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Basementdweller

Are roundtables obsolete?

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lets see, from what I can tell the consenus is pretty much Roudntables serve no useful purpose, they are mostly a setting for the Wrong Type of Leader to show off, they are hard to do well, they actually are not required and its time for them to go , or be replaced with something else.

 

Is that accurate?

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Here's a curve for ya. I have been the BS-RTC for over a year. Attendance is up a little but basically still the same 6 - 10 people each month.

 

The people that do NOT attend complain that they did not know what District was doing (ie: Camporee). They still wont attend because they feel National wants the "virtual" Roundtable as Roundtable is no longer "required" for knots.

 

The people that need it most "wont go" the people that need it least are "tired of going" so I quit.

 

I tried themes, guest speakers, outdoor events, and of course open forum. None brought any significant change in how the attendees felt.

 

Yes, obsolete by design.

 

My $0.02

Rick

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Basement, to get the ball rolling, I'll offer what won't fill the hall:

 

- The Awesomeness and Mind-Expanding Nature of Woodbadge

- FOS

- Rechartering minutia

- Discussions about obscure BSA red tape

- What are we going to do about _____________? (endless handwringing, and subsequent pooh-poohing of any viable options, leaving the question quite unanswered 45 mins later)

- Popcorn sales

- Anything that one can read in 30 seconds on the district website, or emailed newsletter

 

That's a start. Naturally, some of those subjects could be of value to unit scouters. But the failure to present them succintly, and respectfully, turns the RT into a boon for the scouter with nothing better to do, and an easy "I don't need to go" for the busy scouter who doesn't to hear the same stuff rehashed month after month.

 

There are many responsibilities in life that one must fulfill, though "irksome" and "weighty." Boring RTs can be skipped by most with no residual guilt.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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So what topics would fill the hall?

 

Some recent topics that have worked for us at the BS RT level:

Hands-on GPS/Geocaching

Games

How to plan a weekend canoe trip

What exactly is Venturing?

Religious emblems and how to plan a Scout Sunday Service

Alternate Eagle Badge Requirements

Weather Safety

Camp Gadgets

 

As I've posted in this thread (and in past RT threads) we let the attendees choose the topics they want in the coming year. We advertise what those topics will be in the fall program kick-off packets, on our district website and in the district email newsletter. If you offer what people want, make it known it's happening and follow through, you will increase attendance at your RT.

 

 

For example, on the Games one, we pulled several games out of the Troop Planning Guide and played them. Many of them, the attendees had never seen before. They got a kick out of the "Guess that Merit Badge" one. It can be set-up as a filler for before the meeting starts. We posted a piece of paper with photos of 10 merit badges. For fun, I included one spoof (Cat Herding) and a few older MBs. We gave the answers near the end of the evening. Meanwhile, they not only had fun, but were laughing at each other in some of the relays. Ever seen two grown adults try and carry a rubber ball the length of the room and back just using their heads? Or just throwing crumpled paper at each other for 5 minutes (newspaper tennis) just because?

 

For camp gadgets, we encourages leaders to bring in their favorite camp gadget to share with others. One of our "old time" leaders (he's been SM in his hometown longer than I've been alive--seriously) brought in what looked like a moonshine still: coiled copper pipe, metal bucket/jacket for the pipe and a metal trash can. It was his unit's contraption to have continuous hot water on camping trips. The copper pipe fit inside the bucket/jacket thing. Hoses connected the pipe to the trash can. Trash can lid had two pipes that fit down into the can, one with a spigot-type head (no valve) and one with a funnel. You keep a fire going in the bucket with the copper coiled pipe. Through thermal transfer the water is kept hot. Need water? Put a bucket or whatever under the spigot while pouring cold water into the funnel to get hot water.

 

For the Weather Safety one, we ran National's video training (being a meteorologist by training, hopefully I met the minimum standard to present this), pausing it to put in local weather tidbits such as the most powerful Twister in Maine was an F2, which happened to hit within our district some 40 years ago or how long it's been since we had a direct hit from a hurricane but several close calls, etc. We did this by request (like all our other topics) for many of our leaders in this rural district only have dial-up. Trying to take National's online training with dial-up isn't pleasant.

 

What I'm getting at is that for RT to succeed, you need topics that will interest/grab your attendees. The best starting point for that is to find-out what your volunteers would like to learn more about. Unfortunately, from what I've read time and again on these forums, most don't pull that off.

 

Then again, maybe we're just a fluke district here in the Maine Wilderness (Kennebec Valley District) who hasn't realized that RT is suppose to be dead. :)

 

Yeah, maybe that's it, it's just a fluke, right?(This message has been edited by moxieman)

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And some topics that flopped:

 

Recharter process

Explaining Journey to Excellence

Some outside presenters who don't truly understand the scouting program

Council presentation on summer camp which was suppose to be 20 minutes tops, but took the entire RT--they didn't get the hint as attendees started leaving 30 minutes into the presentation

 

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