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How do you make a good roundtable?

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  • How do you make a good roundtable?

    I spent the last worthless roundtable outside with one of the DE's brainstorming how to make one that doesn't suck. I think our biggest problems are commissioners who just show up as a social club, low attendance and BORING presentations. Also, ours groups all levels for half and then cub leaders and boy scout leaders go their own ways. No venturing leaders to speak of. Not sure if that is typical.

    What makes for a great and useful roundtable? I don't have time to spearhead it, so mostly I'm stuck just making suggestions. Hopefully we can also find a great champion for it.

  • #2
    Don't make me drive across town and spend an hour listening to announcements that could be covered by an email.


    • #3
      Yes, I should have mentioned that half the boring presentation is just announcements.

      I'd like to have a place that I could bring new leaders to, but I think if I brought them to this, that would kill their enthusiasm faster than anything.


      • #4
        I like SeattlePioneers approach. To make a list of topics you think may interest, and a few lines of blanks.. Then have those who attend (or maybe if attendance is low email out to who should come).. Ask them to rank the intrest, and possibly add suggests for topics you did not think of..

        Asking the participants what they want, and then offering what they want I feel is what will attract them. I am sure SP will be along shortly to elaborate.


        • #5

          I wish I had your problem. My problem is that I can set up good speakers, good demos, good training and sit with mostly four or five people counting the three on staff.

          Some have heartburn with ANYTHING that involves District or Council (they refuse to support either) but I see it as supporting other Scouters not the District/Council.

          Another problem is that I can NOT get the District to allow/find another location for the RT. It is at a LDS church and we have between zero and one LDS scouter attending. I can NOT have coffee available at the meeting. My feelings are that if the LDS does not want to attend, I thank them for services rendered and look for another spot but my SE is a LDS Scouter and no one even wants to think of moving and upsetting about 70% of the District.

          Good luck. Try using the themes and getting professional speakers for general/specific topics. (Rei rep for backpack types/fit, some summer camp "Mountainmen" to teach Dutch oven cooking, the OA to teach "ideal" campsite, teach TLT to the SPL/PL's while SM & SA are in other areas learning other things,...

          Good luck. I am almost at the quitting stage. Been at it about a year and a half.

          My $0.02



          • #6
            I'm in G's shoes, I plan a good RT, got topics that interest people, and 1-2 people show up.

            I'd love to hear ideas.


            • #7
              Our district is starting to do Eblast on the subject matter covered in each breakout session. I do think it is at least pulling in the people interested in that subject.. Hopefully some of them once comming once, may decide to come more often..

              You may have the hard-core who will not come.. But, you also have some newbies, who may not know what RT is all about, or even that it is there. People come and go in units all the time.. You want to attract this new audience, by letting them know you are there, and what you have to offer.


              • #8
                Hello Eagle92,

                In the past I've sent out e-mails to the Pack Committee Chairs and Cubmasters on what the Roundtable would be covering each month.

                Just recently I got a list of all Cub Pack unit leaders, including Den Leaders Committee Members and such, and just got done making an e-mail list of all those people. I sent out an e-nail to all of them explaining what our Roundtable would be about this Thursday.

                Stand by to see if that improves turnout.

                The District Executive e-mailed that list of unit leaders to me when I asked for it.


                • #9
                  Cito and Fellow Scouters,

                  If I may add my comments and tell you about my local Roundtable.

                  Roundtable is always a challenge. My district strives to receive attendance from each unit. Sometimes we get 2-3 Scouters from the same troop or pack, but our goal is at least one rep. We also know that we have at least one Scouting Pack and Troop that absolutely does not see the value in Roundtable. We know that we have a couple of units that meet on the same night as roundtable evening (one unit sacrifices a committee member to attend though). Our district accepts that we cannot satisfy everyone, but we can satisfy a majority of Scouting needs.

                  Just over a year ago, we asked that everyone be on staff. That each unit select co-facilitators and present that month. Most all of our units agreed to host (or co-host) a monthly theme. Our thought was, if they feel that they are active participants in Roundtable, this would add to their own personal value, up the game a little bit. Having each attending Scouting unit, be responsible for an education/program segment thru the year, has increased our attendance even greater.

