And Another 20 Years Begins

38 members and former members gathered early this morning to celebrate as Morningstars Toastmasters marked 20 years as a club.

With balloons overhead and agendas and name cards for all, we began our special meeting marking 20 years.

“Kind, confident, and caring” were just three words used by a former member who joined us for the occasion. The meeting was chaired with his usual poise by PJ Reece.

PJ in his role as chair of the meeting.

“Very inspiring, filled with kindness. Loved it.” Comment from a guest.

Our Sergeant at Arms Guy Foster arrived at 5:00 am to set up the room and make a welcoming space.

“I am happy to finally get myself out of the house early enough to get to a Morningstars meeting. I had a great time, the energy was very high. Everyone was welcoming. Thank you and congratulations for your 20 years. ” Comment from a guest.

The group gathering prior to the meeting.
What’s a special meeting at Morningstars without breakfast? Including Sandy’s famous cheese scones fresh out of the oven.

Everyone at the meeting received an agenda to follow along with the different roles.

Our agenda for the meeting, thanks to our chair who made enough copies for everyone!
Our Inspirator, Frank Coldicott, who as a long time Toastmaster, gave us the historical context for Toastmasters international.
Marc in the role of Grammarian for his first time since joining.
Patricia, Distinguished Toastmaster, giving her first speech in the new Pathways Program.
Michael, our Past President, in his role as Table Topics Master, had some great questions for our impromptu table topics speeches.
Greg answering the first table topics question.

One of the greetings from a former member who was not able to attend gave us all a glimpse into how much influence TM has in peoples’s lives. Tammie, a former member who has moved out of the community, reminded us of a table topics speech she gave on the textiles of Bali. Members still remember her vivid description, and she shared with us that she has now booked a trip to Bali.

We might need a bigger room for the next party!

A former member and part of the executive team of Morningstars sent the following message.

“Congratulations you bright MorningStar‘s on this 20th year anniversary!
I wish I could be there to celebrate with you and to share in the stories of transformed lives!
The foundational leadership base in the club is unmatched… I personally owe them a mountain of gratitude for their unwavering belief that I could become all that I was created to be.
Their fundamental belief that EVERYONE, with a healthy dose of affirmation mixed with hard work, can become a better communicator and in turn influence the world around them, has made the club a smashing success!
I give a hearty hip hip hooray to the Magnificent Morningstars of the Sunshine Coast on their 20th year anniversary!
Much love and appreciation for each of you,

Thank you to all members, former members, and guests who made this such an exciting event as we launch into our next 20 years. 




Is Morningstars Really 20 Years Old?

celebration invitation

It’s a party!

It’s been an exciting, fun, and fruitful 20 years since Morningstars Toastmasters Club had its first ever official meeting in March of 1999. The club was officially chartered on Mar 22 of that year, and has been thriving ever since.

And on Mar 20, 2019, Morningstars Toastmasters is celebrating 20 years as a club with a special breakfast and reunion meeting of former members and new guests. The ‘party’ will be held from 7-8:30am at Harmony Hall, Gibsons.

“Star Quality” is the theme for our celebration and represents the Morningstars experience over the years.

It’s the time of a new moon and the spring equinox, and the perfect moment for launching into new beginnings. You could say the stars are lining up for Morningstars’ as we “support each other to shine” in communication and leadership development.

Please join us for this auspicious celebration.

For more information contact Johanna, VP of Membership at six o four, eight eight six, three one five seven.

Get updates on our Facebook page.

Area Contest

Toastmasters International  Speech Competition – Area Level

On Saturday, Feb 23, toastmasters from all four clubs on the Sunshine Coast gathered for the Area contest. Winners from the contests at the club level participated in the Area Contest Level.

Two contests were held, the International Speech Contest, and the Evaluation Contest. The contest was ably chaired by Sandy Wrightman, president of Morningstars.

All speeches were timed by our two expert timers, Kate and Sue.

