Rdtble Characteristics & Needs
Gary Apfelstadt (apfelsta@UIUC.EDU)
Sun, 12 Jul 1998 23:31:46 -0500
Hello This is part 2 of 4
Recently, I posted three sections for an E Rdtble Survey. With some members
on Scouts-L I hoped to learn about your experiences with District
Roundtables, to gather information that will be useful for the building of
and reflection on my district's Cub Scout & Boy Scout Roundtables, and to
post the gathered information on SCOUTS-L to aid your program reviews as well.
As with surveys generally, I have ended up with more questions from the
Many thanks are owed for the cooperation of the wired Scouters on SCOUTS-L
Please feel free to contact me by email if you have a question, or further
YIS, Gary Apfelstadt, Prairielands Council, Champaign, IL
Included here will be some observations drawn from the Surveys, and all the
comments shared from your experiences.
Additional Shared Comments on a variety of topics:
Reasons for best attendance ?
-Because of new leaders needing to network and in November, our
having the Webelos Looky Lou so the troops are able to 'show their stuff'
and the Webelos and their parents can get an idea of the troops in the
district; which ones to visit and possibly join., with over 90% of the
-May was Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat cert for all in attendance.
-Most new leaders curious as to what RT is.
-New Cub Scout leaders are looking for all the information they can get.
Boy Scout leaders are finding out the year's schedule of topics.
- Camporee information given
- Schoolnight programs
- The program kickoff helps units get the new year started - materials for
Scouting for food, for popcorn sales. Council promotes this heavily with
flyers, mailings, articles in district monthly newspaper.
- Leaders are interested in Roundups and Recharters.
- Leader curiosity.
- These Roundtables are mainly program planning where a lot of
information is dispersed.
- I think it is because it is right after school nite for scouting in
we get all the new leaders.
- No vacations, school is in session, too cold to take long trips.
- It is the start of the year cycle, and everyone is excited and fired up.
- Schoolnight recruiting.
- New leaders, new program year, much info. to distribute
- New Cub Scout leaders are looking for all the information they can get.
Boy Scout leaders are finding out the year's schedule of topics.
- Looking for ideas for starting out, camporees, etc.
- New leaders come for new ideas ... or when they need thought starters.
- New year what's going on--Planning for Camporee.
- Scouters need last minute details for rechartering and camporees.
- The most pertinent information is presented at program kickoff.
Reasons for worst attendance ?
-June has many different graduation/awards nights and December has far too
many plays/vacations, etc.
-No clear theme promoted.
-We meet early in the month (1st Thursday). Between Wisconsin winter and
the holidays its very difficult to get them out. It then becomes an annual
to get them back.
- Summer activities
- We don't meet in the usual place (the college closes during the summer)
and most leaders have many other activities drawing on their time (little
summer camps, 4-H, etc.
- Other priorities.
- Busy schedules and troop programs and, very little district/council
- Communications & busy summer schedules.
- Graduation, school ending, vacation planning, etc.
- Dec/Jan because of the nearness of holidays, and the large number of
other activities scheduled for that time of year. May - Other than it is
the end of the
school year, I don't know.
- Summer schedules.
- Busy scouting.
- Too many other priorities.
- Holiday time.
- Most additional commitments that conflict with dates
- Too many other things going on at that time.
Describe attendance incentives ?
-minimal Please describe: beads for attendance, extra bead for in uniform,
small door prizes
- Not formally other than small, but nice, prizes are given out monthly
for contests, etc. Have in the past recognized Troops with the best annual
attendance and/or most bodies at a monthly RT.
- I give each new participant a plastic arrowhead on a leather thong. each
time they come they get a bead to add to the arrowhead. (yes, I buy them
myself, but you know how much an adult will do for a bead :)
- Different color "pony beads" for each RT attended.
