What is the Journey to Excellence?

Journey to Excellence is the new national performance assessment, communication, and recognition program for units, as well as for councils and districts. It brings a structured approach with predetermined, nationally established levels of performance and expectations for a unit, district and council with an emphasis on establishing and maintaining quality programs.

JTE hopes to accomplish a number of tasks for you as leaders in your unit.

  • JTE is a framework for planning for your unit and for your adult and youth leaders (if you are a troop, crew, team, or post) to use.
  • JTE is a method for evaluating your unit.
  • JTE provides an assessment of how you’re doing in the key areas found in great units.
  • JTE helps provide guidance in areas where you might do better in conjunction with advice and counsel from your commissioner.
  • JTE sets specific guidelines and standards of what the BSA considers good performance.
  • JTE gives an early warning of potential problem areas—as a commissioner, I can always help you get help, such as resources, training, expert assistance, etc.
  • JTE encourages recognition for your good performance.
  • JTE provides benchmarking to get ideas and tips from other good units in your district.

JTE gives you national standards that let you assess your performance in key areas, including:

  • Advancement
  • Camping
  • Service projects
  • Training
  • Membership
  • Retention
  • Leadership
  • Budget

Depending on whether your unit is a pack, troop, Varsity team, or Venturing crew, these eight areas of performance are weighted and prioritized differently (e.g., advancement is much lower priority for a crew than for packs and troops). Programs and participation in the unit are the most important factors. JTE areas that are early indicators of unit strength and health are identified and assessed.

JTE is not just a process to measure good practices that are simply repeated year over year. Instead, the goal is continuous improvement over many years.

Did your unit do measurably better in key areas compared to last year?


Are you already performing at a high level in those areas?

Either way, you can qualify for an award based on the performance standards set by JTE. You receive points in each of the categories (gold, silver, or bronze—just like the Olympic medals). Your points across every category are added to give your total score, which determines your final JTE achievement level. Requirements are weighted as they correlate most with success. No one requirement is mandatory.

With each passing year, continuous improvement is expected of a unit. In 2012, the point totals to achieve a given level might be different and more challenging than in 2011.