Youth Leadership

District 91 Affiliates Its First Toastmasters Gavel Club

From Andrew P Bennett DTM, District 91 Youth Leadership Adviser

Fellow Toastmasters let’s celebrate!

Toastmaster Raphael Kopel a member of Watford Speakers (and Past President of Experience French & St Paul’s Speakers) has produced a video to commemorate the affiliation of our very first Toastmasters Gavel Club in District 91. The club is at Merchant Taylors Prep School where he teaches. Enjoy watching the pupils aged 10 to 13 years old getting the most out of our Toastmasters program. Congratulations Raphael and your pupils for this achievement.

Please note this Gavel is an ‘in school’ club and not an ‘open’ membership one. If you would like to see Youth Leadership Program and possibly Gavel Club at your son or daughter’s school why not begin by discussing with your Club President and committee to see if it can be included as a club project, prior to contacting the school.

This is an important moment for us in District 91 Youth Leadership because it means that following on from Youth Leadership Program the school has been the first to take the step into a closer relationship with Toastmasters International. Membership of a Gavel Club is open to those who are too young for full TI membership ( i.e. under 18 years old) but also when founding a club for specific groups, for example projects with people who are unemployed/ unwaged.  The clubs are popular in High Schools in the USA.

More details of Gavel Clubs and forms can be found on Toastmasters International website. At District 91 we suggest that your club organizes a Youth Leadership Program initially as this helps to train up a team of good role models among the young people for your Gavel club officerships.

2015 / 2016 has been a very rich year for our youth work and we were able to share the fruits of our young people’s efforts with some very fine speaking at the YLP Speaking Showcase last week at conference. My thanks to all and do contact me if your club would like to be involved in YLP.

Youth Leadership Programme at Malvern College

The Hills Are Alive with the sound of a Youth Leadership Programme at Malvern College

Malvern Speakers YLPThe first ever Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) at Malvern College culminated in a Speech Extravaganza evening held at the mythically named Gryphon Room.  Under the watchful eye of Headmaster Mr Antony Clarke, parents and special guest Mr Phillip Serrell (of BBC’s Bargain Hunt, Flog It); sixteen students from all over the world successfully delivered their final speeches to complete the course, which had run over several weeks since the beginning of the year.

The entire evening was organised by the students.   Three of whom skilfully and professionally acted as “Toastmaster” for each segment of the speeches, while others acted as timekeepers in true Toastmasters tradition!  The students gave speeches on subjects as varied as “The delights of living in an extended family of twenty relatives”; “The notorious worst-ever Nobel Prize”; “Discovering the joy of  Coasteering”; and the story behind the painting “The Raft of The Medusa”.

The project was a joint venture between Malvern College (Dr Martin Harris) and Malvern Speakers.  It was led by Steve Birch who was supported by fellow Toastmasters (all from Malvern Speakers).  The students homelands ranged from Nepal to the USA.  The effectiveness of the programme was underlined by the fact that for most of the students English was their second or even third language.

Congratulations to Malvern Speakers for their article about the YLP that was published in the Malvern Gazette!Malvern Speakers YLP Article


The Toasted Sandwich completes Youth Leadership Program (YLP)

The Toasted Sandwich completes a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program (YLP) …

A good Apprenticeship provides the employee with both the training and hands-on experience that are required to succeed in their future career.  When managers at an International Pharmaceutical company in South East Kent, UK were looking at ways to educate their apprentices in the art of good communication, they reached out to their local Toastmasters Club for help. 

Toasted Sandwich YLP 1, 16Rebecca Jackson, VP Education for The Toasted Sandwich Toastmaster’s Club, looked across the range of materials available and decided to devise an eight week program for the apprentices which was based on the Youth Leadership Program (YLP).  In preparing the course, one of the main challenges Rebecca had to overcome was one of scheduling: 

“The YLP materials are great, but it quickly became apparent that I needed to adapt the timings if I was going to give each apprentice the chance to give two presentations, make time for Table Topics and include an educational piece every week.  The global Toastmaster community was a fabulous extended resource.  In particular, I should give kudos to Fred Jones and members of his team in District 21 for inspiration.” 

