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!
The young people were invited to comment on Gill’s speech delivery before Tony demonstrated a good speech. Again the young people were encouraged to join in with their evaluation comments.
I was very pleased to lead the first discussion on speech structure, Youth leadership officers were elected and then Tony ended the session with some witty table topics by which time the young people were really warmed up and clamouring for more public speaking.
It has come to my attention that some Toasties think our Youth Leadership coordinators are specialist youth workers – not so , they are simply Toastmasters who have a desire to share their speaking and leadership skills with young people.
Several of them have stepped out of their comfort zone to coordinate over the past 3 years since our initiative began .They won’t mind me telling you that they hadn’t necessarily been inside a school classroom since the day they left one themselves!
There is such joy in watching the young people grow in confidence as they learn. Our coordinators deserve a big thank you from the Toastmasters community for their dedication and the fine way in which they represent Toastmasters International. They are very precious to me and I am so proud of all that is being achieved as we share with the young people in Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program