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I attend our district's roundtable and have also attended in other districts of our council. Very seldom are these meetings any more than a waste of time. Who has a good roundtable and what are you doing that works?

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Hello 4 the Boys,


My District went through the same thing; I just started on the District committee, in the meetings the topic of Roundtable attendance came up. I thought this might be a good angle to approach my concerns about Roundtable.


If the Roundtable is a waste of time usually attendance is low, consisting of a few core unit leaders who feel obligated to attend, some of what I call the good old boys, those who have been in scouting for a long time and come to Roundtable for more social reasons then to learn how to implement the scouting program.


People vote with their feet - If you dont offer much to the attendees they wont come back. You need to have consistent high quality meetings.


Target - So I asked who do we most want to come. I think that new leaders and struggling units should be the priority. So we need to focus content on them.


Here are my ideas that were implemented and seem to be meeting with much success.


Preopening Activities These really help to get the meetings started on time, and it is a great opportunity for commissioners and district leaders to get to know newcomers and scouters from struggling troops. I get the commissioners to help lead the preopening activities and help attendees.


Opening We should have meaningful but short opening ceremonies. It is a great way to teach ideas for openings without the lesson Great source of ideas for new scouters. I limit announcements to 1 minute each, and they must have a flyer. I have seen roundtables often spend 45 minutes on announcements that might pertain to 10% of those attending. Quick announcement and they explain how you can get more information later.


Speakers or Group instruction Often this is the entire meeting, I think is should be one part, important but only part, and should specifically explain how to incorporate the theme in your meetings. Ideas, demonstrations and sample activities are great, I dont prefer a Scouter to stand up and give an hour slide show of his last hike, or give a speech. I think roundtable should be a sample unit meeting.


Roundtable I think it is valuable to sit down in a group setting and have a lead discussion on the theme and how to implement it. We divide the groups into groups, like Fundamentals, where we talk about the basics of implementing a program. Advanced, for scouters with a lot of experience so they can discuss things according to their experience level.


In conclusion, if you always do what youve always done youll always get what youve always got.


These are my thought and how we had success revitalizing our Roundtable meetings; we have dramatically increased attendance so I guess we are doing something right.


Please excuse the lengthy post.(This message has been edited by johnsned)

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johnsed raises some excellent points. Although he refers to Boy Scout Roundtable features rather than Cub Scout Roundtable (which I assume 4theboys was referring to due to the title of the section) they share some similar elements and keys to success.


I especially agree that attendance at events for adults is primarily driven by program quality just as is attendance by youth members at unit meetings.


But I think another element has comes into play. Due to district and council consolidations some districts have grown to geographic proportions that make single location Roundtables inefficient and inconvenient in many Districts throughout the BSA.


I think we need to be more out of the box in our view of Roundtable service and when geographic conditions require we need to establish multiple monthly Rundtables in a district. Many adults today no not have time to spend two hours on the road for a 90-minute meeting. I believe that If you want leaders to attend your Roundtable you need to be within a 30 minute driving range of their home.


It is a great plan to have Boy Scout Roundtables model a top-notch troop meeting agenda and that has always been my goal as well as a RT Commissioner. But Cub Roundtables are different in many ways and do not lend themselves as easily to that format.


But I agree with johnsned that there should be a pre-opening or gathering activity, the meeting should start and stop on time, it needs to be an interactive, hands-on program. It should address all levels of cubbing (preferably with the use of break-out sessions), announcements should be at a minimum (5-minutes or less), there should be good use of ceremonies and participants should leave with all kinds of scouting stuff in their possession.


Lastly, encourage your Roundtable staffs and commissioners to attend Rountable seminars at Philmont Training Center this summer. They will share and collect great ideas from Rountables all across the country.


Good Luck 4theboys,

Bob White

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Oh grasshopper, welcome to the master's house


What's missing....fun

RT - not just an announcement fest.

Mine is complete with: Songs, a game, a ceremony or two (Opening, Adv.)

a purpose...my purpose is that every attendee leaves the RT with something that they can use to make their program better.

how do I accomplish that...I don't, I'm not that smart, so I use the group...in a round table discussion. Sometimes I introduce the topic, other times it is brought up by a scouter.

Programs areas covered in a year: B&G, new den leader, new CM, Webs to Scout, recruitment ideas, Pack/den planning, cub camping, theme things, how scouts learn, scouting with disabilities, the Turkey Dance, etc.

We run a field trip of the month contest. We will be publishing a giant district list of places to go.