Once the agendas were mapped out, 8 x ninety minute sessions were booked, with a ninth session pencilled in for the ‘showcase event’.

Rebecca explained further:

“Every participant was asked to present two short speeches during the course of the program.  Whilst the speaker got to select their own topic, we did ask that one speech be about themselves, or about something that they feel strongly about.   The other speech needed to be work-based.   Each week, the bar was raised in terms of what the speakers needed to achieve.   The first speakers had to overcome the biggest nerves, but the bar was fairly low – just make sure that the presentation had a beginning, a middle and an end, and lasted for between 4 – 5 minutes.   The next cohort were asked to give their speech a purpose, or ‘take home’ message.   After that, speakers were asked in turn to introduce visual aids, body language and to vary their voice and language to further bring their presentations to life”.  

The main adaptation for this particular audience was to include a session on giving technical presentations.

As if standing up in front of each other to present wasn’t enough, the apprentices also took turns to give each other feedback.  The final element of the course was to practice ‘impromptu speaking’ in the form of Table Topics.

Toasted Sandwich YLP 2, 16On 27th January 2016, the apprentices invited their supervisors to a ‘showcase event’ where they could demonstrate their new-found skills and confidence.   The lively program of entertainment included a ‘Would I lie to you’ style round of ‘This is my…’ where apprentices Josh Bucceri, Aidan Harper and Tony Reynolds each claimed, in turn, to know a distinguished looking gentleman (he turned out to be Josh’s dad!).   Arguing for a place in the lifeboat, Charlotte Carr, Adam Gymer, George Cossons, Sam Young, Rebecca Johnson and Ben Cooper each presented a compelling case as to why their character should be saved from a sinking ship.   An audience vote determined who survived.  Riley Glendinning and Amy Mercer led the fun.

In closing the event, Club President Jeremy Swallow presented the apprentices with a certificate of completion and thanked The Toasted Sandwich team for an outstanding piece of work.

The Toasted Sandwich Toastmasters Club

The Toasted Sandwich Toastmasters Club meets every Wednesday lunchtime from 12 noon – 1pm in Discovery Park House, Sandwich, Kent.   The Club is open to all, including employees of any company at Discovery Park and members of the public.   For further information please contact: Bev Nicol or Arnaud Sartre (VP Public Relations) or go to the Club’s Facebook page at

A testament to the value of the Youth Leadership Program

From  Andrew P Bennett DTM District 91 Youth Leadership Adviser, 2014/15 District 91 Toastmaster of the Year

Youth Leadership - Toastmasters InternationalFellow Toastmasters I can remember taking on my first club Presidency and wanting to contribute something of lasting value that other members could then mold and build upon as time progressed. I think we all, be it as club member or officer, are working towards both our personal growth goals and the continued long term development of our clubs, areas,divisions , districts, taking the communication and leadership skills we gain at Toastmasters International out into our daily lives. communities, the world ……….we can and do make a difference!

One aspect of our Toastmasters Program that is definitely making a difference, especially in District 91, is our commitment to the Youth Leadership Program which is inspiring young people in schools and colleges. That is why I am encouraging you today to choose your favourite tea or coffee and sit down for five minutes to read a remarkable post from Paul Olaiya who gave a speech during ballot counting at Tower Conference in May 2015.

It is time for us to feel both humbled and very proud that through the commitment of our District 91 Toastmasters giving their time and skills as YLP Coordinators we are making a difference to young people’s lives. They are delighted to learn and taking their new found skills with them through continuing education and ……out into the world!

Enjoy reading of Paul’s experience ………

Youth Leadership – one coordinator’s experience

The Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program (YLP) is a workshop consisting of eight one- to two-hour sessions that enable participants to develop communication and leadership skills through practical experience. The YLP is presented during or after school. 

A local Toastmasters club serves as sponsor and provides a coordinator to present the program. The individual coordinator attends each meeting, where he or she will lead most of the presentations and counsel participants. The school provides a member of staff to support the sessions and to follow up with the young people between sessions.  YLPs have also been run at Youth Centres.

