So you want to create a website for your troop, but don't know where to start?
Policies and ProceduresEdit
First, check with your regional Council to see what rules they have about:
Security and Privacy. Check your local council about rules. In general, they require that all troop websites be private (meaning only members can see them). This is to protect the girls (you don't want just anyone to know where you will be with the girls at specific dates and times). When I checked for our troop in 2010, we needed to:
- Password protect the website for privacy - for safety reasons, you don't want to have information available to the public about when and where you are meeting, taking field trips, etc.
- Permission to use the official Girl Scout logos (which we opted not to use)
- Contact email address available on the website for those that are not members (we have a Google Groups email account for our troop leaders).
Girl Scout logos. According to the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital's Guidelines for Using Logo, you can only use the GS logos with permission. So ask your local council about this before using it -- or just don't use it.
Disclaimer. I recommend adding a Disclaimer link on a separate page, similar to what is on this website (which I found posted by a lawyer online, who said anyone who needed it could use it).
Webpages To IncludeEdit
Our website includes pages for:
- Home (welcome message, troop news section, etc.). Our hosting website lets you also have sidebar sections for upcoming events on your calendar, etc.
- Pictures and Videos
- Sign up - for parents to volunteer for various activities, bringing food/drinks, etc.
- Message board - for parents (and eventually the scouts) to post messages, questions, etc.
- Our Journey - quick journal entries for what the troop did throughout the year (badges, field trips, etc.). It makes for a nice history to go back to later.
- Resources - documents and links for scouts, parents, and leaders.
Website design resourcesEdit
Colors. Need to find the HTML code for a specific color. Try http://www.perbang.dk/rgb/E5001E.
Free website-hosting websitesEdit
Look around for a website host that is free and/or cheap - note, however, that with most of the "free" ones you have to put up with some ads on your page, limited file space, and usually constant emails to upgrade to a paid version of the site.
- Shutterfly.com. Shutterfly is a photo company website. This is the website my troop uses at the moment. To set up a "share" website, you upload a few pictures, click on create a "Share" website, select design options, and invite members to see it. Once you have some pictures already uploaded, it takes less than a minute to create a Share site, and a few minutes more to choose background colors, etc. It has a lot of functionality with pre-designed webpages for Home, Pictures and Video, Calendar, Sign up, and Message Board. What's great is that whenever you add an event to the Calendar, it automatically appears on the Sign Up page for you to add in various volunteer needs (e.g., roles such as chaperones, items to bring, camping trip roles, etc.). You add these items, then you can either assign these to specific people, or people can log in and sign up for what they want. And on the Calendar page, you can tell the system to send a reminder email a day or so ahead of the event. The share sites are free; the only ads I've seen so far are for Shutterfly itself, and you will get emails from Shutterfly with various discount offers for photo printing, etc.
- Webs.com. I started with Webs. Webs has a set of simple templates you can use that makes set up quick and easy for basic webpages. The downside for me is that I had trouble copy and pasting content into my webpages. Since I don't have time to re-type everything, I decided to move what content I already had to Shutterfly. This issue may have been resolved since I switched over in 2010.