The Model Roundtable
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A unique opportunity occurred as part of this
summer’s Commissioners Week at Philmont. In previous
years there had been a conferencewide Commissioner
College planned for all participants. This summer brought
a change in plans that created a new challenge!
Effective Roundtables course participants, who had
varying levels of Scouting knowledge and commissioner
experience, were informed on Monday that their task
was to deliver a model roundtable to all the conference
attendees on Thursday evening. After about 20 seconds
of dead silence, the class enthusiastically accepted
the challenge and the week was underway. The
course instructors covered components of an effective
roundtable, and then time was set aside to work the
material into the plans for Thursday night.
Participants created displays, complete with
informational fliers, for the Model Roundtable midway. They
created mailboxes containing all the handout information
for attendees that model how to set up roundtables in
their home districts. They broke up coverage of the four
roundtables, drafting faculty and Philmont Training Center
staff to help deliver Boy Scout, Cub Scout, and Venturing
roundtables and a Varsity huddle. The students recruited
Scouts and Venturers to conduct the opening ceremony.
Materials were gathered from the National Park Service
about Living History programs and the Junior Ranger
program, and this became the Big Rock topic for the event.
Class members invited everyone they met to be part of
history—the first Model Roundtable offered at Philmont.
In addition, as part of the overall Commissioners
Week, the Effective Roundtables class generated data on
sample units regarding roundtable attendance for entry
in Commissioner Tools. That sample data was then acted
on by students in the other commissioner classes.
While participants passed out numerous wooden
nickels to PTC staff and students as a reminder of the
time and location, there was no firm idea about who
would actually attend on Thursday night. Like so many
events in our normal lives, meetings often conflict with
other events. That was also the case at PTC, with three
other events on the schedule demanding attention.
Thursday evening more than 80 people chose to attend
and find out what the model roundtable was all about.
They included not only PTC conference attendees but also
some folks from the Great Southwest Council who drove in
for the program and some Philmont staff members.
The evaluations that were filled out were overwhelmingly
positive! Participants were thrilled to see that you can
run a roundtable that isn’t a 90-minute infomercial of
announcements. People were impressed not only with the
information provided by the National Park Service but also
with the demonstration of how the Big Rock topic actually
works. Attendees loved having the opportunity to see how
the different program groups split up and covered their
program-specific material and were eager to take back
what they saw to their home districts and councils.
If your district or council is having problems getting
people to attend roundtables, you may want to encourage
your roundtable commissioners to attend the Effective
Roundtables course at Philmont Training Center during
Week 2: June 12–18, 2016. Registration is open now at
www.philmonttrainingcenter.org. For more information
about Philmont opportunities, please look for materials at
your local council service center.