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New 2011 Performance Recognition Program

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Hello Platypus,

 

1) Please do send your comments and critique to JtE@scouting.org

 

2) These are the requirements for the first year of Journey to Excellence. If experience shows that a substantial number of Troops are meeting these requirements, then the requirements will be tightened up in future years. But right now, if most Troops met those Gold requirements, it would be a big improvement over where we are now.

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Many more materials on the Journey to Excellence program are now on-line. Journey to Excellence is the performance and recognition program which replaces the Centennial Quality program.

 

The URL for the program is:

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards/JourneyToExcellence.aspx

 

or go to www.scouting.org >>Volunteers and then the link is on the bottom right

 

Materials available are:

 

-- webinars for Packs, Troops, Crews, Districts, Councils

 

- scoresheets for Packs, Troops, Crews, Ships, Districts, Councils (Teams being developed)

 

- frequently asked questions for units, Districts, Councils

 

- glossary of terms

 

Questions on the program should go to jte@scouting.org

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Neil,

I listened to the webinar and have reviewed the score sheet and FAQS. As a SM for a small unit I have some concerns.

 

Retention: It doesn't take loosing very many boys for a small unit to fall below 76 or 85%.

 

Recruit 5 Webs for gold. We'd be lucky to get 5 Webs, even 2. How about other new members? No category for units reaching out to new non-Web. boys? A unit recruits 10 new kids, none are Webs? Minus 200 points.

 

Trained leadership: Does my committee really need to have "This is Scouting" and "Fast Start" training? I doubt my troop's secretary, and treasurer think so. I'm happy they just show up to committee meetings since they all have jobs, families and other obligations.

 

NYLT costs $200 bucks around here (of which $75 goes to council!!!!), I do TLT twice a year, after each troop election instead, and I don't charge anything!

 

I think a unit could have an excellent program and not even qualify for Bronze.

 

Biggest problem I see with this is that Web parents will look only at Gold Award troops compounding the problems small troops are having.

 

Instead of going through all of this I would rather have the District evaluate units and work with them on improving on a one one basis without all the bling.

 

Our committee will discuss if we are even going to participate in this program. I assume it's not mandatory?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello Eagle,

 

Thank you for your thorough review of the Journey to Excellence program and consideration how it applies to your small unit. I believe that the interests of small units and large units were considered in putting together the program.

 

If I may suggest, let's consider each of the requirements as they pertain to a small, one patrol unit, 10 boy unit.

 

a) Advancement - at the Bronze level, a 2% increase would mean that one more boy advances than did last year. However, achieving Gold would only mean that either 7 boys advance one rank or else if advancement was poor last year, 6 boys advance one rank. In a small unit, each boy can be well known to the Troop leadership. One would hope that plenty of opportunity for advancement is given. Gold should be achievable. That's 300 points

 

b) Retention - If retention was poor last year, you only need to retain one more than last year to meet the Bronze standard. If you are doing well, then you need to retain 8 of 10 to meet both Bronze and Silver. By the way, average retention of all Boy Scouts last year was 78%, so the Journey to Excellence standard is realistic in terms of what, on average, is being achieved. If you're doing well, I would hope you could retain 8 of 10. If not, perhaps not. If you did, that's 150 points for silver. If not, then no points.

 

c) Building Boy Scouting - The average Troop size in the BSA is 14 Boy Scouts, so you're below average. However, you meet Bronze by adding just one member over last year. And in a unit of 10 boys, that's also a 10% increase, so that also meets the Gold standard. So either you made Gold for 300 points or you got no points.

 

d) Training - This is an area where a small unit has a big advantage over a large unit. But let me make sure that I understand. Your Committee is putting in that much effort in support of your Troop but isn't willing to put in about 2 hours on-line at their convenience to participate in Fast Start and This is Scouting on-line to learn what their job is. Something seems to be wrong with this picture. One would hope that at least the Bronze level could be met for 75 points. But maybe not and that's zero points.

 

e) Short Term Campouts - I would hope that you have at least 4 short term campouts during the year for Bronze. That's 50 points. Perhaps you do 8 short term campouts for Silver but that can be tough for a small unit.

