It’s Breakfast with Morningstars

breakfast2

We were a full house this morning, complete with five guests who risked certain death to check out what might cause otherwise normal people to assemble at Harmony Hall at the crack of dawn. The answer, of course is that Morningstars meet to confront their fear of death, otherwise known as public speaking. 

And have a helluva good time in a process that never seems to end.

Start your day right was the theme for our breakfast meeting, but it’s true every week on Wednesday mornings for members of Morningstars Toastmasters Club.

The GE Maintains the High Watch

As the General Evaluator of the meeting, I’m meant to keep my eyes and ears open in aid of presenting an end-of-meeting report. The G.E. is generally expected to evaluate those presenters who haven’t so far haven’t received feedback. But I prefer to comment on the big picture, to assess the success of the meeting as a whole. What are we doing right, and how can we pull up our socks?

I like this role because it obliges me to view the proceedings with a soft focus. Someday I might attend with eyes shut entirely. And why not? I know artists who insist they see better in the dark.

Here’s my impressionistic recall of this morning’s Open House Breakfast Meeting:

GUESTS! We love guests!

With guests in the room, presenters are mindful to explain their roles. Guests bring fresh energy. Members are on their best behaviour, making an extra effort to be at the top of their game. I suppose that watching the meeting through the eyes of our guests might make us extra conscious.

THE TOASTMASTER, Captain of the Ship

With a packed room, commanding everyone’s attention is a challenge, and I thought Sandy Wrightman did a masterful job. When someone entered after the meeting had begun, I watched Sandy successfully incorporate the hiccup into her banter, and I knew we were in good hands for the next hour and fifteen minutes.

SPEAKERS

It’s a joy to see how members have grown into confident speakers. And it doesn’t happen overnight or even a year. It takes years for the confidence to quietly build, as it has for Sheila Cameron who kicked off the meeting with her “Inspiration” for the theme, and her toast to Starting the Day Right With Self Care. Thank you, Sheila, you are an inspiration.

And thank you, Merrilee MacGregor, for a speech that taught us how to psych our way around/through/past the growing number of con artists in our midst. You’ve come a long way in a short time as a Morningstar.

And kudos to Michael Worsfold for a speech on mentorship. Personal stories never fail to make a memorable speech, and Mike showed us how with his memories of being mentored through his first few years in Toastmasters.

BEHAVING MINDFULLY

It’s a good feeling, hanging out in the presence of people who have the courage to confront their fears. Nowhere more obvious than during Table Topics. When I watch an impromptu speaker accept the challenge, it’s vicarious excitement for me, too. It proves beyond a doubt that the reason we show up every Wednesday morning is to grow.

MORNINGSTARS IS A TRAINING

This morning’s meeting, that’s what it felt like to me, like a training. With eyes half-closed, I could feel the sincerity of members showing up to continue the training. Many of us have been members for years, and we’re still learning.

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!

The Extravaganza

Its amazing what you can achieve when you have a great Area Director and a great team.

The Area 73 Extravaganza went off without a hitch, thanks to the efforts of Area Director Debra Taylor and her team, Johanna Rzepa, Maureen Mcbeath, Kim Hart, William Baker. Special thanks to Christina Bacigalupo for providing the sound, and Weegee Sachtjen for art and promotion.

It was a spectacular day with views of the North Shore mountains and across Georgia Strait to the island from the steps of the venue, the Historic Heritage Playhouse.

Things got under way when our extravagantly dressed Master of Ceremonies the great William Baker introduced Debra who explained the theme “extravaganza, extravaganza”, “Its just fun to say”, but the planners were extravagant in many ways.

Not just humorous speech’s or tall tales, but both, not just one speech and an evaluation in our evaluation workshop but 2 speech’s and two evaluations done Pathways style. An amazing workshop was facilitated by Maureen McBeath.

Thoughtful, educational, supportive feedback was given by Dawn Miller evaluating Shawna van Poppelen with her hot topic speech that really spoke to anyone serious about the environment.

Next was an extravagant lunch with homemade goodies provided by Johanna, with a little time for networking.

Another extravagant idea was to offer as a prize 2 chances to speak on the big stage, table topics style to any guest whose name was drawn. Great fun. Both speakers received an expert evaluation by Sandy Wrightman.

Next we heard humorous speeches from Neil Booth and Charles Jeffrey in contest style, There was plenty of laughter, so they hit the mark on humour.

