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Lodge Ledger: Journey to Excellence program to change in 2015

  October 29, 2016       Lodge Ledger

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Since 2012, Journey to Excellence (JTE) has been used to help lodges evaluate their performance, plan for the future and develop better, more effective programs.

JTE has been phased into lodge programs over its first three years: the 2012 program was optional and the 2013 and 2014 programs were left unchanged to get lodges adjusted to using JTE and understanding the information it can provide.

This year’s program will see three major changes to the Journey to Excellence program that all lodge leaders should be aware of:


This is the first year the lodge JTE requirements have been wholly revamped. Major changes include:

No more required items: lodges no longer need to achieve specific requirements to get JTE recognition. Instead, an overall point value will be used to determine which JTE level a lodge receives, and the point values by requirement have been adjusted to reflect a weighting of what the national committee believes is most important for lodge success.

Emphasis on unit outreach: the unit elections requirement has been changed from doing a percentage of requested elections to doing elections in the total number of units in the council. Additionally, new requirements for the OA Unit of Excellence Award and doing in-person unit visits have been added to help make the lodge more visible.

Streamlining requirements: requirements on communications, planning and reporting have been consolidated to make tracking and reporting easier.

Achievement levels: the benchmarks for each requirement have been adjusted to reflect the performance of lodges over the past three years, and the total point values have been redone to better achieve the ideal distribution of awards per the national BSA JTE guidelines.


One piece of feedback that the national committee heard over the first few years of JTE’s existence was that the chapter program’s “one size fits all” approach was not in line with how chapters operate. Each lodge uses their chapters for different purposes.

In 2015, the chapter JTE program has been completely reworked. The program now consists of three core requirements related to membership, elections and communications: areas of responsibility that seem consistent across almost all lodges. The remaining requirements are flexible to each lodge so that lodge leadership may determine what areas are important for their chapters to execute and design requirements specifically for them.


For the past two years, OA LodgeMaster (OALM) has been an optional way to submit the annual JTE and recharter petition. Beginning in 2015, all lodges will need to use OALM in order to submit their JTE and recharter. This move is being made both to improve the accuracy of data collected through JTE, which will help provide more valuable recommendations to lodges, and to begin offering real-time tracking tools, similar to the council JTE program.