 

f) Long Term Campouts - If you have ONE BOY who goes to BSA summer camp (including provisional), or NYLT, or Philmont, or on a high adventure campout, you meet Bronze for 50 points. For our small unit, 6 boys going would be Silver and 7 boys would be Gold. In a small unit with strong program and good spirit, 7 boys out of 10 going to summer camp is very realistic. By the way, I believe that average performance across all Boy Scout Troops is in the 55-60% level. But let's say Silver for 100 points.

 

g) Patrol method - From what you're saying with your active PLC, Silver should be a slam dunk for 100 points. I grant that having a boy go to NYLT to meet the Gold requirement might be tough. However in many councils, there are camperships for NYLT for those boys that really need the help, particularly for small units. Have you asked for that kind of help?

 

h) Service Projects - This can be a bit tougher for a small unit just in terms of numbers. But one service project per calendar quarter sounds pretty reasonable. This can be done as part of a campout i.e. doing some service for the organization that owns the land. That's Bronze for 50 points

 

i) Webelos to Scout Transition - Holding two joint activities in a year seems pretty reasonable if your unit really does want to maintain or increase membership. That's Bronze for 50 points. Granted that recruiting two or five Webelos Scouts might be tough although not impossible if you really want to do it.

 

j) Budget - Here again, your small unit has an advantage. It should be pretty easy to get the Committee, plus PLC together to put together your annual budget and have it approved by May 31. That's Gold for 100 points.

 

k) Courts of Honor - Don't know how many Courts of Honor you have, but in a small unit, putting together a Court of Honor is pretty easy and doesn't involve the logistics of a larger unit. If there is one after the summer, one before Christmas and one in the spring, that's Silver for 50 points

 

l & m) Reregister on time and fill out the Journey to Excellence Form - A pretty easy 100 points.

 

So, unless I miss something, if you're reasonably active, you get 1425 points and that's a very solid Silver in Journey to Excellence.

 

Of course, if you don't have advancement, you don't do short term or long term camping, your Committee doesn't plan a budget and you don't recruit or retain Scouts, then you could have as few as 350 points and that doesn't even meet Bronze. But isn't that an accurate reflection of the program and performance of that Troop.

 

I hope this next comment isn't offensive to you and I apologize if it is. However, I have seen two reasons that Troops are small -- smaller than the 14 boy average Troop. In some cases, it is because they believe that they want to be small and the logistics and arrangements of outstanding program are easier with a small unit. A unit like that would have no problem in Journey to Excellence. For example, if they hold their own long-term camp or high adventure camp, that would count for the long term camping requirement.

 

But the other reason is that for whatever reason -- demographics of the area where they are located, willingness of Troop leadership to commit the time and interest, leaders who are tired and are going through the motions, failure to recruit younger Scouts and having older boys who have other interests, a Committee and Scoutmaster's staff which has become a "club" and chases away new members -- the unit is small because program is weak and because they are unwilling and/or unable to recruit. In those cases, an assessment and evaluation program like Journey to Excellence program will suggest that the unit is weak and it will be correct.

 

You are correct that Journey to Excellence is voluntary. You don't have to participate. However, hopefully, it is a good way to plan for the year and then assess how you are doing. If your assessment is that you won't do well on Journey to Excellence, does that provide any helpful guidance to you?

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Neill,

 

Allow me to be blunt.

 

BSA is imposing ISO 9000 standards and terminology on its volunteers. This is metric, matrix management. I have a graduate degree in public management and I'm finding the data manipulation difficult for this recognition.

 

If we are going to do this kind of management, we must give our unit leaders the tools to do the metrics without pain or strain.

 

This is math. Math means computers, and computers mean ScoutNet. Most of the data on these forms should be crunchable when the unit uploads its recharter to ScoutNet. The data should crunch, and a new download should result: The Journey to Excellence worksheet.

 

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Neil,

A couple of points.

