Making sense of JTE

By Larry Mobley

The Journey to Excellence (JTE) program helps lodge officers measure their lodge’s performance and steer the local Order of the Arrow (OA) program to stay on track with our national mission. Each year, lodge leaders use the results of the annual JTE program to identify strong points and set specific goals for improvement. The goal of JTE is continued improvement – each and every year. All in all, JTE helps your lodge succeed!

How does it work?

At the beginning of each year, lodge officers review the JTE requirements in six widely-varying categories and set goals to achieve a Bronze, Silver, or Gold score in each of the seventeen requirements. During the year, information on your lodge’s events, unit elections, inductions, camping promotion, membership, and service projects are entered into LodgeMaster, the OA application that tracks and manages all lodge OA data. At the end of each year, the JTE data is totaled, and an overall performance score is earned by your lodge. Well-performing lodges earn an overall Bronze, Silver, or even Gold level JTE score for the year and are entitled to wear a special pin on their lodge flap!

JTE helps us improve the OA program. By gathering the performance data of all 275 lodges nationwide, we can begin to see the big picture: the nationwide patterns of success of the OA program. JTE enables individual lodges to see how they stand in comparison to national averages and to learn from the successes of some of our best lodges nationwide. JTE motivates continued improvement for all lodges – large and small lodges alike, while making it easy for challenged lodges to identify important areas where improvement is needed. However, even the most successful lodges are challenged to improve and achieve the Gold JTE level -- this top status is not easy! 

Why is JTE important?

The seventeen JTE requirements have been carefully chosen to give lodges “guidance on [their] journey.” They help us identify the numerous ways by which our lodges can be successful and keep us on track to achieve our full mission. A well-rounded lodge not only has a great program that keeps members involved and interested, but is financially sound, supports the council, serves its units, and develops youth leaders. 

JTE allows us to take advantage of technology available today to track the details and really see how we are doing in many aspects of the OA program. For example, you might ask, “Are we doing well with our unit elections? We held elections in 75% of our units and visited half of the units in which there were no eligible Scouts. Did we do okay?” Without JTE to consolidate and show us the average for all lodges nationwide, these questions are hard to answer. Yes, keeping OALM up-to-date with accurate information can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort.

How do I get more information?

We encourage you to utilize the JTE webpage, the 2017 requirements and for even more details on each requirement, the JTE guidebook, which provides additional information and helpful resources on each requirement.

How did your lodge score last year? Check with your lodge chief, and use JTE to identify and create new strategies to improve your lodge’s journey to excellence!

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