Preparing for next year’s journey – Packs

JTE-White_250The Journey to Excellence quality-check program has been with us for a few years now, and we have become accustomed to minor tweaks from year to year. For 2015, however, the changes are a bit more sweeping, though nearly all active units will be able to qualify for at least the Bronze level recognition.

First, you should review your pack’s or troop’s performance using the 2014 Journey to Excellence scorecard. If you find you fall short in some areas, it might be possible to make some changes now to ensure that you meet the 2014 requirements.

The 2015 JTE scorecards are out now, and as always, there are some changes. The national team that developed and periodically revises the Journey to Excellence program has explained that they intend to make changes from time to time in order to refine the effectiveness of the measurement program as well as to allow the items being measured to reflect a practicable level of performance.

The biggest change you’ll notice when comparing this year’s requirements with 2015’s is that the items have been rearranged. Previously, they were listed in approximate order of importance, but for 2015 they are listed in functional groupings: Planning and Budget, Membership, Program, and Volunteer Leadership, so as to place related requirements next to each other. Other changes are the reduction of the total number of line items:

  • The Fitness program requirements have been dropped as a JTE measurement item (they are no less important, however)
  • The Charter Renewal item has also been dropped. This was usually a “gimme” because an active unit automatically qualified. You are now asked to check the box stating that you are rechartering on time; there’s no loss of points for not doing so, but again, its importance is not diminished by its removal.

Now is a good time to look ahead at next year’s requirements and do some long-range planning to give your unit a good chance of achieving Gold status.

In this article, we’ll look at the changes for Cub Scout packs, and in the next article we’ll detail changes for Boy Scout troops.

Cub Scouting

Planning and Budget

  • #1 Planning and Budget. This requirement was formerly contained in items 10 and 11. The Bronze level moves the annual program plan requirement from the old item 11 (Pack and Den Meetings) and the Gold level requirement to establish the annual plan and budget changes from “before the next program year” to a fixed date of October 31.

Membership

  • #2 Building Cub Scouting, formerly item 3. The Bronze level requirement changes completely. Previously based on membership gain of one new member or having at least 27 Scouts, the new requirement stipulates holding a recruiting program by October 31 and recruiting any number of new members. The Silver and Gold levels remain unchanged.
  • #3 Retention, formerly item 2. No changes from previous requirements.
  • #4 Webelos-to-Scout Transition, formerly item 9. Essentially unchanged except for the addition to Bronze the requirement that second-year Webelos Scouts complete The Scouting Adventure, a Boy Scouting orientation program in the Webelos Handbook (a bit more info is available on page 4 of the latest Cub Scout Program Transition Information document).

Program

  • #5 Advancement, formerly item 1. The percentage of Scouts required to advance has decreased  (for Bronze, 40% instead of 50% and for Silver, 55% instead of 60%). Gold remains at 75%. But notably, there is no longer a provision to show a 2% increase for those not meeting these minimums.
  • #6 Outdoor Activities, formerly #4. The number of outdoor activities at each level remains the same but emphasis is placed on dens having the opportunity to participate in these activities.
  • #7 Day/Resident/Family Camp, formerly #6. The participation percentages remain the same (33%, 50% and 75%) but the alternative “show an increase” option no longer specifies a 2% increase; any improvement will do. (This is somewhat academic, as most packs have fewer than 50 members, and an increase of even one boy is greater than two percent anyway.)
  • #8 Service Projects, formerly #7, adds a Gold requirement for one of the projects to be conservation-related.
  • #9 Den and Pack Meetings, formerly #11, reduces the Bronze requirement from nine to eight pack meetings over the course of a year, and moves the program planning requirement to the new item #1.

Volunteer Leadership

  • #10 Leadership Planning, formerly item #8 Leadership Recruitment. The Bronze requirement from the old Trained Leadership (#5) category becomes the Bronze requirement for this item. The Silver requirement is the old Bronze Leadership Recruitment item, and the Gold requirement is unchanged except to emphasize that every den has a registered leader by October 31.
  • #11 Trained Leadership, formerly item #5. Emphasis is placed on having a pack committee. Bronze requires direct leaders to have orientation training in addition to the required Youth Protection Training. (Which training is considered “orientation” isn’t specified; presumably, online Fast Start would qualify.) There are no changes to the Silver and Gold requirements.

Categories and Point Values

Because of a decrease in the number of line items, point values have been adjusted and the total number of points and different categories required for each level has been decreased. Adjustments in the point values suggests greater emphasis in the areas of planning, advancement, camping, pack and den meetings, leadership planning and leadership training.

In the next article we’ll compare the old and new JTE requirements for Boy Scout troops.


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2 Replies to “Preparing for next year’s journey – Packs”

  1. I’ve reviewed the BSA site and others, and I’m having a hard time determining the timeframe/deadlines for JTE. I am the new Cubmaster for my pack, a pack that has never participated in JTE. So, am I trying to meet the 12/31/2014 deadline for submission for the 2014 award, or am I going by the 2015 scorecard, and waiting until 12/31/2015 for the 2015 award? Obviously, I’d like to motivate the pack by earning the 2014 award this fall, but it seems counter-intuitive to “cram” requirements into this fall that may not have been met in Spring 2014.

    1. Dave,

      The 2014 scorecard is used if you recharter between October 2014 and September 2015, so you would report your 2014 performance on the 2014 scorecard and submit it with your charter renewal. The 2015 scorecard applies to next year’s recharter and you start earning points as of January 1.

      Go ahead and fill out the 2014 scorecard. There is a spreadsheet on the JTE section of the BSA website that will walk you through the form and help you find the numbers. If you need help with things like advancement and retention, your unit commissioner or district professional can help. Do look at it now and see if there are ways to improve prior to the end of the year.

      And start planning so you can qualify in 2015. Keep in mind that the Journey to Excellence is intended to recognize units that do a good job of delivering a quality Scouting program. It’s not a checklist of things a unit should be doing, but if a unit is doing the right things it should have no problem qualifying. Good luck!

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