We have an award ceremony every month for people who have never attended RT and give them a BSA lapel pin. Over the years, many people have come to RT looking for their free pin, hey it works


First - a realistic evaluation must be drawn up and sent out to the units to measure your district and what the district wants/needs.

Two - establish a staff who will share your vision of fun and learning. The more the merrier

Three - Kill the announcements. Make em put in on paper and give em 2-3 minutes to sellthe benefits. Then direct the group to talk to the person "offline" Put the announcements last

Four - Plan a great fun meeting. Implement the plan


here is a nice idea, that a fellow CSRT in another district did this year. A Round Table Camporee/Klondike. He set up 4 to 8 stations with a variety of stunts/skills. One - Cub Scout Oath, Two - You have 3 minutes to design and execute a football play worthy of notice by the NFL, three - paper bag dramatics, make up a skit on the fly with props and suggested theme. Four - you get the idea. he used this to make the idea of the klondike fun and sold it to cub leaders and yes he ran it in Jan. in Jersey outside where the temps that week wher ein the teens. They all had fun, they all shared hot chocolate.

Turkey Dance - you bring in 4 to 6 boxes of paper scraps (go tolocal printer and ask for cutter waste) and a roll of tape for each team. split into 4 to six teams and have team elect a leader! That leader is to stand still while the rest the team uses paper and tape to make the person into a turkey. We finish it off by killing thelights, turning on a strobe light an dblastin disco music for the Annual Turkey Dance (i always explain that this cannot and should not ever degenerate into any type of "victim activitey...so don't let people you know who are embarrased by being center stage be the victim)

promote involvement by assigning openings or songs to different units

Create a Rt totem - pass it out with instructions to bring it back with something from their unit on it.

Balloon Games are always big with adutl scouters.

All of this...Fun with a purpose.

Good Luck

I judge the staff and my success by th eamount of people we have to tell to go home at th end of the meeting

As to size, I have pulled these stunts and antics not only at the district Rt, but at Pow Wow's, just rethink the fun to the size of the crowd.

And phone calls get more action than email


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Most often I leave our CSRT with a smile. Im smiling because I had a good time watching the other adults act like children. And in turn theyre smiling from watching me act like a child. The newcomers however arent smiling. Were smiling because were the regulars and weve come to understand the purpose of this silliness. I think that its just this silliness that keeps people away from RT.


Newcomers arrive for their first RT with a single thought.How do I run a CS meeting, what do I do with the kids. The Round Table meeting begins and they are immediately asked to stand and introduce themselves. Next they listen to a bunch of annoucements that mean nothing to them. Then, theyre asked to sing, maybe dance, maybe paint a picture, maybe play a game, or build a puppet. They are at a pack meeting for adults. They are insulted.


They dont come back unless, by coincidence, they picked up something of particular use to them at their next den or pack meeting.


The thing thats missing here is a FRAME. Before that new leader walks thru the door into RT they should have a very clear understanding that RT will model for them, from pre-opening activities to a closing ceremony, what a meeting should look like. The modeling purpose of RT is severely under communicated.


Conversely, the modeled pack (den) meeting format must be dropped from time to time. We need to be engaged in an adult pursuit every once and a while.


It took me a long time to figure this out, but I stuck with it and now I actually have a good time. Ive met some great people and we have a great time laughing at each other.

(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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Hello "4 the boys",


Its been awhile since I dealt with Roundtable planning. I agree with all of the above, but would add one item - Roundtable Program Planning guide. I believe they have a seperate one for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing.


Start with the basics, keep it fun and go from there.


Good Luck

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Understand that this is just the personal preference of a curmudgeonly old coot, but I have to tell you that a little bit of this "modeled den meeting" stuff goes a long way with me. I really don't think that in order to learn to run a program for 8-year-olds, I need to get on the floor and act like an 8-year-old.


Don't get me wrong -- if you want to open the meeting with "God Bless America" just to get everyone on their feet and to get the blood moving, that's great. And if someone has a new song or skit to teach the group, singing or performing it is the best way to teach it. But singing the same old song, or doing the same old skit just because there is a slot on the den meeting planner for it is a waste of time.


Crafts are another pet peeve of mine. Our CSRT commish thinks we have to make a craft every month. I really don't need to spend 25 minutes watching glue dry. Show me the finished product, give me a written set of instructions and materials list and move on. It should take three minutes. Spend the time saved letting other folks present ideas or send me home early. I'd much rather see my own boys off to bed than to build another styrofoam snowman.


Cub Scout programs are designed to entertain and educate 6-to-10-year-old boys. Roundtable programs need to entertain and educate adults. Hopefully, there is a difference (and please don't write me about tapping my inner child.)


