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The past year I've been the district Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner ----by default. No one else interested.



There were a few things I was interested in doing. One was to see if I could build up attendance to a respectable level, which I did.


One method I used was to limit Roundtable to no more than an hour. Oftentimes it had dragged on to ninety minutes or longer, which I think discouraged participation.


A second thing was promotion. I sent out e-mails to pack leaders keeping people informed of what the topic would be.


My most important contribution was deciding what pack leaders really needed to know about and finding the best Xperts in the district to discuss those topics.


This could be recruiting methods one month, and making stomp bottle rockets as a pack activity another month.


In August I'm planning a Rountable on the methods to effectively manage the popcorn sale.


I was just thinking that the June Roundtable would have been a good meeting to discuss Pack annual planning.


I'm pretty much fresh out of ideas after August, and the DE is going to have to find someone else to take over if the Cub Scout Roundtable is going to continue. I have offered to help as an Assistant Roundtable Commissioner.


What topics would you like to see your Roundtables cover?

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Hmmm.. I always thought the cub roundtable had a book by council telling you what you were to discuss, but don't know what that was as I am not in cub scouts.. Then the Boy Scouts round table had no book, and they had to find things to discuss..


I am interested in hearing about ideas for the BS roundtable break out also.. Not for me, but for my son (MoosetheItalianBlacksmith).. Who has been on the board before, and if you remember has been looking for a nitch in district.. The OA guy if you remember did not work out.. For some reason the DE didn't want to put him in popcorn, I think he had a person in mind for the position.. Anyway, looks like the key 3 are interested in making him the BS roundTable commissioner (or co-commissioner).. We have someone, but the attendance is getting low, because the SM's who use to come are fed up that nothing is planned. So since no one wants to tackle fireing her, they are looking at giving her a partner.. Son is a good choice as he will make his organizing around her look like youthful exhuberance, rather then a power-play.. (at least we hope.)


Anyway - one thing I had suggested to him is to discuss the Troop Leader Training.. (Which no-one in our district does, and few do the older JLT either)..


And working with Scouts with special needs (This could be a BS or CS related topic). We have a women in our district who is trained in in and did a topic on it a Scouting University..


Then I was thinking that he could go to websites with scouting university agendas listed, and some of the titles might give him an idea or two..


Example of my surfing for cub scouts is

1) Criteria for Assessing Whether an Activity Is Age-Appropriate

2) Dont lose your Scouts and Leaders, Plan Summertime Fun!

3) Managing Homesickness: Prevention and Treatment

4) How to control the focus of your Scouts


For BS or CS:

3) How to Deal with Difficult People

4) CPR certification (Why not run a certification course at roundtable??)

5) Economical Event planning.. (in tune with the economical times)


Really if you leaf through enough course directories for different Council's University of Scouting, there are titles that could spark your imagination.


(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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I'm a former district membership chair, and I did roundtable presentations several times (seasonally -- on spring recruiting, fall recruiting and Webelos-To-Scout transition). I developed these talks based on what I'd like to see from roundtable talks -- my "blah blah blah" was about 5 minutes, and questions would take another 5 minutes or so. Short and sweet, over and done.


Contrast that with the last time I sat through "camp promotion". I'm sure everyone would agree that close to 100% of the audience has already decided what to do for camp by the time camp promotion hits roundtables. I can see the need for a sales pitch, but I don't see the need for 1 hr+. The last time, a guy got and basically did the camp promotion part -- maybe 20 minutes. Then another guy got up to present an idiotic video. But the video went on way too long. Then after that, I guess the council camping chair decided that the previous two guys didn't cover things the way he wanted in the previous 40 minutes, so he droned on and on about really obvious and otherwise redundant stuff.


So that leads to my advice -- please don't ever hold polite roundtable audiences hostage. Short and sweet, make your point and keep the program moving. Get to the Q&A part as quickly as you can, because everyone has their own individual concern.


While we have fairly good attendance at roundtable, I do notice that it is the same people over and over. Constant new material is what keeps them interested. So when I'd repeat topics, from year to year, I'd change the angle or something like that. Maybe have some new ideas.


Nothing wrong with asking district committee people to make presentations (short!)...you've got membership, training, activities, camp promotion, finance (FoS) and why it's important, commissioners (why they're important). Have someone from the executive board stop by and talk about strategic plans, etc. Who is the council commissioner, and what does he do? Has everyone met the other "key" volunteers?


