News & Notes – June 2022

A few items to be aware of this month:

2022 Journey to Excellence scorecards

The Boy Scouts of America has released the latest update to the annual Journey to Excellence scorecards, which list the unit evaluation items that go into determining a unit’s JTE status at the end of the year. We’ve always encouraged unit leaders to use the scorecard a few times a year to see how they’re doing. Now is a good time to see how the first half of the year went and what might need to be improved upon going forward.

Here are the key differences:

Packs

Just about every line on the scorecard has been updated in some way.

  • Item 1 changes from Planning and Budget to just Planning, but includes using the steps included in the Annual Program Planning for Cub Scouting training module, using the Planning your Annual Pack Budget worksheet. The annual program and budget is distributed to all members of the pack, and for Gold, conduct an annual family orientation and have 80 percent of families engaged on Scoutbook. Virtual meetings are okay for 2022.
  • Item 2, Building Cub Scouting, requires units earning Silver and Gold to start new Lion or Tiger dens.
  • Item 3, Retention, ups the re-registration quotas to 62 percent for Bronze and 70 percent for Silver, and for Gold requires at least 50 percent of families to volunteer for at least one task.
  • Item 5, Advancement, has Bronze units have 90 percent of new Cub Scouts earn Bobcat by December 31, and for Silver, at least 80 percent complete at least six adventures.
  • Items 6 and 7 are rearranged somewhat. Item 6, formerly Outdoor Activities, moves to Item 7 (formerly Day/Resident Camp) and item 6 becomes Activities. Item 6 encompasses the pack conducting activities other than regular meetings, and for Gold, conduct a derby and a Blue and Gold Banquet.
  • Item 8, Service Projects, changes from requiring a set number of projects to requiring time spent on projects and percentage of participants. There’s just a minimum of one project per year required.
  • Item 9, Pack and Den Meetings, is deleted.
  • Item 10, Leadership recruitment, becomes Volunteer Opportunities, requiring identifying volunteer positions and encouraging parental participation, selecting den leaders for existing dens prior to the program year and for new dens by October 31, and for Gold, having a succession plan for key leaders.
  • Item 11, Trained Leadership, now includes committee members in required training, has new leaders complete the Before Your First Meeting module within 30 days, and for Gold, have all den leaders complete position-specific training by December 31.
Troops

Other than minor wording, there are virtually no changes to the troop scorecard. Item 8, Service Projects, now has troops enter service hours in Scoutbook rather than on the JTE website. For Gold on item 10, Leadership and Family Engagement, troops must now recruit one new adult leader.

A fly on the wall

The BSA has recently reminded us about our responsibility as adult leaders to be aware of what the youth are up to at all times. Calling the action engaged supervision, we are to monitor for inappropriate behavior, be aware of everything that is going on around us, keep an eye on the restrooms and showers for inappropriate activity, monitor online activity and communication, and always ensure that two adults are present whenever youth are meeting.

While these actions are essential for the safety of the youth, some are in conflict with established youth protection guidelines. How, for instance, are we to closely monitor restrooms, showers and changing areas when adults are also expected to grant youth privacy in those situations? I always feel awkward using a public restroom when a child is also using it, so my instincts tell me that it’s difficult to afford Scouts the privacy they deserve when we are keeping an eye on the situation.

Other considerations involve our mere presence at patrol and troop meetings that may impact the way the Scouts carry on their work. The Scouts may feel that they need to play to the “audience” of the adults, rather than conduct the business of running their own meeting, if they are surrounded by an army of uniformed adults (as I’ve seen in some troops).

While adult involvement is a core part of the Cub Scout program, Scoutmasters of some of the most successful troops have long practiced what can be called “Scoutmastership at 300 feet” – a reference to the practice of keeping watch at a distance, so they can be aware of what’s going on without being in the midst of the meeting or camp activity. This would seem to be the opposite of the more immersive “engaged” part of supervision that we are being asked to practice.

There has to be a middle ground where we as adults can keep watch over Scouts to ensure that they are following the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their activities without being too close, so that we tend toward the often-used “Baby Sitters of America” that we so frequently drift into.

What are your thoughts on engaged supervision and how it applies to the patrol method? Leave a note in the comments.

That’s all for now. Go out and enjoy those summer activities you have planned for your Scouts!

This post News & Notes – June 2022 first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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2 Replies to “News & Notes – June 2022”

  1. Well said!
    I like the phrase Scoutmastership at 300 feet. We’re usually more like 150 feet but I’m not going to quibble about that.
    (But I will call you out for your closing sentence: “… those summer activities **you** have planned for your Scouts!”.
    Umm, didn’t the Scouts plan the activities? Youth Led FTW!)

    1. SD, thanks for your observation! And apologies for the late posting and reply – I’ve been handling other things for the last couple months. The comment about the summer activities was meant in the Cub Scouting context (Summertime Pack Award stuff). Of course, youth participants in the ScoutsBSA and advanced programs plan and conduct their own activities with adult support and two-deep oversight. (I still like to leave the “leadership” to the Scouts!) Thanks for pointing that out.

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