It is that time of year, within Cascade Pacific, for Re-Charter. It is also that time to fill out or complete the Journey to Excellence (JTE) paperwork. When I was the Cubmaster, Pack 221 earned Gold Journey to Excellence with 100% Boyslife twice. We also earned the Quality Unit Award on twice. Last year Troop 150 earned Journey to Life Gold with 100% Boyslife. The first time in a longtime. Troop 150 is again on track to earn Gold in 2015.
What is Journey to Excellence and why should I really care at all? While Bryan on Scouting has a good blog post about it, I have a few pointers myself.
Each year the National BSA Office tweaks and updates the Journey to Excellence program. They have to, or there would not be any challenge to it. Some of the updates are based on recently created programs, others are there to help with overall metrics. One metric would be to gain new scouts and retain current ones. Membership within the BSA has been falling in many regions of the United States. Another Metric is Training. Not a lot of the Adult Leaders are “Trained” for their position. Having Trained Adult Leaders helps the Scouts understand the program. Do you want a frustrated Adult guiding the Scouts?
If the membership is sustaining itself with new members, retaining current with normal advancement of Scouts, then that unit is generally healthy. It also should show that the Adult Leadership is Trained for their position or in progress of completing it. For 2015 within the Troop Scorecard there is a Gold for those Units who have at least one person to have attended Wood Badge. A lot of commitment for any Unit.
So…really. Why is there such a thing? Think of JTE as your one on one with your boss. An annual review that happens to make sure you are on the right track and performing as needed. It also helps point you in directions for improvement. JTE does not have penalties and you cannot be fired. Well, you could be. If performing horribly, the Scouts and parents can leave and the Unit folds. But, let’s not go there.
There is also other benefits for turning in the JTE Form. For many Adult Leaders, the ability to earn Adult Awards and Knots helps them along their journey. I can safely say that when I was a Tiger Den Leader and Cubmaster I had no clue what I needed to do. After “Googling” for a short time I found the Knots that informed me of the Training and other items I needed to complete. I blogged about this fact back in 2010. And yes, I am on track to get the District Committee Key and Scouter Training Key in 2016.
So, is this just for Scout Units? Nope…Journey to Excellence is also for Districts and Councils.
Taking this up a notch, this is how the Professionals get graded! Just like your department at work, when the Team wins your boss wins. A successful unit has a sucessful boss and on up. In the end, the metrics that bubble up from the Unit to District to Council to Area to National get reflected in how the whole program is working. People like to see a company succeed and earn awards. People gravatate to it. Why go with #2, when #1 is better?
I know that our District, Skyloo, is on the path for GOLD! Which, it has not been Gold for awhile. It takes a lot work within the District via Units and people to make this happen.