Journey to Excellence

Scouting’s Journey to Excellence (JTE) is the BSA’s council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA. All councils, districts, packs, troops, crews, ships, and posts are measured and recognized through this program. The BSA firmly believes that quality program, sustainability, and growth must all be in balance for success to truly be achieved.

The Journey to Excellence program provides:

  • A framework for planning the year
  • A method for evaluating a unit
  • Guidance in areas where a unit might do better
  • Specific guidelines and standards of what is considered good performance
  • Early warning of potential problem areas
  • Recognition for good Scouting
  • Benchmarking to get ideas and tips from other good units

How the Program Works:

The JTE program evaluates units, districts and councils on a number of criteria that are needed to provide and sustain a quality BSA program. Each criterion has a point value for a bronze, silver, and gold level. As you achieve at one of those levels, you earn those points. Each criterion will be scored and you’ll have a total score. You will need a prescribed number of total points to achieve bronze, silver, or gold for your overall standing. These three levels of gold, silver, and bronze levels are meant to encourage achievement and goal setting.

The Journey to Excellence Scorecards can be found on National’s website.

Service Hour Reporting is a major competent of Journey to Excellence. In order to monitor and track this, the BSA requires that you log your unit’s service hours online. Log your service hours for Journey to Excellence here.

This link is also available on National’s JTE webpage, along with information for first time users, and ideas & tips for a successful service project. To enter your unit’s service hours, choose “New User Click Here’ or enter in your unit’s existing username and password.

All Journey to Excellence Awards are announced and presented at the Scouter Appreciation Dinner held each spring in the NEIC. The award patch is displayed on the uniform’s right sleeve below the patrol emblem or den numeral. Only the most recent year’s patch is worn, not a string of past year patches.


Volunteer & Leader Awards

Each spring the Northeast Iowa Council hosts its Annual Scouter Appreciation Dinner. It is at this event that we honor and award all the achievements and hardworking individuals who devoted so much time and effort to Scouting in the previous calendar year.  All Journey to Excellence Awards are announced and presented at this event as well as a few other special awards.

In addition to the awards and special recognition’s listed in the drop downs below, National has an even larger list located on their Awards Central webpage.  Follow the link to view.

  • Northeast Iowa Council Scoutmaster’s Honor Roll: Presented to an individual who has served as Scoutmaster for 10 years
  • Scouting Spirit Award: Each unit, including packs, troops, or crews, may recognize one deserving adult leader each year for their outstanding spirit & enthusiasm in the Scouting movement. The recipient may be selected by the youth of the unit, the adult leader committee, or the chartering organization.
  • Cub Scouter of the Year: This award is presented to a new or experienced leader of a Cub Scout Pack. Nominations should be submitted to the district awards selection committee. One Cub Scouter of the Year per district is awarded each year.
  • Boy Scouter of the Year: This award is presented to a new or experienced leader of a Boy Scout Troop. Nominations should be submitted to the district awards selection committee. One Boy Scouter of the Year per district is awarded each year.
  • Venturer of the Year: This award is presented to a new or experienced leader of a Venturing Crew. Nominations should be submitted to the district awards selection committee. One Venturer of the Year is awarded for the Council each year.
  • District Award of Merit: This award is presented to any registered Scouter who renders service of an outstanding nature on a district-wide level. This is a Council award presented by each District. The award is made available annually on the basis of 1 for each 25 traditional units or fraction thereof in each district.
  • Silver Beaver Award: This is the highest honor a Council can bestow upon a volunteer. It is a National recognition, awarded at the Council’s request. Nominations for this award should consist of service from a volunteer that measures far above the norm of expectations. The candidate must have noteworthy service of exceptional character to youth within the Council.
  • Jeanne Burkart Memorial Scouter Award: Presented annually in memory of Jeanne Burkart, a long-time scouter in the Northeast Iowa Council, to a registered scouter that has provided exceptional service to Scouting in a role often “behind the scenes” or in an anonymous fashion to his/her unit, district, or the Council.

Other Council Level Awards & Recognitions Available that may be presented on an “as needed” basis at the Scouter Recognition Dinner or other appropriate function.  They are as follows:

  • James E. West Fellowship Award: James E. West served as the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America for over 30 years. The West Fellowship award is available for gifts of $1,000 or more to a council endowment fund. The gift must be in addition to – and not replace or diminish – the donor’s annual Friends of Scouting support.
  • William H. Spurgeon Award: Developed in 1971, this award is the highest recognition for individuals and organizations contributing significant leadership to the Exploring program.
  • North Star Award: Awarded to non-Scouters by Councils, areas, regions, and national to recognize individuals for significant contributions such as contributing land for a new service center or for the CPA who has served the council for years. This award is on par with the Silver Beaver which recognizes registered Scouters for their distinguished service to Scouting.
  • Distinguished Commissioner Service Award: This award would be presented at a District Court of Honor or District Roundtable or Council Recognition dinner, dependent on the nature of the award being presented whether it be to a Unit or District level Commissioner or a Council Commissioner.
  • George Meany Award: In recognition of their contributions to America’s future, the AFL-CIO Executive Council established the George Meany Award. It recognizes union members—men and women—who have made a significant contribution to the youth of their communities by volunteering in the programs of the BSA. The award is named for the AFL-CIO’s first president, who gave strong support to Scouting over the years.

These Awards are typically presented at the unit level.  A Pack Court of Honor such as the Annual “Blue & Gold” Banquet for Cub Scouts, a Scout Troop Court of Honor, or a Venturing Crew Court of Honor. OR depending on the award to be given, a unit’s Chartering Organization may wish to present the award at their appropriate recognition event. More information on all of these awards is available on National’s Award Central page.

Cub Scout Leader Awards:

  • Tiger Cub Den Leader Award
  • Cub Scout Den Leader Award
  • Webelos Den Leader Award
  • Cubmaster Award
  • Pack Trainer Award
  • Cub Scouter Award
  • Unit Leader Award of Merit

Scout BSA Leader Awards:

  • Scoutmasters Training Award
  • Unit Leader Award of Merit
  • Scouter’s Key Award

Venturing Leader Awards:

  • Unit Leader Award of Merit
  • Venturing Advisor’s Key

These awards are approved for adult Scouter volunteers to wear…typically as a “knot” patch above the left breast pocket.

  • Cub Scout Arrow of Light Award
  • Eagle Scout Award
  • Venturing Ranger Award
  • Venturing Silver Award
  • Venturing SeaScout Quartermaster Award
  • Venturing Leadership Award
  • William T. Hornaday Award