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.


Grow Your Speaking Skills with Tall Tales Contest

Tall Tales Competition Morningstars September 20This Fall, Morningstars Toastmasters club will be holding a Tall Tall and Table Topics competition at Harmony Hall at 7 am on September 20, 2017, as part of the fall contests for Toastmasters.

Tall tales? What’s a tall tale contest? Why do we have them?

Glad you asked!

The Tall Tales contest was developed to help Toastmasters with one of the most important aspects of public speaking: storytelling.

Storytelling helps the speaker connect with the audience. By focusing on what makes a great story, how to enhance your story and ways to deliver a compelling story,  the contest helps competitors take their public speaking skills to a new level.

In short, the contest is a way for you to further presentation and speech development skills by creating a speech with exaggerated details.

While the story development is important, it is the delivery that makes up the majority of the judging points (55%). This includes vocal variety, body gestures, pausing and facial expressions.

A couple of rules and regulations you should know before entering the Tall Tales competition this fall:

  • 3 – 5 minutes in length (disqualification occurs at less than 2:30 or over 5:30)
  • Content is selected and written by the participant
  • Subject must contain exaggerated elements, hyperbole
  • Speech must have a theme or plot (no one liners or monologue)

For complete details on the contest, please consult the 2017 – 2018 Rulebook by clicking here. 

Interested in participating in the Tall Tale Contest on Sept. 20? Let our VP of Education (Neil B.) know. Want to chair the contest? Also, let Neil B. know about your interest!

It's Time to Celebrate!

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
— Oprah Winfrey


It’s been a wonderful year of club growth and personal development. A year of stepping outside our comfort zones and stretching to meet new challenges.

And it is time we celebrated our efforts.

Weegee Sachtjen will chair the last meeting of the 2016-2017 season on June 28. At this brew ha-ha, we will celebrate our club, the members and our own personal achievements. Some highlights include a special awards presentation by Neil Booth and a look back over the year with Johanna Rzepa.

To prepare for the meeting, think about what it is you are most proud of this year. Perhaps it was a speech before the club or a challenge you met head on in your personal life. Be prepared to share your accomplishment in the meeting’s round robin Table Topics!

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.
— Fitzhugh Mullan

Let’s celebrate!

Date: Wednesday, June 28
Time: 7am
Location: 686 Harmony Lane, Harmony Hall

Meet the 2017 – 2018 Executive Team

Nominating yourself, or another, is opening the door to an opportunity to step up and improve your leadership skills while learning the ropes of’s a fantastic way to give back to the club and stretch your skills.

Each of the officers in a Toastmasters club has duties to fulfill in support of the members of the club. Toastmasters clubs have multiple officers both to spread the load and to expand the leadership opportunities at the club level.

Collectively, the club’s officers are its Executive team. For more information on the positions and duties, CLICK HERE.

Morningstars 2017 - 2018 Executive Board

And the new Morningstars Executive Team for 2017-2018 is . . . (drum roll, please):

Board Position Member
President Michael W.
VP of Education Neil B.
VP of Membership Sarah L.
VP of Public Relations D’Arcy D-C.
Secretary PJ R.
Treasurer Sheila C.
Sergeant at Arms Guy F.

Their term of service starts on July 1.

A special thank you goes out to the members of the outgoing board for their hard work, dedication, and communication. They will continue in their positions until June 30.

Congratulations to the new Executive Team! Exciting things await!

Growing at District 96 Spring Conference

D96 2017 Spring Conference Re-cap by Area Director, Sheila Cameron 

“Oh! The Ways You’ll Grow!” was the conference theme, and I am so pleased with the growth experienced by our Area 73 members. We had representatives from every Sunshine Coast club at the event, and we all shared our experiences as we rode the ferry home together.

MorningSTARS sponsored two first-time conference attendees. What a fabulous benefit to our members’ educational experience. Take a look at all the ways we grew!

D’Arcy from MorningSTARS was immediately struck by the friendly energy that fellow Toastmasters extended to her. During the Evaluation and International Speech contests, she focused on observing the many different styles of delivering a speech—and became inspired to stay true to her own style.

Lance Miller

Sarah from MorningSTARS brought home a quote from 2005 World Champion, Lance Miller’s education session: “Speak from your heart; that’s all that matters.” She also appreciated the helpful tips he offered about Life Force, Message, and Mechanics. 

