Roundtables: My First Years

on March 20, 2007 in Training

I began attending monthly district roundtable training meetings shortly after becoming an assistant scoutmaster in 1980. I was a firm believer that this ninety minute training session would help me in my new position. I still attend many roundtables, even though I have been in Scouting long enough to conduct the meetings myself. I still pick up a couple things here and there that are useful.

Those first years of roundtables were critical in my leadership training. Oh yes, I did also attend the weekend scout leader training session and the yearly Scouting University, but it was during the roundtables that I really got to know the other Scout leaders in my area.

I live in Melrose, a city of approximately 3000 people. Nearby cities are 6-7 miles apart with a lot of farm land between them. Interstate 94 runs through the south portion of Melrose. The Central Minnesota Council office is located in St. Cloud, thirty five miles from my home. A couple leaders from neighboring cities and I would carpool to the meetings. During that 30 minute drive we would discuss various Scouting topics and sometimes talk about current problems we had within our troops. The same thing would happen on the way home, although the meeting may have given us a new topic to discuss.

One advantage in attending these monthly meetings was forming new friendships with my fellow Scouters. I am pretty shy by nature so it was great to be able to share experiences and to have them there to help solve problems.

The members of the carpool soon decided to stop for supper after the roundtables since we did not have the time to eat properly between getting home from work and getting to the meeting. We made a habit of going to Bonanza in St. Cloud. These “after-roundtable roundtables, as I liked to call them, became another important element of my training and friendship making. It did not take long for other Scouters to discover our after-roundtable roundtables. There were times when we would have eight to ten leaders, in Scout uniform, sitting at a table in Bonanza, shooting the breeze and solving all of the problems in Scouting. We had a great time.

Currently, I am the only member of those early roundtable years that is still involved in Scouting, at least locally. Most of those guys have retired from Scouting or moved on to other locations. I, however, am still making new friends at the roundtables. A couple months ago, four of us stopped at a local dining place after the meeting for some snacks and something to drink. We talked about Scouts, the Order of the Arrow, and the council’s camp.

Who knows… Maybe the after-roundtable roundtables will become popular once again.

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    One Response to “Roundtables: My First Years”

    1. Jim says:

      I was also a regular at the monthly roundtables in our district in Rome, NY. My friend Ron and I had just started a “new” Cub Scout Pack and we were told that the Cub Scout Leader Basic Training and monthly Roundtables were the best way to get started. Like a couple of noobies we believed what we were told. Man, am I glad we listened. We made a ton of friends, started going to our own version of the “after-roundtable-rountables.” In our district, the Boys Scout side of roundtable was about three times as large as the Cubbers but within a year and a half we had surpassed them. Of course, as the next few years passed, some of us “graduated” up to Boy Scouts with our sons but our friendships never faltered. I actually went back and forth a couple of times as I had sons in both programs simultaneously for a number of years. I even spent a few years on Roundtable Staff. That’s when the old Fun-O-Meter pegged out! I’m in a different part of the state, now, and our district is very spread out. We cover the northeast corner of New York and the population is all over the Adirondacks! Roundtables are not very well attended. Sad. They don’t know what they are missing.

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