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Increasing Roundtable Attendance

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Make it worthwhile for folks to attend. If it is boring or they only are getting information they can download themselves, then of course no one will attend. Is it really worthwhile, and does it make their jobs easier if they attend regularly? If not, communicate by email and don't waste your time holding them.

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Wow, that is a question that has a lot of answers! LOL Why are people not coming?


Is it because the program did not offer anything? If yes, look at making sure you have program. Our Cub Round Table is suffering right now but we have a couple of guys that are knocking everybodies socks off at Boy Scouts by having a ton of useful info and they have been doing Dutch oven cooking at each meeting. It takes a lot of committment to do that but the guy running it is amazing (My wife and I nominated him for Silver Beaver and he was accepted so he is an "above and beyond" kind of guy). Our OA lodge has their meeting at the same time and place which draws in a lot of people as well.


Our round Table was getting pretty weary and even now it can drag but the RTC started making it fun, giving out silly prizes and asking people to do presentations. We have had some good ones including a presentation on BP, another on Seton, one with historical memorabilia and an OA one that discussed and showed proper regalia just as examples. People are your resources, look to people who may not regularly attend RT but who have interests that they can and like to share with others (any patch collectors or Scout buffs in your District? Ask around, every District has them and they don't hide that much!).


Is the meeting scheduled poorly? It amazes me how many times meetings are scheduled the same nights as many unit meetings. I am not really available Tuesday or Wednesday but a lot of meetings seem to be scheduled on those nights. Have you polled the units to see when their meetings are to try and offer time and day when most could attend? If you have a 130 units in your District (about where we are) and 100 are having meetings that night you are already done for!


If the meeting is scheduled right and has good program then it falls to advertising. Does everybody know? I will be honest and tell you that for the first couple of years that I was involved, I did not even know that RT existed or really what it was after I heard about it at a training class. Send your UC's to trainings and committee and unit meetings if you have them, if not then get a list and start visiting yourself.


The bottom line is to not give up, get others involved and create a committe charged with getting the word out that changes are in the works and everyone needs to be involved.(This message has been edited by Hawkrod)

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I've been doing our Cub Scout Roundtables since last July, since the last Roundtable Commissioner left and the district had no replacement.


Attendance had been declining for years.


My most welcome innovation has been limiting Roundtable to an hour. The Cub Scout Roundtable is over while the neighboring Boy Scout Roundtable may go on another half hour or hour.


For good or ill, I don't use the "official" program. I look for excellent program and hopefully excellent people to presdent it.


October---- Making and launching stomp bottle rockets


November ----Making and using a Scout carrying hovercraft


December --- Recruiting additional unit leaders


January --- What to Do With Webelos!


February --- Recruiting and Retaining Hispanic Youth


March --- Pack Leaders and their Cub Scout invited for a model

recruiting night



I use the District Executive's e-mail list to invite unit leaders to the program and to forward the e-mail to other unit leaders ---twice.


I collect e-mail addresses of those who attend a Roundtable and send them notices as well.



We're up to about a dozen people attending per month at this point.

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Welcome to the Forums! :)


Please, tell me about your Roundtable programs (Cub, Boy, Varsity, Venturing).


Please, tell me about how the District Committee and its operating committees provide support to Unit Serving Scouters in your District.


Finally, please tell me about your current attendance.


I've been a RT staffer in my District for a few years now. I've had a chance to learn from several great Commish. To focus what I tell you, it'll help me to know what's going on in your world now.



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As Gunny Highway (Clint Eastwood) said, "You can beat me and you can starve me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."


First of all I'm not a fan of Roundtables, so be forewarned. It is amazing to me how unproductive most RTs I've been to have been. If I can get 90% of the benefit of attending RT from an email or two or a half-decent web site, why do I want to waste two or three hours of my life and miss dinner with my family to eat stale cookies and sing Happy Birthday to people I don't know?


The first thing a good RTC should do is find out what the leaders in his or her district want. That means getting out, going to unit committee meetings (NOT troop or pack meetings) and talking to people. My hunch is most direct contact leaders want practical ideas for what to do with their Scouts -- things like crafts and activitys for Cubs. Boy Scout leaders are always looking for fun new places to go camping or things like how to arrange for a shooting trip at the camp range.


I've always though a real, actual Roundtable discuss amongst the leaders would be beneficial -- folks exchanging ideas, sharing experience, talking about what does and doesn't work. But apparently this is the Third Rail for RTCs. You can't trust Scouters to have meaningful discussions because they will always devolve into b**** sessions. I've always thought if all the Scouters in a district had a lot of complaints, it may be a good idea to hear what they are, but that's just me.


