Check out some of the best pack, troop and crew websites of 2019

Mother and son looking at laptop

Picking the best unit website is a bit like selecting the best recipe for Dutch oven cobbler.

There are way too many to choose from, and because it’s all about taste, the selection process is totally subjective.

But after browsing hundreds of unit websites, I’ve come up with a list of 10 that do it really well.

Turns out the recipe for a great site is pretty simple: a clean, photo-forward design with information that’s easy to find and intelligently organized. When you pair a great website with Scoutbook, the BSA’s free app for tracking unit advancement, you’ll have your bases covered for both prospective and current Scouting families.

With about 80,000 BSA units out there, most with their own websites, the list below is far from comprehensive. But it’s enough to get us thinking about unit websites and their two equally important audiences:

  1. Prospective Scouting families: The website serves as a billboard and brochure as families “shop around” to decide which pack, troop or crew they want to join.
  2. Current Scouting families: The website hosts a unit calendar, provides contact information for leaders, and offers a way to share important pack, troop or crew news.

Think your website does this well? Include a link in the comments so others can benefit from your ideas.

4 things to keep in mind when building your unit website

  1. You don’t have to reinvent the website: Want an easy way to create a site that’s attractive, mobile-friendly and consistent with the current digital brand guidelines? The WordPress Theme for Councils, available in the Brand Center, can be used for units, too. To get a sense of how the site might look, check out a few councils that use the theme: Daniel Webster Council, Moraine Trails Council and Circle Ten Council.
  2. Remember internet safety: Follow the BSA’s Cyber Safety guidelines and Social Media Guidelines to keep young people safe online.
  3. Stay on brand: Consult the BSA Brand Identity Guide to make sure that your site looks great and is seen as part of the BSA.
  4. Strive for “one source of truth”: Rather than copying and pasting BSA policies or what is on Scouting.org to your website, instead have links that point directly to that Scouting.org content. This way, you don’t have to worry about updating your site when things are updated on the BSA’s pages.

See more great ideas about websites and social media in this post.

Pack 214, Matthews, N.C.

Link: pack214.com

Why it’s great:

  • Simple front page with a dominant image and easy-to-find basics like meeting location and time.
  • A brief history about the pack, including a list of the many awards the pack has won. This sends a message to parents that this pack knows what it’s doing.

Also cool:

  • Under “Parent Resources,” Pack 214 promotes its Scout Closet, which is a way for families to donate uniform pieces their Scouts have grown out of.
  • The site is mobile responsive, meaning it works great on phones and tablets, too.

Pack 113, Cincinnati

Link: cincinnatipack113.com

Why it’s great:

  • A front page with an inviting photo and welcome message. The photo was selected from the BSA Brand Center, which includes hundreds of downloadable images you’re free to use on your unit website.
  • A What to Expect page that’s perfect for families new to Scouting. It’s a “list to help you jump right in and feel prepared for campouts, meetings and events.”

Also cool:

  • Every website should have a clear “call to action,” and Pack 113’s call to action, found and the top right of the page, is to “Take Action.” Click that, and you’re asked to either volunteer with the pack or join it with your family.
  • The pack has an Upcoming Events calendar that’s automatically updated. There’s also a link to a downloadable version for those of us who like to keep our calendar on the side of the fridge.

Pack 332, Red Bank, S.C.

Link: redbank332.org

Why it’s great:

  • A striking design — I love the 332 numerals in the header! — with another great image from the BSA Brand Center. If first impressions are everything, Pack 332 nails its opening move.
  • A short but welcoming message from the Cubmaster that explains a few basics about the pack and tells parents that “there’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of our Scouting family.” I agree!

Also cool:

  • Pack 332’s calendar is searchable and filterable, making it easier to find what you need.
  • Pack 332 earned Journey to Excellence gold status, and the pack flaunts that fact on its front page. Publicly touting your JTE success a good way to tell the world that your unit cares about this important program.

Troop 409, Dix Hills, N.Y.

Link: bsatroop409.com

Why it’s great:

  • A clean layout with a nice photo of Scouts hiking, contact info for the Scoutmaster and a note that “residents from any town are welcome.” Better yet, all that information is available “above the fold,” which in webspeak means visible before scrolling down.
  • A welcoming message from the Scoutmaster where she extends an invitation to “anyone in grades 6–12 and interested in day trips, hiking, leadership skills, camping, community service, character development, adventures, teamwork and making friends.”

Also cool:

  • Troop 409 has dedicated an entire page to preventing bullying, choosing not to ignore this important issue that affects young people in any out-of-school program.
  • After each troop meeting, Troop 409 posts a brief recap of what happened in a section called Meeting Minutes. What a great way to make sure that Scouts who miss a meeting don’t feel left behind!

