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UVTS, our Unit Visit Tracking System, can be a valuable unit service tool, but perhaps we are too focused on its tracking capabilities. If we think of it as USES, our Unit Support and Engagement System, we may be able to better see the opportunities it offers.

Use No. 1: The Unit Visit

Unit visit reports should include more than just a date, some numbers, and quality indicator check marks. Observations about the visit or the unit or comments in general can make the visit report far more insightful.

Many of our commissioners may be used to unit visit “worksheets” that were developed to help document unit visits before UVTS was available or Journey to Excellence was implemented. We need to help those commissioners move from our “First Century” approach to unit visits to “Second Century Service.” For example, when considering the “Planning” quality indicator in UVTS, consideration should be given to worksheet categories such as “meeting operation,” “budget plan,” and “planned program.” We need to help our commissioners think inJTE terms.

A simple indicator of overall unit health (“Red,” “Yellow,” or “Green”) may be a useful entry in the Visit Comments field. It could serve to identify where the unit is on JTE progress (“Green” = healthy and on track to JTE recognition; “Yellow” = struggles with several JTE elements; “Red” = the unit’s future is in jeopardy) and be helpful in identifying units that may benefit from resourcesavailable through the district operations committee.

Use No. 2: The Unit Health Assessment

Unit commissioners should complete unit health assessments at least twice each year, in January and July. In addition, an assessment should be completed whenever there has been a significant change in unit leadership (unit leader,committee chair, or chartered organization representative).

With a bit of planning, unit health assessments can be recorded in UVTS along with key elements of the action plan forimproving unit performance.

If “Other” is selected for Visit Type and “January Health Assessment” (or “July” or “Other”) is entered in the Description field, unit health assessments can easily be extracted from UVTS to facilitate planning by the district or council unit service team or to assist in accessing operating committee resources to meetspecific unit needs.

Use No. 3: Ad Hoc Reporting

Unique information needs can and do arise. For example, is unit leader training a particular need? If so, reports with “Other” selected for Visit Type, “Training” entered in the Description field, and training needs entered into the General Comments field would enable the capture of each unit’s specific training needs. A report could then be generated for the district training committee identifying units in need of training to enable them todevelop a plan to meet those needs.

Those are just three possible USES for UVTS. The common element to all of them is thinking beyond tracking and considering how this tool can be used to collect actionable information that our unit service and operations teams can usetogether to help our units serve more kids better.

Extracting information from UVTS and sorting it to develop actionable information isn’t hard, but it isn’t for everyone. See”What’s a Data Dog?” elsewhere in this issue.