Again, extravagant but both speech’s received killer evaluations by Janice Parkinson and Girije Edwards respectively.

What came next was nothing short of amazing as our three Tall Tales speakers -Bill Endert, Krystin Clark, and Haida Bolton – absolutely crushed it. We will see more from them come contest season for sure.

The team mixed it up again with a round robin style evaluation followed up with written evaluations by three talented evaluators Michael Worsfold, Haida Bolton and Krystin Clark.

We were excited to have with us Area 73 Director Debra Taylor, Division H Director Charles Jeffrey, District Public Relations Manager Neil Booth and all the way for Vancouver our District Program Quality Director Louisa Davis who treated us to an icebreaker like speech that gave us an insight into who she is, as well a look at what Toastmasters can do for you. Yes she also updated us on all that’s going on in the District.

Timing for our event was expertly choreographed by Katherine who gave a report at the end. Ben Rusuisiak offered just the right balance of encouragement and points of improvement as the General Evaluator. William Baker had the last word noting that we finished spot on time.

It was a great time, and I think Debra is already planning the next one. Thanks Debra.

A Day to Remember

Neil Booth
5 October at 07:35
Wednesday Oct 3rd, A Day to Remember.
I am always amazed to see a meeting that I had no particular expectation for end up being one of the best meetings ever. Today was that type of meeting. I have seen this before where it takes a few meetings after summer for Morningstars to hit our stride, and we are there now. If you have been waiting to start attending meetings again or for the first time, don’t wait any longer. Hang onto your hats; it’s going to be a great ride!
I arrived to a well set up meeting room, greeted by John, our Sergeant at Arms who had arrived very early to have coffee on and the room warm when the rest of us arrived.
The meeting theme was “I Crack Me Up” and Johanna, the Toastmaster, made sure everyone was going to have fun with that. The meeting kicked off with an inspiration and toast by Guy on the value of creating and following through on a bucket list. Two amazing speeches were given by two of our more experienced Toastmasters who are leading the way in our new education program. One thing we learned is that, if it is expertly done you can show a group of people home videos of your grandchildren without boring them and get some great laughs (and sound would kick it up even further). Becky was the master of table topics, kept to the theme and schooled us on the many diverse ways in addition to “crack me up” that you can use the word “crack” in a phrase. We learned from PJ that the average person laughs 300 times per day. Some seemed skeptical, but after a laugh delivered by Jokemaster Greg, we were nearing our quota before 8:30 am. Marc our first-time Quizmaster challenged our listening skills and we brought it all in on time. Wow! I loved the thoughtful evaluation of the overall meeting given by Katherine.
What made this meeting more great than other meetings? It was all the things I mentioned, and it was also the infectious enthusiasm from the moment John started the meeting with a joke while introducing our Toastmaster with her high-energy introduction of the meeting right through to the banging of the gavel to close the meeting. And what really struck me was that in a club that claps a lot was the number of times I would describe the applause as thunderous—and that the biggest applause went to our first-time guest, Lana (who only arrived in Gibsons 3 days ago), for her impromptu speech on the reverse bucket list. And the best of all was a standing ovation for an achievement by our very own Sheila for both her contribution to the community as well as showing off the skills you learn as a Toastmaster during her role moderating a recent all candidates meeting for the upcoming municipal elections.
You don’t want to miss the next meeting! Wednesday October 10 at 7am. It’s a Thanksgiving themed open house with breakfast and tall tales, and you are all invited!IMG_4948IMG_4946

2017 Tall Tales & Table Topics Contest Results!

IMG_20170920_074014532On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Morningstars held their Table Topics and Tall Tales contest at Harmony Hall in Gibsons, BC.

The contest was chaired by the charming Katherine Scott, who kept the early morning competition lively and full of energy.

Our own PJ Reece and Greg Lewis were the contenders in BOTH contests. PJ swept gold and came in first in the Table Topics AND Tall Tales, with Greg a close second in each.

IMG_20170920_081736366As with every contest, there is always a long list of people who made it happen. A special thank you to the chair, chief judge (Johanna Rzepa), the judges, timers and ballot counters.

Both PJ and Greg will advance to the Area contest on Sept. 30 at Davis Bay Hall at 6pm. Come cheer on our Morningstar superstars and meet members from other Sunshine Coast clubs!