Jennie from our nearly-chartered “Coastmasters” club, came for the latter half of the day. She found a lot of positive energy to keep her uplifted throughout the afternoon and evening.

Maureen from the “Sunshine” club was drawn to hear Lance Miller. She finds him engaging, and she received validation for her feeling that the “club is the most important thing” in Toastmasters.

William from Beachcombers (and MorningSTARS!) experienced a lot of growth. As his second straight year on the District stage, he found this year much less stressful and noted that, as you get more humbled (by losing), you’re increasingly better able to deliver your message more effectively. He delivered a knockout speech and—unfortunately—received an overtime disqualification. 

And me? Oh! I grew! I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to be the Test Speaker for the Evaluation Contest. It was thrilling to deliver a speech to such a supportive audience and then receive eight evaluations full of encouraging feedback and great suggestions. Every speaking opportunity gives me greater confidence, and I’m so glad I took this chance to increase my own growth.

Next up is the International Convention being held in our home District at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Aug 23-26. Volunteers receive a great discount on the whole conference. 

Or you may choose to attend only the World Championship of Public Speaking finals on Friday, Aug 25 at 8pm. General admission $75USD; Reserved seating $120USD.

Area 73 Shines in Division H Contests

Area 73 Mobile Cheering Section
Area 73 Mobile Cheering Section

It was a dark and rainy day but that didn’t stop a van full of Sunshine Coaster from venturing into North Vancouver for the Division H Contests on Saturday afternoon. 

The third level of International Speech and Evaluation contests were held in the Alpha meeting room at the Arc’teryx headquarters in Deep Cove.  

It was here that the stage was set for five Evaluators and six International Speech contestants to demonstrate their mad public speaking skills. 

There were three people from Area 73 who rose to the challenge: William B. (speech, Beachcombers), Weegee S. (speech, Morningstars) and Kyle H. (evaluation, Morningstars). 

With every level of the competition, a contestant is pitted up against a new set of peers and a slightly bigger audience as partners, friends, and family come to watch. For this contest, Sheila C., Johanna R., and Weegee’s husband, Mike, helped fill the chairs (and a couple of roles!) with Area 73 energy. 

And it helped.

Area 73 walked away with three of the top three placements in the two categories.  

Congratulations to William for his FIRST place win and to Weegee for her THIRD place win in the International Speech Contest. 

Congratulations are in order for Kylie for her SECOND place win in the Evaluations contest!

At this level, the first place winner in each category goes on to the District 96 Spring Conference. It is a one-day extravaganza held at the BCIT Downtown Campus (555 Seymour Street, Vancouver) on May 13, 2017. Registration and information is available at

It was an excellent day of speeches, evaluations and Area 73 fun! 

3 Clubs Compete in Area 73 Contest

Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition. Each year, thousands of Toastmasters around the globe get competitive, demonstrating their skills in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, Table Topics and International speech contests.

On Tuesday, April 25, three of the Sunshine Coast area Toastmasters clubs came together for the Area 73 International Speech and Evaluation contests at the beautiful Sechelt Arts Centre.

Surrounded by art from the local high school, four competitors for the International Speech Contest and two participants for the Evaluation contest took center stage.


William B. (for Beachcombers) talked about a lesson he learned after an unfortunate incident with a horse.  MorningSTAR Ben R. shared his journey as a presenter and how Toastmasters helped take his skills to the next level. Weegee S. talked about the day she shattered her basic existence in aisle 6. Maureen M. (Sunshine Coast) encouraged us to be the change by talking about one of the reasons she joined Toastmasters.

COntest2For the Evaluation Contest, PJ R. delivered a powerful speech about an “out-of-body experience” that reveals how we change, grow and shift courses in life. Baili C. (Sunshine) and Kylie H. (MorningSTAR) shared their unique perspectives on the speech and offered well-rounded suggestions.

Behind every great contest is the real winner of the competition: the volunteers who helped make it a success. Without them, the contest would not occur. A special thank you to the Chair (Neil B.), Chief Judge (Sheila C.), judges, timers and ballot counters.  Without their manpower, 30,000 contestants a year wouldn’t be able to test their public speaking skills.

A special thank you to the volunteers and the audience members. A huge shout out to the contenders!

Another fantastic contest in the books!