The key is content. I'd rather sit through a 90-minute, monotone lecture on an important, interesting subject than to "play" Cub Scout covering old material.


To me, the best Roundtables are where the commish opens a subject with a short presentation, then throws the discussion open to the group. The exchange of ideas and the opportunity to tap the experience of the other Scouters is the value of Roundtable.

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I think that while we have to model i agree that we don't have to go down t being 8 yrs old month after month.

I have tried this, did not work out so well, but I will try this again: Craft show, instead of making crafts, have the units bring in samples of crafts made already.

Skits: I agree wholeheartedly on tired skits so i love paper bag dramatics. Bunch of stuff, a couple lines of suggestions and the group comes up with a two minute "act" this allows the scouters who don't like to perform to participate without being center stage. It models Plan B situations, creativity etc.

Songs: Oldies but goodies should be spread out over the year, every 3 months or so. We often close with vespers.

Ceremonies, one of my staff told me that he joined the RT staff for a couple of reasons, one being the ability to stop the Hokie ceremonies found in the published program guides. His job is to either come up with new or refit Hokie ceremonies to fun, simple ceremony presentations which we use to welcome new attendees or just to show a ceremony.

I think the key here though, is to know your district. Our council has 6 districts, each different from the other, either in size or character and RT program has to fit the needs of the scouters in the district. Evaluation Forms are essential to planning this program. There will always be scouters at every Rt who only want the announcements and others who cannot wait to act 8 yrs. old. The key is to find where the majority of the group is at and what needs they have. Phone calls are imperative follow ups to evaluations. (Our evaluations state that a name is not needed, it can be handed in blank) Evaluations forms come in two varieties. One, RT meeting specific, the other alengthy evaluation sent ot all leaders in the district. Even if they do not attend RT, their input is valuable for setting a RT program as well as a district cub program.

One thing I want at our RT, but cannot fit into the time schedule, is break out sessions for specifics. One, I do not get more than 2 o3 DL's, same with CC's and about 4 WL. Attending are a lot of CM's and ACM's. A plan is to hold a DL specific meeting next October, a Webelos specific session in Nov.


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Open Questions.


1 What if what the majority of participants want is not what the two purposes of Roundtable are?


2 What if the people who aren't coming are staying away because they want to know how to play with 8-year olds in a scout environment and the Roundtable isn't giving them that because the "old coots" complain too much when you do.


3 If Roundtable is not reinforcing the "kid fun" of cubscouts by teaching and modeling the songs games skits and crafts, where do leaders get that on-going support from?


4 If Roundtable models lectures and discussions, what keeps the Den leaders and Cubmasters from modeling lectures and discussions at their meetings?



Just curious,

Bob White


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1. Anyone providing a service to others must balance the things the customers say they want with the things we know they need. You try to give them what the want; sometimes you have to give them what they need. Let me turn your question around: What if the two purposes of Roundtable (which I'm sure will be revealed in due course)aren't meeting the needs of the participants?


2. The Roundtable's "customers" are all the Cub Leaders in the district. If people aren't attending because Roundtable doesn't provide the support they need, the RTC needs to adapt the program so it does. At some point, however, you either fish or cut bait. Do you tailor your meetings to people who still don't attend or do you serve those who do?


3. This question and #4 assumes that a Cub leader is unable to learn a program on an adult level and then present it to the boys on their level. I didn't suggest that Roundtable shouldn't provide leaders with program ideas, games, songs and skits. In fact, if you'll re-read my post, I said that teaching new songs and skits by performing them is great. My objection is to wasting time by repeating tired, old songs and skits that everyone knows, just for the sake of modeling a den meeting. I'm there to learn new material for my den. Walking through the elements of a modeled den meeting simply because the book says to is not an efficient use of my time. I believe the element and agenda for a good den meeting was covered in basic training. Presented properly, I can learn a craft in five minutes and judge if it is something I want to do with my den. Spending 30 minutes playing with paint and glue isn't necessary.


4. Leader training, an interest and ability in working with Cub-aged boys, and common sense.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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1. But what if the things they say they want and need are not with the goals of Roundtable or in the best intersest of a quality scouting program?


For instance what if the discussion they want is to complain about the Proffessional service side of scouting.


We have some Cub RT staffers in this discussion I am sure they will share the 2 goals of roundtable with us.


2. Is it the programs responsibility to bend to the be what the participant thinks it is supposed to be? Or is it the responsibility of the leader to present the Scouting program that the meeting is designed for? Does the Den Leader change the methods and goals of the den meeting because what the boys want is to gather and just play video games?


