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About the Troop 97 Website

Principles & Beliefs. Our website and our troop support the fundamental principle of free speech. Recognizing that some free speech can be offensive, we also want to assure our visitors that this is a family-friendly website, as shown by the "Cybersitter Approved" logo below. We believe the content is appropriate for children of Scout age, and our site is free of foul language, nudity or sex, violence, and gambling, drugs, and alcohol.

Free Speech Online/Blue Ribbon Campaign CYBERsitter Approved Web Site

Purpose of Site. This web site has three aims:

  • to provide useful information to the Scouts, leaders, and families of Troop 97, and to potential or future members of the troop;
  • to provide helpful ideas and information to other Scouts and leaders of the Boy Scouts of America;
  • to offer ideas and information of possible use to Scouts and Scouters from around the world.

Youth Protection. Because of the open nature of the World Wide Web, we must regrettably have a policy not to disclose family names, addresses, phone numbers, or e-mail addresses of our Scouts or leaders, except the Scoutmaster's name and troop e-mail address.

Page Editor. Our web pages are created and maintained using TopStyle 5.0. While "WYSIWIG" editors (like Microsoft FrontPage) typically hide the underlying code (and usually limit your ability to control the code effectively), TopStyle offers full control over page code. (Previously, we've used FrontPage, Hot Dog, Homesite, and even the MS DOS editor back in the early days). Dreamweaver is also nice, but it's much more expensive.

Browser Compatibility. We pre-test all pages on the latest version of the four most popular browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer version 10, Mozilla Firefox 22.0, Apple Safari 5.1, and Google Chrome 28.0.

Browser Problems with PDF Files. Internet Explorer has no problem opening PDF files. Current versions of Chrome and Safari also can open PDFs (earlier versions sometimes had problems). Firefox still has difficulty opening PDFs, and may open some correctly while others may be mostly blank.

W3C Compliance. All page code has been validated as fully meeting the newest W3C standard for XHTML 1.0 Transitional, as shown by the two icons displayed at the bottom of this (and every) page (the "transitional" version is designed to allow a level of backwards compatibility with older browsers). [W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium, the international group that coordinates Internet standards. Their website provides free and automated validation of page code and style sheets. XHTML 1.0 (released in 2000) is the current standard for HTML code, beginning the transition from HTML 4.01 (released in 1997) to XML-based pages that have greater functionality on the rapidly broadening Internet (not just PCs, but also cell phones, televisions, and various smaller pocket-sized devices). By validating our pages to W3C standards, we ensure that our pages will display correctly on your browser to the extent that your browser adheres to W3C standards.]

Design Principles. We have tried to make navigation simple and understandable, by using a comprehensive yet simple left-side menu (which is the same on every page). In addition, we provide a full sitemap and alphabetical index. All pages use the same template for consistent appearance, and we use a single master style sheet (which ensures that all pages use the same fonts and other styles, and which also make it quick and easy to change style elements across the entire website).

 

Volunteers/Approvals. This is the official web site of Troop 97 BSA (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA). All contents are copyright Troop 97 unless otherwise stated. The site is the creation of the volunteer webmaster (Scoutmaster Jeff Snowden) and other volunteer Scouts and Scouters associated with Troop 97. Our site conforms to the WWW policies of the BSA and the Longs Peak Council BSA, as listed on the Longs Peak Council website.

Accuracy. We believe the contents of this website to be factually accurate, but we cannot guarantee accuracy or up-to-date information. If you think that something is not accurate, please e-mail us (with the correct information, if you know it), and be sure to tell us which page you believe is in error.

Language and Measurement Standards. With an international audience, we try to conform to accepted international standards for the English language. Spelling and grammar follow US practices, as recommended by Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, and the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. Measurements are displayed in both the international metric system (SI) and the US-customary system. If you find a typo, please e-mail us so it can be corrected.

Linked Sites. This website links only to other Scouting-related websites, and does not link to personal websites (which is not allowed by the website policies of the Longs Peak Council BSA). All links are checked from time to time for appropriateness, and we will remove any inappropriate link. If you become aware of an inappropriate link, please let us know right away.

Advertising. You won't find ads on any of our web pages. We do not accept advertising, and we believe that the ads found on many Scouting websites (placed by their "free" hosts) are intrusive and often inappropriate for a Scouting audience.

Website Statistics. In 2005, we began using a free website statistical package called StatCounter (www.statcounter.com), and we've been happy with the results. In 2009, we also began trying the free Google Analytics (www.google.com). Both packages provide useful statistics:

  • A more accurate hit counter because it counts unique visitors regardless of where they enter our website—older counters counted only visitors who entered through our homepage. Since most visitors find a website via a search engine, they typically enter by pages other than the homepage. As a result, we now know more accurately how many people are actually visiting our website (right now, 8000 to 12 000 unique visitors/month). You have the choice of displaying the counter or not (we've chosen not to display it).
  • Other statistics that help us understand what people want from our site and which pages they are visiting (or not visiting). This includes a list of most-visited pages, where visitors came from (which search engine, for example), what search phrase they were looking for, and many more useful statistics.
  • The statistics do NOT give us private information about our visitors, only city/domain.
  • For example, we know that 70% of our visitors come to us directly from a search engine (83% of those from Google), that almost half use Internet Explorer (47%; with 20% using Firefox, 20% Safari, and 11% Chrome), and that 74% use Microsoft Windows (plus 18% MacOS and 6% iPhone/Android/iPad). And in a typical month we get visitors from all 50 US states and from over 100 other countries.

Characteristics of a Good Website

Here are the three broad areas that we believe contribute toward a quality website, listed in order of importance.

Content—This is what people come for (and return for). If your content is inadequate, having a great looking page won't matter, because few will visit, and no one will return. And people also come back because you add new or updated content regularly. This requires a dedicated webmaster—too many troops start a website, then let it die by rarely updating it.

Functionality—The page has to work. To look right on any browser. To load quickly.

Appearance—Note that this is listed last, not first. After you have great content, and after you have pages that function perfectly, then make them look attractive and interesting.

Awards

While there are dozens and dozens of awards on the Web, we are especially pleased and honored by the three special awards below.

Lord Baden-Powell Four-Fleur Award Lord Baden-Powell Quality Unit Website
StudySphere Award of Excellence
StudyWeb Academic Excellence Award