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What's the Purpose of Roundtable?


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#1 LeCastor

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 06:06 PM

A few years ago I was tapped to be the Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, a role in which I served for exactly one year.  I tried to help our Cub Scout Roundtable Commissioner keep the sprawling announcements at the beginning of RT down to 30 minutes instead of a full hour.  Also, I tried to engage the Scoutmasters/Assistant Scoutmasters in the Boy Scout breakout sessions with a fresh, new training item each month.  Much to my dismay, RT remained a time for Scouters to find a pulpit and preach to the District.  Even the District Executive droned on and on for 15-20 minutes about one thing or another. 

 

So, what the heck is Roundtable for anyway?  Is it for training (I though it was)?  Or is it a place to network (I thought it was)?  Or is it a place to show off your uniform (it seems to be)?

 

I don't want to be bitter but there are some changes going on in our district/council that are attempting to rein in the Scouter preachers and regain some semblance of training and networking.

 

One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that, moving forward, we will no longer have paper flyers.  Instead, all announcements and brochure-type information will be collected and emailed to all registered Scouters via Constant Contact.  The older Scouters are furious because they "don't check email every day" and/or "don't have the email."  (I'm not trying to be offensive to the older generations! :D )  

 

It's to the point now that I just don't want to go anymore but do anyway because I'm a Unit Commissioner and want to see my unit Scouters and help them stay connected.  Perhaps I'll see that the new changes will be good and that everyone will be a little more informed.  


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 06:57 PM

Is Luddite a derogatory term or is it okay to use?


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#3 Back Pack

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:29 PM

Attending once a year is beneficial. It remibds to never waste an hour of my life on silly, useless things.
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#4 Stosh

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 07:43 PM

I go every month because Commissioners' meeting precedes it.  I do have to admit ours is run fairly well.


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#5 SSScout

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:15 PM

"Funny you should mention..."

 

I are the RT Commish, took over when the previous moved and the replacement only knew how to Power Point.... Show a picture and read it to the assembly.  I even have a "staff" of an assistant!

 

I feel your pain, LeCastor .  Limiting announcements is critical. Eliminating "death by power point" is important.  Providing interesting, (dare I say) entertaining information is necessary.

 

RT serves , or SHOULD serve several purposes::  Information, a chance to discuss common issues, a chance to schmooze with like minded folks, a chance to connect the face with the name.  I recognized this early on, developed the email contact list,  provided topics some months before the date, and strived to provide speakers, presenters, info of interest.  

My first RT was a podiatrist who spoke about foot care, socks and boot selection, blister prevention and care.  Wow, hadn't  done that before!  I continued:  No printed agendas, everything is written on  a white board on the wall (Sunday school class room).  Everything to hand out/pick up is on a table out in the hall.  Scout cartoons on the walls .  I run the RT like a mini Troop meeting:  I start ON TIME and end ON TIME.  Opening/gathering, PoA,  Announcements (SHORT!) ( Necessary stuff is on the table out front.  Computer references are given in our email newsletter )  , presenter/topic to discuss/exhibitor,   wrap up,  "Commissioner's Minute" , recite the Scout Promise, "Godspeed" and go home.  

 

Unfortunately, we are not allowed any food or refreshments in our meeting space.  We do not use "Breakouts", we meet all in one body (Boy Scouts in this room, Cub Scouts down the hall).  Sometimes, we rearrange the chairs in a circle for open discussion.   In June, we have a cookout, demonstrate some "scout skills"  , the privilege of the cookout is hosted by several Troops, we have use of a nice backyard fire pit.  In July, which is usually considered a dead month (Scouts take a vacation?) so I host a "Oval Table" at a local restaurant , Dutch Treat, and we just visit and talk.   May is "Program Launch"  so we line up a bunch of exhibitors who are eager to present their opportunities to Scouts:  BSA things, museums, County Parks, Climbing walls, Red Cross,  Sea Scouts,  Religious Awards,  last time we had 25 exhibitors, a neighboring District had at least 50 exhibitors. 