3. You have a mix of skills and experience at roundtable. Some things old hat to you are a new experience to others. At some point it to you longer. Doesn't the teaching need to be aimed to the least experienced?


If you discuss how to swim in a classroom and don't actually get in the water and get wet, how many people can you expect to actually know how to swim?


4. You cannot teach everything a Cub leader needs to know in the 4.5 hours of basic training. Isn't that why we have monthly Roundtables?



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Sorry about the typos on the previous post i was on the run.

Probably the most confusing was in #3 which should have read...

You have a mix of skills and experience at roundtable. Some things old hat to you are a new experience to others. At some point it took you longer to do the skill than it takes today because you had less experience. Doesn't the teaching need to be aimed to the least experienced?


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I think your hypotheticals are getting extreme and silly, but I'll play.


What if the participants don't have the interests of a quality program in mind? They need to be out of the program. Just because the group votes to drink beer and watch stag movies doesn't mean we have to go along with it. What if they all they want to do is complain about the professionals? If it's turning into a monthly **** session, the meetings are getting out of hand and need to be refocused. But at the same time, the chain of command dang-well needs to be addressing the problem with the professionals. Granted, Roundtable isn't the venue to solve personnel issues, but if that's the number one, burning issue at Roundtable, the SE better be working on it. Like it or not, intended or not, by the book or not, Roundtable is the one time a month that Scouters from across the district come together to share and socialize. Good managers, the Key Three in the case of a Scout district, need to avail themselves of that opportunity to learn the needs and concerns of the Scouters and units in the district.


2. If by "the program" you mean the Scouting program, then obviously no, it does not get changed to suit the Roundtable attendees. But if you're talking about the commissioner's prepared program for the evening, then yes, he better adapt it to his audience. Here's the problem with my local Roundtable: the bulk of the meeting is doing a craft every month. There's not a single den leader in attendance. Everyone is a Cubmaster or Committee Chairman. Talk to us about volunteer recruitment, pack finances or rechartering. Leave the styrofoam snowmen at home.


3. Same as with number two, Know Thy Audience. If your Roundtables are inhabited by large numbers of rookie den leaders who don't know how to structure a den meeting and need program ideas, then the model den meeting would be a great technique.


As to your swimming analogy, I believe both Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat are taught in a classroom without so much as a Dixie cup of water needed. My point, which as an experienced trainer you well know, is that some topics lend themselves to classroom teaching and some are better presented hands-on. Why should CSRTs be locked into the model den meeting method? I believe Johnsed and Jbroganjr agreed that sometimes it needs to be dropped.


4. No argument here.


Bob, I saw on the other thread that you are the director of marketing for an advertising specialties company, an industry I have a little experience with, but from the other side of the desk. Do you only sell refrigerator magnets? I'll bet you have a catalog with thousands of different products. I'll further venture that you see your company's mission as helping your clients develop creative ways of increasing their business. In otherwords, you take the marketing approach to your clients' needs by trying to find creative products that will benefit them. The opposite would be a sales approach whereby you try to convince them that they need to buy refrigerator magnets, mainly because you have a lot of magnets you need to unload. (And by the way, I'm not trying to insult your intelligence here, I know you understand this difference, but I'm spelling it out for those who may not have a marketing background.)


Roundtable Commissioners need to bring a marketing approach to Roundtable. As Jbroganjr said, the first step is to make a realistic evaluation of the units in the district and see what their needs are.


Know your customers, meet their needs.

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You raise points worth discussing twocubdad. I will try not to be too lengthy.


1. this was not a silly hypothetical it was an actual situation in a real council where I had just moved to, and was asked to become RT Commissioner. The boy scout Roundtable was 7 guys sitting in the conference room at the council office once a month and whining about the professional staff. This had been their "program" for over two years.


Should I have been sensitive to their program preference and kept that as the RT program or even as part of an RT program?


The Cub RT was 90-minutes of announcements as the leaders sat in rows of folding chairs listening as the various district committee reps parade by and make their announcements.


Does this fulfill the mission of Roundtable service?


2. Shouldn't the Roundtable staff know their audience before the meeting, and come prepared with a program? If they depend on changing when they get there how will they know what resources to prepare or bring?


3. I'm not talking passive information like safety rules. I asked specifically about an active skill. Cubbing needs to be hands-on and active to meet the needs and characteristics of a boy in that age group. In order to learn active skills you must practice them actively. That is one of the main tenents of how to teach children. Adults are not used to this style of learning so they must practice this in order to do it well with the boys.


