to increase at an astounding rate, it's important to remember that it is not yet a universal medium. While the Troop's Web presence may support traditional channels of distributing information, it should not replace them, and should be treated as a secondary (rather than preferred or exclusive) channel of communication with Troop 88 members and volunteers.
It is important to know the original source of all Troop 88 Web site content and to be sure the Troop has permission to use it. The only content the Troop owns outright are the text, photos, illustrations, design, and programming developed by the Troop 88’s members in the course of their positions. Permission must be given by the owner for using all other material.
National Council Publications
Local councils may reproduce the content of any BSA "bin resources" publication they feel is appropriate for their sites' audiences. However, councils may not replicate any part of any publication currently for sale through the Supply Division. The difference between "bin" and "supply" items may seem unclear for those items the council purchases but then redistributes without charge to its members. Item numbers provide a reliable method of differentiation: bin items have five-digit numbers separated with a hyphen (00-000) whereas Supply Division items have four or five digits (the first is typically a 3 or 4) that are not separated by a hyphen (0000 or 00000). (The item number is generally printed on the back cover or at the bottom of the contents page.)
Specific exceptions to this rule have been made so that approved council Web sites can link to certain Supply Division forms (medical forms, tour permits, certain applications, etc.) that are posted on a hidden location on the National Council site. Likewise, the Guide to Safe Scouting, a Supply Division item, has been approved for approved council Web site links. Such exceptions are rare, and generally focus on service to members through the local council.
Content of Boys' Life and Scouting magazines should never be reproduced on council Web sites without first obtaining permission from the Magazine Division. Many articles and images are included in the magazines under limited license and copying them could violate copyright law. Councils may employ "frames" technology to include either magazine's pages from the National Council site into the council site, but should never copy any magazine files or text excerpts or images without explicit permission.
If a troop wishes to include any content (whether text, photographs, illustrations, design, or programming), that is not developed by Troop 88 members or by third parties under the terms of a contract or agreement with the Troop 88 or Sponsoring Organization, it is important to obtain written permission from the owner of that material. Even if the material is owned by a volunteer or donor and is provided with the understanding it will be used in the Troop's site, written permission remains important.
In its simplest form, this written permission can be provided in a letter that explicitly states that the owner will permit Troop 88 (or the Boy Scouts of America) to use the material. It is also common to indicate the duration (dates) for which the permission is granted, the medium (media) in which the reproduction may occur, and any restrictions that may apply.
Materials from Other Web Sites
Reusing material found on the Internet is especially dangerous. It is all too common for amateur Web publishers to take copyrighted material and reproduce it on their own Web sites and say that it is "free" or "public domain." A written agreement is prudent, regardless of any explicit disclaimer on a Web site, before using any material downloaded from the Web. It is especially important to obtain permission in advance for materials used on the Internet. Unlike newsletters, which are distributed only to members, the Internet is available to the public, and it is inevitable that the owner will discover your use of their material on your Web site.
For photographs taken by Troop personnel or by photographers hired by the Troop, a "talent release" should be obtained for every person shown in the photos. Appendix A is a talent release form similar to that used by the National Council. This particular release obtains permission for the Boy Scouts of America (the National Council, any local council, district, or unit) to use the image in any medium. It is especially important to obtain this release, with the signature of a guardian, for youth.
While obtaining the permission of the owner (photographer) of an image or obtaining talent releases for photographs taken by the Troop is adequate to satisfy ownership issues, it is also prudent to obtain the permission of the subject(s) specifically to use their likeness on the Internet.
Links to Other Web Sites
In general, Troops should be cautious about linking to other Web sites. A user may follow a link from the council's site to another, which links to another, and another ... and the chain of links may lead to a site that contains unacceptable content. Though experienced users recognize the ownership of Web pages, inexperienced ones may feel the council is culpable for content they are exposed to after clicking links that lead them several sites removed from the council's site.
The safest course of action would be not to link at all. At the very least, Troops should review any site to which they link to ensure its content is appropriate to the Scouting movement, and should be prepared to delete links in a timely manner in the event the content of these sites changes.
Another significant implication about links is that a link to a third-party site implies an endorsement. It will be assumed that the Troop endorses the content for use by its audience, which is primarily composed of its membership. For this reason, Troops should be especially cautious about making links to sites of certain kinds:
National Council Web site
Linking to the National Council site from a Troop site is not necessary, nor is it recommended. As Scouting programs are administered by local council, the local council should be the primary source of information, in every medium, to individuals in its geographic area. If a local council wishes to make resources from the National site available to its own visitors, the preferred method would be to import these resources directly into the council site (by use of frames technology as described at http://www.scouting.org/webmasters/frames.aspx). This will give the perception that the information is coming from the local council and will keep visitors "inside" the council site rather than sending them "up" to the National Council site via a standard hyptertext link.