Here are our speech contest winners. First place Shawna (centre) will proceed to the Division Level Contest.

First place winner Shawna being congratulated by our Area Director, Debra Taylor.

Here are the evaluation contest winners. First place Andrew (centre) is eligible to advance to the Division contest. Eleanor Kroeger, District 96 Director, (right) was present and delivered the test speech for the contest.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the helpers who made the contest possible.


2016 Christmas at MorningSTARS

Written by Johanna Rzepa

What I love about Christmas time is the range of possibilities to be experienced: the colourful indoor to outdoor light displays, thoughtful family to friends gift-giving, and the spirit of community outreach to greater inclusion of all living beings. I accept that there is sadness at this time, too. Loved-ones who have moved or passed on. Expectations unfulfilled. Concerns about the health of ourselves and others.


It was magical that at our last MorningSTARS Toastmasters meeting for 2016, the depth and breadth of possibilities were embraced and realized. All who were able to attend did so in festive outfits. We were immediately welcomed by outdoor decorations and indoor Christmas tree lights, which Guy had orchestrated in full glory. The banquet table was set ready for the food to arrive. Carol sheets were placed around the meeting table, thanks to Sheila. All the trimmings!

Table Topics and Gift Giving

Gifts were piled on a table as members walked in. Katherine, our event organizer, had engaged us with the idea of “re-gifting” and combining the opening of presents with a Table Topic explanation of “why this particular gift found us and/or how it will be used in the New Year”. Gifts from our homes to the club members came in all shapes and sizes. We heard creative and constructive applications for each gift from individual members.

Our special events are an opportunity to invite guests to our club, even our pets if that means they will be on their own in cold temperatures. The snow this year did evoke traditional stories of bringing warmth and cheer to others. Lowry sang an original piece about our Sunshine Coast “green and wet” Christmases during the meeting and supported us singing, too, accompanied by guitar. With Weegee’s prior communication through our newsletter and meeting announcements, new members participated with ease in the meeting’s tidings of joy.

New Traditions

This year my Christmas experience so far has been reinforced with positive feelings which I attribute to my connection with Toastmasters here on the Coast. While yearning for the old ways at times, I am encouraged by how co-creating traditions in new ways keeps bringing deeper levels of insight and inspiration into my life… to meditate upon or to potentially prepare a speech about, for example.

Our meeting last week was certainly one to write home about. Thank you everyone for making it so special.

And the Club 1248 Winners Are . . .

That moment when you see someone step up and shine.
That moment when the past year’s accomplishments pay off.
That moment when you watch someone take their skills to the next level.

Wednesday’s International Speech and Evaluation Contest was that moment.

I was impressed and in awe at the ability, courage and demonstrated skills of our club as members took the lectern to participate in the two contests.

Speech and Evaluation ContestWilliam B., who took first prize, and Michael W., a close second, participated in the International Speech Contest chaired by Weegee S. Both contestants will continue on to the Area finals (TBD). It is the only one that goes all the way to the International competition level – and where the World Champion of Public Speaking is decided!

In the Evaluations Contest chaired by the lovely Ria Q., Sandy W. (first), PJ R. (second), Sarah L and William B. delivered a two to three minute evaluation on Liam’s “Trump Card” test speech. It’s always interesting to see the personal observations and takeaways each evaluator has to offer.

As always, there were several key positions manned by the talented members of our club. Without their assistance, the contest would not have been a success: Katherine S., Johanna R. (Chief Judge), Bertha C. (ballot counter) Vimalasara M. (ballot counter), Patricia H. (Judge), Frank C. (Judge), Kate W. (Judge), Michael S. (Timer) and Larry B. (Timer).

Special thank you to those who filled the roles and congratulations to all those who participated!

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Today’s Post Written by Frank Coldicott

Forty-seven years to earn a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster)?

