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Your problems with JTE


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I do like JTE, because it identifies areas that my troop is week at. Last year, I set a goal to do 9 short term campouts. I had to push the scouts to achieve this. At the first troop meeting this year, I asked the scouts where they wanted to camp this year. They made a list of sites, so the SPL and the PLC have some camp planning to work with the next two months. Scouts do get excited about this part of the program when they get to decide on the destinations. 

How about this...

Bronze: Troop and/or patrols goes on six separate short term (1-3 nights) campouts during the year.

Silver: Achieve Bronze, Scouts select all locations for campouts, plan meals and activites for the campout, and get committee support for transportation, reservations if needed, and secure required adult safety monitoring.

Gold: 9 separate campouts, and scouts plan and execute an advacement activity at each campout.

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There are JTE points for having patrols and having PLC meeting, but no points for patrols doing anything as patrols, for patrol leaders making any decisions, for the leaders - Scouts - being elected,

Because brutal honesty is so unseemly these days.

My sole complaint is that it is an attempt to measure quality in an objective manner by using quantifiable metrics. Excellence is a term of quality not quantity, so using numerical metrics can only, b

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He had taken no training" "All you need is to like kids." 

 

Every Scout who stayed to 18 got Eagle.  That was his promise to the parents  (I heard it made three times.) - even if that meant the SM signing him off for half a dozen Merit Bages the last day and Let's pretend holding POR.    I must say, he seemed to be enjoying himself.  😐

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Just now, TAHAWK said:

He had taken no training" "All you need is to like kids." 

 

Every Scout who stayed to 18 got Eagle.  That was his promise to the parents  (I heard it made three times.) - even if that meant the SM signing him off for half a dozen Merit Bages the last day and Let's pretend holding POR.    I must say, he seemed to be enjoying himself.  😐

"All you need is to like kids." to have a camping club, or Webelos III.

Sad that so many missed out on the real treasure...

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Another set of metrics is the national honor patrol award. Bronze could be all patrols score against it. Gold could be all patrols achieve it. Silver is somewhere in between.  Or maybe each patrol needs their own JTE. I think we talked about this many moons ago.

Anyway, not perfect but not a bad place to start and someone has been thinking about this.
 

Quote

 

Boy Scouts of America National Honor Patrol Award

The very best patrols exhibit enthusiasm, teamwork, and camaraderiethat special spark known as patrol spirit. The National Honor Patrol Award is given to patrols whose members make an extra effort to have the best patrol possible. Your patrol can earn the award by doing the following over a period of three months. Your patrol may earn multiple award patches by meeting the requirements in additional three-month time periods.

1. Have a patrol name, flag, and yell. Put the patrol design on equipment and use the patrol yell. Keep patrol records up-to-date.

2. Hold two patrol meetings each month.

3. Take part in at least one hike, outdoor activity, or other Scouting event.

4. Complete two Good Turns or service projects approved by the patrol leaders' council.

5. Help two patrol members advance in rank.

6. Have at least 75 percent of members in full uniform at troop activities.

7. Have a representative attend at least three patrol leaders' council meetings.

8. Have eight members in the patrol or experience an increase in patrol membership.

 

 

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"7. Have a representative attend at least three patrol leaders' council meetings."

 

Where the Supreme Master tells you what you will be doing in future?

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If I look at the JTE requirements, 5 of 11 are program related.  Pointwise, they contribute 900 points towards the total.  You only need 1,000 points in 2021 to achieve gold and so almost all of the focus of the troop could be program and they'd get gold.

I am sure there are other measures that would define a troop with a good program.  Should we:

  1. replace some of the existing program items with new program items?
  2. replace some of the non-program items with more program items?
  3. add more program items keeping the scores the same?
  4. add more program items and increasing the scores needed at each level?

Myself - I'm all for #4 here - adding more program items and increasing the overall score a troop needs to achieve at each level.  I would be fully supportive of some of the kinds of program @TAHAWKmentioned above.  I also very much like @MattR's suggestion including the honor patrol program.  I could see adding an item to JTE that awarded points if the patrols are attempting to achieve honor patrol status.

