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WisconsinMomma

District meetings - what's the point?

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I have attended exactly one district meeting, and to be honest, it wasn't that useful.   Now as an interim Cubmaster, I should go to district meetings --but tell me, Scouters, what is the point of a district meeting, and what makes a good district meeting vs.. a meeting that could be -- a newsletter?   What are the high and low points of district meetings you attend?  Personally I wonder if they're mostly a waste of  a lot of people's time.  

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District Committee meeting or Roundtable meetings?

District committee meetings are suppose to be business, with folks reporting on the things they are doing. Most unit leaders don't go.

Roundtable is the leaders' meeting. more later

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Well, it depends on the roundtable staff and attendees.  When I staffed round table it was useful but we didn't follow the official plan from BSA which was a yawn fest.  It is certainly the more the merrier.  I have seen roundtable staff that are great and ones that suck.  It should cover what is going on in the district and what topics people will need to do in their roles at their unit.

also, don't forget to encourage networking, that is key.

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My goal as "Scout Roundtable Chairman" (non-standard setup) was to give each Scouter or leader who attended material that could be taken back and plugged into the troop's program.  Announcements were limited to five minutes, which created some tension, especially with the attending council employees, who largely had goals not directly related to unit program.   

Occasional major changes in rules or program that seemed to need explanation in a interactive discussion, or topics raised by the customers that seemed to need the same, were discussed so long as interest was apparent.

Awful roundtables are, I suggest, like awful meals at summer camp - they need to be improved, not simply eliminated.  Roundtables are, in theory, part of the unit support function of the Commissioner's Service - "other" training.

In my current district, in part due to having no Roundtable Commissioners for years, the roundtables have largely been deadly combinations of announcements and exhortations to do something or other.  :(

 

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Unless things have changed since I was on the District Committee, all CORs are ex officio members of the District Committee and are the only Unit level Scouters who have a vote.  They should be encouraged to attend and participate.

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There are also District Members at Large (BSA Membership Code 75) who can vote of some matters, such as election of the District Chairman.

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Our Round tables have evolved into a night out for the old guard former unit leaders.  And at times I have felt like an 11 year old, being lectured to by the RT commissioner.  To me the ideal round table would be the unit leaders sitting around (a round table?) and discussing what their unit is doing (Where did you camp, what did you do there, what other activities is your unit doing, etc.) What problems are you havcing in your unit (helicopters, bullying, crossover procedures, attendance, dealing with sports conflicts, etc.).  An open discussion . 

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"The Work Is Done By Whoever Shows Up"....

District Committees:   Time to plan and take on responsibility for and report on the progress of and success of all the various District events:  Camporees, Merit Badge Daze, Training sessions, Friends (and enemies?) of Scouting,   Scouting for Food,  etc.    Attendees should be  CORs,  and ANYONE ELSE who is Scouty dedicated.   District Committee is the various Vice Chairs: Camping, training, etc....   Face to Face is important.  Shake that hand.  Make that acquaintance.  Speak and hear, not merely email list...   Wouldn't you rather have THIS conversation in person?   Cuppa in hand?   Pass the pie....

Round Tables.... TBC....

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As meetings accumulate, the question should soon shift from what you can get out of it to what you can put into it.

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No body at ours, old guard*, wood badgers, or new-no-nothings are going to come up an introduce themselves. People are shy or exclusive.

Round tables are what you make of them.  Wear a name tag, come with some good questions, work the crowd, and find the person who can help you or at least you are willing talk to again, next time.

In my case, after three meetings  the DE knows me by name, answers my calls, and has advised my CC on some bad-adult behavior in our unit.

*Make those rows of knots and wood badge neckerchiefs work for you.

Tell the know-nothings what someone did for you.

Lead the change...you are the customer.

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Back home again....

Rrrround Table...   Invented by the BS of A folks so local Scouters would have a place to meet and get to know each other and learn from each other (at least, that is my interpretation).   Again,  It is what you make it...

If your DE or DC or DChair takes it over  to make the RT a "Listen To Me"  event, that's not totally his/her fault. It just means no one else cared to step up and use the opportunity to benefit all the rest of the Scouters.  "The Usual Suspects" will show up, the trick is to get more folks to see the benefit of attending.  This is done by not just following the BSA RT guidelines, but that is a good place to start.   Cub Round Table attenders are mostly (natch) Scout beginners.  The successful CSRT here abouts is run like a Pack Meeting.  Ideas, crafts, skits, get the folks up and involved. Pass out beads for attendance, awards for participation.  

BSRT  needs a different approach.  These folks aren't usually total newbies, but would like a more adult "help me" approach.  Frame it around a Troop meeting, but  ASK the Scouters what they might like to see/hear/do...    Give them topics/themes that will make it GOOD to come...   Talk about Philmont, High adventure organizing by getting someone from Council .  Fundraising :  Let the Scouters tell each other how they do it.  I invited a podiatrist to come and talk about foot care, blister prevention, boot choice.  Turn the chairs around to face each other rather than all face "front", and have a real discussion.   Breakout sessions?   If you have that big a group and really have multiple topics, sure, but why water down the discussion?  Face time is important.  Give everyone a 3x5 card and ask them to write down a question or two they would like answered . Put them to the DE nd other Old Timers...   CSRT and SRT and (if you have one) should all cooperate their efforts. 

