Council Tips for Success
Promoting Service Projects
Encouraging Data Collection
Using the Data
Frequently Asked Questions
Promoting Service Projects
What are some ways to promote conducting a service project?
- Promotion cards with the unit's Journey to Excellence service hours website login codes distributed through annual program launch unit packets.
- Display booth at annual program launch.
- Link to Journey to Excellence service hours website permanently displayed on main page of the council website.
- Council chair for Journey to Excellence service project is an active member of the council’s activities committee.
- Encourage districts to recruit Journey to Excellence service project chairs.
- Promote logging service hours on the Journey to Excellence service hours website as part of the Scouting for Food drive.
- Reporting procedures flier kept in supply in council service center literature display in lobby.
- Honor roll listed in each edition of the council newsletter.
- Annual e-mail blast about entering projects.
- Send a letter asking prospective Eagle Scouts to take five minutes and log on to www.scouting.org/Awards/JourneyToExcellence to submit the details of their Eagle Scout service project.
- Encourage district executives to write a SMART goal to increase the number of units entering service hour information on the Journey to Excellence service hours website.
- Recruit a top public official to serve as the chair, and ask them to send a letter to all unit leaders and committee chairs promoting Journey to Excellence service projects and the need to enter the data on the website.
- Conduct promotions and provide reports at roundtables. Recognize units that have conducted a service project in the past month.
- Promote at summer camp during the Scoutmaster dinners, at the annual program kickoff in August, and at adult leader training and roundtables. The staff adviser must make it a priority.
- Have council and district activities committees promote it at roundtables and in the council newsletter, encouraging packs and troops to organize a service project for a neighborhood organization.
- Promote Journey to Excellence service projects by word-of-mouth at roundtables and, near the end of the year, with phone calls to each unit.
- Set a goal of X hours per district. Encourage friendly competition between the districts to see which district posts the most hours. Provide the district activities committee chair with a 20-by-30-inch roll-up chart showing where the district stands on reaching their goal of X hours. This chart can be displayed at all roundtables.
- Download the current hours each month and forward to each district activities committee chair and district commissioner for follow-up with units showing no service project activity.
- Include instructions and a password in all the Eagle project kits, asking that they take the time to put their info into the system.
- Schedule the key steps and promote them at every opportunity:
August program kickoff at roundtables
- Every year, order new brochures and redistribute the unit's website login information.
September Scouting for Food kickoff
- When recruiting a Scouting for Food chair in each district, train them how to log hours on the website, so they can train the units at the Scouting for Food kickoff meetings at the September and October roundtables. Use a PowerPoint presentation that walks them through how to record the service hours.
October and November Scouting for Food reminders
- Send out reminders in the e-newsletter, through e-mail groups, and in a written letter to the unit leaders on how to log onto the website to record their service hours for Scouting for Food.
November and December staff and volunteer follow up
- In the months of November and December, send out a weekly report after Scouting for Food to district executives and Scouting for Food chairs to show how many of their units have logged on and recorded their service hours.
- Constant reminders that the Journey to Excellence service hours website is available and should be used for all projects.
- Pressing the message through Scout troops for boys to log in all of their project hours for rank advancements.
- Encouraging the use of the Journey to Excellence service hours website whenever possible, in conjunction with Scouting for Food and other council-wide Good Turns throughout the year.
- Remind everyone of the importance of having this type of information available to share with the media, the United Way, state and local governments, etc. The staff adviser must make it a high priority.
- Each district runs a reminder in the district section of the newsletter. Encourage units to send a picture of their unit performing a service project, and place the picture on the district page of the council website. Recognize units posting the most hours at roundtable and in the newsletter. Once a year, recognize all units posting any hours. Encourage friendly competition between the districts.
- Ask the Scout executive and council president to sign a letter that is sent to each Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, and crew Advisor promoting the use of the Journey to Excellence service hours website. At the bottom of the letter, include the unit's ID and initial password. Provide detailed login instructions as well.
- Rather than doing a council-wide service project, encourage the districts to come up with their own district-wide service projects. For example, a district could hold a district day of service, where units design their own projects to complete on that particular day.
Encouraging Data Collection
What methods have worked to get units to record their data on the website?
Your unit leaders want to help you collect service project information. You simply need to let them know how to record the data, and remind them often that it should be done. Below are some suggestions from councils who have demonstrated success in getting their units to enter service hour information on the website.