Amazingly, I've always thought the actual idea of supplemental training was valid. You can do How To sessions on just about anything -- Religious Emblems, Scouts' Own Services, Hornaday Awards, Eagle project write ups, conducting Troop Leader Training. Bring in outside agencies to talk about the resources they have which units may take advantage of -- Red Cross, state wildlife officers, NRA, sports clubs (like biking, climbing orienteering, etc.). But I would put together a list of possible topics at the beginning of the year and ask folks to vote for what they want to hear so you don't risk under-shooting your audience. No sense in having the OA Lodge Chief do an intro-level discussion on the OA if most of your unit leaders are Vigil members.


Work far enough in the future that leaders have time to implement what they learn at RT. If you're doing a session Blue and Gold Banquets this month, you're four months late. A CM needed to learn new B&G ideas in Sept. or Oct. to be able to filter that to a new B&G chairman. B&G plans ought to have been made by now. Now (January) you should be talking about ideas for a spring pack campouts or even ideas for summertime pack activities.


This is just personal, but cut out the baloney. Don't sing the "Announcement Song" everytime makes one. Past age 12, no one really care about birthdays, so drop that, too. This is an adult meeting, so treat me like an adult.


Beyond all this, I would challenge RTC to look at their jobs beyond the monthly RT meeting. If communications and common business is a big part of a RT, perhaps the RTCs need to be the ones to manage the flow of information for the district, maintaining the web site and managing email communications with the units. Maybe one RTC has the responsibility of capturing everything from the live RT meeting and posting it to the web. Something to think about.

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Well, you know what RT is supposed to be about. But maybe send out an e-mail asking all your unit leaders what they might also like to see at RT.


Kinda a survey. No doubt you will get a bunch of different ideas that all go in different directions, but you can use some of them to get an idea of what might work.


One great thing about our RT is that whenever the DE ( we don't have an official RT Commisioner or host to lead) finishes with aparticulat subject or sub section of a subject, he asks if anybody wants or needs to ad anything.



For example, we were talking about PWD abs the annual showing of "Down and Derby" to the kids.


WEll, we decided in my pack that we were tired of cleaning the slobber off the lethargic comatose kids faces after watching 10 minutes of D&D.


So instead, while the leaders are having a leaders meeting, we have the kids watch "The Little Rascals" movie while eating popcor and drinking water while.....sitting in the cardboard box cars they made and decorated.


The movie is on their level, has a soap box derby in it, and they love building a cardboard car/truck/van/tank/plane/train box with momor dad and showing it off at the movie.



Had the DE not asked if anybody had some suggestions or different ideas..I never would have brought it up. But as it turns out, after I did bring it up, almost every leader thought it was a great idea and wanted to do it.


Interaction and leader participation are key. Sometimes we just sit, take note and don't say anything because we don't think w4e have anything to add. Our DE will make sure we bring up any thoughts ideas and questions or concerns...and that goes a long ays to being at ease, being more comfortable and enjoying RT.

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Oh yeah...Our RT's are scheduled to be only about an hour long, but we end up yakking and talking for up to 2 1/2 hours sometimes.


Not that there was a bunch of dull stuff going on, but we are having a pretty damn good time and we are enjoying ourselves.


It turns out we loose track of time because we are having a good fun and productive time.

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Roundtable is not only suppose to be "One of the Best Shows in Town", its suppose to be "The Only Show in Town". I believe that is the statement in the Roundtable Training guide.


Everyone has told you to add program, add material that they do not perform or possess in their units. That is the biggest draw. Before we commence with skill, my roundtable leads audience participation or action songs. At least they're energized by the time we begin the practical application.


Many years ago, about half of the Cub Scouters would go out for pizza and laugh for hours, after Roundtable dismissed. I don't think our kids got any home work done that night of the month.


But the bottom line is, you can only offer the best Roundtable. In today's microwave era (have it quick and have it fast), I know many adult leaders that desire a drive by Roundtable. I've seen a few emails stating, don't tell me anything extra, just highlight points on the important parts.


If Scouters want to come and attend, they will find a way.


Good Luck in increasing attendance!


Scouting Forever and Venture On!

Crew21 Adv

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Welcome! I'm in the same boat, sworn in as the new District Commissioner in November. Our RT program has been hurting, partly because it was held on Tuesday nights, when several of our units (mine included) met. So, first thing I did was move it to Thursday.


Second, I brought on a very charismatic Scouter for Boy Scout RT Commissioner. Luckily, he said yes, because I really didn't have a plan B. I am working with him to come up with an agenda for each monthly meeting and advertise. Get some emails out early to generate some excitement. We want to make sure the program isn't just a lecture, and isn't just a bunch of announcements or other info that can be handled by email or web pages. We will also send out emails after the meeting, with a "this is what you missed..." section, a little report showing the number of Scouters attending from each unit, and a breakdown of their positions - so many SMs, so many CCs, ASMs, MCs, etc.


