Do you attend your district Roundtable?
When I was first recruited to be a den leader, our Cubmaster told me that, besides basic leader training, I needed to attend Roundtable each month. I viewed it as part of my commitment to the boys in my den, and found it to be really valuable as a new leader just learning how the program worked.
But over the last few years, I’ve noticed that Roundtable attendance has been steadily dropping. When I started going, we’d have sixty to eighty Cub leaders and thirty to forty Scouters from troops come to Roundtable each month. This month we had 40 people tops – including the commissioners, the district advancement team and Roundtable staff.
Is it because people feel Roundtable isn’t important any more? Do we have less free time so Roundtable becomes the casualty?
Or is it simply because nobody asked them to go?
I’ve always stressed Roundtable attendance during the leader training courses I’ve taught, and have found that those who did come to Roundtable after training seemed to have a better grasp of what they were expected to do. They remain active longer, and many go on to serve at the district level as well.
I’ve observed also that packs and troops where the adult leaders regularly attend Roundtable are among the more successful units. They recruit more Scouts, retain them better, have greater youth engagement and show adult enthusiasm. They have more exciting and interesting activities, advance more Scouts, and parents feel better about their sons being in Scouting – at least based on my casual observations.
When it comes to improving Roundtable attendance, we can all help out.
- First, be a Roundtable attendee yourself. Make the time to go each month (it’s part of your job, after all). Attend the breakout session most appropriate for your involvement, and participate in the discussions.
- Go back to your unit and tell others what you learned and did at Roundtable. They’ll get the idea that they missed out on some valuable helpful information – and the fun as well.
- Become an ambassador for Roundtable. Make sure everyone knows when and where it’s held every month. Offer to give rides to others who would like to attend. Making a commitment to go with someone else improves the likelihood that they’ll attend.
- Encourage new leaders to go. Make it an expectation to attend. Tell them what they’ll find there. Remind them a few days beforehand so they can make plans.
- When new member prospects attend our unit meetings, talk to the parents and point out that your volunteers take their roles seriously enough to attend ongoing continuing training each month. Whether adult leaders attend Roundtable isn’t one of the typical questions a new member would ask, but it makes a big difference in the program.
Don’t view Roundtable as just another optional meeting you can blow off. If you take it seriously, others will see your commitment and will at least be aware of the importance of attending. You’ll be glad you went because you’ll find out things you didn’t know. And when someone who has never attended Roundtable goes with you, have them share the enthusiasm with other Scouters in your unit. It could be contagious!