Don’t worry, Journey to Excellence scoring will be adjusted in light of COVID-19

When you planned a big spring event for your pack, troop, crew or ship last year, you weren’t counting on a global pandemic disrupting everything.

The same can be said about the volunteers who created the 2020 Journey to Excellence scorecards.

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. JTE scorecards are updated each year to reflect feedback from unit leaders like you. (Want an overview of JTE? Read our explainer here.)

“We made certain assumptions in creating the JTE standards,” says Neil Lupton, chairman of the BSA’s National Assessment and Evaluation Committee. “Those assumptions fail in the face of the coronavirus.”

That’s why the committee has announced that it will re-evaluate and revise JTE requirements once the coronavirus threat is diminished and the country’s path forward becomes more clear.

“As always, JTE should be helpful and encouraging to all in Scouting,” says Jeff Rand, Lupton’s professional counterpart on the committee and leader of the BSA’s performance management team.

Scouting isn’t on pause

While JTE requirements will need to change for 2020, it’s worth noting that Scouting itself hasn’t been paused during the lockdown.

It’s been truly inspiring to see Scouts continue meeting, serving others and having fun while everyone is at home. And the BSA’s brilliant Scouting at Home initiative, developed in a matter of days, gives families exciting, meaningful activities they can safely enjoy at home.

But some JTE standards cannot realistically be met during stay-at-home orders — at least not as written on the scorecard. That’s why Lupton and his fellow volunteers are planning to revise the standards once it’s reasonable to do so. The Scouting at Home activities you’re doing now will meet many of those new requirements.

“In the interim, units, districts, and councils should use the Journey to Excellence standards in addition to other planning tools, but all should be tempered with realism and with the need for safety for all,” Lupton says. “As far as revisions to the Journey to Excellence standards or changes in the requirements for gold, silver and bronze, it’s premature to make any such decisions.”

How you can help

JTE is a grassroots effort built by Scouters, for Scouters. Longtime readers of this blog know that each year, we ask for your help in creating the next year’s scorecards.

That community-driven effort isn’t stopping now.

Lupton and Rand encourage Scouters with suggestions about modifications to JTE during 2020 to send them to jte@scouting.org. That’s also where you can send any questions you might have about JTE and its implementation this year.

I’ll close with this: Just by reading this post, you’re proving how much you care about Scouting and its life-changing effects on young people.

If you’ve read this far, it’s because you’re invested in JTE. And if you’re invested in JTE, it means you want to deliver the best possible program for your Scouts or Venturers.

Thanks for all you do — now and always.

About Bryan Wendell 2988 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.