Brampton Gavel Club Celebrates its Fifth Anniversary

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On Saturday, December 2 the Brampton Gavel Club (Club No. 2888888) celebrated its fifth anniversary as an affiliate of Toastmasters International. The celebration was attended by approximately fifty club members (Gaveliers), parents, and a few special guests. A fun time was had everyone in attendance!

The meeting was filled with many festivities. For example, Brampton City Councillor for Wards 2 & 6, Doug Whillans and several members of the Fletcher’s Meadow Community Group were on hand to send their sincere congratulations for this remarkable accomplishment. Malcolm Jones, the founder of the Brampton Gavel Club, helped give an oral history of the club’s early beginnings and tremendous growth. The Gaveliers were later treated to a wonderful keynote speech by Neil Dunsmore who spoke to them about his three sons and encouraged everyone to live a life worth talking about. Following a fantastic potluck, the several Gavelier’s shared their hidden talents, which included: card magic, drawing / painting, and music (playing the drums and recorder, as well as caroling).

The Brampton Gavel Club was established on Saturday, September 8, 2012 and officially became an affiliate of Toastmaster International on November 30, 2012. As previously noted, it was founded by Malcolm Jones with the support of Brampton Speakeasy Toastmasters Club. Since its humble beginnings, the Gavel Club has provided youth – ages ten to seventeen – a safe and supportive environment to enhance their communication and leadership skills through the use of Toastmasters education material. In fact, the only significant difference between a Toastmasters club and the Brampton Gavel Club is the age of its members.

Today, the Brampton Gavel Club has become an integral part of the Fletcher’s Meadow community in Brampton. Indeed, I had the honour of receiving the Fletcher’s Meadow Community Group’s 2017 Community Spirit Award for my four plus years of service as a Counsellor of the Gavel Club. It has been an absolute blessing to have the opportunity to help youth develop and enhance their communication and leadership skills. Some parents cannot believe the difference the Gavel Club has made within the lives of their children. These Gaveliers are truly amazing and could certainly give many adult Toastmasters a run for their money in speech contests if they were allowed to compete.

The Brampton Gavel Club – which meets every Saturday morning from 10:15am to 12:15pm at Fortinos Supermarket (35 Worthington Ave., Brampton) – currently has thirty-eight active members who are always eager to complete speeches, as well as learn from special guest speakers. That being said, if you have a story or lesson you want to share please feel free to reach out to me via email (see below). Even better, if you want to have a more significant impact on youth than just doing a speech, lesson, or YLP, consider starting your own Gavel Club. There is currently a dire need for a third Gavel Club in Brampton, which is evident by the fact that there are over SIXTY young people waiting to join the Brampton Gavel Club (yes, that is not a typo)! Youth deserve the gift of Toastmasters, too! If you would like more information about Gavel Clubs please feel free to read Muktha Tumkur’s, ACG, ALB, blog post “What on Earth is a Gavel Club?” or visit https://www.toastmasters.org/membership/how-to-start-a-new-club/gavel-clubs.

Ryan Belluz, OCT, ACB, ALB
Counsellor
Brampton Gavel Club
bramptongavelclub@outlook.com
http://www.bramptongavelclub.com/

Beyond Going Beyond Geographical Boundaries

I don’t know how many Toastmasters would do the amount of commuting Michael McAra, DTM does from Toronto to his club in Mississauga. I’d guess more than a few, especially for the Toastmasters living outside major cities.

Another question is how far would you go?

Meena Gurung, a Toastmaster since November 1, 2017, lives in Chapleau. Meena first learned about Toastmasters in her native Nepal while working in the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Program. The long distance made it too far to travel to Kathmandu. Meena returned to university for graduate studies in forestry. Fortunately, she had highly marketable skills needed in Canada and moved to Canada in 2005 with her husband and two daughters. She found employment in Hornepayne in 2008.

Recently Meena was hired by the Ministry of Natural Resources in Chapleau, about three and a half hours south of Hornepayne and only a little over a two-hour drive to the nearest Toastmaster Club in Timmins.

Porcupine Toastmasters now has a new member, who made the 200 km trip from Chapleau to deliver her Ice Breaker speech. Meena told the members of Porcupine Toastmasters, the story of her journey to find a club. Meena grew up on a subsistence farm in Nepal. Most girls of her generation did not have the opportunity to attend school yet Meena was able to complete university, emigrate to Canada and begin a new path of learning as a Toastmaster. Where will Pathways take her?