 

What I consider a small unit is relative to other units in our area not the national average. We have 18 boys. Most others have 50 to 100 boys. Our unit suffered from a complete lack of effort to recruit for several years along with virtually no program. All involved with the troop agree. This is what I inherited 3 years ago. Breaking the trend of boys going elsewhere has proven difficult considering brothers and friends of eligible boys are already with another units. We started turning the corner last year with 6 Webs joining, 5 have stayed the year and are advancing. We have also averaged 1 Eagle per year for the last three years. If you would like to see what we're about visit our website at www.troop400delta.com

 

I don't disagree that a troop could meet Bronze or even Silver fairly easy depending on where the moving target is for the current year. I can ask my MCs take the training for max points, they would gladly do it. We can get max points for short and long term camping, patrol method (our PLC meets after every meeting), service projects, budget, and COHs easy. Without having the stats in front of me we will be at least at Silver for advancement and retention.

 

I understand you defending your program but I notice that you did not address my three summery points which were:

 

"NYLT costs $200 bucks around here (of which $75 goes to council!!!!), I do TLT twice a year, after each troop election instead, and I don't charge anything!" Only Silver for that effort.

 

"I think a unit could have an excellent program and not even qualify for Bronze." I still do.

 

And my main point was:

 

"Biggest problem I see with this is that Web parents will look only at Gold Award troops compounding the problems small troops are having."

 

The last point is my biggest concern.

 

You also seem to believe that Web recruitment is solely up to the individual troop. It is true that units decide when and how to recruit (and we do an awesome Web invite program at our own private 58 acre campground which includes canoeing and kayaking) but we currently have a Web 2 dry spell with the few packs we have in this area. Add to that the games played by WDLs trying to influence their entire den to go where the WDL decides is best and the perpetuation of the Feeder Pack mentality and you see this is largely out of our hands. We are working towards a position where we don't need Webs at all to survive as a troop.

 

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Hello John,

 

From what I understand of ISO 9000, it is a bit much to say that Journey to Excellence is ISO 9000 like.

 

I also am surprised by your saying that the standards and metrics are confusing if one takes the effort to read the requirements rather than just saying "This is too complicated. I can't do this. Hate, hate, hate!!"

 

I would respectfully suggest that the Journey to Excellence metrics for a Troop are items that any Troop should know.

 

The Troop should know how many overnight campouts they went on during the year.

The Troop should know how many service projects they did during the year.

The Troop should know how many members it has.

The Troop should know how many of those members advanced one rank during the year.

The Troop should know if its leaders have taken training or not.

The Troop should know if its members went to a long term camp during the year.

 

This isn't complicated. As the ESPN program says "C'mon, Man!" At one time, much more complicated metrics were proposed, but they were not included precisely because of reasons of simplicity and user-friendliness for unit level leaders.

 

I would respectfully suggest that the BSA and the local council should be concerned about any unit that doesn't know things like how many campouts they went on during the year.

 

It certainly would be beneficial if this information were non-intrusively available from ScoutNet. That isn't the case now. I believe there is hope that ScoutNet will be upgraded in the next year or two to provide this information.

 

But I would suggest that any unit that reads the form, looks at what is being asked and gets the information that they already have will find Journey to Excellence pretty straightforward.

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Yah, I gotta agree with John-in-KC. This is another system which is largely a burden to units so that their corporate masters can compile statistics.

 

I have a dream, that one day, the corporate leaders of the NFP Scouting Movement in da US will place da emphasis on servant leadership and service to the units, rather than expectin' the units to serve their needs.

 

Yes, I have a dream. :)

 

NeilLup, you've been doin' the corporate scoutin' thing too long. Sit with some units and work recharter. Between da ScoutNet system not reliably handlin' any browser other than IE 7 and the pages of paperwork, addin' more pages of paperwork isn't exactly friendly. Even very strong units tend to hate recharter, and what's our timeliness compliance rate? 70%?

 

It sounds easy, sittin' in a corporate office, for a troop to compile da things you mention. But how many kids went to a long-term camp means someone finding the summer camp registration list from 6 months ago, then back-figurin' how many kids were eligible at that point to get a percentage (subtractin' off the boys who joined in the fall, and then calling da DE to figure out whether the 2 lads who are in split families spending the summer with their dad should be counted or not...).

