Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Basementdweller

Are roundtables obsolete?

Recommended Posts

Generally we hear how poor roundtables are.

 

Good old boy snubbing the newbies

 

Chance to belittle Scouters for not turning in or participating in FOS, out of council Summer camp or JTE

 

Poor or Redundant program

 

Little or no information given

 

Waste of time

 

Difficulty recruiting Roundtable Commissioners

 

Are we better served by a district based virtual roundtable or information clearing house????(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Base: All that you have listed are indications that a good Roundtable is NEEDED.

 

One can learn rules and regs from the book or 'net. One can even get ideas and skills for your own unit from those sources. But the need to find common ground and be enthused about what we are doing can best be gotten from others IN PERSON of like mind.

Now, obviously, if the R/T is redundant, boring, uninformative, devolved into a goo' ole boys back slapping session, then there is a problem there. The R/T in question is obviously not fulfilling its purpose.

Recruiting a creative R/T Commisher is the big problem. Succeed at that, and the rest will come, I feel. Usually, the R/TC is already a fully engaged Scouter, respected and known for "doing it well " already as a SM or UC or some other label.

 

It's not a mattter of replacing the R/T or elliminating it because of inadequacies, it's a matter of doing it better.

I have seen R/T that were informative, and nothing else. The R/TC was excellent at informing. I have seen R/Ts that were entertaining AND informative. The R/TC ran it as a Cub Pack meeting, and the attenders were Cub Scouts to his Cubmaster. I have seen BS R/Ts that were ran as campouts, and the attenders were campers that went from one "station" to another as if at a camporee to practice skills and learn new policies. They "earned" beads, and gained "panache" patches for R/T attendance.

It is what "SOMEONE" wants to make it. Guess which of the above examples were the best attended?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>

 

 

 

My district has often had quality Cub Scout Roundtable since I began attending them circa 2004. Unfortunately, attendance has continued to decline in a fairly straight line fashion over those years.

 

Even a good quality program tends to not attract a reliable audience from what I see.

 

That's too bad. It leaves people buried in their units with little idea of what other units are doing. But it's a fact of life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Roundtables can be just like our units. You will get out of it what you put into it. I don't have any experience with the Boy Scout RT, but I am a Cub Scout RT Comm. I consider myself very fortunate to have a staff of 5 experienced Scouters helping me run the program. Our monthly RT meeting has an average attendance of 20 to 25 people from the 24 Packs in our District.

 

We try to keep the topics informative and timely. Tonight we are holding breakout sessions to cover Day Camp planning, Pinewood Derby planning, Bobcat Award ideas (held over from last month), internet advancement updates, AOL Award ideas and bridging ideas. Last month we set up 6 different craft tables to give Den Leaders an opportunity to try something they can then teach to their boys. Sure I had some of the old guys come up to my leather craft table to show me what they had made years ago. But I just put them to work teaching 2 new Tiger Den moms how to make a neckerchief slide. The night was well attended since we had 96% of the Packs represented!

 

Are newbies snubbed? - I've never felt that way or seen it. (I guess I'm still a newbie since this is only my 5th year as a Scouter; 3rd year on RT Staff, 1.5 years as RTC.)

 

Belittle Scouters? - no, but I do encourage others to participate

 

Redundant program - sometimes, but that is the nature of Cub Scouts. Each year we get new Scouters. Breakout sessions help keep things pertinent.

 

Little or no info given - not the case at mine. Yes, we get the messages out with email, websites and the quarterly Council newspaper. But some people prefer a more personal contact.

 

Waste of time - not in my experience. Every single meeting I have attended for the past 4 years there have been Den Leaders or Cub Masters hanging around asking questions until we are locking the doors. It's great!

 

Difficult to recruit - I know my RT Staff is an exception in my Council and maybe in the country. I have yet to meet another Commissioner with 5 people helping.

 

Better served with a virtual meeting? - I don't think so. I can read about the crafts, but it sure helped to have a teacher. I can read about other ideas, but most likely I won't change my own Den program without talking face to face with someone who has successfully implemented something else. I like the personal touch.

 

Base it sounds like you care about helping other Scouters or else you wouldn't be going to Roundtable and you wouldn't care about the quality of the program. I think you have mentioned in the past that you have been unsuccessful in changing your RT program. Is that on the Boy Scout side only? I would think the Cubs side may have a faster turnover and you could influence the CSRT program.

 

FTB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well who should be a round table commissioner then???

 

I am not giving scouting any more of my time currently. Being SM only I feel semi retired, you know I really enjoy having a bit of personal time, catching up on all of the home maintenance that got ignored for the last 5 years I was completely immersed in scouting.

 

The new District committee has failed again. Nothing on calendar, The BS round table was introductions announcements and coffee then home.

 

The only reason I keep attending is it is part of my job as SM. one night a month and we are currently in and out in less than 45 minutes....Not to bad.

 

I help on a unit by unit basis.....I have taken one other troop backpacking this fall....an introductory weekend using all of the donated backpacks and tents that I have accumulated.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a guy who moves quite a bit, I think Basement's observations are spot on.

 

Some districts do their best to have a good RT, but folks struggle to show up. Why? The hectic pace of life in America is one reason. Another is the meeting agenda. Despite good intentions, the RTs can get hijacked by a few old timers who want to chase the same tired rabbits over and over.

 

Other districts I've been in, the RT stinks. For the very reasons that Basement mentioned. The worse reason is the Royal Order of Self Appointed Very Important District Olde Timers. Walk up, shake their hand, start a conversation...they are shocked and try everything they can to weasel away. Make a comment during the meeting and The Olde Timers frown, fidget in their chairs, and change the subject as if you never spoke.