Colleen Charland, DTM

Going Beyond Geographical Boundaries

Something interesting to note about Michael McAra, DTM…. Michael lives in downtown Toronto (District 60), but his Toastmaster home club is Lambs to Lions (District 86), a Club that he is a founding member of. He does not work in Mississauga either. He simply loves the Club and is very committed to it’s success. He commutes between his home and the Club meetings. He notes, “I have an express GO bus that gets me to the Mississauga Central Library, one hour door to door so it’s an easy commute, and as a Charter member, I am proud of my home club in Mississauga.” How many Toastmasters would do this amount of commuting for a Club?

He has also been very involved in providing support to Division leaders in District 86 by helping with our contests. Michael served as Chief Judge at the Area 82 and Division D contests. He recently delivered an Art of Effective Evaluations workshop within Division D. He is very open and willing to share his knowledge and support so that we delivered exceptional events. Kyla Werret, Division D Director notes, “He has always gone out of his way to help on many occasions. Mike always sets an exemplary leadership example. He has a lot to offer and offers his knowledge, time, and dedication to Toastmasters freely”.

In the past, Michael has been a member of two District 60 clubs and he still visits them from time to time. Aside from everything else on his plate, he is also supporting a club looking to charter in District 60. He retired early from the Bay Street “rat race”, but keeps himself busy taking a US Constitutional Law course. This may explain why he loves and excels at being a Chief Judge at Toastmasters contests! When he lives in Toronto and comes to Mississauga so regularly for his Toastmasters, he is truly a member who goes above and “beyond, geographical boundaries”.

Muktha Tumkur, ACG, ALB

The Simple Finesse of Very Effective Evaluations!

Mississauga Sales and Marketing TM

Muktha Tumkur, ACG, ALB delivered a workshop on the Art of Effective Evaluations on December 1. There was a terrific turnout of 25 Toastmasters all eager to elevate their speech evaluation skills many levels up. Many thanks have to be given to Mississauga Sales and Marketing Toastmasters Club # 4353901, for providing the venue at no charge.

Although this workshop is part of a series of prepared presentations, Muktha added life and depth to the material by adding her perspective, making it interesting. From the beginning she made it very clear that this workshop is for speakers and evaluators and how we as individuals as speakers have a lot of power to control the quality of our clubs.

Two test speakers were in attendance to deliver speeches from which the workshop activities were based. The evening included a lot of “hands on” exercises where we had the ability to complete evaluations in real time. There were “ah-ha” moments for many of us when we completed the survey on how effectively our own clubs handle evaluations.

The workshop stressed that the relationship between the speaker and the evaluator begins days before the speech is delivered, not just minutes before. When the speaker contacts their evaluator in advance, the speaker can identify if their evaluator is even attending the meeting. This gives time for course correction and improves the quality of the meetings.

The role of the evaluating the evaluators was also stressed and how this individual is key to further elevate any speech evaluations, but most importantly, to draw attention for needed improvement on any of the evaluations. At the end, Muktha challenged us as speakers and evaluators to use the tools from the evening’s workshop to help elevate the quality of our speech evaluations. We need to ensure that each speaker is left uplifted! After all, if we don’t leave speakers eager to present again, we have not done our jobs.

George How Pak Hing, P.Eng., ACS, ALS

A Canadian Christmas Miracle!

The Miracle Chinese English Toastmasters Club is already a leader since it is the first Chinese English Bilingual Toastmasters Club in Canada! Bilingual clubs are not new to Toastmasters. There are several other bilingual clubs in Canada and the US such as French and Spanish clubs. Tracy Zhang, ACG, ALB, is the innovative founding member of the Miracle Chinese English Toastmasters Club who had the foresight to see that there was a large demand for a Chinese English bilingual Club. The analytical and detail oriented Zhang works at SNC Lavalin Nuclear as a Senior Safety Analyst. Zhang noted, “It is a privilege to be able to express yourself and listen to others. This will make it much more effective to find the common ground and cooperate at work or at home. Seven years Toastmaster training has helped me tremendously in the area of communication and leadership. The new Miracle Chinese English Toastmaster club will help more people in the Chinese community have the opportunity to access the privilege.”
Zhang has been wonderfully supported with another club sponsor, Bin Ren,her club mentors, Xiaopin Jin and Tiffany Chen and her own mentor, Mark Hayes, DTM.
I had the benefit of being able to attend the first launch meeting for Miracle Chinese English Toastmasters Club a few weeks ago. I was so happy to have been there to see the amount of energy that the prospective members brought to the meeting. I was really pleased to see how these prospective new members were very eager to speak and delivered powerful speeches and Table Topics in both Chinese and English. Their eagerness to speak was as though there were years of pent up speeches inside all of these budding Toastmasters. I also noticed a lot of smiles and laughing throughout the night because everyone was having a good time in the supportive and comfortable environment. It made me think that there may be a lot of opportunities to form more bilingual clubs to meet demand. Bilingual clubs are another option for those people who have English as their second language or people who have English as first language to practice public speaking in the second language such as Chinese. If you too can foresee a need for a bilingual club we would be happy to share more information with you about the Miracle experience.
In the meantime, the Miracle Chinese English Toastmasters Club is almost at 20 members and the Miracle continues to grow. With the pending December holidays, we anticipate that the Club will charter in January, in time for the Chinese New Year, which begins February 16. This will mean that the Club will be born under the sign of the Rooster. The Chinese Zodiac notes that the Roosters “…are very observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented. Roosters are very confident in themselves." Sounds like the quintessential Toastmasters to me! If you would like to be a part of incredible Canadian Toastmasters history, please join us and contact George How Pak Hing, Vice President, Membership at ghow08@gmail.com for more information.
Muktha Tumkur, ACS, ALB

