What is Journey to Excellence, and why should you care?

Scouting-101-logoYou think you’re making all the right moves for your Cub Scouts, Scouts or Venturers, but do you really know?

With the BSA’s Journey to Excellence scorecards in hand, you can answer that question with a satisfying yes.

Journey to Excellence, often shortened to JTE, is a self-evaluation tool that lets unit leaders see, quantitatively, how well their unit is meeting the goals of Scouting. Think of it as a progress report. You can check in regularly to make sure you’re delivering the best possible program for our Scouts and Venturers.

The process is simple, and the benefits are tangible. Here’s a quick guide.

1. Learn why JTE is worth your time.

JTE scorecards offer these benefits:

  1. A framework for planning the year with standards based on what successful units do to continually improve.
  2. A method for evaluating your unit in tangible ways (number of campouts, number of youth advancing, etc.)
  3. Guidance in areas where you might do better and early warning of potential problems.
  4. Specific guidelines and standards of what is considered good performance.
  5. Recognition for good Scouting: bronze, silver or gold.
  6. Benchmarking to get ideas and tips from other good units.

2. Download the JTE scorecard.

At the beginning of each calendar year, print out the latest JTE scorecard from this website. There are scorecards for the following Scouting entities:

  • Cub Scout packs
  • Scouts BSA troops
  • Venturing crews
  • Sea Scout ships
  • Exploring posts
  • Districts
  • Exploring districts
  • Councils

3. Introduce the scorecard to your unit committee.

Ask them to fill in the sections corresponding to their function in the unit: finance, membership, program, leadership.

This is where tracking workbooks, available here under “unit tools,” come in handy. The JTE scorecards work best when several Scouters participate in tracking.

4. Review your progress on this year’s scorecard.

At the end of the year and at regular intervals throughout the year, monitor your progress as you go for gold in JTE.

You can try a “thorns, roses and buds” approach or look at things you want to “start, stop and continue.”

Either way, learn where you aren’t maximizing your JTE points and find specific improvements. Appoint a volunteer to hold the unit accountable for those changes.

5. Look at next year’s scorecard.

The BSA releases scorecards early, meaning you have time to plan ahead so you can meet your goals. Always best to Be Prepared.

6. Complete your scorecard and turn it in.

On Dec. 31 of each year, JTE scorecards are due to your unit commissioner, district executive or council representative.

Units that plan ahead aren’t surprised by their score; they’re expecting it.

Like a marathon runner checking her watch after each mile, a unit should check its scorecard regularly to aim for gold.

Find all the Journey to Excellence information you need at this site.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.