 

I keep show up and participating, regardless. Just pig-headed, I guess. But lots of other folks have better things to do with their time than be snubbed like that. Or listen to the same rabbits being chased, month after month, year after year.

 

I guess to offer some kind of constructive opinion: mediocre/bad RTs are usually organized and run by people who don't have anything else to do, and they've got plenty of time to do it.

 

If a RT was designed specifically for busy adults, that would be a good start. If RT organizers approached their task thinking "the folks that I want to attend are finishing a day's work, and still have balance family time and their scout unit responsibilities" and tailored their comments and agenda items in such a fashion, it might help raise attendance.

 

But as long as The Very Important Scouters run the show? They've got all the time in the world. Their kids are either grown and gone, or they are fending for themselves as "scout orphans" while mom/dad attend yet another scout event as part of The In Crowd.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BD, obviously RT commish needs to have time (and a few $$) to spare. But pick two guys in the same stage of life and one of them is a good old boy, and the other is the servant leader your district needs. Assuming there was a choice of both, how does one tell one apart from the other?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I guess we're just lucky in our district. I stepped down a year ago after serving as BS RTC for 10 years. I didn't expect to run it for 10 years, but I had made myself a promise in advance that if I made it to 10, 10 is all I would do. I remain on the RT staff, providing support to the new BS RTC, who travels 2 hours each way in good weather to oversee the program.

 

We give the program the attendees ask for. Our last meeting in the spring (we take the summer off due to vacations, summer camp, etc.), attendees tell us what topics they want in the coming year (just like a troop annual planning meeting), plug the topics into a calendar and viola. Some even step forward right off to offer their expertise on this topic or that.

 

The first 20-30 minutes are eaten-up by announcements/Q&A (I'd love to see the announcements reduced to flyers, but have never succeeded at that). We then move onto the training topic of the month.

 

In that time period, the cub side went up and down due to changeover in Cub RTC every few years. We currently have a gung-ho RTC with several support staff and cub attendance is up again.

 

We average 50 to 60 attendees each month evenly split between Cub Leaders and Scout leaders--roughly half the district's units. I'd love to see even better attendance, but then we'd need a larger meeting location (a good problem to have).

 

This month (next week) the BS topic is Okpik/winter camping. The council Okpik folks cancelled 2 weeks ago due to a scheduling conflict. We put the word out and had another presenter lined-up for RT. We have some back-up info ready in case that falls through.

 

The Cub topic is a round robin of the various cub derbies available out there: cars, boats, "rockets".

 

So, are RT's obsolete? Not in our district.

 

I found the position of BS RTC to be the easiest adult position I've had so far in scouting. Much easier and a lot less time/stress than SM (which I did for 5 years prior to RTC). Maybe I was doing it wrong for 10 years as others have mentioned how difficult a position it is to them. (shrug)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About 4 DE's ago, (10 yrs) the roundtables came to an end. The DE told us that roundtables were no longer needed in the district. Haven't had one since.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Able, and you all drank his kool-aid? I'd start them back without him, and show him up. That is not right. I am amazed his SE lets that slide.

 

Roundtable is, IMO one of the best hour and a half I spend each month. I try to get there early, because it is the conversations with scouters that inspiration comes from. New ideas. New places to go. Yes, sometimes it ends early, mostly because the troops that had been assigned a portion are so rude to not show up or get a replacement, or even a by your leave.

 

The cub scout side is very good as well. They do all of the next months program, game, song, etc., so the new guys can get up to speed.

 

Yes, there are the self identified Holders of All Knowledge, but I bypass them. I enjoy meeting new people and seek them out. I think most scouters do.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Able has a long story.....

 

But they probably stopped holding them so the scouters would stop talking to each other...

 

Makes it easier to hide membership numbers being......stretched. Same goes for ghost units.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...donning my cape for my crusade to save the reputation of a great beverage....and Ronald Reagan would be saying, "...there you go again, Packsaddle" if he wasn't dead.

 

Flavor Aid! It was Flavor Aid that the people of Jonestown drank to commit suicide for Jim Jones, NOT Kool-Aid. When are you guys going to get this right? Do I have to jump through the screen and rap your knuckles like a school marm? Flavor Aid!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've lost count. Has anyone here defended Roundtables who is NOT a Roundtable Commissioner?

 

My real eye-opener was when his Communications merit badge counselor suggested my older son attend Roundtable with me for one of the MB requirements. On the ride home he asked if that had been a typical RT. Yup. "Well that has to be the biggest waste of time I've ever seen." From the mouths of babes.

 

SSS asked which RT was better attended the one which was informative and nothing else or the ones run like pack meetings. I'll vote for informative and nothing else. I have no need to sit and watch glue dry; I understand the concept. Show me a craft, give me written instructions, maybe point out potential problems and tips for using it in your program and move on. Our CS-RTC was under the delusion all the leaders in attendance were under the age of 10. You know the type -- knows all 17 verses to the Announcement Song and thinks everyone enjoys her singing them all.

 

I already have got friends. Many of them serve with me in our troop. I don't need to hang out in a church basement munching stale cookies and store-brand soft drinks.

 

I vote for the virtural Roundtable. Anyone else who wants to get together monthly is more than welcome to continue to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>I vote for the virtural Roundtable. Anyone else who wants to get together monthly is more than welcome to continue to do so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was a rhetorical "vote" since we all know we don't get to vote on anything. As in, if you're interested in my opinion here it is. Although it could be said I'm already voting with my feet (or seat, as the case may be).

 

And yes, absolutly do both, which is what I intended with my comment that those who wish to do so could continue monthly meetings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...