I do not believe that I would remove the non-program items though.  Generally they all strike me as good goals for a strong troop to accomplish.

 

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought
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It's been a few years since I had to deal with JTE, so maybe these complaints about the process are no longer valid.  But, that won't stop me from writing them anyway :).  

1. Even in the pre-scoutbook era, the BSA had almost all the information they needed to calculate JTE from recharter info, Tour Permits (remember those?), the service hour website (what was that called, service to america or something), etc.  JTE should have been a 0 second effort for any unit serving vol other than entering data during the year.  Turn in your recharter in December, wait three months for the BSA to rekey everything into their systems, have a nice announcement at the district dinner.  In the Scoutbook era this absolutely should be a 0 second effort for unit volunteers.

2. No scout anywhere, ever, should hear the letters JTE uttered by an adult.  The only exception I might make to that rule is when the SM works with the SPL on planning ideas.  Even then it shouldn't be "JTE requires us to perform X service projects" rather, "Hey, we should consider putting together a service projects."  JTE is some management consultant's wet dream.  No scout should be exposed to that.

3. The camping metrics are meaningless.  For example, if a unit of 30 scouts holds 10 campouts they check off gold.  It doesn't matter if they have an average of 5 attending or 25.  It's a meaningless number.  If we really want to measure the effectiveness of the camping program the metric should be something like percentage of available scout camping nights.  If the gold goal is 10 weekend campouts per year, that's 20 camping nights per scout.  If you have 30 scouts that's a total of 600 hours.  Make the gold metric then 90% of scout camping nights.  Maybe make it 90% of total and 60% per scout.  Same thing applies to long-term summer camp.  It should be a percentage of total available scout camping nights.  Again, in the Scoutbook era, this should be easily calculated by the backend systems.

4. Same argument as number 3 for service hours.

5. The advancement metric while well meaning, drives the Eagle Mill mentatlity.  OMG!  JTE says everyone has to advance one rank!!!!!  I don't know what the metric should be but it's not this.

One other thought, the management quotes from earlier are missing the qualifying clause.  They should be something like "Whatever gets measured gets managed, to the exclusion of everything else."  JTE is the BSAs version of teaching to the test.

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35 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

2. No scout anywhere, ever, should hear the letters JTE uttered by an adult.  The only exception I might make to that rule is when the SM works with the SPL on planning ideas.  Even then it shouldn't be "JTE requires us to perform X service projects" rather, "Hey, we should consider putting together a service projects."  JTE is some management consultant's wet dream.  No scout should be exposed to that.

Agreed, SPL (and therefore ASPLs?) is prob only one to hear of this before the Annual Planning Conference.

I simply tell our SPLs that JTE are a set of guidelines (not requirements) which help us design a quality program for our Scouts.  Leave it at that...no metrics, no numbers, no percentages

We have distilled it down to these planning guidelines ...

1.  Plan a camping trip for every month of the year.  July is a week long Summer Camp.  August is high adventure week. (or you can swap those)  (If we have one Scout sign up for any event, we will go.  We have had a camping trip with with as few as four Scouts, and it was awesome.)

2.  Plan a day trip/event for every month of the year.  Hikes, climbing, museum, rafting, canoeing, cycling, mountain biking, fishing, Paul Bunyan....whatever you want, as long as it is not a prohibited activity. and one of those should be a Webelos recruiting event (kind of like our own Scout show :) ) 

3.  Plan a service project for every other month.  (Not for any other reason than that is what Scouts do, and who we are ;) )  Two of those are our adopt-a-highway.  So, they really only have to plan four. (Oh, by the way...PLC, do you want to still do the adopt-a-highway?)

4.  Plan for a Court of Honor every quarter.  One of them is upon our return on Saturday from Summer Camp. (Yes, the leaders stay up half the night making sure all advancement is recorded and approved in Scoutbook.  Saturday morning our Advancement Chair back home purchases all items.  We all arrive home at once, around noon, and the parents have brought some refreshments.  We bang out a recognition ceremony, and everyone is happy.)  Rain date is our next meeting.

5.  Plan for SPL and PL elections every six months.  Plan for a PLC once per month (and expect a short one after every meeting.) Plan for an OA election once per year.

