Adopt, Adapt, Improve.
Motto of the Round Table.

Founded in 1927 in Norwich, England by Louis Marchesi, a member of the Rotary Club, who felt a need for businessmen to meet, exchange ideas and find ways to improve the community through charitable acts. Round Table is non-religious, non-political, and is open to all men between the ages of 18 and 40 (45 in the United Kingdom and Ireland). The name is derived from a speech by the Prince of Wales to the British Trade Industry, and not from Arthurian legend. The words of the speech were:

'The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, adopt methods that have proved so sound in the past, adapt them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible, improve them'.

The aims and objects of Round Table are:

  1. To develop the acquaintance of young men through the medium of their various occupations.
  2. To emphasise the fact that one's calling offers an excellent medium of service to the community.
  3. To cultivate the highest ideals, in business, professional and civic traditions.
  4. To recognise the worthiness of all legitimate occupations, and to dignify each his own, by precept and example.
  5. To further the establishment of peace and goodwill in international relationships.
  6. To further these objects by meetings, lectures, discussions and other activities.
The design of the Round Table emblem is adapted from a table hanging in the Great Hall in Winchester. That table is a representation of King Arthur's round table, and was made in the 13th century.

Round Table is not a secret society, nor is does it have any ties with Masons or Rotary International. The focus in Round Table is to raise money for charity, meet new people, and above all, have fun.

The astonishing success of the Round Table Club can be attributed to its ability to bring together businessmen from different sectors together in a casual environment, its charitable acts, where specific charities are chosen and money is raised for them through various activities, and the sense of camaraderie and friendship that it inspires. There are over a thousand Tables in the UK alone, and many, many more worldwide.

Although the format of meetings differs from Table to Table, there are usually two meetings a month, one business meeting and one fellowship meeting. Meetings usually occur in the evening, and include a meal. Business meetings usually revolve around upcoming events, sponsorships and projects that the Table has undertaken and minor matters like clubhouse upkeep. They also allow for lectures, forums, and other forms of entertainment. Fellowship meetings give newcomers a chance to meet and speak with the Table members and community. A Table often has its own bar, and one member is nominated to run it for a year.

Once a member reaches the age of 41, they are no longer considered a member, but are still welcome to attend meetings, and offer advice and assistance with various activities. A member who has passed the age of 41 is known as a 41er. Some areas have a seperate 41er club, which usually works in conjuction with the Table. Because of this age limit, Tables are given an extra incentive to reach out and encourage new members, lest too many old members leave and the Table is forced to close.

Although the Round Table club is only open to men, the high number of married men means that women are often included in various functions, and many Tables throw a special dinner for these women once a year. Women also have their own club, called Ladies Circle, open to all women between 18 and 45, which operates on similar principles to the Round Table Club. Women over the age 45 have a club similar to the 41er club, called Tangent.

Round Table also sponsors trips to other Tables around the world, although these are usually only for members, and operates on a different principle to Rotary.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round_Table_Club
http://www.ert123.com/
http://www.area23.org.uk
My own experience with Hilton 242, ARTSA

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