Newsletter: July 2016

Scouts Online
Scouts Online
Scouts Online


I hope you're enjoying the benefits and features of your Scouts Online website.

The Scouts Online platform is continuing to evolve and I would like to share some of the features that have been added so far this year. Thank you to the fellow Scouters who suggested many of these feature. Due to the way Scouts Online works, each new enhancement is available to other Scouts Online website users. If you've got a good idea for Scouts Online, that would benefit groups or districts, please contact me.

I'm constantly looking for new groups and districts to work with, but would appreciate your help. If you know of a group/district that would benefit from a new website, I would appreciate it if you could recommend to them.

Thank you for continuing to partner with Scouts Online. It's been great working with you. Have a fantastic fun-packed summer.

Yours in Scouting,


Group Website News
Notice Board Pages
Notice Board

If you want to share information with your youth members, adult members or parents that isn't news or an event, such as Scouter discounts at local shops or local resources, the notice board pages are ideal.

Each sticky note pinned to the board has a "See Details" button to show your text and imagery to describe the note.

Each notice board page can have multiple boards, so you could even have a notice board for each patrol.

Notice boards are available for group sites on each section's sub-menu and the Members menu. District and County sites have Notice Boards available on the About and Members menus. To add a notice board page, simply enable it in Admin/Page Management.

Applies to Group package 3 and District/County package 2 websites
Contact Form Enhancements

The type of Contact Form displayed on each page may be changed. In addition to this, the following enhancements have been added:

  • Agreement Text/Tick Box:
    If set, your message will be displayed at the end of the contact form along with a tick box for the user must check to state that they read/agree to your text, prior to submitting the form.
  • Overriding Recipient:
    If set, the form details will always be sent to this user, instead of your site admin users. As an example, this could be useful if you want Hall Bookings to be sent to a particular person.
  • Captcha:
    If setup (in Admin/Group Details) all forms will show a Scouting term, and prompt the user to enter it before they submit the form. This is useful if you start to receive spam emails from automated web crawlers or similar.
  • Online NAN Form:
    If you select this form type, the form will show all the fields required for a Nights Away Notification form. You could add this form type to a new page in your members menu and set the Overriding Recipient to your DC, to reduce your paper form postage.
Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
My Profile Photo Upload

After logging in, registered users now have the ability to upload their own profile photograph in My Profile.

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
News Expiry Date

A new field has been added to the News/Blog articles to limit the period that the article shows for. When the Expiry Date is set, the article won't appear in news lists after that date.

This is useful for stories with a limited lifespan, e.g. "New Website"

Applies to Group package 3 and District/County package 2
Google Analytics

Google Analytics enables website administrators to track page hits and site visitors. Scouts Online administrators may now make use of this service by adding a Google Analytics Tracking ID to their site in Group Details or Global Settings.

For more details, search the internet for "Google Analytics".

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Group Registration Number

If you add your Scout Association group registration number in Group Details, it will appear in the website footer.

For District/County sites, the group's registration number will be displayed in the group details page.

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Cubs 100

Scouts Online default content is updated for you, in line with relevant Scout Association initiatives.

At the start of the year the Cubs 100 logo was added to the Cubs home page image banner.

Applies to Group package 1, 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Group Neckerchief Images

The group detail pages on District/County sites can now show the group scarf/neckerchief image at the top of the page. Upload the image in File Manager and add the file path in Group Details.

Applies to District/County package 1 & 2
Optional Home Page
Home Page

Scouts Online websites come with an on-brand look-and-feel as standard. The home page is based on

However, there's a new alternate home page design for groups that have News articles, Events, Photo albums, and/or Social feeds.

This alternative home page may be switched on/off without affecting your current site content.

If you would like to try it, please contact me to switch it on.

Applies to Group package 3 websites
Improved User Definable Pages
User Def Page

Although these pages have been around since 2015, I thought it was worth re-visiting them here.

You can add your own pages to most of the menus from Admin/Page Management.

For example, to add a new page to your About menu, tick "About Page 1", change the Menu Title, Page Header name, select the page Privacy level and click [update]. After moving back to the Home page, the menu will be re-initialised and the page will appear on your About menu.

To keep a consistent on-brand layout, the page comes pre-structured with a left-hand menu/links bar, header image banner, header text area, YouTube video control, Middle text area, Contact Form and links bar at the bottom. Each of these controls can be populated or not. NB. The left-hand menu bar has recently been enhanced to add a Menu Bar style option.

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Enhanced User Management

Where a group and district both have Scouts Online websites with common users, user name and contact detail changes made in one website will be reflected in the other.

This reduces the chance of old phone numbers being shown in District Directory pages.

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Google Maps
District Map

Scouts Online previously used Microsoft Bing maps to show location maps. As Microsoft will be removing support for this version of the Bing map widget in the next few months, these have all been replaced with Google maps.

This also has the advantage that Google maps often show more details of buildings.

Applies to Group package 1, 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Your Logo on Page Header
Your Logo

You can now use your own logo on your website header bar, instead of the standard Scouts tick logo.

For group websites, it's even possible to have different logos for each section, so your ESU can use their's for Section/Explorers pages, whilst other sections can use the standard Scouts logo, or your group logo.

Upload your logo in File Manager and then add the file path to each section in Admin/Section Details for group sites or Admin/Global Details for district/county sites.

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Login/Register Page Changes

A brief introduction has been added to the Login/Register page. You may override this, like any other text.

When registering, a user now has to enter their Full Name and a description of their Connection To Us. This information will be included in the registry request emails you receive and will help you determine whether to process their request and the access level you want to give them.

Applies to Group package 2 & 3 and District/County package 1 & 2
Coming Soon - Google Calendar Integration

Many Scout groups, districts and counties use Google Calendars to manage their diary events.

There are many advantages of using Google Calendars, such as multiple contributors and connecting directly from your mobile app or desktop browser.

Leaders can sit in a programme planning meeting and add programme ideas immediately into their Google Calendar from their phone.

Traditionally, websites have shared their events by framing a Google calendar into a page, with no interaction between the calendar and other website features.

Scouts Online has its own event management and events are advertised across many pages.

The Google Calendar integration will read your google calendar and automatically import your future calendar events, to create or update Scouts Online events.

If the event name, description or date/time range is changed in your Google Calendar, the changes will be reflected back on your website.

After the event is imported into Scouts Online, it will be possible to attach images, flag events for promotion in image banners, add booking forms and more, just as you can now.

Group sites will also have the ability for each section to have their own calendar to populate their section programme or use a group-wide calendar.

This feature will be going into pilot in the next couple of weeks.

Applies to Group package 3 and District/County package 2
District & County Website News
New Standard Join Pages
  • Young People Joining:
    Information for parents and young people, links to local groups and online application link.
  • Waiting List:
    Default text describing your waiting list policy, links to local groups and online application link.
  • Adult Volunteers:
    Information for prospective adult members. Including video, links to contact forms, application form, training information, Scout Network and Scout Active Support information.
  • Adult Vacancies:
    Advertise your adult roles. Also includes links to contact page and adult application form.
Applies to District/County package 2

New Standard Members Pages
  • Adult Resources:
    Useful information, links and Advisors List.
  • Adult Training:
    Training information, links, training news and Training Team list.
  • Adult Training Diary
    Advertise course with module specific information and booking forms.
  • District Directory
    List commissioners, executive members, assistant commissions, sub-committee members and more, with photographs and drill-down for details.
    Includes drop-down-list to select group leaders by group.
Applies to District/County package 2