I heard from a pack committee chair, who asked me:
Our unit commissioner was helping me with our charter renewal and suggested that we register one of our den leaders as an assistant Cubmaster instead. He could still function as den leader, but it would make our Journey to Excellence numbers better. We’d get another 50 or 100 points if we did. Sounds like a good idea. What do you think?
Journey to Excellence is a tool for evaluating how well your unit is serving youth. It measures a dozen or so objectives and assigns points depending on whether your unit meets the objectives. It’s not perfect, but as measurement tools go, it’s pretty good. It was carefully thought out and developed by an experienced team of volunteer unit Scouters and commissioners and is adjusted each year to improve its effectiveness
As such, it has two purposes that benefit your unit:
- It reaffirms the areas in which your unit is doing a good job serving your Scouts.
- It identifies areas where your unit could improve.
By tilting the numbers to make your unit look better, you defeat both of these purposes. It makes you look like you’re doing better than you are, and it doesn’t show where you could tune it up a bit.
Packs, troops and crews should not design their program to score highly on Journey to Excellence – that’s not the point. Nor should they circumvent its principles just to score higher. It’s a snapshot of how your unit looks at year’s end, and to skew the numbers would be like putting on makeup so you’ll look better when the camera clicks.
Adult volunteers should be primarily doing the job they’re registered in – not moved around just to satisfy or boost JTE’s scorecard. You shouldn’t just plug someone in on your roster if they’re not doing that job. By the same token, the Cubmaster shouldn’t double as a den leader or cover a committee function, for example. So unless the den already has two leaders (and one is willing to change positions), you should avoid registering one as an assistant Cubmaster so your numbers look better.
Of course, your assistant Cubmaster (whose job is to back up the Cubmaster and help with his duties) can also help, but not function as, the den leader for his son’s (or any other) den. A successful pack has plenty of adult help in areas where it’s needed, and nobody should be wearing two or more hats.
You can learn from this year’s evaluation, identify areas that need improvement, and recruit an assistant Cubmaster during the next year. If you do, you’ll come by those 50 points honestly.