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Bob White

Feedback on Roundtables

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I'm doing a Boy Scout Roundtable Seminar later this year and I'd be interested in some across the country feedback. This is big picture stuff not about specific scout skills.

 

1. What feature about your current RT do like enjoy the most?

 

2. What feature of your Current RT do you enjoy the least?

 

3. What feature helps you the most in your troop position?

 

4. What characteristics of the RT staff do you like?

 

5. What characteristics of your RT staff would you change?

 

6. What feature would you add to your RT program?

 

7. How far would you being willing to travel to attend RT?

 

8. On average how many RT a year do you attend?

 

9. If you are not a regular RT attendee, Why aren't you?

 

 

Answer as many questions as you like.

 

Thanks,

Bob

 

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Answers:

 

1. As odd as it may sound, they always start on time. Also, it's the only place to get "current" information about District activities and functions.

2. Woodbadge presentations. This is a good place for the presentation, but they are so long and push the agenda back until it's so late.

3. Again, as a SM, our RT provides current information, answers to relevant questions, and the opportunity to provide the District direct and immediate feedback to District programs (good as well as not so good).

4. Their teamwork.

5. Our RT Staff has a great reputation. Staff members rotate in and out and always have fresh ideas pertaining to the monthly theme, so I can't think of anything that needs changing (a few years ago, I couldn't say all of these positive things).

6. No room for more. Our RT's are packed full of ideas and demonstrations.

7. Currently it's about 10 miles, but the location is central to our District.

8. Approximately 7 out of the scheduled 11 per year.

9. Since I'm currently taking night classes, usually our Troop has a representative. Our RT's are good enough to make sure our Troop is represented.

 

It's been awhile since our Roundtables were not worth attending. Where our District has just started having a serious problem, is staffing our Camporee Committee. Our Camporees (fall and spring)used to be incredible, but the old Staff was run off several years ago by a new group consisting of recent Woodbadge and Basic Training graduates. These new folks have since found out the effort it takes to create and execute a Camporee program, so most of them have bailed out. Last fall's Camporee was poorly planned and the location and theme were changed at the last second, and it turned into a work weekend out at our Council's camp under the disguise of a "Paul Bunyun" weekend. Several Troops we've worked with, went somewhere else (as we did). This spring's Camporee also can't get a Staff together, so it's defaulting to a District Staff person who had no idea it was being given to him. The original dates have been changed to provide time to plan, but he can't get anybody to help him. Most Troops have already planned their camping trip dates for the year, and don't want to make changes, so they won't be attending this Camporee, but taking the dates and going somewhere else (sound familiar ????).

 

Good questions,,,,,

sst3rd

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I get to 2-3 roundtables a year. The ones I attend are when safe swim/safety afloat is offered or youth protections or something like that. And the meeting place is less than 10 miles from my house. The one thing I would stress would be to welcome new members with more than an eyebrow raise.

 

I get the distinct impression when I am at our roundtables that this is the old boys club (add women in there too) and anyone new is always seen as an interloper. Hard as it may seem, I dont like having to fight for acceptance or even just to have someone acknowledge my presence.

 

Now, would that change if I showed up for 4 meetings in a row? I dont know, but the staff certainly dont go out of there way to make me WANT to show up.

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Roundtables in our district are poorly attended due to distance. Our district is composed of 7 rural counties requiring the majority of folks to drive more than an hour for the meeting. Additionally, hosting it on a military base hasn't helped much either since 9/11.

For me, I don't attend as much as I should, and less so especially during the winter months. I find it hard to enjoy driving on icy back roads, nor leaving at 6 pm or earlier, and returning home by one in the morning.

Additionally, our Roundtables lack Council representaion in the form of a D.E. We've gone as long as 5 years without one, and the last one lasted all of 3 months...

 

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Our district has a poorly planned Round Table program, or I should say there is no program. Unless there is a training such as Safe Swim Defense or such, the program consists of swapping stories. Many times the Round Table leader cant make it to the meeting, and were on our own.

 

I want a preplanned program where there is a theme or particular topic that will be discussed. Topics Id like to see would be Troop Jr. Leader Training, Court of Honor ideas, how the committee really functions, money earning event dos and donts, PLC / boy-led ideas and methods. It would be great if we knew what the upcoming program was, so we could prepare for it.

