Ask the Chairman - Journey to Excellence Program

Q. Ray,
There's been a lot of confusion this year regarding the new Journey to Excellence program. How do we know if our lodge submitted information? Will we receive confirmation of our JTE level? What’s being done to make the process easier in future years?

Thanks,
Edward

A. Edward,
Thank you for your question. Lodges have been terrific this year with the transition to Journey to Excellence. People have been appreciative of the process involved, but also generous in providing solid feedback to improve things during the next recharter cycle.

The most important thing to remember with JTE is that it is not a pass/fail system. JTE is intended for lodges to strive towards continuous improvement. Earning JTE gold does not mean your lodge is perfect, and not making any JTE recognition does not mean your lodge is failing. JTE will always emphasize collecting accurate information and using that to provide better support to lodges.

Some of the common issues that popped up this year included:

How to submit paperwork. Instructions on the JTE spreadsheet were outdated. All JTE forms need to be submitted in their original Microsoft Excel format to jte@oa-bsa.org. The JTE team uses the data from each form to create resources for lodges, and needs the original data from Excel to do so. The items on page one of the form (with blue shaded boxes) should be answered with a yes or no answer.

Knowing whether a petition was accepted. E-mailing petitions to jte@oa-bsa.org is the only way to submit petitions. A member of the JTE team replies to each e-mail either confirming receipt or asking for the petition to be resubmitted if it was not complete. If your lodge did not receive an e-mail back, your petition should be resubmitted. Likewise, if the JTE team requests the petition be resubmitted, your lodge will not get credit for JTE until the petition is resubmitted. Once petitions are verified, a list will be posted on the national web site of each lodge's JTE level.

JTE requirements not calculating correctly. The JTE form posted on the OA web site did not properly round up numbers, depriving lodges of points. There were also other mathematical quirks, affecting lodges with different numbers of events in subsequent years, or posting year over year gains. The JTE team is aware of these errors, and they'll be adjusted during the auditing process. Lodges who's JTE level is affected by these changes will be notified by the end of February 2013.

Point values on item 1. During 2012, the point values on item 1 were changed. This was not an error on the form, although the change was not expressly communicated to lodges.

Lodges and sections will also receive feedback from the JTE group beginning in early February 2013. This feedback will tell lodges how they stack up compared to the lodges in their section, region and nationally. It will also help identify areas of strength for lodges, as well as specific opportunities for lodges to grow and improve. Sections can use this information in planning trainings, and lodges can utilize it for focus areas at LLD's.

JTE requirements for 2013 will remain the same as in 2012. The National Committee will look at potential changes to JTE requirements at their meeting in May 2013, with changes being implemented for 2014. Lodges will have plenty of time to plan for achieving the new requirements.

In addition, lodges can look forward to some new elements of the JTE program in 2013:

Combined recharter/JTE form. Lodges will use the same form to complete both their charter and JTE paperwork, removing the redundancies in both forms.

OA LodgeMaster integration. There will be a JTE wizard for OA LodgeMaster in 2013. Lodges will be able to submit their entire JTE form (and recharter information) through OA LodgeMaster.

Easier submission process. In 2013, lodges will have an easier process for submitting JTE and recharter information. Lodges will complete paperwork (either through the OA LodgeMaster wizard or manually in Microsoft Excel). The completed Excel document (either from the website or exported through OA LodgeMaster) will be e-mailed to jte@oa-bsa.org. A single printed copy of the form will be sent to the national office along with the check for charter fees.

If you have additional feedback for JTE, feel free to share it. The e-mail address jte@oa-bsa.org forwards to the entire team, and they’ll continue to keep an eye toward improving each year.

Hope this helps,
Ray

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