- We have a large stuffed Koala in Cub Uniform that goes to the Pack with
the most leaders in attendance. He participates with them, and then
- Our attendance incentives are for the troop with the highest %
attendance of leaders, a pennant for their flag, The totem to decorate and
the responsibility to bring refreshments to the next meeting. Individuals
get a gold bead for their wampum every third meeting in a row they attend,
absences must be
excused or you start from zero. After five years, a guy just got his one
year award last Thursday. Twelve meetings earns a miniature headdress to
wear around your neck. Then additional decorations for the headdress every
- The best way to encourage attendance is to Put on a GOOD PROGRAM!
- We have a drawing for a donated dinner for two with chances based on
slips filled out each month when you sign in. The more you attend the
better the chance you have. We also recognize attendance at the district
- Beads for each R/T, activity attempted.
- We're considering various possibilities beads, door prizes, rewards to
units with highest attendance
- Last incentive gave prizes for units with biggest leader attendance over
3 months. Prizes included donated lumber, a staff-led Woodcraft event, etc.
- Awards, Handouts for Patrol Leaders Helper Notebook, Aggressive Recruiting
E I: Other comments ?
- Not being able to have our meetings at the same place over the past 2
years has caused havoc with our attendance. We are trying to do the best
with what we have but it does get difficult to put on a program when the
size and rules have to be changed.
-More promotion of what was going to be happening would probably enhance
attendance. Scouters need to see a real value in attending in order to get
another night out of them.
- Quality very definitely depends on the RT Commissioner. In general our
RTs have been a one man effort, although frequently Units and/or outside
are part of the program. I feel we could do a lot more sharing of program
ideas with the right format. I have probably attended 90% of the Dist.
RT's in the past 30 years and generally learn something new every time.
However, attendance is usually made up of the same 30% of the SM's.
- We have recently increased attendance due to some changes: one, I cut
back the meetings to 1 and 1/2 hours. previous commissioner was keeping us
there 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Second, I took a survey of what the participants
So now, each month, we have a special topic of interest. some agenda items
were: skits, crafts, cooking, sports and academics, etc. the staff is
assigned the topic based on their expertise.
- I don't really like the current organization - that of Patrols & Troop,
as I think that it is harder to administer than having a volunteer or the
RTC arrange the theme.
- We also have door prizes, handouts and theme-related wampum beads.
- Like everything else, Roundtable seems cyclical. Right now I have two
great RT Commissioners (for Scouts and Cubs) who have fun, sing, and put on
a GOOD PROGRAM. This results in about 95% of these units attending. We don't
currently offer anything specifically for Explorers, so only our High
Adventure Posts regularly attend, since they can often use the info.
intended for Scouts.
- I've enjoyed Roundtables when I've gone (especially when I was CC of my
son's Pack, less so now I am a MC in my son's Troop), but have never been
close to the planning, etc., nor have I kept track of attendance, etc.
- For our Sea Explorer units (7 total), We have quarterly Squadron
Quarterdeck meetings. These are always well attended. We have dinner,
calendar, help ships with their problems, boats, plans, etc. The youth go
into a separate room to discuss the program, activities, etc. We all get
back together and the Squadron Chief Boatswain makes the report. Then, we
all see how we can make our program better. Last, I (squadron commodore)
tell about exciting activities and events and ask for comments. Last is the
- When I took over 6 years ago, attendance averaged 8 or 9 troops and in
some months only one or two Cub Scouters. I look at it that we are
getting to about 75 to 80 percent of the units. It has proven to be
difficult if not impossible to crack the nut of the last 20 to 25 percent.
I would appreciate it if you would pass on the findings of your survey -
they may help to reach our "other" units.
- Strongly dependent on intangibles such as perceived distance to R/T,
synergy of R/Ts, competence of R/T staff and their ability to make them
- We've tried reminder postcards and notes in the council newsletter, but
still have dropping attendance. We *know* the program is good because
attend give us compliments. We *don't* know why we can't seem to get more
people to attend.
- I "publish" a Cub Scout RT help that's 50+ pages each month. I trade
them with Scouters across the country. Write me for details or a sample
- We have recently split the district but only lost 3 units that used to
come to the R/T. The others did not come anyway.
- Scouters want real usable information presented in a timely, interesting
manner. When they know this will happen, they will come.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City