I know our district commissioner and roundtable commissioner pretty much map out their plans for the year -- I was just talking with our district chair last night about how he'd like to see Webelos-To-Scout transition presentations moved up in the year, perhaps to November.



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I'm RT commissioner for much the same reason -- was supposed to cover for a couple of months, now it's been a year. One thing we did was hand out a list of topic ideas to participants at the beginning of the meeting, and picked it up at the end. The leaders ranked topics by how interested they were, then had a line to fill in anything else they'd like to see. We used that to plan the year. Some things on the list that ranked high:

Webelos cross over and cub ceremonies

B&G planning

the perennial behavior problems topics

Winter activities for cubs

Geocaching and letterboxing

Summer programs

Cub level first aid


We used the list to make a calendar of topics for the year. We'll do it again this fall.


Cubs have a RT guide, but it's really not very much. Introduces the character connection of the month, and gives a couple of ceremony and activity ideas for pack meetings.


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There is a Roundtable Commissioner's Guide, which mostly I don't use and don't care for.



I want to identify issues which Cub Packs often need help with, or superior ideas they can use to improve their programs.


I dentify the Best Practices in the district, and spread those ideas around.


I liked Moosetrackers idea of identifying excellent summertime pack activities, for example. Do that as a program in March or so and you might get some of those packs that have no summer program started on one, and give other packs some new program ideas.



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RTs are quickly becoming outdated. Yes, the old song is true--"The more we get together...the happier we'll be!" But often it is the opposite.


Announcements? Reading aloud what is already on the website is agony for the listener.


Summer camp/camporee/day camp promotion? Speakers will go on and on, losing the audience. The long drawn out Q and A session afterwards is the nail in the coffin.


Scout spirit rah-rah? Singing the Grand Old Duke of York...no thanks.


Open discussion? Same axes, same grinding, by the same people. A turn off to newcomers.


How about bringing in an outsider, someone not even associated with scouting? A local person who organizes adventure treks as a business, a forest ranger, etc. New perspective, new voices, new info.


The key question is: what will entice a tired, hungry adult to come to RT after work instead of going home?


PS I type the above humbly as a former RT guy who fumbled my tenure quite badly, committing all the sins I listed above.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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Hello Desertrat,



As I described earlier, I've tried to make most Roundtables about a specific topic pack leaders NEED to know about. I've tried to recruit pack leaders who are Xperts about the subject to be presenters and publicize the topic so those that need the information will be aware of it.


For example, my August Roundtable will be about how to effectively manage the popcorn sale. The presenter I have so far is a ten year old and his Cubmaster father who sold $4400 of pocorn and won a trip to Disneyland for the family by being the top seller in the council.


My March program was a model recruiting night in which pack leaders were invited to bring their Cub Scout to make and launch stomp bottle rockets, recommended as a way to attract new boys to recruiting nights.


My standard is to have a program so compelling that people will decide it's worthwhile to invest their time.


My problem is that I have only so many of those kinds of topics that I can identify, and I've pretty much used them up.


As I mentioned earlier, I really don't care much for the Roundtable program guide. It lacks the kind of vitality I look for, and frankly I can't create a fun atmosphere on my own. I can't really make that program work for me.

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SP, you have my respect for taking this on and striving to make it better. It's tough to get scouters to RT. One approach that I saw in another council that seemed to work: less meeting "stuff" and more social time. The objectives were met, but each RT had the spirit of a monthly cracker barrell where folks visited, chatted, laughed. Naturally this took some time for them to build but they always had a good crowd.

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I have served as BS Roundtable Commissioner in my district for 10 years. I've also recently given the Key Three notice that it's time for someone else to have a chance at being the BS commissioner. Not quitting 'cause of burnout or low attendance (we average 50 a month, the highest in the council), but 'cause I promised myself a long time ago that if I made it 10 years, I'd step aside at that point. I have offered to remain on RT staff and train/assist whoever my replacement is.


As for topics, ask those who attend what they want/need to know more about. That's what we've done every spring at ours. We plan out the following year's topics. I then spend the summer recruiting presenters for said topics.


