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Great Southwest Council, Boy Scouts of America

Internet Guidelines for Scouting Web Sites

Member/Youth Protection

  • Pictures of youth may appear on the Web as long as no name or other personal information is associated with the picture.
  • Under no circumstances shall last names, last initials, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses or any other identifying information about youth be published on the Web without a parent’s signed approval.
  • The items noted above for adult leaders may be published only with written permission, and only if worthwhile benefit to the program would be achieved.
  • Passwords can be found out in any number of ways so use caution and common sense even if you have a secured area within your website.
  • Be prepared by being aware; let’s keep our kids safe!

Commercialism on the Web

The National Council’s policy on commercialism states: “A site cannot contain any advertisements or commercial endorsements whatsoever.” This means that in no way may a unit, district, or council page be involved in any type of commercial relationship, nor may units, districts, or councils endorse any business, corporation, commercial agency, or individual unless duly authorized by the National Executive Board.  The BSA logo may not be used on any product, flier, or advertisement in any way that implies the Boy Scouts of America or any of its entities is sponsoring a commercial product or company.

It is further suggested that a site should not use a provider like GeoCities or AOL because they will target advertisements to your page. Remember that a site is not free if the provider uses your page for advertising their product or services. Units should seek community support from their local neighbor/area provider, if possible.

You may place a thank-you to your Internet provider for donated Web space if you do it in such a manner that it is still effective without using the company’s logo or endorsing the business.

Linking to Other Sites

The ability to use a hypertext link to connect your site to other sites is what makes it the “Web.” You have no control over who links to your Web page. A person in any country can link right to your unit’s front door for anyone who reads his page. You could do the same, pointing electronically anywhere. On the other hand, your links “downstream” could cause you embarrassment because you never know what files you may be linked to from that point on. The National Council’s concern is that your Scout unit’s Web page may be just two clicks away from an inappropriate Web site or adult XXX-rated material.

Unit and district web sites should not link to any sites other than your council BSA site ( and the BSA’s national Web site (  Likewise, the council or district websites should not link to unit websites.

Although we have a no-links policy for unit and district web sites, we understand the importance of links to outside sites dedicated entirely to Scouting and other helpful information, including links to other Scouting units web sites. These types of links to Scouting-related sites must not have a hot or direct link on a local council BSA site. You can, however, add the URL (address) to your page as a site to visit for good information without an active hyperlink.

Political Concerns

The Boy Scouts of America shall not, through its governing body or through any of its officers, chartered organizations, or members, involve the Scouting movement in any questions of a political nature. However, this shall not be interpreted to prevent the teaching of the ideals of patriotism and good citizenship, as required to fulfill the Boy Scouts of America’s purpose. This policy shall also not limit the freedom of thought or action of any official or member as an individual.

Basically this means to leave our political opinions out of the mix. Let’s teach our children about the facts of our government. Make your political stands outside the Scouting arena, whether at a Scouting function or in the Web pages.


Members operating Internet sites are responsible for their content. The council shall not be held liable for the contents of any Web site, whether or not such Web site has obtained council-approved status.

Helpful Hints

  • Be careful and monitor how you use sarcasm or humor on your page, because your message may not be received in the spirit in which it was meant.
  • Check your spelling. A misspelled word can change the mood of the message.
  • Observe grammar and rules of punctuation to the best of your ability.
  • Do write in a non-opinioned format. Save the attitude for a different venue.
  • Use of non-standard writing will hamper the ability and desire of others to receive the information you are sharing.
  • Keep paragraphs short and succinct.
  • Focus on one subject per message area.
  • Separate subjects by lines or spaces. Just make sure the themes do not run together, cluttering the view and conveying incorrect information.
  • Make sure calendars have correct information. If you’re not sure, don’t post. It is better to have no information and keep looking for it, than to have the wrong information and miss the event.
  • The proper route to becoming a Unit Webmaster is to contact the Unit Committee chairman about your offer. Just offer your services to build their web site and don't forget to get input from all committee members in your Unit. The site should not just be one persons' opinion it should be a reflection of the unit.
  • Site building for a Scouting Site should remain simple and contain good information. Our job is to make current correct information available to the Scouting Public.
  • Contents should be inline with the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
  • A good motto for Scouting Web design is KISMIF (keep it simple; make it fun).

National Council, Boy Scouts of America - Website Policies and Procedures

Following are the standards set fourth by the National Council, Boy Scouts of America, that must be met for a local council to have a link from the National Council Website to the local council Website.

  • The council must have direct control over the content of its official Web site.
  • The content of the council site must be appropriate to the Scouting movement.
  • The council site cannot contain links to any sites that contain material that is not appropriate to the Scouting movement.
  • The council site cannot contain any advertisements or commercial endorsements.
  • The council site cannot engage in the electronic sale of BSA Supply Division merchandise or competing products.
  • The council site cannot replicate any BSA publication currently for sale through the Supply division.
  • Council sites must abide by all laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property.
  • Council sites must consider the safety and privacy of their participants by obtaining the necessary permissions to release information about or images of any individual.
  • District/Unit Websites are not linked from National, but may be linked from your local council’s site.