It was a proud moment to receive recognition yesterday morning for this rather noteworthy achievement, having first joined Toastmasters in Vernon, Club 1929 in September 1967. As I mentioned in my acceptance, I have seen many changes in these years. My first manual, called Basic Training, was similar to our Competent Communicator manual but focused on rather mechanical yet effective “how-to’s” of Public Speaking and Robert’s Rules of Order. Significant of the day was that Toastmasters was an all-men’s organization. The Advanced Manual was simply another 10 speeches.

Through the next 30 years, Toastmasters saw many changes: improved materials and designations were accompanied by opening the doors to women. The basic concept of Ralph Smedley has remained the same although the introduction of the leadership track and the “Better Listening et al” has given way to the focus on Becoming Leaders. This has enriched the program immeasurably.

The last 15 years of my Toastmasters experience have been the richest. Overlander Toastmasters Club in Kamloops, Advanced Speaker’s Klub in Vancouver and Morning Stars Club here in Gibsons have all enriched my life in ways beyond adequate description. With the encouragement of so many, it became clear that always ‘starting over’ with the latest materials was a valuable pursuit.

Today, I thank all Toastmasters who have kept that encouragement alive. I extend special thanks to Patricia who challenged me and provided a model of focus. She also yesterday nailed it when she described the awards as the ‘harvest’ for the period of sowing and tilling. Yet, like the Buddhist notion of achieving enlightenment which requires ‘chopping wood and hauling water’, it (like our achievement in Toastmasters) follows that when enlightened, one should ‘chop more wood and haul more water’.

Thank you Morning Stars….still chopping wood.

In a Heartbeat

Written by Patricia H., and Judyth S.

Discombobulated is how PJ, our Chair for the day and Morningstars President, described our meeting while expertly maneuvering our disjointed parts into an unusual order of flow. Despite this, our Grammarian of the day Cathie R. wrapped us up as, “Morningstars is like an advanced club, we take ourselves seriously while having fun.” 

Yes, it was the usual morning bundle of jokes and laughter, possibly infused with the expected pot of coffee prepared by Sergeant at Arms John G., plus our word of the day “vitality” introduced by Cathie. This morning nineteen of us wouldn’t have missed our weekly dose of fun, communication and leadership.

We also come for the challenges handed out by our supportive evaluators. As our General Evaluator said last week, “We are not to apologize for giving a challenge, that is what we are here for.” Today we were challenged with our ums and ahs. Yes, you know them, they’re the filler words we use at an unconscious level.

Several Milestones Today

So, guess where all of this has led Morningstars Toastmasters? Today we reached a milestone, and as one of our proud Distinguished Toastmasters, Patricia H. chose to say:

“Today April 16th, 2014 is a banner day in Morningstars Toastmasters, #1248 in Gibsons BC.

We have been constantly raising the bar in our club, in fact that is our banner, encouraging us to always take the next step. This has truly been a banner day and one that I suggest is possibly unrivaled and unprecedented. In fact possibly in the history of Toastmasters International.

What has come to fruition on this day April 16th 2014, in our club? Literally the awarding and the recognition of three Distinguished Toastmaster’s (DTM’s). Two members took 7 years while the third took 47 years to arrive at this distinction. We have acknowledged two new CC’s today, one Advanced Communication Silver, and one Competent Leader. I believe not only does that place us in President’s Distinguished Club two months early which is prior to the end of our Toastmaster year on June 30, but we believe that we will be three points over the top for a total of thirteen points. That also might be unprecedented in a Toastmasters Club. Clearly a banner day. Congratulations.”

Recognition must also go to those leaders who have mentored and shaped our club to be what it is today and over the years. For today though our VP of Education Katherine S. can be acknowledged for her contribution to gathering and mentoring the loose ends and bundling them together to achieve our present status.