Our most recent YLP in London

Florian Bay was the coordinator for the most recent YLP that has been sponsored by a club in London. We asked him to tell us about the experience and what he had learned.

YLP Hilde and Florian

Q: How did you get involved in Youth Leadership?

A: It began with a phone call from a fellow club President who suggested I’d be a good person for this challenge. I‘d previously been made aware of Youth Leadership by one of my mentors Andrew Bennett (our District 91 Youth Leadership Adviser) but did not take the lead in coordinating a project, until that phone call.

Q: What were the objectives for the school for the YLP?

A: The school’s objectives were linked to the IBCC/Career Ready programme aimed at providing middle-achieving young people with transferable skills that can be used in the workplace.

Q: Toastmasters is about teamwork: who was involved?

A: Canary Wharf Communicators sponsored the YLP and provided the equipment to get it running. Visiting Toastmasters running educational sessions were Catherine Casale, Elizabeth Toohig and David Marks.

The key contact at the school was IBCC/Career Ready coordinator Hilde Lewis. Her help was invaluable in making the programme a success. She helped by highlighting the value of the skills the students could learn from the YLP; supporting each session as well as following up with students in between sessions.

Huge credit must go to the student committee itself. The committee members quickly made use of the tools provided to them, primarily spreadsheets, and liaised with Hilde to ensure that roles were filled.

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District 91 Toastmaster of the Year 2014 – 2015

From Andrew P Bennett DTM
Andrew P Bennett DTMFellow Toastmasters it was with great excitement and pride that I received the news of my District 91 Toastmaster of the Year award. I would like to thank our Immediate Past District Governor Hilary Briggs and the Toastmasters who nominated me for this very special honour which I will treasure.

Division B Director Neil Coleman and President Charles Nahal, Berkeley Square Speakers kindly came from Swindon Conference to bring the award to me in Kent.

I am thrilled that this award reflects highly on my clubs Excalibur Advanced Speakers, Berkeley Square Speakers and also City Limits of which I am mentor.

Youth Leadership Program

Special mention was made of our Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program and I can only express my deepest gratitude and affection for the Toastmasters who have been willing to step in to the classroom and share their speaking skills with an ever growing number of young people. As District Youth Adviser I could only launch this initiative and support our members to the best of my ability, but it was my toastmasters from many clubs in the Districts who delivered the program.

Some of you may be aware that my current health situation means that I am not autonomous of movement and probably will not be able to attend club meetings in person for a while to come. During this time District 91 Club Growth Director Dorothea Stuart and Toastmaster Tony Winyard are kindly offering to actively assist any Toastmasters who are thinking of setting up a youth leadership program and carry on with the established custom of visits to the programs if possible. Our District YLP initiative continues and if you are running a YLP please keep us posted with news that we can share with our Toastmasters.

Celebrating the award!

Andrew P Bennett DTM receives award Nov 2015

An award means a celebration and Toastmasters Simon Frusher, David Salomons , Daniel Broadhead and Richard Gibson took me for a delightful lunch at The White Hart in Eltham. I have been very touched over the last few months by the many visits, cards and messages from our very special Toastmasters community.

Thank you to you all.

Until we meet again I take this occasion to wish you all a very happy holiday season
With Warmest Wishes, Andrew P Bennett

Excalibur Speakers – congratulations to our award winning members!

From Freddie Daniells, President Excalibur Speakers

Excalibur Speakers are pleased to celebrate the achievements of two of its members.

Andrew Bennett Toastmaster of the Year

Andrew Bennett Toastmaster of the YearAt the recent District 91 Conference Hilary Briggs, our immediate past District Governor, announced that the 2014-15 District Toastmaster of the Year was Andrew Bennett. Andrew, over recent years, has been instrumental in helping, directly and indirectly, support dozens of Youth Leadership programmes across both the old D71 (UK and Ireland) and the new D91 (UK South). Many hundreds of young people have benefited from these efforts.

Those who attended the May 2015 District conference will remember the inspiring speeches given by graduates of that programme. In addition, Andrew is a past President of Excalibur Speakers and Berkeley Square Speakers, a successful past Area Governor and supporter of many good things on the Toasties scene. This weekend, our Area 9 Director, Daniel Broadhead, was able to present the award to him.

