Posts Tagged ‘roundtable’

roundtableThe District Roundtable. That once a month training meeting for all Scout Leaders. They are a good meetings for all Scouters to attend, filled with lots of ideas and knowledge, but in reality only a small percentage of Scouters attend them. It is really a shame.

I began attending roundtable about the time I became the scoutmaster of Melrose Troop 68 in 1981, thirty five years ago. During most of those years I was a regular attendee, maybe missing one or two a year, usually to weather issues, like snowstorms. I thought I had a very good attendance record, especially when you consider that I live 35 miles from the council service center.

I was recruited as an assistant roundtable commissioner in the late 1980’s, and continued through the early 1990’s. For a couple of years we even held junior leader roundtables for senior patrol leaders, patrol leaders, and other youth officers. I finally stepped away from the roundtable staff because I needed to clean my plate of a few positions. I did not want to burn out after all. I did continue to attend the monthly meetings, just not as a staff member.

A few years ago I decided to offer my assistance once again to the roundtable commissioner. Al had been running the roundtables himself. I know from experience that a helping hand not only makes things easier, but it also makes it more fun. He quickly accepted my offer and I became an assistant roundtable commissioner once again.

In May I finished my third year as Al’s assistant. May is also the month that Al and I decided to retire as the roundtable staff. It was a good run, and we both had fun, but we both felt it was time for new leadership to take over.

I had an additional reason to step down from the position. I currently serve as the Cubmaster for Melrose Pack 68. The committee has decided to try moving den and pack meetings from Monday nights to Tuesday nights during the 2016-2017 program year. The Scenic District roundtable are held on the first Tuesday night of the month. I have not yet discovered how to be in two places at one time. This coming year could be the first Scouting program year that I will not attend a roundtable meeting since 1980. That is going to bit a little weird for me.

I do not know who will take over the roundtable staff positions this fall but I wish them the best of luck. It is a great experience and can be a lot of fun with just a little bit of planning.

roundtable_4350Once a year the roundtable staff of the Central Minnesota Council,  Scenic District, invites the Eagle Board chairman, the district advancement chairman, and other key people to attend a meeting to discuss Eagle Scout projects, workbooks, and board of reviews. Boy Scouts are invited to attend and encouraged to ask questions.

When this meeting was held in the fall of 2014 we were surprised with once of the best attendances for a roundtable that we have had in many years. We had to set up more chairs and almost remove tables to create enough seating. I would guess that maybe 12 to 15 Boy Scouts came to the meeting with their parents or troop leaders. We were very pleased with the turnout and many questions were answered.

As the room was being set up for this year’s Eagle meeting, which was held Tuesday night, only two tables were set up at the front of the room for the Eagle speakers, and a few tables were left set up in the back. We were hoping for a turnout as good as last year’s, maybe even better.

As the clock approached the 7:00 starting time we realized more chairs would be needed then were set up. Boy Scouts, parents, committee members and troop leaders filled the room. It was a good thing the tables had been removed. I counted thirty Boy Scouts in attendance. I think that could be a new record.

The meeting went very well. The three member panel talked about what they expect from the Scouts, what the Eagle Scout process includes, and the common mistakes to avoid. A lot of questions were asked by the adult leadership and the Scouts. Everyone seemed to be pleased as the meeting came to an end.

I was expecting a decent turnout so I thought it might be nice to have a door prize for the Boy Scouts who came to the session. I had grabbed a 1965 Boy Scout handbook from my collection to use for the drawing. Near the halfway point of the meeting we drew a winning name from my cap. The Boy Scout who won was grinning widely as he came forward to collect the handbook. He seemed quite pleased to be able to add it to his collection, or maybe it was the start of his collection.

I noticed several young Boy Scouts mixed in the crowd so toward the end of the meeting I asked for a show of hands of the the Life Scouts in the room. Most of the boys raised their hand. I asked the Star Scouts to raise they hand. Several hands went up but I noticed a few still had not lifted theirs. When I asked for the First Class Scouts to raise their hands the last four or five Scouts were recognized. I could not help myself. I commended these young men for thinking ahead as they plan to reach their goal of attaining Boy Scouting highest rank.


roundtableplanningI had received a couple emails this summer from Bob at the council office asking if I would be on the roundtable staff again for the 2015-2016 program year. I really did not feel like being on staff for a third year so I sort of ignored the messages. When Al, the roundtable commissioner called me, I knew it was time to make a final decision. Al made a comment that this would probably be his last year so I agreed to to one more year. After all, we seemed to make a pretty good team.

