Whereas the scouting movement has been around for a considerable amount of time and is most often associated with a healthy (if not thoroughly needed) engagement with the “great outdoors”, it is not a static entity and has kept abreast of technological development (as CMScout proves). Despite the concentration of scouting on physical activities that most often take place within a natural environment, the deeper objective of the movement is to develop character, self-esteem and a sense of independence within each scout. Another objective, and currently one that has come under the media spotlight due to global warming and the need for sustainable forms of energy, is the engendering of respect for the natural environment and a sense of responsibility for its correct management.
As has been alluded to, the environmental focus of the scouting movement has not excluded it from taking advantage of technology development, least of all technology like the internet and telecommunication. The communicative advantages created by the proliferation of the internet mean that scouts from within a community as well as from without the community can engage in forum debates, notices, the posting of photos and important news, etc.
In order to enable this type of online interaction an open source content management system (CMS) has been developed to help scout masters without much technical knowledge to set up a website that is appropriate to the needs of scouting organisations. The fact that the CMS is open source means that it is available for download for free, and is designed for end user use.
Essentially, a content management system is web software that enables a webmaster/scout master to install and manage the site properly without the latter party having to know anything about programming and without needing high levels of expertise. CMScout includes the types of features that the majority of CMSs have, but has additional features and add-ons that are specifically designed for scout-orientated needs. Additionally, CMScout can also be used for any other application that has similar requirements to those of the scouting community.
CMScout was designed by a scout master with scouting in mind, and those who intend to use it, therefore, never have to download other, not entirely suitable add-ons (like an application to handle the management of Sandton property for sale) to facilitate forums, patrol sites, award schemes, photo albums, articles, etc. The design of the system is mostly visual, and code is only represented if specifically asked for; webmasters can therefore set up a troop/pack/area/etc. site without the hassle, and expense, of requiring professional involvement.
Some of the notable features of CMScout include the following:
Highly adjustable website content
Entirely customizable menus
Adjustable website landing page (front page)
A user friendly download system
Article Pages: patrol members can articles and post them to pages specifically aimed at other patrol or troop members
A comments section/user feedback system
“Group Sites”: some groups can have their own small websites; this includes articles, photos and content.
Easy to use administration panel – Great care has gone into the creating of the administration panel to make sure that it is easy to use.
Template System: this template system allows a user to select how they want the site to look. There are a number of templates that are available, and more templates can be programmed by those administrators/web masters/scout masters who have HTML and CSS experience.
Site visitors can upload: Articles, Photos, Event Dates, Items for Download and News
Forum: the system is equipped with a forum to allow members to interact on this popular platform type
A Personal Messenger allows users to send messages to each other
CMScout requires a server with the following installed:
Apache 1.3 or newer
PHP 4.3.x or newer
MySQL 4 or newer
GD 2 or newer