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LeCastor

What's the Purpose of Roundtable?

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Seems our district started a forum like this one. I'd be much more in favor of well organized info distributed there, and focusing the real RT on solid issues.

 

Recent Example: The Meeting teaser was how a discussion on integrating Webelos in to your troop given the new requirements in both programs and their impact on the "usual" crossover timeline. What happened? PowerPoint from a DC about issues we already knew. No discussion. Felt like someone punching a WB ticket rather than what could have been a goodnindepth discussion. 70% of those who came left.

Edited by Back Pack

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I used to attend RT's fairly regularly but it was a chore and I can't say that I got a huge benefit from them.  Every now and then a tidbit perhaps, but not a huge help...

 

I have often though of this forum as a modern version of what Roundtable was intended to be.  A place to bounce ideas and questions around....

In my thinking, the social aspects of getting to know others is almost secondary.....and announcements and the like, maybe tertiary

I never really thought of it as a training venue.

 

Honestly, I feel it's nearly infinitely better here, because compared to the monthly meeting, that is a moment in time then it's gone and it's so extremely limiting

Because it's a finite time, Only so many people will have a chance to ask a question or to add to a conversation, but here anyone can chime in

RT is limited because it's Thursday evening and I normally can't get there without adding a bunch of stress to my family (wife works late on Thursdays)

RT is limiting because so much of the available time is taken up with announcements and other things that may or not be of any interest to me.

 

The only limitation here is that far too few folks participate

and if many more did, then I just wouldn't have the time to read every post

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I'm currently the CS RT Commissioner, but of late been doing both since there is no BS RT Commish.  If it's done right, it is a great tool. I know when the new CS program came out in 2015, the RT sessions were great, but A) everyone was interested and B) materials were pretty good from national.  

 

As someone else mentioned, the quality of the RTC is the key. We had great RTCs and attendance was through the roof. And we had lousy RTCs who practically destroyed RT. Then you got the caretaker RTCs, who are doing their best until someone can replace them. 

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 70% of those who came left.

I'd hope that all left eventually. It's be difficult to explain to the host organization why a bunch of scouters moved in. ;)

 

I like our RT. There are announcements about upcoming opportunities. Not all of which are listed on the council's home page. Troops and Crews show up and share information about open spots they have for various activities. There is training on a variety of subjects. The socializing with other scouters is invaluable. Of course, it's usually the same scouters showing up regularly with a sprinkling of new faces.

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qwazse:   Well, heck.   Lemme know when you're in the neighborhood, I might be up that way again at Heritage with the Troop again can't never tell.

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Constant Contact may have advantages , but I haven't been allowed to try them out yet for eNews.   We just do an ordinary email list with a saveable, printable newsletter attached. Seems to work, at least until Verizon insists that I divide the emails into separate listings of 40 addresses each click.   Oh, well.   Semper gumby.

 

Try MailChimp, I have started a news letter for my district and its real simple.  If you know your way around a computer.

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My view is that RT is an anachronism ... a throwback to olden days when announcements had to be made in person or with handouts, since nobody wanted to put fliers in the mail.   I see it as an agrarian model, where everyone came to market once a month to get the news, swap stories and then go back out to the farm.   

 

When I came along, RT was usually just a flyer dump and platform announcement du jour for DEs, sometimes with a Cub RT persons saying "this is what you need to do next month because it's in the 'Program Helps' book".  (Me: "no, thanks, I've got a plan already").   What I still find funny is that when someone on the Council staff tells the DE to let the District know about something, they don't say "get the word out to your District", but "announce this at Roundtable", as if that's the only way to get the word out.  ("Communication" is not a function of a District, BTW). 

 

During my accidental tour of duty as a District Commissioner in a District with no roundtable commissioner, we ultimately came up with some different "types" of RT nights:

 

1.      “Program Roundtables†with a specific program that is planned, promoted and produced that is (hopefully) interesting, hands on and desired by leaders -- or if leaders, on hearing of what the program is, don’t want it, they can stay home … if the DE wanted to have a program mainly on popcorn sales, fine ... advertised as such, those not involved didn't feel a need to show up. 

 

Even when programs were put on based on perceived "demand" (like "we need a live YPT class") attendance was spotty.  

 

If we got no volunteer to do a Program, then we held what we advertised as:

 

2.      “Casual Open Question Time Roundtableâ€, advertised as such on the calendar for those who want/need to get information face to face in a "shoot the breeze" type format.

 

A few of those were good ... but most were not widely attended.

 

3.      We never got around to doing it (nobody volunteered), but we also suggested “On the Road Roundtableâ€, where a Unit invites a Roundtable to visit their Pack or Troop Meeting and observe.  … to actually “see how the game is playedâ€, which might be better than “hearing how the game is playedâ€.    