And a second special award…

Gc awardGeorge Chiesa was also awarded a District Governor Commendation by Hilary for his efforts in starting new clubs over the last couple of years. It is probably fair to say that George was the catalyst for more new clubs in 2014-15 than anyone else in the London area. On top of his recent DTM this award is very well deserved.

Excalibur Speakers helps committed speakers who are working on the Toastmasters advanced manuals to get the quality feedback they need to accelerate their learning.

Youth Leadership update

From Andrew P Bennett DTM District 91 Youth Leadership Adviser

Youth leadership TryolToastmasters Youth Leadership Program in District 91 is looking forward to programs new , programs in progress and programs completing as 2015 begins.

Programs completing include the one coordinated by Beate Rissbacher ( Past President Berkeley Square Speakers) at St Johann Tyrol in Austria (pictured here). This is our International export from Berkeley and London Division B – we never forget we are part of a worldwide community and love to share skills.

Beate says ‘ The young people had great fun and progressed their speaking skills. I personally enjoyed the program very much and watching the improvement was really rewarding. We were even the topic of a newspaper article,’ ( See below) Read More

Youth Leadership Harrow

From Andrew P Bennett DTM District 91 Youth Leadership Adviser

Yet more exciting news from Toastmasters Youth Leadership comes in the form of a new program at Stanmore High School.

Stanmore school teacher Richard Fowler attended a Youth Leadership briefing event I ran in October and was very keen to see the program launched at his school.

The next step was to find a sponsoring club and this came in the form of the ever effervescent HOD Speakers with President Tony Winyard and Toastmaster Gill Ornstein becoming program co-ordinators.

Stanmore Toastmasters Youth Leadership meets fortnightly on a Monday afternoon and accompanying teacher Richard runs an extra speaking session himself on the alternate weeks to consolidate the learning.

I was able to attend the very first session which began with our customary getting to know you exercise. The young people interview each other for a minute and then present their Interviewee to the group – a useful Ice Breaker which sees to it that every participant says at least a few words from the outset.

Tony and Gill decided to present the discussion on what makes a good speech in the form of good cop / bad cop.

Tony did a big introduction for Gill ‘ the great speaker.’ Gill then took to the stage and displayed every speaking fault you could think of – no eye contact, wandering around , mumbling voice , looking at the floor , waving arms – all of which greatly amused the young people as it was intended to. All credit to Gill who is really such an accomplished speaker – not easy to do it all wrong!

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Youth Leadership Westminster Academy

From Andrew P Bennett District 91 Youth Leadership Adviser

How good to be able to share with you news from Toastmasters Julia Kettlewell and Mark Mortimer who are coordinating a Toastmasters Youth Leadership program at Westminster Academy.

We are particularly excited as this is our very first collaboration with Rotary Interact – a youth work which the Rotarians have established splendidly at the school. Indeed the program participants are already looking towards participating in the Rotary Youth Speaks Contest in 2015.

Westminster YLP Nov 2014

Ten 6th formers have attended 3 sessions so far. They have been making good use of storytelling techniques to bring their Ice Breaker Speeches to life and express their points of view with clarity. A panel discussion proved a great success as did their first venture into the wonderful world of Table Topics!

Session 4 looks in more depth at organizing your speech, learning to speak from the audience’s perspective and having, already discussed what makes a good opening, we move on to what makes a fine conclusion to a speech.

It is wonderful to have Toastmaster Mark (from sponsoring club Excalibur Advanced Speakers) Toastmaster Julia (the very able President of Grosvenor Square Speakers), Rotary Interact and accompanying teacher from the Academy Ashraf Shah Noor working together alongside the young people as they discover their Speaking and Leadership Skills.

Westminster Academy YLP takes place once a month on a Tuesday morning. Feel free to contact Julia or Mark if you would like to attend as a guest. We always let our schools know in advance if there is to be a visitor at the session and respect the signing in/security badge protocols.

If you do attend it is highly likely that you will find yourself participating in the speaking. There is nothing better than witnessing first hand how the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program enhances and extends the participants skills. These are skills that they will take with them throughout their lives.