Yes there should be program accomodations for administrative level scouters in attendance. That is why the agenda for Cub roundtable stresses the need for breakoutr sessions so that specific work can be done with specific groups. A committee chair does not need to make a birdhouse with tongue depressors, but a den leader should not have to listen about filling out committee paperwork either. Cub roundtables need to provide the type of information in the correct way for each group.


But if you are a wolf Den Leader that doesn't want to sing songs or do skits or play silly games then you should not have been selected to be a den leader. If you are a roundtable staff that doesn't include these feature in every roundtable you are not meeting the mission of Roundtable service.


4. What you decribe is known as transactional selling. A company that wants to sell magnets talks to a customer until he sees a way to sell the customer a magnet. Yes, actually many companies do business that way. But not the good ones. In my company we have access to many items and many ways for our clients to employ these items. We listen and learn what our customers are trying to accomplish in the business, who is their target audience, what response are they trying to stimulate. Then we determine if the products and service we offer can actually achieve those goals. If my client thinks that what he needs are magnets and I know from my experience and research that magnets will not get the results he expects then I will let him buy his magnets from someone else. Because when it fails I do not want them to see it as my company's failure. I'm looking for successful business relationships not a single sale.


As I a Rountable commissioner my responsibility is to deliver the mission of roundtable not pander to the wants of any size group if those wants are not the products and services that roundtable is responsible for delivering.


As an example RT is not there to be the 90-minute bulletin board for the District Committee. Those committees have other communication resources they can use. To hi-jack roundtables program time is not the answer, even if the participants believe that is the purpose of the meeting.


Yes, Roundtable needs to bring a marketing approach. But that means they must remember what their specific product line is, who their company is and what the goal of their business is.


Bob White


So what are the two goals of cub Roundtable?

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I'll bite,

not my tongue tho'


As for point one about attendees wanting something that is not scouting, I'll share my experience, right or wrong, I know I'm inviting criticism but so be it.

I was asked a bunch of years ago to be the asst CSRTC with a newguy who was brand new to our district/council. Why, because I asked and aksed the Chairman and commissioner why RT was just a "Moan" session (I normallyuse a different descriptive word for this) to complain about council and professionals.

The two of us decided without benefit of an evaluation to install a conventional RT program (My partner is philmont trained, woodbadge, yada yada...he just knows how to have fun). So step one was to stopping the Kvetching, so we eliminated announcements completely, as the only served as a opening to start again. All announcements where to be on paper. All questions about an event, etc had to be made offline, in person, one on one with the person making the announcement. The announcer was only allowed to sell the benefits and had 2 minutes to do so.

Was there an uproar, you bet, but the uproar was no longer in the RT session.

2. We kept this policy in place for almost the entire first year. Yeah we modeled behavior. In exchange for this, we presented as much and as varied a program as possible, so that no lulls in the program would give rise to this unscouting like behavior.

We, possibly wrongly, but I believe rightly, let it be known that what goes on with the professional staff and council programs, realistically, don't have much impact on cubs.

We where incredible lucky in having a new D.E. who not only supported this, but promoted the philosphy of keeping the B.S in the district in the district and The BS at the council at the council.

This method forced us RT commissioners to personally get involved and get to know the units personally. At times we where a great Broadway show others a poor vaudville act.


As for the thought about pleasing everyone. Variety is key. We, the staff, wher ethe 8 yr old kids and enough people wanted to join in, that we devote about 1/3 of the meeting to being grown up kids through games, etc. We always follow up these demonstrations/interactions with a comment or discussion on why we do this and how it can benefit the kids as well as the planning and supplies needed for a game etc.

I believe you have to have the fun part in the RT meeting, otherwise you will have CM and such lecture talking to kids.

We set up our Rt in 5 minute segments. Some segments take 10 or 15, but we plan along for 5 minutes. Why, because we tend to be an impatient society.

How do I measure our success. A couple of ways.

One the old, kick em out the door the meetings is done and I want to go home. We have that every month, most do not want the fun to stop or they want the discussion to go on.

Two, attenance, we really follow it, not by unit, by how many from a unit and variety of positions

Seat of the pants stuff - calls and emails from scouters informing that they will not be able to make a meeting but could we bring up to speed their replacement

Three RT staff programs. When the staff ventures out to do other programs like camporess and such, we have been ending up with more volunteer help than we need. I am guessing this is not the norm?

I think Bob W you bring up some interesting arguments/questions here and I can only emphasise that you have to follow the Aims and means of scouting, that the program has to be Fun...with a purpoise, but what do you do with the dophin part I haven't figured out yet

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