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JTE is one of many three letter acronyms that’s heard all the time in the Order and in Scouting, too. But what is JTE and why is it important in lodge and chapter operations? Our March 2014 Play-by-Play Guide has the answers.

When the Boy Scouts of America launched the new strategic plan, a transition was made to Journey to Excellence, a new program to measure unit, district, and council performance. Following the Boy Scout’s transition, the national Order of the Arrow committee adopted the Journey to Excellence program to replace the National Quality Lodge program. Journey to Excellence (JTE) places emphasis on continuous improvement. Just as the Boy Scouts of America Journey to Excellence program recognizes each level of the organization (unit, district, council), the OA’s program creates Journey to Excellence recognition for chapters, lodges, and sections.

How it works

There are three levels of JTE: bronze, silver, and gold. The bronze requirements, which are similar to the old Quality Lodge requirements, are the minimum indicators of a good lodge program. You will notice that under each content area, the silver and gold requirements increase in difficulty. Lodges earn points for each benchmark they reach. The total number of points accumulated determines the overall rating for the lodge. Lodges receive recognition for their accomplishments for the year, but are also able to see areas for improvement to be addressed in next year’s plan.

The JTE program is focused on continuous improvement rather than reaching some minimum requirements. The program is designed to encourage lodges to improve their program and set annual attainable goals. The process doesn’t stop once the goal is obtained, rather it enables lodges to identify areas for improvement whereas Quality Lodge simply gave lodges a pass or fail grade.

Just like with Quality Lodge, there are requirements for finance, program, membership, council service, leadership and governance. Each of these areas are indicators of how well the lodge is meeting the purpose of the Order and supporting its council.

Finance: The lodge’s financial stability determines their ability to easily execute their annual programs as well as their ability to contribute to their respective council.

Membership: Every lodge needs to experience annual growth but this is just as important as retaining new and old members.

Program: From unit elections to national event attendance, a quality program is how lodges display to the public their hard work, and this can only be accomplished through communication and proper planning on the lodge leadership level.

Council Service: The Order of the Arrow is a brotherhood of cheerful servants. We have received this title through our countless community service hours, but also through our support of local council programs, the primary purpose for which we exist.

Leadership: Developing future leaders is what the Order of the Arrow does best, and this is accomplished through superior training and opportunities to utilize the skills learned in the classroom. Each of these areas has specific requirements for lodges to work toward.

JTE allows chapters, lodges, and sections to analyze their health and program delivery in a quantifiable way. For more information on JTE, visit the JTE Resources Page on