What on Earth is a Gavel Club?

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GavelClubs

If you have ever heard about Toastmasters clubs, you probably know they are clubs in which adults have the opportunity to grow their confidence by developing public speaking and leadership skills in a friendly and supportive environment. I have been a Toastmaster for almost ten years, and although I had heard the term, “Gavel club”, I had no idea until a few weeks ago what on earth they are.

Gavel clubs are a way of providing the Toastmasters experience to groups who may be ineligible for regular membership due to age, inability to pay dues or other circumstances. Following similar Toastmasters club meeting protocols, Gavel clubs use club officer titles and education manuals. However, Gavel clubs are only considered an affiliate of Toastmasters International and their members are referred to as “Gaveliers”. Imagine that! Toastmasters Clubs for youth! Gavel clubs truly are the hidden gem of Toastmasters International….

To form a Gavel club, a group must not be eligible to charter as a regular Toastmasters club or must include members who are under 18. Since youths are typically involved in Gavel clubs, Toastmasters International does not promote the names of Gavel clubs to protect the safety of children.

There are only five Youth Gavel Clubs in the GTA and they are run by volunteers from the adult Toastmasters clubs. These clubs bring so much value and benefits to their members who learn valuable communication and leadership skills that they can take with them to become leaders within school and local community today and become the global leaders tomorrow. These clubs offer so much value that there is a waiting list almost as long as each gavel club membership list for new kids to enroll.

Running a Gavel club requires a lot of commitment since the clubs typically hold weekly meetings, but it is a very fulfilling experience. They provide regular Toastmasters members and clubs with an excellent opportunity for community service. It is also a great way to put the leadership skills you learned through Toastmasters to good use. Moreover, mentoring a Gavel club can also be used towards fulfilling your High Performance Leadership project.

Amparo Cifuentes (Junior Masters Gavel Club), Annie Bai (Mississauga Gavel Club), and Ryan Belluz (Brampton Gavel Club) are Toastmasters District 86 members who have been involved for a number of years as the main adult coordinators of their respective Youth Gavel Clubs. In addition, they have been organizing Inter-Youth Gavel Club speech contests together since the spring of 2016. They intend to continue supporting their own clubs and these contests because they believe the earlier our youth gets the chance to grow their confidence, leadership and communication skills, the greater the positive impact they and their communities will experience. These contests give the Gaveliers a greater chance to further develop those skills through healthy competition. It is indeed a labour of love and dedication that many youth in the GTA can benefit from. However, more awareness and interest needs to be created among Toastmasters club members, to organize additional Youth Gavel Clubs.

The costs to set up a gavel club are much lower than the costs to set up a regular Toastmasters club. Many Toastmasters already know about the benefits of the Toastmaster Youth Leadership Program (YLP). However, the YLP is only eight weeks long. A Gavel club, much like a Toastmasters club, does not have an “ending” period. It is the answer to that age-old question that many youth and parents and ask after a YLP, “What’s next? Is there anything offered by Toastmasters?” The invaluable benefits for youth to develop their communication, leadership, and confidence are paramount. There are no other skills that will positively affect a child throughout their lives such as these. Imagine how beneficial such a club could be in your community schools or places of worship. This is a tremendous opportunity to help develop many successful leaders in our communities. If you would like more information about starting new gavel clubs, please visit https://www.toastmasters.org/membership/how-to-start-a-new-club/gavel-clubs.