On the cub side, we just got a new roundtable commissioner, who did the topics similarly rather than follow the national program just to fill in the rest of the year. I don't know what her plan is for next year.


We don't meet in June/July due to high school graduations (very low attendance) and summer camp.


Past year's BS topics have included:

Hands-on use of GPS units and what exactly IS geocaching

Board of Review and Scoutmaster's Conference process

The Process to Request Alternate Requirements for Eagle Scout

Weather Safety

Troopmaster--new web-based version

Camp Gadgets--This one attendees were invited to bring in one camp gadget that they use in their troop. One leader brought in what looked like a still. It was a coil of copper pipe hooked to a trash can. It was a hot water heater. The coil of pipe sits in a steel can you put coals in. The trash can is filled with water. The lid has a funnel/pipe in it and spout in near the top of the can. Pour water in the funnel while having a pan/bucket under the spout and you get hot water. The cooler water is drawn through the coil and heated and so on. Everyone was impressed.


Some of next year's topics include:

High Adventure Trip Planning--we've got a unit that recently went to both Alaska and Yellowstone. I'll probably recruit their leaders to explain how they did it.

How to Conduct a Troop Open House/Recruitment night

What exactly is that knot patch for anyway and how can I earn it?

Religious Emblems and conducting a Scout Sunday Service



Again, these are all based on what attendees want to know more about.

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One topic that leaders from all units found interesting was Tax Deductions for Volunteers. Our commish brought in an accountant from a reputable firm and walked through expense that we could deduct and how to report them.


This may not amount to much for cub leaders, but I think many of them found it nice to know that as things become a little more expensive, some of it may be honored as charity.

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I have also been recently recruited as Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner. I have found the planning guide to be somewhat useful, but you also have to be flexible with it. For example, for the May roundtable, the guide suggested a bike rodeo to go along with the theme of the month, perseverance. That didn't make much sense to me, so instead of a bike rodeo (which in and of itself is not really a BAD idea, especially in the spring), we did minute to win it games. This not only emphasized the perseverance theme for the month, but also gave the leaders who attended an activity to add to their bag of tricks. I got several requests to send the info I had saved on the games. As an added bonus, a few days before the meeting, I got to use it at our own den/pack meeting as we had an unexpected rain day. The kids loved it.


We had our last roundtable meeting last night. Attendance was very low (only four of us altogether) but I understand this is normal for our district. I hope to change that in the coming year. Still, I am excited about the coming year. For me, the challenge will be to keep the meetings fun AND informative. I like some of the ideas I have seen here already, such as bringing in other people who are experts about the subject you want to present. I tried to do that with the June roundtable but alas the person I tried to get was on call and could not attend. He was a member of our local SAR (Search And Rescue) and the presentation was about Hug-A-Tree and survive. Luckily, I had already done this just a few months ago with our cub scouts (I didnt find out until the last minute I was supposed to get someone from local SAR to do it) so I was already familiar with the material. I asked the SAR person to meet with me so we could go over the materials and see if there were any gaps or if he had any suggestions. As it turned out, I was on the right track and there were only a few things he had to add (some of his suggestions were also in a presenters guide I had from the first time I did this).


There are LOTS of topics you can use, but there are also some questions before you use them. Is it related to the months theme? Is it relevant for the time of year or any coming events or holidays? Are they repeats? Is it something that will keep everyones interest? I am thinking the last two will be a real challenge for me next year. As there will be a mix of seasoned veteran leaders as well as new leaders in the group, there may be topics that will appeal to the veteran leaders that will not appeal to the new ones, and vice versa. I am trying to think of ways to get everyone out of their seats, moving around, and if possible, outside. Same thing I try to do with the cubs (and after all, what are the leaders but grown up scouts).


Specific topics? For new leaders, even simple things like what belt loops and awards are available might be of interest (I still havent figured out all of whats available). Some topics I am considering using (and hope they have not already been flogged to death) are attracting and perhaps more importantly RETAINING scouts; pros and cons of survival kits and at what age certain items are appropriate; camping activities; den and pack activities.


Ya know even as I type them out I realize most of these are likely things they have already heard before. Good thing I have July off so I can start planning for the coming year. Ill be watching this thread closely. Hope it develops with more ideas (love some of the ones so far and hope no one minds if I steal them). Sorry I couldnt be more help with specifics.


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