The U.S. Scouting Service Project - A Story of Internet Collaboration - 2007
Introduction

Thank you for visiting our website. We are a group of dedicated volunteer Scouters who have brought the resources of the internet to Scouting and built an online community of resources to help all within our Scouting organization. The U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc. (USSSP for short) is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). However, we support the BSA and all of its programs. We operate the USSSP as a non-profit and as a public service to the Scouting community.

Our "project" is to gather as much resources, graphics, clipart, and associated reference material as possible about Scouting and post it on the internet for public access. We DO NOT maintain unit-specific information such as Scout names, meeting places, or personal information. The information we provide is of general Scouting interest. Information on how the programs operate, guidelines, requirements and most importantly support documents and image archives. When a Scout or Scouter (adult leader) needs help in a particular subject area, we want to be able to fill their need. From clipart for Unit newsletters to ideas about games, songs, or activities to make Scouting fun!

We welcome all Scouts or Scouters who are interested in dedicating time in helping us with one or more specific content areas of our site. Our website is maintained by Volunteer Team members who spend untold hours bringing this great resource to you. Many thanks goes to these dedicated Scouters who have built this site and provided this wonderful resource to all.

Our History

In the earliest days of the Internet, Scouting's first presence was an email listserv known as Scouts-L started by Jon Eidson in 1990 and an FTP server in Dallas a few years later called Pluto operated by Jeff Webb  that allowed modem connected users to upload and download files.  Pluto was the first repository for Scouting clipart and documents.  In those heady days of experimentation and tinkering with this novel thing called the Internet, that we all take for granted today, most of us on the U.S. Scouting Service Project Team met via email conversations.  Folks like Mike Walton, Gary Hendra, and Kyna Hendra were uploading clipart to Pluto back in 1994 and chattering by primative email even earlier.  Others of us joined in over the next few years.

By 1994 the first U.S. Scouting Service Project website was launched.  It was a simple site in those days with little more than a search engine and a graphical map of features.  But it was the genesis of an idea that took root thanks to Chris Marsey who pioneered what would become one of the largest Scouting websites in the world with monthly visits from Scouters in more than 150 countries.  From that simple start in 1994 a small group of dedicated Scouters working as volunteer team members has built this website without having ever met face-to-face as a group.  When the owner of Pluto passed away, we took over the file library left behind with the help of Jon Eidson, a current board member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project.  For several years we operated an FTP site as a successor to Pluto and in 1998 converted it to web content.

Today - 2007

Since our beginning we've built and developed all that you see based on email friendships, Scouting trust, and good natured phone calls.  When you think about it, it is pretty amazing that a small group of Scouters without ever meeting as a group and with only the tools of the Internet has been able to forge together a website that became a Scouting community featuring more email lists, discussion forums, databases, and more than 30,000 content files.  Over the years we have been fortunate to find a succession of hosts that helped support us and keep us running.  Most recently the kind folks at www.data393.com in Denver stepped in when we were about to close down and offered us a home and a server.

Today you'll find monthly issues of Baloo's Bugle, which features Cub Scout theme material, monthly cartoons, an advice column that is published every few weeks, a growing content collection, updated andvancement requirements, a news blog, more than a dozen email lists, an active online forum for discussions, and much more.  In our first year we operated one website with a single domain name.  Today we operate 27 domain names with all of our websites integrated into a common navigation system allowing visitors to quickly switch from site to site without getting lost. 

Future

Our future is always uncertain and depends on the kindness and support of Scouters from around the globe, but because we are Scouters and have the help of so many, we think the future is bright.  Over the years we've been fortunate to have help from hundreds of Scouters from around the globe who have supported us with content contributions, donations, and labor.  We at the project team are fortunate to crew a vessel crafted by many, many hands and strengthened by that wonderful fellowship of Scouting that transcends borders and all manner of distinctions.  In many ways the existence of this website is a tribute to the Spirit of Scouting started 100 years ago by Robert Baden-Powell at Brownsea Island with a small group of Scouts that has since grown to millions. 


Scouts Using the Internet Cartoon - Courtesy of Richard Diesslin - Click to See More Cartoons
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