By Stan Lockhart
Feb 29, 2016

Journey to Excellence

You may have noticed Scouting is full of acronyms. Especially at the end of the year, you probably heard Scouters mention “JTE” or Journey to Excellence. According to National’s JTE webpage, “Scouting’s Journey to Excellence is the BSA’s council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA.”

JTE Scorecard

2016 Troop JTE Scorecard

Journey to Excellence (JTE) is an accountability system that allows our council and districts to evaluate their performance on their Scouting operations. I’ve watched Richard DuBois, UNPC Commissioner, work tirelessly to make sure our council is doing what is needed to comply with what National expects of us through JTE.

JTE starts at the unit level. Units fill in the Journey to Excellence survey to report on their activities throughout the year, including service hours, advancement, membership growth, training, camping days, and more. This can be a valuable tool for districts and the council to know how units are doing and make sure Scouting programs are working effectively for the youth and chartered partners we serve.

In my role as council president, I have relatively little to do with JTE other than Richard’s reports to our Key 3. However, as I talk to district and unit volunteers, I discover that as they approach the end of the year, they find JTE to be a burden rather than a help. I had one district chair tell me that, after eight hours of data input at the request of the district executive, he found that it wasn’t used in any meaningful way. When I talk to volunteers at the unit level, they don’t care at all about JTE, because they are spending their time with boys.

JTE should be an umbrella for success at the district and unit levels instead of being viewed as a nuisance and bother. One of the best ways to ensure this happens is for units to use JTE goals in their annual planning and then report on their success as they go instead of waiting until the end of the year to do the entire survey. We hope to work together with our volunteers and district staff to make better use of this tool moving forward.

If you have questions, concerns, or feedback, feel free to contact me at stanlockhartutah@gmail.com or (801) 368-2166.

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Author: Stan Lockhart | President, Utah National Parks Council, BSA

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