 

I have learned that as RTC, I must insist that I  am in control of the event.  I have even politely, gently had to remind my DE that he should ask for time on the agenda....  Things are written on the white board (dates, time, names, etc. )  and if folks want to take notes, they do.   I encourage cooperation and communication between us Scouters. 

 

"The Work is done by whoever shows up", so it is with the RT.   The BSA intended this event as a means to communicate and network.   It becomes whatever is desired and expected by whoever takes on that responsibility.   I realize that RT will never reach everyone, (other things will  need to be attended to) nor will everyone see it as a benefit to be utilized .  I will say , however, that I have doubled our attendance in the past years. 

 

Your mileage may vary, as has been oft said.   See you on the trail.


Edited by SSScout, 18 February 2017 - 09:18 PM.

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#6 LeCastor

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:01 PM

@SSScout, I'm going to your RT next month!  :D


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#7 LeCastor

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 10:02 PM

Is Luddite a derogatory term or is it okay to use?

 

I think you may use it.  Though, I don't consider myself one (necessarily).  ;)


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 08:01 AM

....
One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that, moving forward, we will no longer have paper flyers.  Instead, all announcements and brochure-type information will be collected and emailed to all registered Scouters via Constant Contact.  The older Scouters are furious because they "don't check email every day" and/or "don't have the email."  (I'm not trying to be offensive to the older generations! :D )  
 
It's to the point now that I just don't want to go anymore but do anyway because I'm a Unit Commissioner and want to see my unit Scouters and help them stay connected.  Perhaps I'll see that the new changes will be good and that everyone will be a little more informed.

FYI, I have not known less about council and district activities, since they went paperless. More on this later.
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#9 Back Pack

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 11:22 AM

Really? Paper? Since we're all using an online forum now,I assume using a google drive and printing what you need isn't beyond anyone. Why waste more paper than necessary?

Edited by Back Pack, 19 February 2017 - 11:23 AM.

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#10 qwazse

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 02:52 PM

Really? Paper? Since we're all using an online forum now,I assume using a google drive and printing what you need isn't beyond anyone. Why waste more paper than necessary?

emphasis on necessary.
If you have an organization of members whose objective is self-reliance, resourcefulness, and adventure beyond the range of digital media, is it not necessary to communicate with members in ways that deploy tools that cater to those traits?

My CO does not give us access to their internet. So when council information is strictly in the cloud, it is not available. (Neither is this forum. Which is okay with me. Although I do miss you all for maybe a second when I'm out in the wild lands around a real campfire. :p)
What I used to spend in ink goes to registration fees. So, if the district hasn't printed the flyers for me, they aren't going back to my unit.

To (the great) Seneca district's credit, they do maintain an E-mail list and forward along the most pertinent one or two items under relevant subject heads.

But, my advice to all, if you're digitizing announcements, please, just the facts ma'am. Your anchor page listing pertinent announcements should
- drop all logos and graphics.
- plain text, ASCII or default html.
- entries in outline format:
- include only date/times, title, abstract, location, cost, contact, link to details

If whatever software you propose to use cannot produce that page of data about everything in your calendar, drop it. That page of one or two sheets should be printed for every scouter who wants it. Trust me, a sheer of paper like that will find its way into your lead scouter's backpack, and he/she will pull it out at Cracker Barrel for youth and adult leader to peruse and prioritize
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#11 SSScout

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 07:36 PM

LeCastor:  Anytime, look me up, White Oak District, NCAC.

 

Qwazse:  Seneca?   Really?   Tap in.  We may be combining in May with Potomac.....

 

Constant Contact may have advantages , but I haven't been allowed to try them out yet for eNews.   We just do an ordinary email list with a saveable, printable newsletter attached. Seems to work, at least until Verizon insists that I divide the emails into separate listings of 40 addresses each click.   Oh, well.   Semper gumby.


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#12 desertrat77

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 07:36 PM

The RT concept is a good one, but rarely works in reality.

 

They often turn into marathon "announcements" sessions, platforms for the usual scouters to "wax eloquent."

 

Result:  people stay away in droves.   Who's got time for that baloney?