Third, we are having a "King of Roundtable!" contest. It runs 12 months long, with each monthly winner being the unit that has the most attendees at RT. I picked up a stuffed Kung Fu Panda that we are decorating with "Hightower Trail King of Roundtable" and some other items. The winning unit gets to take the "King" home with them for the month and can add a small decoration (totem, etc) to it. The "King" will also have a braided para-cord necklace on which the monthly winner gets to attach their unit numbers. At the end of the year, the necklace will have 12 unit numbers attached - everyone can see who has been winning. For each month, the winner will receive three points, second place will receive two points, and third place will receive one point. The unit with the most points in December will be crowned "The King of Roundtable!" and will get to keep the "King" and take home some prizes I plan on getting donated. Yes, it is silly and fun - if I am going to participate in something, it is going to be fun. If it isn't fun, why do it?


Fourth, we will have a suggestion box with index cards for suggestions and feedback.


Fifth, we will have our Commissioner meeting right before RT, and UCs will be at RT to welcome leaders from their units, and help with RT however they can. RT and Unit Commissioners will work together as a team.


Sixth, we are setting up a new district web site, using SOAR. We have a web site, but it is pretty static, and allows no email communication. Through SOAR, committee chairs can add their own content and we can all see who is registered to the web page from each unit. Right now we are using a Yahoo Group and an email group on one of our member's computers. We have no idea who is or isn't on the Yahoo Group. To send out email, we have to send it to one of two people so they can send it out on their list. Luckily they are very responsive, but I have no idea who is or isn't receiving notices. The SOAR web site will help us with this, as well as being able to automatically send out a weekly E-Blast showing upcoming events.


Seventh, I'm still looking for more ideas...(This message has been edited by BrentAllen)

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Looks like you are getting a terrific start as District Commissioner, congratulations!


Our council has a quarterly Council Coordinated meeeting which all district Scouters are invited to attend. There are breakout sessions for a wide variety of district officers, including one for Roundtable Commissioners.


I don't know if that's a common district activity, but if your district has such a beast, you might want to be sure your Roundtable Commissioner are invited.

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I've also heard said that Roundtable is supposed to be the perfect example of a Pack Meeting (for the Cub Scouts)in general form. The first requirement of a Pack Meeting is that it is fun. The second requirement is that everyone gets involved in some way. The only difference is that we're targeting adult Scouters rather than 8YO boys, and there is some general information we're trying to get across, but it should be worthwhile in helping us do our jobs better.

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I'm actually ashamed to admit this but I have been to only one roundtable meeting offered by our district. Although it has been several months ago, what I remember about it is this:


1) I had never heard of such a creature and was ignorant in a good sense as to what was involved. I wanted to find out so I decided to go.


2) When I asked another ASM in our troop to go along with me it, was as if I were pulling hen's teeth. I'm not sure what was going on there; i.e., if the troop didn't like the roundtables or what.


3) The topics of the meeting revolved around popcorn sales, soliciting cross-over Webelos and the numbers game of recruiting new cubs and boy scouts. Since there are less than a handful of scouts in our troop that actually participate in the popcorn sales, that part of the meeting went in one ear and out the other. Our troop has another way of earning money altogether. But I kept an open mind.


4) The meeting seemed to drag on and on even with an open mind about it.


I'm certainly not knocking this roundtable since it was the only one I ever attended because I know one only gets out of something what one puts in. And it seems that our troop's scouters by in large were at the time were uninterested in attending. I'm not sure how the mood towards those meetings are now, as I dropped the subject and never brought it back up. I will certainly be attending the meetings again as I want to give and receive input on making our troop better with new ideas or networking if you will.


The suggestions in this forum are awesome and I would like to see more discussion from those that participate and lead in the roundtables. Thanks for all the advice.

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We have pretty good RT's. I enjoy going to them too!


However, there are a couple that nobody really wants to go to even though they need to. Those are Recharter, FOS/ Popcorn, and roundup.


Yeah, they can be informative, give you info you need and even give you new ideas, but they are still a sales pitch and it all about numbers, numbers, numbers. You can dress a turd up in a tuxedo, but it's still just a turd!


You need more $$, More scouts, more $ale$, more peperwork.


But after those, they can( stressing CAN be - not WILL be) be pretty fun and enjoyable.

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Scoutfish, I totally agree with everything you said. I am going to participate and do everything in my power to have an awesome time even on boring subjects. I'm very optimistic and enthusiastic.


I am fully aware of the numbers game and the sales pitches but all in all I want and need input to help make scouting in my troop all it can be. Networking is great and this Scouter.com proves it.

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