 

Most troops don't keep a runnin' count of how many service projects they do in year. Includin' Eagle projects? That call from da elderly neighbor that the Flaming Monkeys patrol took? About half da troops I work with throw up their hands in frustration over the how-many-ranks-earned question. Who keeps track? That's spread across a couple dozen advancement report sheets that weren't kept around because da AC mailed 'em to the council office that's an hour and a half away.

 

I have bigger issues with da council and district sheets because once again we're settin' up The Numbers Game. It's not service-quality focused, and da metrics are not under the direct control of those levels of the organization. So when yeh have a high-stakes assessment where yeh can't directly influence the outcomes being measured (because those are things that are determined by the units), what do yeh do? Yeh cheat. You push units on rapid advancement, yeh hold more Merit Badge Midways, yeh fudge numbers, yeh take any warm body as a commish.

 

It's like we didn't learn a thing from the last 2 decades. Everyone wishes that the best things will happen with a new system, and ignores all evidence and expectation of the likely unintended consequences. At da district and council levels, this is another gawd-awful terrible system that will hurt scouting.

 

Beavah

 

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I looked at the JtE stuff. IMHO it's a mess. I know from expereince that SCOUTNET is not 100% as promised as records are suppose to be able to transfer with you when you move about, and that hasn't happened in my case, as well as others I'm told.

 

As for recharter, that is the biggest PITA for the pack I'm with. Bad enough that folks who have been with the pack 5 years in leader roles are not on the charter, despite repeated resubmissions of applications, or leaders are listed in the incorrect PORS, again despite repeated attempts to fix the problem.

 

Worse is that we have scouts who are active who are not listed, and some that have quit or moved up to Scouts who are on the charter still. Now I know how remain on the charter until renewal, unless council is informed, but a few cases the cub scout was removed last year form the charter, or the cub scout moved up to Boy Scouts and the paperwork was turned in.

 

And don't get me started on training records.

 

Then again I am a "program freak," believing that if tyou have a great program, teh 3 Ms (membership, manpower, and money) will follow.

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Back at cubs sign up we were asked to volunteer for an hour a week. They neglected to tell us that this was the time we have to our selves.LOL I have 21 yr old Eagle and 15 yr. old Life. Hubby and I have been involved since cubs. I am the paper pusher of the troop for lack of a better term. I just love the added paperwork and my time to recharter. NOT.

 

I see the added assessment form what ever they choose to call it in a given year as a pain in the rear. How is this going to make my troop better? You turn in the form and no one ever speaks to you about what is on the form. My district/Council should have how many new/retained and advancements my scouts have over a given period. Does National/Council not have leadership training records?

 

Dear National Leadership please do not keep adding paperwork to the system that you already have the information for.

 

My pen runnith dry.....I do understand you do not know how many times we camp but we do.

 

It's funny none of the forms every ask how many volunteer hours does your troop leadership do. Perhaps they don't want us to figure that out. LOL

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Maybe if we want to help unit's we should look at some other things such as:

 

A unit has a plan in place that actually makes sure the Scouts who can't afford to camp get to go? 3 years ago I made the commitment to never loose a boy because his parents can't afford Scouting, we now have boys that would not be in Scouting if it wasn't for "outside the box" fundraising dedicated to these boys. Now we have to spend $200 on NYLT instead of sending a boy to summer camp.

 

A troop has a year round program for camping AND MEETINGS? A year round program use to be real important, it use to keep boys involved.

 

A troop has enough adult leadership (even if they don't have "This is Scouting" and "Fast Start" training) that are willing to spend a weekend with the boys and that they didn't have to cancel any camping trips because of no two deep leadership?

 

And if we really want to help units maybe we should have a UC sit down with the unit leadership and review where the unit is and how they can make real improvements, help them implement the improvements, and assist where needed IN PRIVATE. Instead it seems we are creating a grading system for units that will be used by parents (who think a good troop is an adult lead, perfectly organized troop) to decide where their kids will go, which is a lot easier than going out and visiting troops.

 

Just my opinion as a SM

 

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by Eagle732)(This message has been edited by Eagle732)(This message has been edited by Eagle732)

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My initial reaction to these goals is that they are pretty good.

 

The old idea of setting your own goals was useful for making progress, but was pretty useless as telling you anything that would let you compare one troop with another.