Once again, congratulations to the contestants!

A Morningstar Celebrates 50 Years of Toastmasters

“I stood back, guided and filled in the gaps.”

Distinguished Toastmaster Frank Coldicott recently returned from a visit with his daughter in Australia. While he was there, father and daughter, both wood crafters, designed and constructed homemade Adroinnock chairs.  While Frank’s daughter is still exploring her abilities, Frank said he was most content to stand back, guide and fill the gaps in her training.

It is a similiar role he has filled for the Morningstars Toastmasters club on the Sunshine Coast in Gibsons, British Columbia and many clubs across British Columbia, Canada.

Frank Coldicott is celebrating his 50th year as a member of Toastmasters. Frank has experienced half a century of speeches, Table Topics, contests, and meetings. He has fifty years of chartering clubs, mentoring new ones and taking on executive roles.

When I was asked to interview Frank for a possible 50th-anniversary blog, I jumped at the chance to meet with the man I consider a friend and mentor.

50 Years of Toastmasters

Frank Coldicott - Celebrating 50 Years of ToastmastersColdicott’s journey started in 1967 when he was invited to join the Vernon Toastmasters Club. According to Frank, he joined to increase his social interactions. He was a new teacher in his hometown and living at home. If his car appeared at a person’s house or at a pub, his students knew about it. However, no one said anything when he was parked in front of a building on Toastmasters meeting night.

“Some people say that being a teacher made me a better Toastmaster. But the opposite is true. Toastmasters impacted my quality of teaching,” my friend and mentor confessed. “The pauses and vocal variety helped me to connect with students and teach them more creatively.”

The next club Coldicott joined was the Kamloops Toastmasters Club in the early 1970s. It was here that Frank witnessed one of the biggest changes within Toastmasters – the point in which the public speaking club became coed thanks to the woman’s liberation movement.

“Oh sure, our club encountered a bit of resistance. Some men felt that the club would lose the professional aspects or that ‘nothing was sacred,’” Frank explained.  “After the initial shake-up, the dust settled into a really great club.”

In the 1980s, Frank helped charter and attempted to start a few new clubs in the area. Some gained ground while others floundered.

After he formally retired from teaching, Frank was approached to be the key note speaker for the graduation ceremony of one of the classes he taught. According to Frank, he spent long hours refining and practicing the speech.

“While I was delivering the speech I crafted, the boys I taught were talking. I tried everything in my Toastmasters delivery bag to capture their attention. I put in pauses, vocal variety and gestures. I could not connect with them.

“It wasn’t until much later, after several days of ruminating, that I understood the issue. I gave an adult speech. That one event taught me the importance of knowing and understanding your audience.”

Frank eventually settled in Richmond where he joined ASK  Advanced Speakers Toastmasters Club of Greater Vancouver, where he became the Area Governor.

In the early 2000s, Frank and his wife Julie moved to the Sunshine Coast where he joined Morningstars Toastmasters Club and later helped mentor the newly formed Beachcombers Advanced Toastmasters Club.

Frank Coldicott Celebrates 50 Years with ToastmastersSpeeches and Painting More Similiar Than Many Think

“I’m better at Table Topics than written speeches,” Frank offered. “I’m way better when it comes from my emotional center rather than the rational thought. It’s how I paint.”

What some people don’t know about Frank is that he is an abstract painter – who is colour blind. He can read the colour of the tube of paint, but how it plays or blends with others is difficult. If he puts too much thought into it, it becomes overwhelming.

Franks says he paints in a flurry before he can start over analyzing or shifting into rational. He believes the end result feels better and looks better when it comes from his heart.

On Pathways

He mentioned that he has seen the curriculum for Toastmasters change significantly at least four times over the years.

“When I started out, there were two books. One was a basic training book, much like the Competent Communicator. It outlined the bare basics of the ten steps of speeches. There was one advanced book.”

He’s looking forward to the new Pathways and how it may open up the lines of communication via the digital world. Frank open admits that social media and blogs aren’t his strong points, but it is something he would like to learn.  Always the student. Always the teacher.

Favourite Roles in Toastmasters

When questioned about his favourite role in Toastmasters, the humble man emerges. Frank talks about the days when he used to enjoy the center of the stage, taking on roles like chairing Toastmaster meetings or being the Master of Ceremonies for local events.

