By Annaleis Smith
Jan 30, 2019

Why I still attend Roundtable

Almost 3 1/2 years ago I wrote an article called “Why I go to Roundtable.”  I still agree with every reason that I gave back then. And I just wanted to say that I still love to go to roundtable… when it’s done right. When roundtable helps me with my Scouting responsibilities, I love it. There have been a number of changes to roundtable over the past few years. Some changes in format made by the National Council and some changes are unique to the area in which I live (like stake-led roundtables). Sometimes changes can be frustrating, however, the #1 reason that I enjoy roundtable still remains – I like talking about Scouting with other Scouters.

Sometimes roundtable is just “okay” and that’s OK!

Its a different mix

Sometimes I get new ideas that I can take back and use in my pack, and sometimes I don’t. Maybe something that is shared motivates and inspires me to be a better Cub Scout leader. Sometimes I hear about an upcoming activity that I didn’t know about previously. Sometimes roundtable is more valuable to me than at other times – it’s true. However if I don’t attend I probably won’t get those ideas, I might not hear about the events and I most likely will not be motivated or inspired. If I don’t go I get nothing out of it at all.

Roundtable is like almost every other meeting (including church) we might attend – you always get more out of it when you prepare ahead of time for the meeting and when you go because you want to instead of because you feel you have to. When you go prepared with questions and/or ideas to ask and share, your experience is always better.

Who can speak or share at roundtable?

Yes, someone has to take charge and lead the meeting, but the beauty of roundtable is that the meeting is not about the person up in front. It’s about Scouting, it’s about building youth. Everyone there has something to contribute whether they think they do or not. A question that someone else is wondering but is afraid to ask, an idea of what worked or didn’t work in your unit. That person up in front may or may not know more about it than you do but their main job is to facilitate a discussion, to create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome and wanted and that is open and everyone knows they can speak.

I don’t know the history behind the name roundtable but it has always been explained to me that it should be like King Arthur’s roundtable where all are equal. I like that image. Yes, maybe I have been a volunteer longer than someone else but I guarantee there is something they know or have experienced that I haven’t. I’d love to hear about it. Who knows what kind of situations we may run into in our lives – in Scouting or outside of Scouting. You never know when that experience may benefit me – but only if someone shared it.

Maybe we need to check our attitude:

Do we have the right attitude? Some decide to go or not go based on the topic for that month. Is it something I want/need to learn about? If you don’t feel the need to learn, maybe you are needed there to share. What if instead of wondering what I was going to get out of roundtable I went instead with the attitude of giving, contributing, sharing.

I challenge each of you to attend your next roundtable with the intent of sharing one idea. It doesn’t matter what it is and it doesn’t matter who you share it with. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of everyone else there then find just one person to share with. Don’t leave without having shared one idea with at least one person. Who knows, that may be the one thing they like best about having attended.

**If your district isn’t holding roundtable anymore or maybe it’s on a night that you just can’t attend, the Baden Powell Service Area of the Utah National Parks Council is holding bi-monthly roundtables on Saturday mornings. The next one will be Sat March 2nd. (location TBD) 10am – Noon. It’s a fun roundtable!


Author Annaleis Smith is a “stay-at-home” mom of 5 (3 boys 2 girls).  She has been a Cub Scout leader since 2003.  She has also been involved with district roundtables since 2008 and various council committees (including Akela’s Council) since 2010. Annaleis currently serves as a Cubmaster, Assistant Roundtable Commissioner, and president of the Commissioner College Cabinet

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