I did not have much to do during the September roundtable since Al and I had not sat down yet to plan out our meetings. That was fine with me since I still was not really feeling like I wanted to be on staff again. When we got together in late September to plan for the next several months something clicked into place and I was back into roundtable mode.

As the October roundtable began I was ready with plenty of handouts for my session, and ropes for the knot relay. I also had a Scouting ghost story for the end of the meeting about two Scouts who were best friends, and the promise they made to each that they would keep, even after death.

My favorite part of the October meeting was when we broke for the knot relay. I separated the participants into three “patrols” and gave them a few minutes to practice the three knots they would need for the relay. These three groups immediately started acting like a Boy scout patrol. The more experienced “Scouts” began helping and teaching the less experienced. During the rely, all three patrols did their best to win the competition. It was fun watching “Scouting in action” with the adults leaders.

Like I stated, I am back in roundtable mode for a third year. I am looking forward to the next several meetings. I think the troop leaders who attend for find them to be informative and fun.

This will be my last year on roundtable staff though. Yes, I have had fun and think I brought little something to the sessions, but it is time to hand it over to some new leadership and see what they can bring to the training.

SeptRoundtableLast night was the first Tuesday of September. That means the Scenic District roundtables have started once again! I must have done something right last year as the assistant roundtable commissioner because Commissioner Al asked me back for a second year. I was not sure if I really wanted to do it for another year, but I forgot how to say “no” so I guess I have the position again. I had fun last year so I have a feeling I will have fun again this year.

The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by announcements of upcoming events and meetings. Then we hit the main course of the session: New Parents and what to do with them. We discussed the first parent meeting and what should be covered with them. We also discussed leadership recruitment and first training, such as Youth Protection. We even touched on the problem of those parents who treat Scouting as a daycare service. Fourteen Boy Scout leaders from across the district were in attendance and many of them entered into the discussion. It was a roundtable in the full sense of the word.

Shortly after the halfway point of the evening we divided the group into teams and went outside to play Ultimate Frisbee. Some of the men had already played the game within their troops, but a few had not so we took just a couple minutes to give the short rules. It was a bit confusing at first once the game began, not so much because people did not understand the rules, but because there were too many Scout uniforms, It was hard to keep track of who was on who’s team. After a few minutes we got that figured out and everyone began to get into the spirit of the sport. We played for about 10 or 15 minutes before going back inside for the rest of the meeting.

Once we sat back at the tables and everyone caught their breath, Al lead a discussion on what was learned during the game. What could we have done better? What leadership skills were needed? Organizational skills? Was there any sort of team building? That lead to a larger discussion of how we can use games within our troop meetings and activities to teach Scouts various skills that will help them through their time in Scouting.

The meeting ended with the Outdoor Code. I noticed a few small groups of leaders talking to each other after the roundtable. Let the mini-roundtables begin!

scoutingpromotiondvd2For the last 15 or 20 years I have been collecting videos of Scouting commercials and promotional films. I have a few dozen of them. Some of them are very good. Several not so much. A few are just plain weird. But they are interesting to watch.

At tonight’s district roundtable I plan to give away some dvd’s I created featuring many of these videos, along with a couple old training videos. I plan on giving two of these discs to the Cub Scout roundtable. The other six I will give away to lucky winners at the Boy Scout roundtable. I am also hoping to have a projection screen set up during the roundtable to show a few select videos since promoting Scouting within your home community is a theme for the evening.

Some of these videos can be seen on our troop’s website. Check them out at

vistaroundtableOne of the things we are doing a bit different this year at the monthly Scenic District Boy Scout roundtable meetings is to break up the meeting, near the half way point, with a game, song, or skit. The goal is to introduce a new game or teach a new song or skit to troop leaders that they may take back to use in their own troops. One month we played one pitch kickball. The next month we played Tip with a frisbee. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves so far.

Last month I lead the group in one of my favorite campfire songs, Vista. It is a sing-along, repeat after me type of silly song that also has some simple hand gestures. The words are a little hard to follow, and the song gets faster each time. It is a challenge to keep up and do well.

I was joined by three newly beaded Wood Badgers in leading this song at the roundtable. As you will see, we all had fun, even though one gentleman had a little trouble keeping up with us. Did anyone care? Not a bit. That is part of the fun of the song.

I would like to thank Dan Kuntz for providing the video for this post to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast.

I challenge you to learn the song and use it at your next meeting or campfire. Is your audience able to keep up with you?

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roundtable2013Tuesday night was the Scenic District roundtable at the Scout Service Center. Al and I make up the staff for the Boy Scout roundtable. We have been trying to make them fun and informative. I think we succeeded last night.

