Re: Roundtable "Mixers"
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Sat, 13 Jul 1996 18:43:00 -0600
One technique that often works, especially for a new group as an ice
breaker is to ask everyone to go introduce themselves to one other person
they do not know. Then have them find out about five things about each
other, such as Scouting experience and positions, nickname, favorite
foods, any children in Scouting, etc.; then have them come up by teams and
introduce each other to the group. This is often fun and doesn't take
much time to do; allow about five minutes for them to get to know each
other and list the required information, then start the introduction
process. Tell them it's OK to write the information down if they are a
little reluctant to do the intro of the other person in front of the group
Another fun activity is the "knot" game which gets everyone together to
team up in solving the "maze" of interlocked hands. Form a circle of
about eight or so; have them reach across and take the hand of another
person; then have the group solve how to untie the "knot" so an unbroken
circle is made with the group. Use the exercise to "reflect" on why
teamwork and leadership skills helped solve the problem quickly, and who
emerged as leaders and facilitators.
Still another fun activity is the communications game. Have everyone
stand in a circle with various items of toys, such as rubber chickens,
teddy bears, monkeys, et al. Have each person pick a "descriptor" name to
go with their given name (e.g. "wacky walter," "burly bill," super sally,"
et al). Then have the group toss a toy to someone else. each time the
toy is tossed the person receiving it has to say the name of the person
who tossed it and their own name (including the descriptor; for example
burly bill tosses the rubber chicken to super sally, so burly bill has to
say, "burly bill to super sally." Then "super sally" tosses it to "wacky
walter", and says, "super sally to wacky walter.")
There are a bunch of other icebreakers and challenge games that can be
played, and are available in the Explorer Leaders Guidebook as well as
other Scouting publications.
Scouts and Explorers enjoy these games as well. The key element for any
successful roundtable is to have an exciting, dynamic and meaninful main
presentation that is well publicized before the event. Then make sure
people that attend have fun, and get something useful out of the
Brainstorming and problem solving sessions are often useful and fun as
well. Some time for small group discussions on specific topics is also an
interesting alternative to meet a variety of interests and needs during
the main meeting. But keep it lively, on track, meaningful, and most of
all FUN! You won't need to market it much if the word gets out that
roundtables are a "hoot;" but you have to keep making each one "better
than the last" or at least different and appealing to a variety of
Don't forget to involve the Scouts in roundtables; after all, they are the
reason we do all this, and there is nothing more delightful than having a
good presentation by some sharp Scouts and Explorers, at the roundtables.
You may be pleasantly surprised at their expertise and appeal to the
group. Besides, hearing what they need, like, and don't like, is often
very helpful in designing programs and supporting their needs.
If the word gets out that the roundtables are "b-o-r-i-n-g" the attendance
will begin to suffer quickly, so don't let it happen.
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO
and Council Exploring Training Chair, Longs Peak Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City