At least one RT should be a "Program Launch", try to invite lots of activities and places and events to come to a "Midway" type of event.  Our three local Districts cooperated to host over 50 "vendors" and it went very well.  Museums, parks, BSA High Adventure,  COPE Courses,  the OA,  council and government things.   WATTA ROUNDTABLE !!

And promotion:   By email newsletter (somebody can be identified to be a techy editor) , Facebook....  to every adult Scouter in your District (DE should be able to provide the emails)  and beyond (we include the Chief Scouter and Council Staff, and any other Scout friendly person you meet), promote at Camporees and CSDC. 

Oh, it can be done, but when you raise your hand and say "why can't this be better" don't be surprised when they elect you as a committee of one to help MAKE it better!  Have fun!  

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What's the point?  Alas, too often for too many the point is to have a meeting.

The Roundtable point should be additional training with camaraderie, but my experience:

o   Agenda is usually nothing of value worth the trip and time to attend.

o   Roundtable Commissioner lacking the skill or drive to make it worthwhile.

o   District leaders do not appreciate that for many dedicating another evening a month for Scouting is not easily or willingly done. 

 

Thus when the Unit Scouter does give the Roundtable a try... if not a good event (program, location, day of week, camaraderie, food, whatever)... it’s difficult getting them to come again.

 

When I was a District Commissioner... The Commissioner staff scheduled (4) four well-planned Roundtables per year.  The same Unit Leaders were also invited to awards dinner, camping promo, recruiting events, etc.

 

It didn't turn out well...  the District Executive (DE) scheduled monthly Roundtables.  Since there was no agenda attendees were unlikely to come back.  The "silver lining" is that the DE did not give the Friend of Scouting or Popcorn pitch.

What I suggest:

Rather than the onus on the Cubmaster, try getting other Pack Leaders to take turns attending the Roundtables.

Request your District distribute Roundtable “minutes” or newsletter with the info for those who could not attend.

 

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On 12/25/2017 at 8:34 PM, SSScout said:

Back home again....

Rrrround Table...   Invented by the BS of A folks so local Scouters would have a place to meet and get to know each other and learn from each other (at least, that is my interpretation).   Again,  It is what you make it...

If your DE or DC or DChair takes it over  to make the RT a "Listen To Me"  event, that's not totally his/her fault. It just means no one else cared to step up and use the opportunity to benefit all the rest of the Scouters.  "The Usual Suspects" will show up, the trick is to get more folks to see the benefit of attending.  This is done by not just following the BSA RT guidelines, but that is a good place to start.   Cub Round Table attenders are mostly (natch) Scout beginners.  The successful CSRT here abouts is run like a Pack Meeting.  Ideas, crafts, skits, get the folks up and involved. Pass out beads for attendance, awards for participation.  

BSRT  needs a different approach.  These folks aren't usually total newbies, but would like a more adult "help me" approach.  Frame it around a Troop meeting, but  ASK the Scouters what they might like to see/hear/do...    Give them topics/themes that will make it GOOD to come...   Talk about Philmont, High adventure organizing by getting someone from Council .  Fundraising :  Let the Scouters tell each other how they do it.  I invited a podiatrist to come and talk about foot care, blister prevention, boot choice.  Turn the chairs around to face each other rather than all face "front", and have a real discussion.   Breakout sessions?   If you have that big a group and really have multiple topics, sure, but why water down the discussion?  Face time is important.  Give everyone a 3x5 card and ask them to write down a question or two they would like answered . Put them to the DE nd other Old Timers...   CSRT and SRT and (if you have one) should all cooperate their efforts. 

At least one RT should be a "Program Launch", try to invite lots of activities and places and events to come to a "Midway" type of event.  Our three local Districts cooperated to host over 50 "vendors" and it went very well.  Museums, parks, BSA High Adventure,  COPE Courses,  the OA,  council and government things.   WATTA ROUNDTABLE !!

And promotion:   By email newsletter (somebody can be identified to be a techy editor) , Facebook....  to every adult Scouter in your District (DE should be able to provide the emails)  and beyond (we include the Chief Scouter and Council Staff, and any other Scout friendly person you meet), promote at Camporees and CSDC. 

Oh, it can be done, but when you raise your hand and say "why can't this be better" don't be surprised when they elect you as a committee of one to help MAKE it better!  Have fun!  

Not to resurrect an old thread... but that's my current conundrum... I can see several places where our RTs could be much better, the lack of camaraderie between the scouters is the biggest gap.. ... but my plate is so full right now that if I raise my hand, I know I'll be elected to a committee of one and I just cant do that right now.   

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Can you recruit others to the charge?  Get others in your circle to attend, help them see the opportunities, and encourage them to take it on.

 

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