Contributed by Area 73 Director, Sheila Cameron
Toastmasters clubs on the Sunshine Coast had a real treat this week when Area 45 Director, Michael Gurney, made appearances at all four of our clubs! Michael currently lives in Prince Rupert. He was here visiting family and told us he has been coming to the Sunshine Coast for years, having grown up in nearby Burnaby.
At Sunshine club in Sechelt, our theme was Spring Into Action. Michael willingly volunteered to do the role of Table Topics Evaluator. He had some colourful speeches to evaluate, and he immediately demonstrated how to do so with skill and professionalism. His guest comments at the end of the evening offered an excellent suggestion for improvement in our printed agenda.
I was happy to see Michael first thing the next day at MorningSTARS. We had a full house and a packed agenda for the theme of Guilty Pleasures. Michael was able to relax, observe, and enjoy the meeting. On the way out the door he was all smiles. “Did you enjoy the meeting?” I asked. “Oh, yes,” he replied. “I feel like I found my people. Morning people!”
I invited Michael to two more meetings and sent him directions. We were in for a real surprise when he arrived at our new club, Coastmasters, and was prepared to deliver a speech! His speech was funny, heartfelt, delivered a message, included the word of the day, used natural gestures and body movement, and was an all-around great story. The evening’s theme was New Beginnings, and it was wonderful to have Michael share in the fun energy that this new club is bringing to the coast. During guest comments, Michael was asked to share about his home club’s agenda and protocols. He offered insights into how each club is unique. Our new club gained a few ideas, and Michael will tell his home club the benefits of a JokeMaster role.
To round out the week, Michael attended our Beachcombers Advanced club dinner meeting. With many empty roles on the agenda and a theme of Stepping Up, members showed their advanced skills by bravely accepting every challenge and carrying out the roles as if they had been preparing all week. As Michael’s last club visit this week, it seemed the perfect opportunity to invite him to be our General Evaluator. He obliged, and he offered us a good look at what our club does well and gave us a suggestion for improvement.
It has been an absolute delight hosting Michael on the Sunshine Coast this week. He even brought his mother along to a non-Toastmasters event, where I was able to complement him on his fine speaking skills. Michael’s mother can feel proud — Michael is both a gentleman and a gem. Thank you for your visit, Michael. We hope you will visit us again next year!