“The greatest joy for me, anymore, is watching others as they grow,” Frank said. He reminded me of a parent on Christmas Day who once enjoyed opening gifts and is now happy to give them to the next generation.

Franks says that he enjoys listening to others, watching them grow and offering his advice through evaluations.

Or standing back, guiding and filling the gaps.

On Mentoring

I asked Frank if he mentors Toastmasters and he replied, “Oh, maybe one or two over the years.”

Like many Toastmasters, I think there’s a chance he doesn’t see how many lives he impacts. He may not realize how his evaluations and keen observations help layer the growth in skill and confidence of all the Toastmasters in his club.

Frank Coldicott is an asset to the Toastmasters community and especially to Morningstars Toastmasters Club 1248 where he continues to help fellow members shine.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Frank!

And thank you!

Submitted by Weegee S.

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Toastmasters – Join Us for Our First Meeting

Start of Toastmaster Season

Labour Day weekend is the last hurrah for many as students prepare to head back to school.

For Morningstars, it is the beginning of many hurrahs as the 2017-2018 Toastmasters season kicks off!

The upcoming year looks to be an exciting one — fall contests, a 80s Halloween theme party and powerful speeches from our talented members.

Morningstars is an hour and fifteen minute investment into one’s personal development. From elevator pitches to small talk, the energetic club can take your personal goals to the next level.

Join us for our first meeting of the new year on September 6, 2017 at 7am at Harmony Hall in Gibsons.

You won’t regret it.

Don’t want to let go of summer quite yet? Here are a few snapshots from the summer meetings:

Submitted by Weegee S.

142 Countries – One Awesome Experience

Submitted by Neil B.

What’s so great about a convention?

I don’t know if there is one word, one thing or one event that made it “great” . . . it was the entire experience. One that will linger long after the final ferry took me home.

My six days in a row of Toastmasters started two days before the convention with a spectacular sunrise and a ride on the 6:20 ferry from the Sunshine Coast to Horseshoe Bay. What a beautiful part of the world we call home.

I was greeted on the steps of the convention center by a Helping Hands Volunteer and from that moment on I was welcomed “in the club”.

I was a Helping Hands Volunteer and by working early I had the whole convention off. Great right? Well I watched how much fun and comradery there was going on and kind of wished I had worked more during the events.

For most of the convention goers the First Timers Reception is where the real convention started. Don’t imagine mingling and hors d’oeuvres, think 800 people hosted by Toastmaster CEO, Danial Rex working the crowd, Table Topics style. It was a great way to break the ice and learn about fellow Toastmasters.

The opening ceremonies were, for me, one of the best parts. I was surprised at how the powerful Flag Ceremony. 142 Toastmaster flags were carried in by members, many in traditional dress. It felt like you were a part of something really good and big. Toastmasters was bigger than my little part of the world and I felt like I was part of a bigger community.

Throughout the week there were endless workshops, Keynotes, and contest speakers. There were more than 100 competitors, but because three contests ran simultaneously, you could only see about one third of them. I watched 31 speech’s in one day, all better than any I had heard before.

And then the Finals. Wow. You had to be there to feel the impact.

The week wrapped up with the Business Meeting, an interesting part of the process. And then the big party. The Presidents Inauguration Celebrations. I can’t say how that went, I was Toastmastered out. B.C. Ferries, take me home.

 

 

And the winner is . . . ME!

Toastmasters International Convention 2017 VancouverSubmitted by Sheila C.

I was so excited to learn that the 86th Annual Toastmasters International Convention would be in Vancouver, BC in 2017, and I looked forward to the event all year. By the time it actually rolled around, I admit I was feeling a little weary of Toastmasters. I’d had a big year already serving as Area Director, achieving President’s Distinguished Area, completing a High Performance Leadership Project that included co-sponsoring a new club, and completing the DTM award — all of which culminated at the end of June.

Continue reading “And the winner is . . . ME!”

Hidden Benefit of Club Mentoring

Become a Club Mentor in ToastmastersWhen I joined Toastmasters, I had a specific reason. I often felt like the little kid at the adult table. I felt awkward and out of place. I laughed at the wrong times. My contributions to the conversation was unrelated. I felt under education, out classed and . . . uncomfortable.

I joined Toastmasters to gain the confidence to not only sit at the adult table — but feel like I belonged there.

Continue reading “Hidden Benefit of Club Mentoring”