Voice of the Scout

In the past several years, the Boy Scouts of America has created a series of measurements to help gage the organization's overall strength in key strategic areas.  Collectively, these criteria are known as the Journey to Excellence (JTE) recognition program.  JTE was adopted in 2010 and has provided BSA councils ways to track progress and long-term sustainability and to recognize and reward our councils, districts, and units.

The only gap in JTE at the time of adoption was a metric to capture the experiences members, parents and volunteers have with Scouting.  In Spring 2012, the Voice of the Scout was launched to fill that void, and since then Voice of the Scout (VOS) surveys have been sent every spring and fall.

The intent of the Voice of the Scout is to recognize the delivery of exceptional Scouting experiences.  While membership retention and growth rates tell us what has occurred in the past, the Voice of the Scout provides insight on how well Scouting is serving youth today.

VOS has already proven to be a true 'weather vane' of how Scouting is perceived and experienced by members.  So while responses rates and findings can fluctuate, the overall story told by VOS is a valid one with over 600,000 responses collected in three years.

VOS findings have begun and will continue to impact how programs are delivered, with a focus on developing better ways to support Scouting units.  From training to technology, VOS is providing member-driven insight on how to keep Scouting Strong.


Voice of the Scout Methodology Overview

Surveys are sent twice each year, on the first Tuesdays in March and October.  Survey invites are sent to emails from the national database (Akela).  The lists for the survey distributions are pulled out of Akela on the 31st of January and August, respectively.

Seven segment audiences receive the VOS survey - Cub Scouts, Cub Scout Parents, Boy Scouts/Venturers, Boy Scout Parents, Youth-facing Volunteers, Council/District Volunteers, and Chartered Organization.  To be invited to take the VOS survey, an individual must have been registered in Scouting 90 days prior to survey distribution lists pull from Akela.  Only those with current membership dues are included.  In Fall 2014, approximately 1.2 million survey invitations were emailed, yet survey population sizes vary cycle to cycle.  Youth under 14 are not surveyed directly, their survey is at the end of the parent survey to allow for parental control.

Surveys are kept open for approximately two weeks.  Reminder invites are sent out one week after the initial invite is distributes.  Survey measurements is centered around the Net Promoter Score, a recommendation-based approach to gaging member loyalty.  Additional experienced-oriented questions are included in the survey to help make feedback more actionable.

Once feedback is provided and the survey is closed, all feedback is aggregated and displayed on the Voice of the Scout dashboard at regional, are, council and district levels.  This is available to most council/district professionals and volunteers on MyScouting and MyBSA.  The national-level comprehensive report and infographic are posted in the Voice of the Scout section at www.scouting.org/jte.

To help address member dissatisfaction with Scouting, adult members with Detractor NPS scores have the opportunity to request a council employee contact them about their experience.  These requests are included in the Experience Recovery Report posted on MyBSA.  Council executives can grant permission to their professionals to access this report.