6.  A minimum of two of your camping trips, and two of your day trips must be Patrol-only focused.  That is, patrols spread out and do whatever the heck they want, wherever the heck they want (as long as it is not a prohibited activity.)

7.  Plan to conduct an ILST after each election, and after the SPL has chosen his "cabinet."

You do this, and advancement, recruitment, and retention just happen...

All the rest of JTE is up to adults to monitor and finesse...

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I also come from the old JTE. At first we thought it annoying because we did most of the requirements anyway. But when I learned to respect when volunteered at the district and council because a lot of units need some guideline to even attempt a quality program. Most folks on this forum, or any scouting forum, likely come from a average to better than average program. But, there are a lot of units that barely operate with BSA guidance because they simply don't have the knowledge and or skills. Yes, they get through training, but they have busy personal lives and truly only give one hour a week. JTE is a good reminder for them of a BSA Scouting program.

I don't agree with some of the metrics like advancing every scout once a year or even some of the recruiting goals, but in general, the JTE has some guidance power toward a BSA run program.

33 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Agreed, SPL (and therefore ASPLs?) is prob only one to hear of this before the Annual Planning Conference.

I simply tell our SPLs that JTE are a set of guidelines (not requirements) which help us design a quality program for our Scouts.  Leave it at that...no metrics, no numbers, no percentages

We have distilled it down to these planning guidelines ...

 

And this is how or program works as well. The responsibility for a good quality program is on the PLC. They are responsible for the three (silly me, four Aims) by applying the Eight Methods. They don't set numbers goals, but program quality goals by basically doing the Eight Methods. Our PLC is in the habit of doing a service project on every campout (as well as others in the communtiy). That is not a JTE goal, but in personal development and citizenship training exercise. A Patrol method program doesn't set advancement above other methods. The PLC provides a program where any and all scouts can advance to their personal goals. How many 12 to 17 year olds want to focus on advancing every year? We never got 100% on JTE, but our troop averaged one Eagle every 2.5 months. 

I don't know where JTE will go because it seems National is focused on a Political image of liberal social indoctrination. The thought of what National could demand from units through JTE is kind of scary.

Barry

Barry

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20 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

But, there are a lot of units that barely operate with BSA guidance because they simply don't have the knowledge and or skills. Yes, they get through training, but they have busy personal lives and truly only give one hour a week. JTE is a good reminder for them of a BSA Scouting program.

Right. If you look at JTE the portions that are focused on the Committee side are pretty good.

Planning and Budget

We should have an approved plan and budget? We should meet at least 6 times a year? (My current troop the committee hadn't met in YEARS; the SM and CC simply met once a month and that was that).

Recruitment

Committee should be out there banging the drum on this. You don't need a new parent coordinator or whatever, but the committee can take the burden OFF the SM by reaching out adult to adult to the Pack leaders in the area, for example.

And so on.

 

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22 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

"7. Have a representative attend at least three patrol leaders' council meetings."

 

Where the Supreme Master tells you what you will be doing in future?

I said it was a start. I've had patrols complete this and it does a great job of encouraging them to do their own thing. But, given that this is really just wishful thinking, I'm good with lots of ideas.

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I do believe that JTE needs to exist in some form. 

I was a long time Troop Committee Chair of a solid "Grade A" troop.  Were we perfect - no, certainly not.  But, when we got to JTE time we always achieved gold because we were doing most of the things on the form already.  We had high participation, great program, lots of advancement, were the largest troop in the district, had a lot of adult volunteers, etc.  We achieved all of this because we had a solid team of adults volunteers who were minding the ship.

When I retired and started helping in the district, I realized the same thing as @Eagledad.  Many units (perhaps more than 50%) were struggling with the basics.  The common thread was usually a lack of focus on fundamentals.  Monthly outdoor activity - maybe.  Recruiting plan - nope.  Patrol method - sometimes.  So yes, those average and above average troops don't need JTE.  But for those troops who are struggling it's a good blueprint of some things to focus on.

Perhaps the mix isn't quite right and could be tuned - but I think it helps to have something.

 

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