Virtual roundtables: What they are; who they’re for; how they can help

Scouting roundtables — those monthly discussions hosted at the district or council level by volunteer roundtable commissioners — have been invaluable tools for BSA leaders for decades. Their purpose is to provide both the skills to run a successful BSA unit, and also the will to keep up the morale, enthusiasm, inspiration and vision to serve youth.

During the height of COVID-19 pandemic, when it became much more difficult for people to meet in person, the BSA introduced virtual roundtables — same idea, just conducted via internet video conferencing.

Then, a funny thing happened: People liked them, and kept using them, even as most areas returned to in-person local roundtables.

“We discovered that virtual roundtables became a very excellent tool for communication and getting people excited about Scouting,” says Angelique Minett, the communications chair of the national Scouts BSA program committee. “The idea is to start conversations about some timely topics.”

Minett recently sat down for a discussion of the BSA’s virtual roundtable program on #TrekOnTuesday, the live Facebook video that airs every Tuesday at 3 p.m. Central on multiple official BSA Facebook pages.

You can watch our entire conversation here, or keep reading for the highlights.

What kind of topics do virtual roundtables cover?

It’s important to note that the BSA’s virtual roundtables are designed to enhance — not replace — your local in-person roundtable discussions. No one generally has a better bead on Scouting in your area than your local council and district commissioners.

As Minett notes, the virtual roundtables are designed to serve as conversation starters. They vary in length from around 3-12 minutes. Many roundtable commissioners have started showing them at their local events.

“It’s a good way to get more education on timely topics,” Minett says.

Cub Scout-related topics include getting parents involved, summertime activities, leader’s resources, and working with small dens and packs.

Scouts BSA-related topics include developing high-performance youth leaders, the importance of advancement, impact of the patrol method, and outdoor ethics.

“We work hard to listen to what people are needing,” Minett says. “We listen very carefully to what topics you guys are looking for, and we use these roundtables to educate people based on the feedback we hear.”

Virtual roundtables are designed to complement the monthly in-person roundtables you already attend. Photo by Michael Roytek

Who are virtual roundtables for?

Virtual roundtables were originally designed to enhance the connection between roundtable commissioners and unit leaders. They are open to the public and intended to be accessible to everyone.

If you’re a Cub Scout parent who’s been asked to be a den leader, there’s a roundtable for you. (Actually, more than one.)

If you’re a Scouts BSA parent who’d like to be active in outdoor activities with your child’s troop, be sure and check out “adventure ready Scouter,” in which Minett shares a story about summer camp that many parents will be able to relate to.

“These are designed to help us communicate and connect with other people, and to get people excited about all the things Scouting has to offer,” Minett says. “It’s meant for parents, Scout leaders … it’s meant for everybody.”

Where can I watch #TrekOnTuesdays?

You can catch #TrekOnTuesdays at the following Facebook pages:

For special livestreams, you may also see us go live on these channels:

About Aaron Derr 148 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.