How do you know whether your unit offers the best possible experience for the Scouts and Venturers you serve?
You keep score.
Scouting’s Journey to Excellence (JTE) gives you specific, measurable ways to track success based on a number of key factors like camping, service, advancement, training and retention.
Those packs, troops, crews, ships, teams and posts that really shine earn either bronze, silver or gold JTE status for the year. Those that don’t learn from other units and benefit from an early warning system that gives them plenty of time to make corrections.
But just like no Scout unit can improve by standing still, the JTE scorecards themselves are under constant assessment and reinvention.
That process is underway now for standards at the unit, district and council levels for the 2015 versions of the scorecards, and you can have your say.
Any leader or Scout who wants to make a suggestion about the JTE scorecards should email email@example.com. Do so soon because the review group of national, council and unit-level leaders will be meeting next week.
Neil Lupton is a member of the National Mission Impact Support Committee, which is responsible for the Journey to Excellence. Lupton shared the guidelines the review group will use in considering changes:
How JTE changes will be considered
- By and large, Journey to Excellence is well received and is considered to be measuring the correct factors, which represent what Scouting should be doing. Major changes are unlikely.
- Gold status represents Outstanding Scouting; Silver is Excellent Scouting and Bronze is satisfactory Scouting. It is not expected nor realistic that Gold will be achieved across the board at any level. Achieving overall Gold requires solid performance in most key areas but can represent a deficiency in one or two areas and that’s OK. No one is perfect, nor is expected to be. At the council level, the plan has been that 10% of councils will achieve Gold, another 40% will achieve Silver and another 30% will achieve Bronze which would mean that 20% achieve no color recognition.
- There have been critiques that Journey to Excellence is too complicated with too many “moving parts.” There are some criteria which might be made more accurate but that could require additional complexity. When there is a suggestion to add something, the review group asks “what should we then take out?” Normally, the answer has been that everything already in there is of high priority.
- Ideally, at every level, Journey to Excellence factors are things that should be known anyway. A unit really should know how many of its youth advanced during the year. A Council should have recorded how many of its youth went long-term camping during the year. Documenting Journey to Excellence performance should simply involve inputting what is already known.
- The Journey to Excellence standards should be a best planning guide and review guide during the year. If a unit, or District, or Council plans to achieve high standards in Journey to Excellence, sets out a good plan, and reviews that plan frequently during the year to make adjustments, the result should be both high level Journey to Excellence achievement and providing great Scouting to youth.
- Continuous improvement is part of the Journey to Excellence process. That’s why most standards have both the determined standard (we’re doing well) and an improvement standard (we made a significant improvement.) Continuous improvement is part of the standard setting process too. We try each year to make things a bit better. Hopefully, each of us does a bit better each year. It’s very possible that the same performance that earned Gold last year would only earn Silver this year. We hope for improvement.
- Like everything else in Scouting, Journey to Excellence should be fun. It should be fun to plan to get better, then to do it and then to be recognized for it.
Please send in your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Every suggestion will be read carefully and considered. If it isn’t put in this year, then maybe next year.