Troop 254, Euless, Texas

Link: troop254.org

Why it’s great:

  • A home page that’s very focused on selling the benefits of Scouting to prospective families. In short chunks of text, visitors are told about Scouting’s timeless values, the benefits of learning outdoor skills and how Scouting gives young people “the answers they are seeking for many of their questions.” Well said.
  • An entire page for summer camp, including easy links to all the downloadable forms parents need.

Also cool:

  • Troop 254 uses its home page to promote its new linked troop for girls. That’s a great idea to recruit girls into Scouts BSA using websites you already own and maintain.
  • The troop has a handy online store where members can buy the official troop T-shirt, hat and neckerchief. This is easier for Scouts and their families — and for the troop treasurer who has to keep track of it all.

Troop 310, Saco, Maine

Link: troop310saco.com

Why it’s great:

  • A Scout-made utilitarian design that still looks good. The home page includes all the information visitors need at a glance — contact info, meeting time/location, calendar — alongside recent photos from troop events.
  • A history page with an Eagle Roll Call of every Eagle Scout so far. The result is a page that recognizes that the troop’s history is still being written every day.

Also cool:

  • Troop 310 has an Adventure Map, built for free in Google Maps, that documents all of the troop’s adventures and places them on a map. What a great way to show prospective members all the potential places they’ll go.
  • Many troops have a past events page, but Troop 310’s version takes it one step further, including a brief writeup of each event. That helps give the photos context and shows new Scouts what’s in store.

Troop 570, Dallas

Link: bsatroop570.org

Why it’s great:

  • An image slider at the top of the homepage gives an overview of the breadth of activities that await members of Troop 570. Each one has its own clever tagline, too, like “Winter Camping: Camping in the cold is cool” or “Monthly Campouts: What could be better than giant boulders?”
  • Like all the best troops, Troop 570 goes on a campout every month. Its Monthly Campouts page is one of the best around — not because of a fancy design but because it’s full of clear and comprehensive information.

Also cool:

  • Troop 570 stores all its photos on SmugMug, which makes it easy to share lots of photos without taking up storage space on your main site.
  • When you click the “Join” button at the top of the Troop 570 site, you’re taken to this page that answers any final questions a Scout or their parents might have.

Troop 642, Houston

Link: troop642.org

Why it’s great:

  • A front page featuring a nice portrait a sharp-looking troop alongside one of the coolest troop nicknames around: “The Rainmakers.” Keep scrolling for a recap of the most recent troop campout and an embedded Google Calendar.
  • A blog written by the Scouts themselves. Troop 642 is a youth-led troop, so why not include a youth-created section on the website? Including the Scouts’ perspective is a great way to make a website feel welcome, and it delivers gems like this: “We also had a lot of dads that worked their tails off, so hats off to them.”

Also cool:

  • Troop 642 has compiled a terrific Parent Information page that gives parents an overview of what will be expected of their Scout. The page covers adult leader training, advancement and what kind of gear each Scout will need.
  • The troop’s “Flight of Eagles” page documents every Eagle Scout in the troop’s history — more than 500 of them — in one handy list.

Troop 248, Washington, D.C.

Link: scoutsbsadcgirls.org

Why it’s great:

  • A striking home page with a slick ambient video behind it. The video, available for free from the BSA Brand Center, adds a level of class and sophistication to the site.
  • Four big red buttons make it easy for anyone to take immediate action when they visit the site. They can click or tap to join, find out meeting times, offer to volunteer or access info for parents.

Also cool:

  • At first, new members might be a little confused about what uniform items they need to buy and wear. Troop 248 takes all the guesswork out with this excellent page. They’ve even included the SKUs for each uniform piece and hours for the nearest Scout Shop.
  • Wondering what to get a Scout for a birthday or holiday? Troop 248 has a few ideas on this unique page of reasonably priced items that any Scout would be thrilled to receive.

Crew 940, Kernersville, N.C.

Link: sites.google.com/view/crew940kville

Why it’s great:

  • A visually interesting and photo-heavy design that includes lots of entry points for visitors and their different needs.
  • Not everyone has heard of Venturing or know what makes it unique, so Crew 940’s site does an excellent job of explaining the program for newcomers. The What Is Venturing? page is a great example of this.

Also cool:

  • Crew 940 includes a handy overview of how its unit fits into the overall structure of the BSA — part of the Old Hickory Council in the Southern Region.
  • The Adventures page on Crew 940’s site delivers a photo gallery and list of recent crew activities. The clear message: Venturers get to do lots of cool things.

Your Scout Unit, City, State

Are you proud of your pack, troop, crew or ship site? Share a link in the comments below.

About Bryan Wendell 3057 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.