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.

Traveling Toastmaster

Written by Sheila Cameron

I joined Morningstars Toastmasters in September and only managed to attend a few meetings before heading off into the sunset (Tofino, BC) for two months and the sunshine (California and Arizona) for two months.

Since it is called Toastmasters “International”, I was inspired to make a few calls before I left the Sunshine Coast. I thought it would be fun to try out a few other clubs and I was pleased to make contact with clubs in Ucluelet, BC, Palm Desert, CA, and Tucson, AZ.

In Ucluelet

I had a blast at the Pacific Rim Toastmasters Club in Ucluelet. Their club meets weekly and is attended mainly by three very dedicated ladies. It was an absolute hoot watching the three of them as they shuffled and shared roles and responsibilities.

Imagine being Toastmaster, Inspirator, Evaluator AND Timer. Or TableTopics Master, Grammarian, AND Jokemaster.  Kudos to them for their dedication to the club as they try to increase membership and attendance. Besides myself, there was usually one other guest or “almost” member. During one of the meetings, they invited the Junior Rangers (age 12-19) so we had a big crowd of over twenty people.

Our Morningstars club president, PJ, asked me to look up his niece (in Tofino) and invite her out to a meeting. I met Jessica the evening that the Junior Rangers came out. She rode her very cool bike over to where I was staying and we drove together down to Ucluelet. She was lovely, and even made banana bread for my family. I wish the Pac Rim Club all the best and wish to express deep gratitude for their welcoming presence and the fun and warm laughs we shared. I also got a chance to do two speeches!

Next to the South

Unfortunately, I was not able to extricate myself from my family during either of our stays in Palm Desert or Tucson in order to attend a meeting. Drat! I was really looking forward to seeing how yet another club operates but it was not meant to be.

Hmmmmm…..perhaps it was in part because I got completely caught up in reading the memoir of our club member, Patricia Hetherington. The Winter Gardener was a bold and beautiful account of a little piece of Patricia’s history, a little piece of the garden/fabric of her life. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Even though I only made it to one other club during my absence, I would like to encourage others to take a chance at trying an International meeting the next time you are away. You can attend as a guest (anywhere?) in the world, meet new people, hear new ideas, and even participate.

I am home. It is cold and a bit rainy. But still, nothing beats home. I have the sunny smiles of the Morningstars to look forward to.

Local Toastmaster and World Traveller

Written by Kay Chapman of Morningstars Toastmasters Club

“You can’t fix any disease without fixing the underlying conditions” says Dr. Kate Wotton.

queen of EverythingMorningstars Toastmasters member Dr. Kate Wotton was interviewed by Associate Publisher Cathie Roy for an article in the Coast Reporter of Sept 7th, 2012. The focus of the article was Kate’s travels as a health care practitioner and teacher.

Kate leads a most fascinating professional life, all the while giving of her wise, caring, adventurous self.  She has practiced in Canada’s north, in Africa and Pakistan as a physician, a leader, a friend and a teacher.  She knew from the beginning that her interest was in healing in far flung areas so she set out to prepare herself with experiences in Canada’s north and by furthering her education.

Kate soon saw the need for basic education in health and sanitation as well as the need for hands on training. As well as administering to patients she works within communities to train community based health workers to spread the teachings.  Along with this step she authored manuals that can be downloaded, easily understood and used by anyone.  The books are free and enhanced with charming drawings by a Ugandan artist.

Kate has recently returned from working in Uganda so I for one am hoping to hear more from this brave, caring, modest and interesting woman.