Category Archives: Technology

Day 79 – Re-thinking Roundtable

Not a whole lot happening this week at all for Scouting in my world.  As we don’t have a Troop meeting on the 4th Mondays of the month, this tends to be a little slower time for me and for all the Scouts and adults in the Troop.  And that’s OK in my book.  Very soon, it’ll get pretty busy with camping, and the summer madness.

Tonight I put together the final report for our District after gathering data from the survey I put together for the Roundtables.  Interesting results, to say the least.  Some people were very honest about stuff, and other took it as an opportunity to tell the Council just what they think of our program.  Some of the answers made me giggle, as they just didn’t make much sense to me, but I put them all in the report so everyone can see what our volunteers think and feel about the current Roundtable situations.

I read a comment by a fellow blogger, Clarke Green the other day about Roundtables, and I’m starting to wonder if Roundtables – the traditional monthly meetings – are past their prime, and need to be re-thought and re-tooled to accommodate today’s Scouting leaders.  Our District is huge (covers parts of 3 states) and although we’ve been holding several Roundtables each month, the biggest issue for Scouters attending seems to be distance.

Roundtables have traditionally been used to pass information on at a District level.  Before cell phones, internet, e-mail and other technologies this was pretty much the only way to ensure that leaders had the information they needed.  It was also a really good way to add supplemental training and even some required training.  With the majority of training being available online these days, it’s hard to offer much training that will interest people to attend.

I’ve already thrown out the questions to our Council about web meetings – and other forms of communication that might better serve our District.  In fact, that was one of the question on the survey.  There wasn’t one favorite answer, either.  It seems like there’s a mix of people who still want that face-to-face meeting, just less often it seems.  There are those who would prefer just electronic communications (podcasts, newsletters, ‘online roundtables’).  I hope we’re able to do some, if not most of these things soon.

I’m not saying get rid of the traditional Roundtable all together.  I’m saying we need to re-evaluate the purpose of Roundtables.  We need to figure out what our Scouters need now – and not just rely on what has typically been done.  If we’re able to move in the right direction for the majority of them, I think we’ll see more participation in Roundtable, and possibly in all Scouting events at the District and Council level.

“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”
– Gallagher


Day 51 – I don’t need training! (or do i?)

“I don’t need training!”  First off, I don’t believe that for one minute.  But there are those out there who feel that their other trainings in their jobs/life mean that they have all the experience being a leader that they’ll ever need.  I think each and every leader deserves to be trained so they can successfully deliver the Scouting program.  If we all have the same ‘base’ BSA training, then we’ll all be on the same page and understanding while trying to deliver the Scouting program.  All of our outside training and life experiences should enhance our core training and be a great compliment to each of us.  I also firmly believe that there’s always something new to learn, something new to experience – otherwise this thing would get pretty boring after a while.

Some also feel that since they’ve volunteered to be a leader, and give of their time, that they shouldn’t give of their money in order to become trained.  I can see their point here.  That being said, I feel that most of this training that costs (Wood Badge, for example) is not only training for BSA – its quality leadership training for life.  I’ve used so much of what I’ve learned at Wood Badge in other aspects of my life that I have found it to be a very valuable thing.  Also – most, if not all training that is required for each position is free.  It’s the supplemental stuff that typically costs.  And that’s a personal choice, really.  I would encourage all leaders to consider Wood Badge, however.

Every Scout deserves to be led by trained leaders.  I urge you to get the training needed for your position in Scouting, no matter what it is.  There’s always something to learn!

Day 32 – Feeling good!

The ScoutmasterDay 32 already, wow.  Seems like I just started this crazy ride and we’re already this far!  I have to say that I’m loving this journey – and I’m glad that so many of you at least take a peek at what I have to say!  I have discovered a whole new dimension of Scouting – and I will continue to explore it and enjoy!

I’m feeling really good today about Scouting in general.  Last night the Mrs. and I held our second Roundtable as Commissioners – and it went very well, in my opinion!  We had a few more people attend (first good thing) and we had some very good discussions.  I think we’re on the right track, at least!  I hope those that attended enjoyed it as well…

We’re finding that we don’t need to have as much material ready as I thought we would.  What was supposed to be an hour meeting turned into almost two hours!  No one complained, as it was all good information and discussion.

One of the things brought up was training, and how very soon all registered leaders will need to be fully trained in their registered positions in order to recharter with the unit.  Does anyone know what training a Roundtable Commissioner needs to take to be considered ‘trained’?  I would very much like to take the appropriate training not only for myself, but for all those who come to Roundtables.  The Mrs. and I really want to improve the program for all leaders however we’re able.

The Troop is, in my opinion, heading in the right direction once again – and I think we’re making progress on the Roundtable side of things.  I’m feeling good….really good about Scouting right now.

Here’s hoping each and every one of you have a wonderful weekend!

‘The Scoutmaster teaches boys to play the game by doing so himself.’
– Robert Baden-Powell

Day 24 – podcasts

So yesterday and today, I’ve been working on our church website – trying to figure out how to make our sermons into podcasts.  Well, it took me a little bit of time and a little bit of effort – but I finally got it tonight and I’m very proud of myself!  Yea me!

That being said, I’ve also been listening to some of the wonderful Scouting podcasts that are available.  PTC Media has several great podcasts – like the SMM (Scoutmaster’s Minute) and The Leader’s Campfire.

Now, here’s where I can get myself into trouble.  I start thinking ‘gee, I bet I could do a podcast, too!’.  Well, yea – I could.  I think.  Trouble is, do I have the time?  I’m not sure.  Do I have the content?  Maybe – not sure about that either.  I have enough material to blog – does that translate into a podcast?  I have years of Scouting experience and lots of training – does that translate into good material?  Geeze, I just don’t know.

I think for now I’m going to put the podcast idea on the shelf.  See how I feel about it in a month or two, and if I still feel as strongly as I do now about it I will pursue it.

Last couple of days I’ve been doing the following Scouting things:

  • Set up Troopmaster Web and created all the usernames and passwords for everyone.  I see this as a great tool to get our data up to date and keep it up to date much more quickly than I was ever able to do alone.
  • Started working on this month’s Roundtable with the Mrs.  One of us won’t be there as there’s a meeting for future high schoolers that night, and my oldest son needs to be there.  So we need to have this Roundtable ready to roll for whichever one of us is going to run the show.
  • Listened to several Scouting podcasts.  Totally enjoy listening to other’s opinions and enthusiasm!