International Speech Placement:
1st: Weegee S.
2nd: William B.

Evaluations Placement
1st: Kylie H.
2nd: Baili C.

The top two winners in each contest will continue to the Division round, which will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 1pm at Arc’teryx HQ (2220 Dollarton Highway) in Deep Cove.

Wish them luck!

Join the Morningstars Executive Board!

An important part of Toastmasters training is learning about leadership, and the best way to become skilled at leadership is to experience it. Choosing to be a leader starts with signing up to be on the Morningstars Club Executive Committee! Or, think of it as leveling up your skills!

Elected officers of our Toastmasters club help to aid in the club’s successes while gaining hands-on leadership experience. Serving as a club officer is a great responsibility and an exciting opportunity.

Join the Morningstars Toastmasters Executive CommitteeIt is for an annual term that runs from July 1 to June 30.  There is a monthly meeting for the executive members (open to all members).

Interested? Please contact a member of the current board for more information on their role or how you can “level up” your leadership skills.

Here are the club officer positions:
1. President
2. VP Education
4. VP Membership
5. VP Public Relations
6. Secretary
7. Treasurer
8. Sergeant At Arms
Roles of the Officers and duties:

The club president sets the tone for the club. They provide helpful, supportive leadership for all of the club’s activities. They motivate, make peace and facilitate as needed. Though they may occasionally have to step in to make tough decisions, they rarely do so without consulting club members and other club officers. Communication is key.

Some of the duties include:

  1. Presiding over executive board meetings
  2. Work with club leaders to achieve success in the Distinguished Club Program
  3. Provide leadership and guidance to members

VP  of Education
The VPE is a resource for questions about education awards, speech contests and the mentor program. They suggest speech topic ideas to help educate members of the club or further the club’s goals in the Distinguished Club Program.

Some of the duties include:

  1. Creation of the club schedule and themes
  2. Assist and guide members through education program (getting your CC or CL)
  3. Plan/Delegate/Organize Speech Contests
  4. Manage mentor program

VP of Membership
The VPM promotes the club and manages the process of bring in guests and transforming them into members. They initiate contact with guests, make them feel welcome and provides them with the information they need to join. They monitor membership levels and strategize with the rest of the executive committee about how to overcome membership obstacles.

Some of the duties include:

  1. Recruiting new members
  2. Conduct membership-building programs
  3. Assist guests
  4. Process membership applications
  5. New member induction ceremony

VP of Public Relations
The VPPR promotes the club to the local community and notifies the media about the club’s existence and the benefits it provides. They promote the club, update web content and safeguard the Toastmasters’ brand identity.

Some of the duties include

  1. Writing press releases
  2. Creating and distributing fliers
  3. Networking with the community and members of the club on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
  4. Keep website content current, relevant
  5. Safeguard the Toastmasters Brand

The secretary (sorry, no cool acronym for this office) maintains all club records, manages club files, handles club correspondence and take the minutes at each club and executive committee meetings. They are also in charge of updating and distributing a roster of the current paid membership and keeping the club officer list current for Toastmasters International.

Some of the duties include:

  1. Taking notes
  2. Keeping files, documents
  3. Reporting new officers to Toastmasters International Headquarters

The treasurer is the club’s personal accountant. They manage the club’s bank account, write checks as approved by the executive committee and deposits dues and other club revenues. They are in charge of submitting membership-renewal dues to World Headquarters, filing necessary tax documents and keeping timely, accurate, up-to-date financial records for the club.

Some of the duties include:

  1. Prepare and oversee the club budget
  2. Collect, remind and stalk members for their membership dues
  3. Write checks to disburse funds as necessary for club activities

Sergeant at Arms
The SAA keeps track of and maintains the club’s physical property (such as banners and the lectern). They arrive early to prepare the meeting place for members and stay late to stow all of the club’s equipment.

Some of the duties include:

  1. Tending to club property
  2. Act as liaison between club and the management of the meeting place
  3. Helps with contests by standing at the door while contestants compete in speech contests to ensure no interruptions
  4. Greets each member at the meeting
  5. Starts the meeting with a gavel bang
  6. Introduces the Toastmaster Chair
  7. Makes the coffee
  8. Sets up the room for the weekly meeting and helps with the breakdown

For more information, download the Morningstars Executive Leadership Manual (.pdf) created by our own Katherine S., DTM.