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District meetings - what's the point?

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Nothing wrong with resurrecting (hey, we just passed Easter !) an old thread....   The topic is one that keeps bubbling to the top of the stew pot.

Again, we have the same ideas/problems/questions.

Why have a Round Table Meeting?  To what purpose?  How to get folks interested in WANTING to attend? 

The nascent restauranteur is taught that it isn't hard to get the customer to come ONCE. The challenge is to get him/her to want to come the fourth and fifth time !  THAT's when you knw you re doing something right.   "The beatings will continue until morale improves " is not only a joke, but a lesson to be learned.   Not everyone has the temperament/experience/training/spirit to be a trainer or MC, if you will. 

You may proceed with the resurrecting.... 

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Since we reorganized six districts into two, about five years ago, we have never had any Roundtable Commissioner - Cub or Scout.  Now we are eliminating districts altogether.

 

This last may be driven by our SE's belief that anything poorly done should be eliminated, rather than fixed.

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@TAHAWK

what is the plan to organize outside the District model?  What is the camporee plan?  Everything at the council level?

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Wow, no districts?! How does your council function? Our council has 11 districts, all of which are more or less autonomous - each runs its own camporees, day camps, Scout-o-Ramas, et cetera.

Roundtables in my district (which is admittedly the largest and probably the most active) usually have an attendance of 50 - 60 Scouters, sometimes many more, not to mention the Boy Scouts who come to get their Eagle Scout books looked over, OA members who help generally help make the evening work, and interested parents there to conduct various matters with local leadership. The first 20 minutes are usually announcements and district business, and all hand-outs, flyers, pamphlets, and notifications for upcoming events are available at a table there to take to our units. Adult awards are handed out, Council representatives share the latest news, and general district activities are detailed and briefly discussed. We meet in one of the children's buildings of a large superchurch in the area; the OA is always there to help set up tables and chairs in the various rooms and act as general messengers/assistants during the opening exercises. After that we then have break-out sessions for Cubs, Scouts, Varsity and Venturing (which are flexible in composition depending on whether or not there are special events coming up), while the OA then has its chapter meeting. These break-out sessions function as trainings/brainstorming sessions where program updates are discussed, questions are asked and answers, presentors share ideas and offer counsel, and all the local leadership can simply talk together about challenges and successes - in fact, very much like what goes on here! 

I couldn't imagine NOT having functioning districts - how does Scouting function beyond the Troop? How are fundraising events organized? Scouting for Food? Camporees? I am curious to know how things operate without the typical district structure!

 

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4 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

@TAHAWK

what is the plan to organize outside the District model?  What is the camporee plan?  Everything at the council level?

The SE has not told the Council yet. 

 

All training is now by Council.

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I often wonder if district roundtables should be changed from monthly to every three or four months.  Then on that date have more to train or announce or to do.

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Posted (edited)

Most of our events are coordinated at the district level.  Our council level activities are minimal.  If anything, I don’t see much of a need for councils (perhaps one per state) and would prefer simply letting Districts work together on larger events.  I’m sure I’m missing something, but in my case I think it could be a disaster if everything would have to run through council.

Edited by Eagle1993

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10 hours ago, fred johnson said:

I often wonder if district roundtables should be changed from monthly to every three or four months.  Then on that date have more to train or announce or to do.

we went from Monthly to Bi-Monthly roundtables, it didn't change our participation.  The core group will always try to show up, and the ones that don't, wont.  Luckily its only 1 town over for me, so I go.

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We don't have roundtables in our small, rural district.

All of our district staff, except for our exec, also serves in a role (or two) in a local unit.

We have a district meeting once a month.  Unit scouters not on the staff are invited as well.  Sometimes the turn out is good, sometimes not.  We cover topics that are particular to both traditional district staff meetings and RTs. 

It works for us.

RTs are a great idea.  But when it comes to actually executing them...not so much.  Most people are busy and usually it's just another meeting, despite good intentions.

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1 hour ago, desertrat77 said:

RTs are a great idea.  But when it comes to actually executing them...not so much.  Most people are busy and usually it's just another meeting, despite good intentions.

I agree.  IMHO, it's more about getting to know other scout leaders.  Monthly does get to be a lot of meetings.  I was thinking every three months would be nice, once a season.  IMHO, round table is about the interaction with other scouters.  If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't attend.  Heck, I remember being fairly new at round table and looking for any opportunity to ditch the cub breakout.  It just was not good.  The real value I found was chatting with other scouters.  

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28 minutes ago, oldisnewagain1 said:

I wonder if round tables have outlived their purpose with the advent of instant information on the Internet

Depends on what you think the purpose was/is of round tables. As a servant leader I go to serve the scouts better, learn what I can ask questions and bring back new ideas. 3 years ago I was a bumbling new SM who was thrown into the position during a period of heavy drama. I went to all the round tables and asked questions regarding my circumstances - I was amazed and humbled by how many scouters were willing to go the extra mile to help me. 

Our troop went from12 uninvolved scouts to 40+ enthusiastic scouts that want to do/try every thing. Much of the changes that occured because of the help the round table gave me to create a framework for success. With that framework the scouts have built a great program and it seems to get better every week.

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6 hours ago, TMSM said:

Depends on what you think the purpose was/is of round tables. As a servant leader I go to serve the scouts better, learn what I can ask questions and bring back new ideas. 3 years ago I was a bumbling new SM who was thrown into the position during a period of heavy drama. I went to all the round tables and asked questions regarding my circumstances - I was amazed and humbled by how many scouters were willing to go the extra mile to help me. 

Our troop went from12 uninvolved scouts to 40+ enthusiastic scouts that want to do/try every thing. Much of the changes that occured because of the help the round table gave me to create a framework for success. With that framework the scouts have built a great program and it seems to get better every week.

Excellent news, and congratulations!   Not only for your leadership and troop's success, but the good fortune of having a properly functioning RT staff.

Unfortunately, in the several districts I've been in over the years, I've rarely seen a RT operate the way it's supposed to.  Common practices:

1.  Someone reading announcements word for word.

2.  Pitches for financial contributions.

3.  Same old rants from the same old guys/gals.

4.  Sullen silence if you ask a question and you aren't part of the in-crowd.

5.  Bone-weary unit volunteers who attend because its expected of them, despite a long day at work, hunger, family needs, etc.

6.  Long winded commissioners and execs who love to wax eloquent, winding and unwinding the thread of their discourse.

As I mentioned earlier, we don't have RTs in my present district.  Instead we have one short district meeting a month, combining district staff and unit scouters.  It matches pretty close with the positive aspects of your RTs.  

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As the District Commissioner for a large geographical, but sparsely populated district with only eight registered units, running a roundtable using the BSA guidelines is not feasible.  There are not enough people to break out into smaller groups, so we do a combined Roundtable.  Our normal roundtable starts with every unit leader present giving a short summary of what their unit did over the past month, followed by the DE putting out information about the council's activities, a short training session based on prior requests or changes in the program and then we throw the floor open to anyone who wishes to ask a question, (which sometimes leads to the topic of the next roundtable training session) with the group sharing ideas and past experiences that helped them.  Throw in some free food and  fellowship and it's a fair experience. 

is it BSA standard?  No, but it works for us. 

 

 

 

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