A council's link to the Troop 88 site connotes that the council has authorized the Troop 88 Website and that it is officially representative.
Third-Party "Scouting" Sites
There are numerous Scouting-oriented sites on the Internet that are not maintained or authorized by the BSA. These sites provide a wealth of general-interest information on topics of interest to members and program participants (camping, games, songs and skits, crafts, etc.). Some of these sites also provide information such as program helps, advice for leaders, requirements, procedures, forms, publications, ceremonies, and other resources that would seem to be of an official nature, but which are not authorized by the BSA. In some cases, this information is misleading or incorrect, and could cause conflict with members who refer to unofficial sources the council "endorsed." Worse, these sites may suggest activities that are unacceptable or unsafe by BSA standards, causing potential liabilities for a council that "authorized" (by linking to) the site for use by its members.
Third-Party Commercial Sites
While many commercial sites provide valuable information of a non-commercial nature, troops should be careful when linking to these sites to avoid the impression that the troop is endorsing commercial products or services. Annotation often makes the difference, as in this example: A link to xyzboots.com (the XYZ Boot Company's home page) appears to be a commercial endorsement. If you added the sentence "The XYZ Boot Company provides excellent advice for avoiding hiking injuries," and then linked directly to the page about avoiding hiking injuries, you clarify that the troop endorses the information the company is providing rather than the product it is selling.
Sites with "Free" Services
"Free" site components tend to be commercial. Certain sites offer services such as statistics, hit counters, guest books, animations, and the like to other Web sites. Like the bogus "awards," sites and sites offering "free" Web space or e-mail, the primary purpose of these giveaways is to advertise and plant links to the "donor" site on a wide range of Web sites in order to draw audience away from its "benefactors." Of course, there are plenty of legitimate reference Web sites as well. The best approach when you consider linking to a site is to "click through" the site while asking yourself, "Why are they offering this service? What do they want from me?" The answer should tell you whether you want to link to the site or not.
Content and Links to Avoid
Advertisements and Banners
Councils (and Troops within the Councils) are prohibited from endorsing commercial products or services in any medium, including the Internet. Banner advertisements for commercial products and services are thus inappropriate for Troop Websites. (NOTE: any use of the Internet for fund-raising is subject to the same policies and procedures as other fund-raising activities.)
Another popular type of banner on the Internet provides site owners with free promotion on other Web sites in exchange for promoting other sites on theirs. Though not strictly a commercial endorsement, these banners remain unacceptable because they provide a highly visible link from the council site to others, and the council does not control either the graphic that is displayed or the site to which it links - one or both may be patently inappropriate.
Web Site Awards and Certification
There are a number of Web sites that offer "awards" or "certification" for other sites. These awards/certifications often require the honoree to display an URL or provide a click-through link that promotes the grantor's site. In many cases, such "honors" are ploys to draw traffic to other sections of the grantor's site, with a commercial or political motive. These should be avoided.
Lee Kunzman Ken Robinson
Chairman, Troop 88 Committee Scoutmaster, Troop 88
Troop 88 Mechanicsburg, Adventure District, New Birth of Freedom Council
Saint Katherine Drexel Church
1 Peters Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA. 17050
Appendix A - Talent Release
Talent Release Agreement
The annual multi-part BSA Medical Form that is required to be on file with Troop 88 includes a talent release agreement that should be signed by all parents. It states:
I hereby assign and grant to the local council and the Boy Scouts of Am
erica the right and permission to use and publish the photographs/film/videotapes/electronic representations and/or sound recordings made of me or my child at all Scouting activities, and I hereby release the Boy Scouts of America, the local council, the activity coordinators, and all employees, volunteers, related parties, or other organizations associated with the activity from any and all liability from such use and publication. I hereby authorize the reproduction, sale, copyright, exhibit, broadcast, electronic storage, and/or distribution of said photographs/film/videotapes/electronic representations and/or sound recordings without limitation at the discretion of the Boy Scouts of America, and I specifically waive any right to any compensation I may have for any of the foregoing.
Yes [ ] No
This release is needed since during outings and other Troop 88 events photographs/film/videotapes/electronic representations and/or sound recordings may be taken and uploaded to the Troop 88 website or provided to the Scouts and mementos.