The evening began with a combined Cub Scout and Boy Scout meeting to recognize three Scouters who have completed their Wood Badge tickets. I recorded the Beading Ceremony and plan to post the video to the Melrose Scout Productions Podcast later this week or this weekend. After the presentation of the neckerchiefs, the woggles, and the beads the room divider was pulled and both roundtables began.

Al began the Boy Scout roundtable with leading the twenty Scouters in singing America The Beautiful. I led the group in reciting the Knight’s Code, which used to be found in the Boy Scout handbook. Al and I have been choosing different openings and closing for each month’s meeting to give troop leaders ideas to bring back to their youth leadership.

During the first skill session, Al led a discussion about scoutmaster conferences. The group talked about when they are needed, where they could be held, and who should be present. We also discussed how conferences differ from rank to rank as a Scout grows older and more experienced.

At the half way point of this year’s meetings Al and I have been planning a fun activity. During the last two months we went outside to play a game. This month I lead the Scouters in one of my favorite campfire songs, Vista. I asked the three Wood badgers to come forward to join me in leading the song. I was surprised when I saw three other Scouters take out their cell phones to record this sing-a-long. One video was already posted to Facebook later that evening.

Board of reviews was the subject of the second skill session. I had talked to Al and two other Scouters before the meeting about conducting a mock review. A Boy Scout who happened to be in attendance agreed to be the Scout for the demonstration for Life Rank.

Al, Dan, Mike and I drilled the Boy Scout. I questioned his knowledge of the Scout Oath, Slogan, and Outdoor code and why he was not in complete uniform. Al drilled him about his participation in service projects. Dan criticized his work as the troop’s webmaster. His scoutmaster chewed him out about his participation at troop meetings. This poor Scout was getting it from all directions.

As you have probably guessed, our mock board of review demonstrated how NOT to conduct one. The four of us tried to do as many things incorrectly as we were able to do. I never told the Boy Scout what we had planned because I wanted the Scouters to see his unplanned reactions to our questions and comments. He was a good sport about it when I stopped the drilling, and everyone thought he did quite well despite how we treated him.

This horrible board of review led into a great discussion of what not to do, and on how to conduct a proper review. We also discussed when a review is needed, where one should be held, and who should sit on a board.

The meeting ended with a scoutmaster minute from Al about friendship and myself leading the “Be Prepared” song. All in all, I think the meeting went very well and everyone learned something new.

Roundtable StaffLast Tuesday was my second meeting as a member of the roundtable staff once again. I have to admit, I am having fun. And I think the Scouters who have been attending have discovered my method of roundtable training is a bit different then other peoples’ methods. I do not like to just stand there and talk. I like to move around, change up my voice tone, and even get everyone up on the feet to do things. I think the roundtable commissioner likes what I have brought to the table. At least I hope he has. Here is a review of things we both covered at this month’s Scenic District roundtable.

This year we start our roundtables with a two part opening, one part patriotic and one part Scouting related, and we plan to change it up for each monthly meeting. For this month we began with the American Creed and the Scout Law.

We would usually go into skill development next but since it gets dark early this time of year we switched things up and went outside for our game. Yes, you read that correctly. We played a game. The goal is to introduce troop leaders to possibly new games they can bring back to their troop to play. This month’s game was Tip, played with a frisbee. The two teams tossed the disc to each other. Team members would try to “tip” the disc to other team members and then have someone catch it. The team scores one point for each successful tip, but only if the disc is caught at the end of the tipping. The Scouters had a blast playing the game and really got into it. I believe a few grass stains may have been taken home.

Back inside the meeting room, Al and I conducted a brief uniform inspection and talked about the uniform being one of the methods of the Scout program. I opened a discussion of this month’s Jamboree On The Air and the Jamboree On The Internet. Many of the Scouters had not heard of these events. Al lead a discussion about the duties of a troop’s junior leaders.

Before the meeting I had set up a table display of my patch collections, including OA lodge patches, council shoulder patches, and patches from the 2001 National Jamboree. I also had several old Scouting themed books set out to view. We talked about the fun of patch trading, who trades with who, and about B.S.A. policy regarding trading.

Al finished the day’s skill development by discussing how to plan a troop meeting, or I should say, how the troop’s junior leaders should plan a troop meeting. A few Scouters were eager to share their thoughts on this subject. We closed the roundtable with Scout Vespers.

After the meeting, I caught up with a Scouter who is a fairly new scoutmaster and asked him if he had been finding this year’s meetings helpful. He said that he has been learning quite a bit and is discovering good ideas to bring back home to his troop. I walked to my car with a grin on my face. I guess Al and I are doing a good job so far.