 

Some of our district staff has a holier-than-thou attitude. It is a tight circle and tough to get into. It helps to have a military background; plain civilians have a tougher time. Frankly, I get more help and ideas from other Scoutmasters and leaders like myself than from the staff.

 

We get lots of new leaders that attend one or two times and then theyre never seen again. They want to know simple things like the rules for completing a tour permit. Every time that subject comes up we get different rules or exceptions to rules. Just this week for example, the RT commissioner stated in no uncertain terms that unless our boys were in class A uniforms while traveling to and from a campout, our tour permit would probably not be valid, and our troop and district insurance would not be in force!

 

Lately there has been a big push to get more unit commissioners. The goal is one commissioner for every three units. Right now there is one commissioner for about 30 units. My wife went through Wood Badge several months ago and has a ticket item to be a unit commissioner. But the district staff just cant seem to find even one troop to assign her to.

 

I travel about 25 miles one way, and miss about one roundtable each year. I go mainly to get the announcements and to talk to those people that are accessible. There are some very good Scouters that attend, and one on the staff and that is really the only draw for me.

 

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I travel approx. 25 mi. to go to roundtable. I do my best to make as many as I can. Most times there is no real program, Many times I provide the program at the last minute. If a troop was run like this they wouldn't have good attendance which is probably why our roundtables have poor attendance. There was even one time that roundtable was called off but the Boy Scout rountable leader didn't know and he drove 40min. to the meeting and found no one there.

Now I'll answer your question. I like the fellowship and the discussions with other Scoutmasters.

I dislike the disorganization and lack of a planned meeting.

The knowledge of dates and events is the most useful thing gained from roundtable.

Characteristics of the roundtable staff that I like, they're nice guys.

Characteristics I would change, I would dedicate them more to roundtable. This would be impossible because they hold too many positions to be able to concentrate on one.

Feature I would add to roundtable would be a calendar of roundtable programs. This way you could encourage other SM and ASM to attend certain meetings that had necessary content such as youth protection. I have been to roundtable where the whole meeting was Boy Scout and Cub Scout meeting combined to work on your re-charter line by line. I can guarantee that anyone that attended that meeting that didn't have to fill out a re-charter felt like they wasted their time.

I already travel about as far as I feel I need to. Our district is split between 3 counties, and our county is split between 2 districts. Our county is in the middle and the southernmost county, which has the most troops, is where the meetings are held. The northernmost county is like a red headed stepchild, they are never at a meeting and aren't treated like they are part of the district.

I attend at least 6 roundtables a year, but our district doesn't have one every month. There is no meeting when there is the district banquet, and there are no meetings in the summer.

Bob White, a question for you. Are you in a council that has an indian name?

 

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As a Webelos Leader I've attended about 3 roundtables. I didn't know anyone there and felt invisible. Everyone was chatting with their buddies. I didn't know what the routine was for the roundtable and felt lost.

I didn't get any more information there than what I can get by reading the handbooks and web pages. In fact, I felt I was getting a lot of wrong information during the Webelos breakout session (being told that in Boy Scouts the boys put up the adults tents, make the scoutmaster's coffee, etc.)

 

It's about 20 miles from my house. My biggest reason for not going is that I'm a single mom, and it takes a whole evening to go, time for bed when we get back home. And right now it conflicts with my son's basketball practice.

 

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I attend 2-3 a year. The ones I have been to are well run and informative. My biggest reason for not attending more is that not only are they about 45 minutes away, but they are in the next state and a different time zone, so when I attend I do not get home until after 10:30 (much too late for this early riser!)

 

Our RT's are well run so I do not see a whole lot to improve there, but I would love to see all the information presented (including all handouts)placed on the council website. Yes I know, this would be more work for someone but I can dream can't I?