 

If the RT chair is a strong facilitator, there is hope.  But it can be a challenge to keep some district scouters from going on and on and on and on....

 

Still, RT is perceived by many as "another meeting."  And another late dinner, another missed ball game (daddy, why weren't you at my game?), etc.   Just send me the notes and I'll read them when I get a moment to breathe.

 

Our rural district more or less combines a monthly district committee meeting with a type of unofficial RT.  Not on purpose, but it has morphed into that.   We do our district thing, and unit level scouts come to listen in and contribute, ask questions, etc.   Since we are so small, most folks have both district and unit level hats, so it works out anyway.   And it is 1 meeting a month.   We get our business done, sit around and shoot the breeze for a bit, then go home.


Edited by desertrat77, 19 February 2017 - 07:41 PM.

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#13 Oldscout448

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 07:56 PM

@SSScout, I'm going to your RT next month!  :D

sounds like a plan. Still on  Norwood rd?


Edited by Oldscout448, 19 February 2017 - 08:09 PM.

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#14 SSScout

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 10:19 PM

Oldscout448:  Yes.    Look for the parking lot full of old station wagons!

 

Desertrat:  "The work is done by whoever shows up".    Sounds like a good group.   Pass the Samoas, please....


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#15 qwazse

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 06:17 AM

@SSScout, mine is the Seneca district in Laurel Highland's Council ... A little more outside the beltway!
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#16 Back Pack

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 08:45 AM

Seems our district started a forum like this one. I'd be much more in favor of well organized info distributed there, and focusing the real RT on solid issues.

Recent Example: The Meeting teaser was how a discussion on integrating Webelos in to your troop given the new requirements in both programs and their impact on the "usual" crossover timeline. What happened? PowerPoint from a DC about issues we already knew. No discussion. Felt like someone punching a WB ticket rather than what could have been a goodnindepth discussion. 70% of those who came left.

Edited by Back Pack, 20 February 2017 - 08:46 AM.

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#17 blw2

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 10:30 AM

I used to attend RT's fairly regularly but it was a chore and I can't say that I got a huge benefit from them.  Every now and then a tidbit perhaps, but not a huge help...

 

I have often though of this forum as a modern version of what Roundtable was intended to be.  A place to bounce ideas and questions around....

In my thinking, the social aspects of getting to know others is almost secondary.....and announcements and the like, maybe tertiary

I never really thought of it as a training venue.

 

Honestly, I feel it's nearly infinitely better here, because compared to the monthly meeting, that is a moment in time then it's gone and it's so extremely limiting

Because it's a finite time, Only so many people will have a chance to ask a question or to add to a conversation, but here anyone can chime in

RT is limited because it's Thursday evening and I normally can't get there without adding a bunch of stress to my family (wife works late on Thursdays)

RT is limiting because so much of the available time is taken up with announcements and other things that may or not be of any interest to me.

 

The only limitation here is that far too few folks participate

and if many more did, then I just wouldn't have the time to read every post


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#18 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 10:44 AM

I'm currently the CS RT Commissioner, but of late been doing both since there is no BS RT Commish.  If it's done right, it is a great tool. I know when the new CS program came out in 2015, the RT sessions were great, but A) everyone was interested and B) materials were pretty good from national.  

 

As someone else mentioned, the quality of the RTC is the key. We had great RTCs and attendance was through the roof. And we had lousy RTCs who practically destroyed RT. Then you got the caretaker RTCs, who are doing their best until someone can replace them. 


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#19 krikkitbot

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 03:24 PM

 70% of those who came left.

I'd hope that all left eventually. It's be difficult to explain to the host organization why a bunch of scouters moved in. ;)

 

I like our RT. There are announcements about upcoming opportunities. Not all of which are listed on the council's home page. Troops and Crews show up and share information about open spots they have for various activities. There is training on a variety of subjects. The socializing with other scouters is invaluable. Of course, it's usually the same scouters showing up regularly with a sprinkling of new faces.


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#20 SSScout

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 03:48 PM

qwazse:   Well, heck.   Lemme know when you're in the neighborhood, I might be up that way again at Heritage with the Troop again can't never tell.


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