Journey into 2020

The end of the year is hectic, with packs, troops and crews wrapping up their roster review, collecting membership fees and filing their recharter paperwork. It can be a big job, especially if there’s lots of turnover either with youth members leaving as well as joining. And getting those disclosure forms is causing a lot of gray hair – almost as much as trying to figure out how to pay registration fees that have doubled with funds that are most likely already collected.

Sometimes relegated to an afterthought is the Journey to Excellence scorecard. A one-page checkup on the health of your unit, JTE is a handy way to see where you’re doing well and where you might consider improving. When you sit down with your unit commissioner and go over the form, you can gain some valuable insight into how to help your unit better serve your youth.

The scorecard has been published and revised annually since its inception eight years ago. The JTE team at the national council reviews the figures from thousands of units to see how the scorecard items really act as a predictor for the quality of experience the units are providing.

For 2020, however, the committee didn’t make any changes to any of the benchmarks on the 2019 JTE scorecards. There aren’t any areas where you’ll have to think differently in order to requalify next year. The scorecard works as it’s currently designed.

What this means is that when you complete your JTE scorecard this year (and please do so honestly; don’t try to bend the meaning of an item to squeak out a few more points), take note of any items where you didn’t score in the Gold column. Work with your unit commissioner to turn these areas into a Unit Service Plan, where you’ll set a goal and a deadline and designate a person responsible for guiding the process. For instance, you may note that you only did three service projects in 2019. You’d like to pick up Gold in that category, so have one of your committee members work with the troop to identify another idea for a fourth service project. Once it’s done, make sure your commissioner knows about it.

Journey to Excellence isn’t just more paperwork to be filled out at recharter time. It’s a valuable tool to help you do better for your Scouts. If you take it seriously and heed its conclusions, you’ll have a road map for making that happen.

You can find out more about Journey to Excellence, including support documents, and download the scorecards here.

While we’re on the subject of forms, the national council has announced a new version of the Annual Health and Medical Record form. This form is required for any encampment over 72 hours and should be kept on file for every youth and adult participant who camps with your troop.  The form was updated after consulting with camp medical officers, council health supervisors and medical professionals.

The new form can (and should) be used immediately, but if a participant has had a physical examination since August of 2019, he or she can use the previous form through summer camp of 2020. Those who haven’t had a physical since August should use the new form. The old version becomes obsolete in January 2021. You’ll find answers to some frequently-asked questions here.

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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