 

I like the more balanced requirements - adding in camping, service projects, etc.

 

I really like doing this measurement at recharter time. The old system produced some very strange calculations.

 

Here are some specific comments:

1. Advancement - This is a reasonable requirement, although it gives more benefit to younger troops that have lots more Scouts working their way up to First Class. More experienced units can still meet it, though. It is odd that you take total rank advancements and divide by the number of Scouts, and this is acknowledged in the comments. I believe Eagle palms should be on the list - otherwise having Eagles in your troop is a detriment to this measure.

 

2. Retention - The definition here makes sense. It does penalize units that have Scouts that move away. Not a huge deal for us - maybe 5% of our Scouts move away in a given year. But some of the military bases near us have troops where I'm sure the percentage is more like 25%. It seems like you could also remove those from the potential recharters.

 

3. Building Boy Scouting - at some point, we get big enough that we don't want to get any bigger. Those troops can't earn more than Bronze here. Maybe that's ok. A big, strong troop is probably earning enough points elsewhere.

 

4. "hold youth officer elections and installation before November 15." That's a very strange requirement. Most units hold elections twice a year, at all different schedules.

 

6. Calculating the exact percentage can be a bit of a pain, because it's not easy to immediately identify how many Scouts were registered at that time. But it's easier than the old system which required you to calculate the percentage attending events throughout the year.

 

10. For item 10, what's the deal with May 31? Does that presume that there is some particular budget year? If we do our budget based on a calendar year, does that mean we have to have 2012's budget in place by May 31, 2011? Very strange. Also, the requirement states that you need a budget "that follows BSA policies." It would be useful to list any specific requirements that are needed for this award.

 

One odd thing is the timing. I'd like to be able to earn the 2011 award in 2011, and wear it for most of 2011. But we have to wait until 2012 before we can wear the 2011 patch. It always feels a bit out of date. Still, I can live with it - but that would be my number one request. Let's just skip the 2011 patch and go straight to 2012. My unit recharters in February, if that matters.

 

Eagle732 has some reasonable suggestions for new requirements, but there are always more things you could add. I don't think that any of these would be necessary - a good program should result in good retention, for example.

 

So overall, I say that this is an improvement over the previous program. It's more sensical, it provides different levels of achievement, and it's easier to calculate. Thanks for your work on this, Neil. Fun to hear your voice on the webinar, too.

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I like the new plan. We use TroopMaster software. With that program, I could fill out the new form in about 5 minutes. I'm really confused as to which parts some of you think are hard. Maybe you don't use TroopMaster or some other program? I'm guessing every Troop has an annual planned calendar of trips. You have to turn in advancement reports to buy rank badges - surely, you keep copies at the Troop. The information shouldn't be that hard to collect. Is it really that hard to remember who went to Summer Camp? With the average Troop size at 14, is it really that hard to keep up with what's happening in the Troop? Really?

 

Eagle732,

If you think TLT and NYLT are the same thing, you are mistaken. Yes, there is a fee for the course - to cover materials, food, etc. If you have a Scout with financial needs, check with your council - they may offer camperships. Your Troop will benefit greatly from sending Scouts to NYLT.

As for "Gold" award units having an advantage because of the award - you are missing the obvious. Those units that qualify for Gold already have the advantage, even without the recognition. Those units are doing all the things to draw new members. They have a first-rate program, so having a Gold Award piece of cloth isn't going to make much difference. They were providing an excellent program before this new recognition award was started.

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Brent,

I am aware of the difference between TLT and NYLT, I have been an instructor for NYLT. I am also aware that our Council (like most I assume) skims 30% off the top, so isn't it nice that they can make it a part of the requirements. I also know that many families can't afford it and that units have limited resources too. We send the SPL or ASPL each year and pay $100 or half the cost. My comments are not a selfish response to my own unit's needs but are in consideration of other units. If we want to make requirements lets not tie them to expensive programs. Maybe next will be a certain percentage of adult leaders complete Wood Badge.

 

My unit, if we decide to participate, will be a Gold unit. We already do, or can easily do all that is required. I still believe there is a better way.

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