Here is a brief description of these awards given today:

The Distinguished Toastmaster award is the highest our organization bestows and it recognizes both communication and leadership skills. To be eligible for the award a member must have:

  •  Achieved Advanced Communicator Gold award (or achieved Advanced Toastmaster Gold award)
  •  Achieved Advanced Leader Silver award (or achieved Advanced Leader award)

Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS) is under the Communication Track:

To be eligible for this award, you must have:

  • Achieved Advanced Communicator Bronze award (or achieved Able Toastmaster award or Advanced Toastmaster Bronze award)
  •  Completed two additional advanced communication manuals
  •  Conducted any two presentations from The Better Speaker Series and/or The Successful Club Series

While under the Leadership Track and as a Competent Leader we learn leadership skills by learning and serving in club roles.

The Competent Leadership manual is the core of the leadership track, and to become a Competent Leader one must complete all 10 projects in the Competent Leadership manual

Distinguished Club Program: is a standard of achievement by individual clubs and recognized by Toastmasters International. This level of achievement is an acknowledgement of the sum of the individual members achievements.

For more information about these tracks and achievements go to:


This weekend on April 19th our International Speech Contest for Division H level is taking place in North Vancouver. Morningstars members Sharon B. and Sandy W, along with Sunshine Club (Sechelt) member Paula H. will be representing the Sunshine Coast. We are all behind all of you.





A shout out to two members of Morningstars club for their articles published in the District 21 (all of BC) newsletter The Link.

First up is In Your Hands, Under Your Feet by Frank Caldicott. I was there the day he delivered this speech, and anyone would agree he is a speaker with a lot to say. His article reminds us of the power of being a Toastmaster and that we never know what effect the words we speak will have.

The second article was written by PJ Reece, president of Morningstars and soon-to-be editor of The Link. We had the pleasure of reading the article first right here on this blog. Coming Out of Hiding is definitely worth a second read.

And astute readers will note that personal power is a theme in both articles.

Congratulations to PJ and Frank.

Happy Birthday Morningstars

Written by Katherine Scott

birthday balloonsToday as we celebrated Morningstars fifteenth birthday our theme was Shake It Up and we certainly did.  We had an open house. And breakfast. And five guests, three of who are joining our club. And fun.

Even if there wasn’t anything more to say about today’s meeting, that’s a lot. And of course there is more.

Our Chair today was PJ and he set the energy and tone right from the beginning. He successfully dodged the helium balloons that Sharon had attached to the lectern as he opened the meeting and welcomed all our honoured guests. And he had some fun and interesting ways to make the transitions between roles and keep the flow going.

Sharon as Inspirator reminded us what Toastmasters is all about… it’s so much more than speaking. It’s about leadership, communication, listening, learning and growing as a person within a welcoming and positive community. And Patricia reminded us that we may not set out to become leaders, but that’s exactly what happens.

Our two speakers today, Ben and Sheila, while having widely different topics, certainly informed and entertained us. Ben’s speech was aptly titled Imagine Living Beyond Our Dreams while Sheila’s speech was a story called This Little Piggy. Bill and Frank as evaluators demonstrated their status as seasoned pros.

Anne Marie as Table Topics Master kept the energy pumped with some Shake it UP music.  And I only have one question for Kay our Jokemaster. Where does she get all those jokes?

Next week our theme is Fly High, Land Gently. Even though today was a special open house, guests are welcome at every meeting. 7 am at Harmony Hall. You might not get  breakfast, but we always have the coffee on.

DTM Award

Patricia receiving DTM award
Patricia and Club President Bill Baker

Congratulations to Patrica Hetherington who recently completed all her qualifications to become Distinguished Toastmaster.

From Wikipedia:

“Toastmasters awards its highest honor, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), to members who have achieved both the Advanced Communication Gold and Advanced Leader Silver awards. To achieve the DTM typically takes five to eight years of dedicated service and leadership in at the local club and area (or higher) levels.

DTM candidates must also perform more than 40 public presentations (as part of earning the prerequisite Competent Communicator and Advanced Communicator awards)…

The Distinguished Toastmaster title is not necessarily the end of the journey for most Toastmasters. Many Toastmasters will re-enter the program and repeat it at least once more.”

Patricia and Bill dance
Doing the Happy Dance!