The balanced Score care approach is nothing new, it has been floating around organizations for some time now and provides a balanced view for organizational performance. Who looks at this? Well really you do. As much as some would like t0 think that Councils and District level leadership are actively engaged in what goes on at the unit level (and I am talking Pro staff here, not volunteer) the fact of the matter is that where the rubber hits the road, the unit leadership are really the only leaders dedicated 100% to their units. That is not to say that District, Council, and even National leadership could care less. It is just that they have different fish to fry. They are concerned at the “Big” organizational level in areas of membership, fundraising, and policy. And that is fair. Hey, I don’t want to think about that stuff, I want to go camping. So the Journey to Excellence program is a tool that ensures our units are meeting the mark as we can measure our programs. I think this is important to make sure that we all are delivering the promise of Scouting in a uniform manner.
Last month I attended the National meetings of the BSA in San Diego. The Assistant Chief Scout Executive for Council Operations Gary Butler gave a great talk at the Scoutmaster dinner. In his talk he gave the analogy of Starbucks coffee. He said that when you order a coffee at Starbucks in Seattle it tastes like the same cup in New York City, or Atlanta, or Boston.. the message is that the coffee is the same where ever you go and that is part of business model of Starbucks. The Promise of Scouting is just like that cup of coffee. It needs to be the same consistent program, delivered in many ways, but the same program throughout the Boy Scouts of America. We have great outline, but Scouters choose not to use it. The Journey to Excellence program attempts to bring some of that back in line.
Now, I know that many of you, myself included, do not like to view the BSA as a business. Certainly not at the unit level. But just like every organization if certain measures are not in place, lets say for growth, for financial stability, for improvements in the program, the organization will fail.
Remember a couple posts ago, I shared that I knew a unit that was a Quality unit every year, but then it just folded? It is because they did not have a plan to grow and stay fit. They took it year to year and hoped that the Cub Scout pack would just continue to “Feed them”. They did not have a stable financial plan, they did not have a plan to assist the youth leadership… and yet they were “always a quality unit”.
None of us want to see our units fail. JTE is a week to week, month to month, year to year tool that sets on a Journey to Excellence.
OK.. 500 words in and not a word about camping.. so lets talk just a little about Short term and Long term camping as it applies to the JTE.
You all understand that Short term equates to weekend camp outs and long term camping refers to those week long (or longer) camping opportunities such as Summer camp, Jamboree’s, High Adventure base participation. Now I think the BSA set the bar low on this one, and so many if not all of us will automatically qualify at the Gold level when it comes to short term camping. Bronze = 4 camp outs throughout the year. Yeah, that is not a typo.. I wrote 4. Silver requires a unit to camp 8 times and to achieve the Gold standard you need to camp at least 10 times. Like I said.. I think we all have this one in the bag. And for the Gold level you get 200 points for just doing what we all do, and that’s camp.
Now I think it is interesting how the JTE handles long term camping. You will qualify for the bronze level if your unit attends a long term camp.. lets call it summer camp. You will achieve Silver level status if 60% of your Scouts attend Summer camp (or another long term opportunity). And it only takes 70% of your unit attending camp to achieve Gold level status. I recently had a small discussion on Camp staff with some Scouters that I consider “In the know”. We debated on whether a Scout that serves on camp staff is counted in that percentage. And the answer according the definitions of JTE is this; ” Boy Scouts attending any in council or out of council long term summer camp (of at least three days and nights), high adventure experience, jamboree, or serve on camp staff within the past year”. The part that really weirds me out on this is the three days and nights. But not to worry, most if not all summer camps run a week. No problems there.
The bottom line is that camping is where Scouting happens. It is where the Patrol method is executed, it is where teaching happens, it is where the boys can be boys and learn, practice, and teach skills. Camping, I am sure you will agree is what most think about when we talk Scouting.
Next time we will dive into the Patrol Method.
Thanks for the emails, you can email me anytime. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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