Roundtable Last Night

Okay, two posts in might be pushing it, but I hope you'll bear with me. I really wanted to write about both Wood Badge and Roundtable, and although the last post touched on Roundtable it was really about Wood Badge.

A while ago, I wrote about improving Roundtable. Last night, I took my first shot at improving things. I didn't get all of the things on my wish list done, but I think it was a good start. Here are the major points:
  • We started things off with a flag ceremony by Troop 188. Thanks for coming out to support us guys -- hopefully we'll pay you back with some extra enthusiasm and activities coming back into your unit.
  • I set up tables for each area in the district and asked people to sit in them. I wanted people to see who was or wasn't coming from their area. Sadly, the best attended area had only five people (from a possible 30 or so representing 7 troops). I told everyone we'd sit the same way next week and the best attending area would get a prize.
  • The first mini-presentation set the context for the night (focusing on Engineering and Pioneering). We discussed what resources were available to the troops to run a program on that theme: Merit Badge Pamphlets, Troop Program Features, and Troop Program Resources.
  • The second presentation started out with a discussion of a $7 mini-pioneering kit made from six 36" quarter-inch dowels (cut into 4 x 12", 12 x 8", and 36 x 6" lengths) and a ball of twine. The presenter had his troop measure, cut, and use it the night before and he said that they had a great time. Then he taught the attendees how to tie a square lashing and had them work on building miniature rafts. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.
  • Our third and final program feature was an index card bridge building contest. The attendees were split into two teams, and given five 4x6 index cards to build a bridge across an 8" wide chasm (between two stacks of books). They teams weren't allowed to use tape, glue, or other bindings, and weren't allowed to support the bridges from the bottom of the chasm. The winning team was able to stack 450 pennies on their bridge before it gave way!
  • We finished things off with a presentation by our Order of the Arrow Advisor. He discussed; what the OA is and how it can help individual scouts and units, our upcoming Ordeal, and unit elections. I think we ended up getting a couple of units to schedule elections. Good stuff for sure.
Maybe the best news of all was that there was some positive buzz circulating after Roundtable. My wife overheard people talking about it being fun and giving them ideas they could take back to there units and use right away. I was really happy to hear that, not only does it mean I was able to help those units but it should also mean we get some repeat attendees (if we can keep it up).

What do you think? I'd love to hear suggestions on how to keep improving our Roundtables (especially if you were there). I'd also love to hear what you're doing at your Rountable to make it fun and worthwhile for everyone.

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