                  Here are a few things that we do, in my local Roundtable.

                  My district also acknowledges that we have some talented Scouters out there. So sometimes we don't do an educational session, but rather a challenge to see who is best (with maybe a few hints). Such as; we do not do a Dutch Oven cooking class, we do a Dutch Oven Cook Off challenge. Who can cook the best meal? Whose Scoutmaster is the best Chef in the district? Through the year, we will occasionally call out a challenge of who tells the best Minute or which Scout leader has a hidden talent (singing, story telling, juggling, etc).

                  Our Roundtable Commissioners and staff strive to make Roundtable not the best show in town, but "the only show in town". We limit the stand up sermons to the choir, but we do have some mutual topics before we split, Arrowmen, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers. We begin with Scoutmasters/Cubmasters/Advisors minute(s), if we don't have a minute we do "Grin and Bear It" from the back of Boy's Life. A few of these are seasonal and can be used.
                  After Flag opening, we conduct a simple attendance. Our Cub Scouters have a Den Flag they make each year, or Boy Scouters have a Patrol Flag that they also make each year. We count attendance, by how good their Den or Patrol Cheer is. For our 2012-2013 School year, we plan on having them elect a Denner and Patrol Leader.

                  We usually have an interactive action song, or repeat after me song. We will explain which are easy for Cub Scouts and which are more fun for a Boy Scout level.

                  Sometimes we have a mutual game, that follows the theme of the month (sometimes just for fun and develop team work). It is fun to watch adults scramble and run sometimes. They do get a kick out of acting up.

                  Then it is time for program specific and we split up the larger group.

                  We believe we do a good job, when we have to push attendees out the door. They are so pumped and excited they want to stay and chat. When some fellow Scouters are commenting to those that do not attend, "Wow you really missed a fun Roundtable", then the word of mouth really takes effect, and Scouters want to attend their Roundtable.

                  I would say, my district has about 85-90 percent participation by our Scouting units. And I would give our roundtable a good rating, if not better.

                  Scouting Forever and Venture On!
                  Crew21 Adv


                  • #10
                    C21's is a by-the-book roundtable. We would all do well to read the following Don't let the venturing label turn you off. Frankly RTs should be something that would attract some older youth.

                    Also, geography matters. We are 20 minutes away from our meeting place. How distant is th farthest unit from the center of your district?


                    • #11
                      Is the BSA published Roundtable guide with monthly themes no longer used?


                      • #12
                        I know our CubScout RT commissioner uses it.. I asked about a BS version at the scout store, there isn't one.


                        • #13
                          I would limit announcements to five minutes. Just let the people know that there are flyers for it on the table and on a web site.

                          The rest of the meeting should be a mixture of training, presentations and a "roundtable" discussion. Pick an interesting topic and give a quick overview of it. Then let the people discuss the topic openly. The commissioner only serves as a moderator to keep the conversation on track.

                          Letting everyone have a say at a roundtable serves many purposes. It allows the more experienced scouters to pass on their knowledge. Newer leaders pick up some good tips on how to get things done.

                          Think of it as a support group for scouters. Instead of a twelve step process, we have the Oath and Law.


                          • #14
                            In regards to the CSRT Guide, I can only find the 2010-11 version.

                            Hopefully I can get teh 2012-13 version for our Sept. RT. I'm hoping that the Joint CS/BS RT Cook Out will attract a lot of leaders.

                            I do know some packs are struggling in our area, found that out at RT this past week talking to a BS leader about their feeder pack.

                            We also have 1 CO that just does not attend any district or council events save camporees and day camp. They do the bulk of their activities with the rest of their stake, which is in another council.


                            • #15
                              I do like our announcement sessions, as sometimes you can get some insights into what's going before things work themselves through e-mails and website postings. The training portion is hit or miss. Some of them could have been handled through e-mail or web listings. The last meeting was on dutch oven recipes. The one before was on cub scout knot awards.

                              The only one that I've been to that was worthwhile was the one about camping locations.

                              If I go to a roundtable I would prefer to receive information about program delivery. A recipe swap and a session on knots for leaders is not exactly what I'm looking for.