Muktha Tumkur, ACG, ALB with contributions from:

Amparo Cifuentes, DTM

Annie Bai, ACG, ALB

Ryan Belluz, ACB, ALB

Congratulations Distinguished Toastmasters and Contest Winners

Congratulations on all those who achieved their Distinguished Toastmaster Award from the 2017 Spring Conference to the 2017 Fall Conference. There were 30 people who earned their medal during this time. The medals were presented at the Friday DTM Dinner & Director Banquet. Each recipient then celebrated their achievement with the High 5 line.

Alvita L. Bennett                                       Mallika Sothinathan
Anthony Delvecchio                                 Mark Hayes
Cheryl D. Bates                                       Muzaffar H. Matloob
Chris Brown                                             Hulda Mullings
Chris Burns                                              Nikita Pchelin
Clifford Robert Graham                           Orest Nahacziwec
David Bruce Bray                                     Richard H. Lewis
David R. Weber                                        Robert G. Moore
Doris Tuckett                                            Steven Karnis
Glen Oxford                                             Tammy M. J. Hunt
Joanne Houston                                      Theresa D. Kennedy
Keith Rabey                                             Tracey L. Harding
Lena Shaw                                              William A. Brodie
Linda P. Rossi                                          Zack Dawood
Lisa Hennessy

awards

Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contest Winner Announcement

Saturday November 11 was a day full of fantastic speech competitions. In the morning we had the Table Topic Contest chaired by Sean Browne (2016 District Table Topics Winner) and in the afternoon we had the Humorous Speech Contest chaired by Patricia Williams (2016 District Humorous Speech Winner). The competition was fierce and every competitor did an amazing job. The auditorium was filled to capacity for each contest and the energy in the room was infectious.

A big thank you goes to the Contestant Chair Carl Naus and the Judges Chair Al Steele for coordinating the contestants and the volunteers. A big thank you also goes to all the ballot counters, timers, judges, and SAAs who helped.

The winners of the Contests were:

Table Topics:
1st: Tammy Hunt, Division T
2nd: Sherrie Sweeney Division W
3rd: Joe Vanderkooi, Division L

Humourous Speech:
1st: Jonathan Siegel, Division C
2nd: Hassan Wadi, Division D
3rd: Mario Keriakedes, Division A

Contestsbig

Fall is a Time for Change

The last Fall Conference for District 86 went out with a bang! The Kingbridge Conference Centre in King City was an idyllic venue because it was somewhat 'remote' but close enough to be a reasonably short drive. I have been to this venue for other professional conferences and have formed a lot of fond memories here. Built as a spa in 1989, the buildings have many quiet nooks where I could tuck myself away with a good book or just enjoy the beautiful view outside. The food throughout the weekend was delicious!

events

I enjoyed the two day layout for the Conference because the Friday evening was 'downtime' for all Toastmasters to rekindle friendships and networking. November 10th was sold out with all of the great events that were planned. The TM Talks was a new event and very engaging and we learned about self-development, the impact of our appearance on first impressions and Pathways. The Parade of Banners kicked off the Opening Ceremonies and it was wonderful to see that we have four new Clubs, namely, Algoma Steel Makers, The Blue Mountains, City of Burlington and Toronto PCL. The DTM Recognition Dinner had 30 new Distinguished Toastmasters getting 'high-fived' by current DTMs. The 'Of the Year Awards' was uplifting to see the people and Clubs be recognized for being committed to the Toastmasters Vision. I had the pleasure of meeting George How Pak Hing earlier this year and was proud and happy to see him receive 'Area Director of the Year'. He has helped countless clubs with one thing or another so this award was well deserved!

The awards ceremonies closed off with the masquerade ball and the DJ had Toastmasters dancing until close to 1:00 am!

leadership

Day Two offered more highlights with the day starting off with a Plenary Humorous Workshop presented by NRG (Neil Dunsmore, Roger Caesar and Gregory C N Smith). All three presenters gave us great tips on how to continue uplifting our audiences, but interjected so much laughter. We learned great pointers such as helping your audience feel your story, caring about your audience, personalization, practicing and how being in the moment through your day will help you see that you have many great speech topics right under your nose. Forrest Willett delivered an impactful keynote address and I don’t think that there was one dry eye in the audience… Forrest’s message showed us “how to get from where we are to where we want to be”, showing gratitude, success principles and that in order to get what we want, we need to give it away. Forrest also mentioned how our lives can be very different if we help ourselves, our family and strangers everyday. Fall is a time for change, we have so many opportunities through Toastmasters to improve our communication and leadership skills, embrace it!

Muktha Tumkur, ACS, ALB

Toastmasters International Values:  Respect • Integrity • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:  Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team 

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