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.

 

 

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