- Annual recognition of the top 10 units in service hours.
- Make sure the council advancement chair is persistent with units, reminding them to log in their information. All Eagle Scouts who record their projects receive a small gift.
- Publishing a unit comparison of logged activity in the newsletter.
- Requiring Eagle candidates to log activity before scheduling a board of review.
- Keeping people informed at every staff meeting.
- Give the district activities committee chair a copy of the unit login information. That way, when talking to a unit leader about planning a service project and logging the hours, if they mention not having their ID, it can be given to them on the spot.
- Encourage districts to recognize units that conducted Journey to Excellence service projects at their district dinners. Provide a special recognition or certificate to units logging more than 1,000 hours.
- Ask each district activities committee chair to personally contact each unit in their district and ask them to log their hours. While this seems to work the best, it is the most labor-intensive.
- Include a sign announcing the number of service projects or hours completed, or highlighting a particular unit’s project. Be sure to continually update this sign to demonstrate the importance of this data collection.
Using the Data
Have your units been entering their service project information on www.scouting.org/Awards/JourneyToExcellence? If so, there is a great deal you can do with this information.
- Present a report to the mayor, a chartered organization, or your school board and superintendent detailing the amount of service Scouts provided the community during the year.
- Send a news release to community newspapers regarding the amount of service performed.
- Seek out speaking opportunities to community and service organizations, and share specific examples of the benefits of Scouting within your community. Recruit community leaders.
- Increase your community FOS drive.
- Develop website material focusing on how the Scouts benefit your community.
- Complete grant and United Way requests using the data.
Your council’s web administrator can run a report from ScoutNET detailing the service projects conducted within your district, and can even specify a time period.
There are 18 different reports are available on the Journey to Excellence service hours web administration page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Good Turn?
A service project is a special Good Turn that puts Scout spirit into action.
—The Boy Scout Handbook, 12th Edition, page 84
As stated in the Boy Scout Handbook, some Good Turns are big—saving a life, helping out after floods or other disasters, recycling community trash, or working with others on conservation projects. But Good Turns are often small, thoughtful acts—helping a child cross a busy street, going to the store for an elderly neighbor, cutting back brush that is blocking a sign, doing something special for a brother or sister, or welcoming a new student to your school. Youth and volunteers are looking for ways to serve their communities. At the same time, service organizations need dedicated volunteer help. By working together, we can improve our young people, our communities, and the nation.
How does a Journey to Excellence service project benefit the community?
Meeting the substantial needs of every community is dependent on its citizens to answer the call of volunteerism. There is a natural fit between the Boy Scouts of America and other community organizations, and service learning is an integral part of the Scouting program. As a result, youth and adults seek opportunities to volunteer, and community organizations need volunteers to help them fulfill their missions. Working with these organizations creates a win/win situation for everyone.
Do volunteers have to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America to participate in the service project?
No. In order to fight hunger, provide shelter, and teach the habits of healthy living, we need the assistance of everyone in the community.
How is this different from Scouting for Food?
Scouting for Food is a once-a-year effort focusing on one area of need. Good Journey to Excellence service projects should be conducted year-round.
Will the Supply Group sell recognition items?
No. Councils will need to design their own recognition items if they choose to offer them.
How can a council log service hours for multiple units?
The council can do one of two things: 1) the council can set up an OA Lodge log in (if one isn’t already set up) to use as a “dumping ground” for service hours added by council/district staff and 2) most councils have a troop and/or crew set up to register summer camp staff who aren’t Scouts, e.g. cooks, chaplain, etc. The council can use these units as a “dumping ground” for council staff to add hours. Detailed instructions for the OA lodge log in are below:
How does an Order of the Arrow lodge record their service hours?
Each local council has an OA lodge ID that can be used to log Order of the Arrow service hours. The Unit ID of OA units begin with 200 and a 3 digit council number. The OA lodge for council 087 is 200087. The unit id for council 112 is 200112. Anyone from the lodge can create an account and record hours with that unit it. All OA units are "troop" unit type. The unit number is a 1, 2 or 3 digit number that matches the council number. Council 1 OA unit number is 1, council 212 OA number is 212. If the council has units with the same number as the council number, that is not a problem because the unit ID will help the computer differentiate between the various accounts. Follow the same instructions for units recording their service hours.