Scouting, Volume 67, Number 5, October 1979 Page: 62
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Roundtables (from page 36)
Just the right mixture
of humor, program
planning, and fellowship
makes this roundtable
the best show in town.
else could you expect from a man who pub-
lished a book of cannibal jokes and titled
it 101 Best Ways to Serve Your Fellowman?
A1 Holler may also be the only round-
table commissioner who gives new Scout-
masters a "touchstone," a plastic disk with
sayings like "Practice the patrol method"
and "The Scoutmaster is responsible for
leadership development." He tells them,
"Keep it in your pocket and rub it for luck
when you've got a problem in Scouting."
The district has its own song, too. It's set
to the tune of "The Happy Wanderer" and
each verse ends (naturally) "... Great St.
But cannibal jokes, touchstones, and
district songs do not a good roundtable
make. To see what does, let's look in on
typical Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders'
roundtables in the St. Anthony District.
It's an evening in early April, officially
springtime, but Minnesota hasn't gotten
the news yet. The temperature is in the low
teens, and winds gusting to 40 miles an
hour slap a wayfarer's cheeks. Neverthe-
less, 50 pack leaders and 38 Scouters brave
winter's last gasp to come to the Wilshire
Park Elementary School.
In the school's large music room, Carol
Kwiecien and her eight assistant roundta-
ble commissioners have been busy for an
hour setting up their displays and mate-
rials. Tonight's program will focus on
Mother's Day gift ideas and the Cub Scout
theme for May, "Lights in the Sky."
Down the hall, in the teacher's lounge,
A1 Holler and his assistant commissioner,
Clarence Sjodin, are arranging chairs in a
circle and setting up equipment for prac-
tice problems they'll give the troop
leaders. They also prepare a filmstrip
projector to show "The Patrol Method."
("We don't often use filmstrips," A1 says,
"but this is a new one.")
The first pack and troop leaders begin
to drift into the school at 7:15, 15 minutes
before the official starting time. Carol and
A1 are ready.
The Cub Scouters are registered and
immediately plunge into program ideas
for May. Some learn how to string fine
copper wire around nails to make star
patterns. Others make flying saucers out
of paper plates and clear plastic drinking
glasses. Simple crafts with a simple pur-
pose: learning things that Cub Scout-age
boys can do. "Our motto is: Think like a
boy," says Carol Kwiecien.
Promptly at 7:30, the Cub Scouters split
into three groups—Cub Scout den leaders,
Webelos den leaders, and Cubmasters and
pack committee members. Carol and six of
her assistants put the Cub Scout den
leaders to work on the night's major
craft—a kitchen trivet made by cementing
small tiles into a wood base with grout. It's
something boys can make for Mother's
Meanwhile, Carol's two male assistants,
her husband John and district Cub train-
ing chairman Ray Foley, have taken the
Webelos den leaders and Cubmasters and
committee members to other rooms.
The Webelos activity badge for May is
Naturalist, so John Kwiecien shows the
Webelos den leaders how to make a
butterfly net costing 15 cents from nylon
netting, coat-hanger wire, bias tape, and
thread. John also demonstrates a simple
insect zoo made by cutting an opening in
the side of a potato chip container and
inserting a roll of fine screening.
As the Webelos den leaders work on
these projects in an atmosphere of cama-
raderie, they hear about camporee plans
and discuss the handling of problem boys.
In another classroom, Ray Foley stands
before a blackboard, listing possible sum-
mer pack activities for Cubmasters and
committee members. But the discussion
ranges widely, veering from summer into
subjects like recruiting and holding boys.
The divided sessions last an hour, and at
8:30, the whole group reassembles in the
music room for a regular Cub Scout
roundtable feature, a mock pack meeting.
Everybody has a part.
The Webelos den leaders give the
opening ceremony, and the pack leaders
do the closing. In between, "dens" of Cub
Scout den leaders, guided by Carol's as-
sistants, perform a song, an audience
participation stunt, and a skit appropriate
for the Lights in the Sky theme. (The skit
was called "Mission Control to Astro-
nauts." The astronauts have been in space
for several days and they ask Mission
Control, "Any orders today?" Mission
Control replies, "Yes, today you change
underwear. Bean, you change with Smith.
Brown, you change with Jones." Corny,
but Cub Scouts love it. On the evidence of
the laughter the skit provoked, so do Cub
There were brief announcements by
District Commissioner Oris Rost, Chair-
man Walt Johnson, and District Executive
Mark Applen, all of whom also appeared
at the Boy Scout leaders' roundtable. Said
A1 Holler, "I want to have them at all our
roundtables, not so much to make an-
nouncements but so the Scoutmasters can
see them and get to know them. Then if
they have some problem for the district
leadership, they know the people to talk
At frequent intervals during the mock
pack meeting, Ray Foley or John
Kwiecien led an applause stunt. In that
fashion, new Cub Scouters learned eight
tricks to enliven any pack or den meeting.
In the great St. Anthony District, even the
entr'actes are a learning experience.
Carol and John Kwiecien don't believe
in letting Cub Scouters go home empty-
handed. Each leader left with 13 mimeo-
graphed pages of ideas for crafts, cer-
emonies, and the script for the audience
participation stunt performed at the mock
pack meeting, plus all the tiles they wanted
for trivets, copper wire for star patterns,
several packages of mixed flower and
vegetable seeds for Cub Scout garden
starters, and memories of a laugh-filled
and productive roundtable. All for free.
They were also offered pre-cut wood
bases for trivets for 15 cents each, the cost
of the wood, courtesy of John Kwiecien,
an indefatigable woodworker. John turns
out dozens of colorful Webelos graduation
plaques for the district's packs, necker-
chief slides, toy cannons, and whatever
else a Cub Scouter's heart desires. Like his
wife, he's one of the district's best natural
Between them, Carol and John
Kwiecien contribute much time, and not a
little money, to Cub Scouting. They're
inveterate bargain-hunters and
scroungers, too. "We bought the wire for
the stars years ago when copper was
cheap," Carol said, (continued on page 64)
Here’s what’s next.
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Boy Scouts of America. Scouting, Volume 67, Number 5, October 1979, periodical, October 1979; New Brunswick, New Jersey. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth353681/m1/62/: accessed April 24, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Boy Scouts of America National Scouting Museum.