 

Bottom Line:  except for maybe two die hard true believers (one of whom might be told to attend by his church) and District volunteers (like the Day Camp director who was told by his Day Camp Camp School to go "announce at Roundtable"), very few young leaders attend, leaving RT to a generation older than me ... young leaders get their information from other sources.  Granted, if we shut down the weekly District News eBlasts from our Website and changed it to "announcements will only be at RT" we might get more attendance, but that just seems backwards to me ... if RT is a "unit service" function and part of providing information of use to units, I'd rather find effective ways to provide information and be of service.   

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Perhaps it is a little easier to see the value with the CSRT vs. the BSRT.

 

I view our role as many of the things you describe:

1. Place for training / educating leaders ... check

2. Place for networking with other leaders ... check

3. A place for finding out what is going on outside the unit (announcements) .... check

4. A place where troop leaders can reliably find the DE ... check

5. What is this recharter thing and what am I supposed to do ... check

6. A place for updating the scouters on various membership or requirements changes (that I first learn about here on this forum) ... check.

 

At the Cub Scout level, especially in May, June, August and September we are where the panicked new leaders go to understand what they just got drafted into doing, and how to do it.

 

We're also where leaders go if they have a problem and

(a) do not know how to solve it themselves

(b) lack the tools to solve it and need support or help

© have no idea who/what a unit commissioner is for helping them solve a problem,

etc.

 

Our Cub Scout Roundtable uses the model where we try to model elements of a pack meeting, and try to show the theme or the Scout law as a way to wrap around the meeting activities.  We're not perfect and the current CSRTC guide didn't help with the mismatch in themes and laws vs. the Pack Meeting Planners (we stuck with the Pack meeting planners).  I wish I could better emulate the advancement/ceremonies for our leaders to see a theme based meaningful awards ceremony, but we just don't do enough awards at RT (knots, etc.) to justify it.

 

We do try really hard to use interest and 'big rocks' topics that are relevant to the need of the units.  We mix breakouts and large group discussions, power points, and other presentation styles as the topic(s) and attendance allow.  I try to query the units about what topics would benefit them, but getting feedback is the usual and expected challenge.

 

As for the Boy Scout Roundtable ...

 

They have recently tried to do some more SPL Roundtables (3-4 a year), and when those work, it's really neat to see the youth leadership trading tips and tricks.

 

Even the topics at the regular adult RT sounds interesting - and I wish I could attend to learn more about them, but I'm busy running the other meeting.

Edited by gumbymaster

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Try MailChimp, I have started a news letter for my district and its real simple.  If you know your way around a computer.

 

 

My view is that RT is an anachronism ... a throwback to olden days when announcements had to be made in person or with handouts, since nobody wanted to put fliers in the mail. 

 

Picturing some Luddite Scouter reading this and looking for a chimpanzee costume with a mail bag to he can hand out fliers and the next RT. ;)

Edited by Col. Flagg

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My view is that RT is an anachronism ... a throwback to olden days when announcements had to be made in person or with handouts, since nobody wanted to put fliers in the mail.   I see it as an agrarian model, where everyone came to market once a month to get the news, swap stories and then go back out to the farm.   

 

...... What I still find funny is that when someone on the Council staff tells the DE to let the District know about something, they don't say "get the word out to your District", but "announce this at Roundtable", as if that's the only way to get the word out.  ("Communication" is not a function of a District, BTW). 

I think you nailed it well, it does seem like an old fashioned concept

 

your "announce this at RT" makes me laugh...... I'll bet it's almost sub-conscience.... they are probably always struggling to think of things to do to make RT interesting...or to fill the time....so they loose sight of the getting the word out part

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oh, we get the word out.  The  email news does that.  Problem is getting folks to hand it over to the Newsletter so it can be sent out.  Often, one person has one email list , somebody else has another.  I know on the list I use for the WODSRTNews, I have emails for folks that haven't been seen in Scoutland for years, but we're afraid to delete without their request.

  In the old days (remember the aroma of ammonia?) , the newsletter would collect stuff over a , what, month? before mailing it out, and the plans in the newsletter  would be set sufficiently in the future such that folks could PLAN their plans.  Now, in the eNews, it seems folks want it NOW for later so they can decide what is the "best offer", I guess.  And since they don't have the calendar posted on the 'fridge to look at, they hope there is a weblist somewhere to look at.  And who is it that updates and organizes that?   Is it on Facebook?  Dropbox?  Council website?  District page?  What if one still uses the library computer (save a lot of money that way, true) and has to go there to access the listings?  

Well, come to RT and pick up a printout.  "It's in the Program Calendar we pass out in June..."  Now, where did I put that? 

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