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When I first got involved in Scouting, I didn't even know what roundtables were for the first year (as SM). I wasn't trained, and didn't know that many Scouters outside the troop. Upon learning of the event, I started going, learned about training, got trained, and then went to every round table, not missing one, for my next 5 years in Scouting (every month). The guys who were running them at the time made them simply terrific. They were activity laden events. Hands-on stuff. We were all doing the stuff that was suggested for teaching or for games at our own troop meetings. I even remember lighting a candle...from 25 feet away. They were simple things, but very, very active. And that's what I missed most after those guys retired. The roundtables started on a downhill slope until I retired as SM and then ASM. They became just discussion groups. No activity. Little new information was provided. No guest speakers. The old guard used to bring in the salespeople from Eastern Mountain Sports from time to time to introduce new camping equipment options. They used to bring in folks from the animal rescues in the area, with animals, to introduce us to creatures we wouldn't find in our backyards, and talk about programs available to Scouts. They'd even bring in guests from the...of horrors...Girl Scouts to talk about interactive events from both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. We'd spend some time together with the Cub Scout Leaders to briefly discuss needs and issues pertinent to both groups, then we'd split up to separate sessions. We did have some time for discussion groups ("round"tables), but those rarely took the entire evening. There would be times when the discussions were quite necessary and important. But most of the time, the events were made fun by the interactive things to do, and the sharing of knowledge, trips, events, troubles, et cetera.

 

Most of all, the thing that made the old roundtables quite enjoyable, was that they were planned. There was a schedule of events. There was no guessing about what we'd be doing on the part of the staff. And the events would be well advertised in advance so that every leader in the District knew what was on the program.

 

The we got away from that. The folks who volunteered for staff were well meaning, but poor planners. And the roundtables now are still poorly planned and run in our District. Attendance is at an all-time low. And one would think that would send a message to both the staff and the District Executive. Many have tried to lend a hand, and even volunteered for staff. But the present crew thinks they're doing fine, and treat roundtables like their own little fiefdom. It's too bad, for the gatherings could be as of old, if only those who sould do it right, would be allowed to do it right.

 

Moral of the story??? Keep it fun!!!

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Darned I wish this editting thing would work....

 

The Girl Scout thing was a tongue in cheek thing, of course. Through the roundtables, some really significant events were planned with the GS, and everyone had fun, even though the Girls always won the cooking events, and sometimes the log sawing..........

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1. Chance to interact with other leaders.

2. There is always a program but it is always crammed in with too much other stuff. The DE and the Roundtable leader do not seem to communicate with each other on the agenda so we end up with them competing for time.

3. So far, nothing. I'm the advancement coord. for the troop. Except for our troop, that has our chair, myself, SM, and at least one ASM in attendance, all the other attendees are SMs or occasionally ASMs so the focus is much more on hiking, camping, etc. Not to say this information isn't important for me as well, just no real focus on advancement specific issues. I usually am the "expert" when it comes to information about advancement, merit badges, Troopmaster, etc.

 

4. Our RT leader (boy scout side) is a 73 year old Eagle Scout! He's behind the times in many ways (especially when it comes to women!) but he LOVES scouting and really tries to instill that in the leaders. He's trying to get the units back to the basics of scouting.

 

5. I really hate not knowing what the topic is for the night. They had a drug awareness program one night that had we known about we would have tried to get other leaders (and parents) to attend.

 

6. I would like to see an agenda with time allotments. I would also like to other people besides SMs and ASMs attending. If the group got large then there might be times to break into position specific networking sessions.

 

7. It's close for me. I would probably travel up to an hour, although it would be a lot easier to bag it if it was that far away.

 

8. Since joining the troop in March of 2001 I have attended EVERY RT. Our troop always has at least two attendees and usually has four regulars.

 

9. attend regularly.

 

These are good questions. I complain about our RT structure -- there are definitely things that could be improved -- but overall it is one of the best places to keep connected with other troops and district people.

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1. Good source for current information on district activities, events, training etc.

 

2. They seem unplanned and are lightly attended.

 

3. Can't think of any.

 

4. Generally knowledgeable and want to help.

 

6. Agendas ought to be advertised ahead of time.

 

7. Not much more than 30 minutes.

 

8. Perhaps two.

 

9. While the information is helpful, it isn't all that helpful. I found roundtable much more valuable to me when I was a cub leader.

 

At this point it seems to be just another meeting to attend. I prefer to focus my time more on our troop.

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