As any veteran scouter can attest, the BSA has had a program encouraging unit health and growth for years. Until 2009, the program was called the Unit Excellence Award. From 2010 to 2013, the program was called the Centennial Award. Since 2014, the award is now called the Journey to Excellence Award. All of these have used different measurements to assess the health of pack, troops, and crews, while maintaining similar goals.
For the first two years of the Journey to Excellence, the program has been completely voluntary and incentivized by discounts on various products, such as pinewood derby cars, when specific goals were met.
For 2016 rechartering, this will change. Now the Journey to Excellence Award Report will be a required part of the rechartering packet. That does not mean that units are required to pursue the award. It just means that the units must disclose their statistics at the end of this charter period.
With the new my.scouting.org, a unit self-assessment form can be generated. The Commissioner Service is required to ask each unit to do a self-assessment with the unit commissioner semi-annually. This self-assessment is designed to work in coordination with JTE measurements. Rick Tardy, our Council Commissioner, recommends that this be done in the spring and the fall of each year. The spring is ideal for helping units plan for summer camp and its impact on JTE efforts. The fall is ideal to prepare for rechartering. BSA’s goal with this process is to encourage unit key 3 leaders to be sensitive to the unit’s health at various times throughout the year.
Since the Journey to Excellence is required, the District Commissioner is taking certain steps to assist with this transition. First, he is sending out Self-Assessment forms through my.scouting.org. Second, he is asking unit key 3 to complete the self-assessment before the district committee meeting on May 21st. For that goal, he is requesting that these self-assessments be completed by May 14th. Third, he is planning to use this data submitted to determine how to prioritize district support assets.
Many units have not begun implementing JTE with any systematic effort. They have many questions. BSA tried to answer some Frequently Asked Questions.
Please feel free to ask the Commissioner Service any questions about this. Your unit commissioners have not been fully trained on this process yet, but they can collect your questions and get back to you with answers.