Boot Camp Rallies Toastmasters & Two Members Honoured

Toastmasters Bootcamp - march 4Contributed by Neil Booth:

One of the key learning tools in Toastmasters is challenging ourselves. This means stepping outside of our comfort zone in our speeches — but stepping up to participate in weekend workshops.

This past Saturday, members from all three Sunshine Coast Toastmasters showed up and participated in a four-hour workshop at Garden Hotel in Gibsons. Hosted by Area Director Sheila Cameron, District 96 District Program Quality Director Lydia Burchell and District 96 Kerry Deschamps, the workshop offered intensive training on how to judge a contest, evaluations and changes coming to District 96 and the Toastmasters organization.

The hidden benefit in the workshop was spending an afternoon with fellow Toastmasters where we aren’t rushing about, focused on our roles or upcoming speeches. We were just faces in an audience who mixed and mingled during the interactive workshop during breaks and lunch.

One of the highlights for me was when two of our own were recognized for there outstanding achievements and service to Toastmasters.

Kerry Deschamps District 96 Director was on hand to officially present our own Katherine Scott with the Distinguished Toastmaster Award. Kerry explained that this is the highest award given by Toastmasters and made sure that we understood the level of achievement, and commitment to Toastmasters that it takes to achieve this distinction, serving in leadership roles, mentoring and other roles. Kerry then turned over the job of pinning on the medal to fellow DTM, District Program Quality Director Lydia Burchell — a very dear friend of Katherine’s.

Congratulations, Katherine Scott . . . Distinguished Toastmaster!

Area Director Sheila Cameron presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Weegee Sachtjen, in recognition of outstanding support of Toastmaster’s International’s communication and leadership programs. We all know that Weegee does a lot but here is a list of some of the things Sheila mentioned:

– VPPR: two clubs
– visits and helps third club with promotion
– participates in all club meetings
– greets guests, welcomes them with a name tag and assures them their part will be easy and comfortable.
– continually furthering personal growth on both communication and leadership tracks
– bakes and shares cookies
– amazing social media and poster promotion for Fall in Love With Toastmasters Open House month
– continued newsletter, website, social media promotion for two clubs
– knows and respects her own limits
– sets a beautiful example for others to follow (modelling leadership)
– hosts executive meetings at her home
– offers monthly tech support for learning new TV visual aid

Sheila’s message was clearly heartfelt and she wrapped up by saying “You have truly gone above and beyond in your participation for the benefit of our Area Toastmasters this year.”

Congratulations and a great big thank you Weegee!


Toastmasters Boot Camp on March 4

sunshine Coast Toastmasters Bootcamp March 4“A leader takes people where they would never go on their own.” — Hans Finzel

Our Area Director, Sheila Cameron, has worked to bring a four-hour Toastmasters Boot Camp workshop with the District 96 trio to Gibsons on March 4 at the Gibsons Garden Hotel (963 Gibsons Way) from 10am – 2pm.

The top three District 96 leaders, also known as the Trio, are Kerry Deschamps (DTM, District Director), Lydia Burchell (DTM, Program Quality Director) and George Harjani (Club Growth Director).

The upcoming Toastmasters Boot Camp offers an experience-based workshop where lecture and hands-on interaction for Sunshine Coast members to further enhance their public speaking and communication skills.

It is intensive training that goes above and beyond what can be accomplished in our weekly meetings.

The trio are currently scheduled to talk about the following areas*:

  • How to Judge a Contest
  • How to Evaluate a Speaker
  • Mentoring
  • Leadership & Pathways

*The above topics may change as we get closer to the date.

Mark your calendars for personal growth! See you on March 4 at 10am!

February = Toastmasters Month!

Toastmasters Month February 2017On January 24, 2017, the Town of Gibsons proclaimed February as Toastmasters month in honour of the two Gibsons clubs that meet regularly to help members of the community to further their public speaking goals—Morningstars Toastmasters and Beachcombers Advanced Toastmasters clubs.

Sheila Cameron, our fellow member and Area 73 director, stepped up to the mic to accept the Proclamation. She delivered a two to three minute speech on the benefits of Toastmasters and what our organizations offer the community.

In a surprise round of Table Topics, Mrs. Cameron fielded questions on the meeting times and the hidden benefit of Toastmasters – teaching speakers to organize their thoughts and be concise.

Februrary 2017 is our month to shine as Toastmasters and MorningSTARS. To celebrate, all three Toastmasters clubs invite the community to Fall in Love with Toastmasters at open houses in February. Everyone is welcome to visit the clubs to see firsthand how the Toastmasters program works, listen to inspiring speeches made by fellow residents and chat with members about their unique journey.

On March 4, 2017 at 2:30pm at the Gibsons Garden Hotel, Toastmasters will host a special meeting to determine if there is potential for an afternoon or evening club in Gibsons. This meeting will offer demonstrations, testimonials and a Q&A session for attendees to learn more about the program. “Many people are intrigued about the self-development that Toastmasters offers, but they find it difficult to meet at 7am,” says Sheila Cameron, the current Area Director for the Sunshine Coast clubs. “We’d like to increase access so that more of our community members can benefit.”

All four events are free and open to the public.  Here is a complete list of the events:

Fall in Love with Toastmasters Open House Breakfast

Fall In Love with Toastmasters Breakfast Open House Feb. 15 2017


February 2017 has been proclaimed Toastmasters Month by the Town of Gibsons. To celebrate, we invite you and a friend to our “Fall in Love with Toastmasters” Breakfast Open House event on Feb. 15.

Come to the 7am meeting at Harmony Hall (686 Harmony Lane) and listen to inspiring speeches, have breakfast and see what there is to love about Toastmasters.

Be our guest. Bring a friend. Have breakfast!

Date: February 15, 2017
Time: 7am
Location: 686 Harmony Lane (Harmony Hall) in Gibsons

Guest Speaker Reginald Boaler on Jan. 18

Guest Speaker Reginald Bowler Morningstars ToastmastersHave you ever wondered what it would be like to speak on the World Stage in front of 3500 Toastmasters from 142 countries? Have you ever wondered how you can take your story to a bigger audience?

On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Morningstars Toastmaster Club will host guest speaker Reginald Boaler. He will deliver a 15-minute presentation on his experience at the Toastmasters International Convention in August 2015 where he competed on the World Stage in the semi-finals.

Hope to see you there!

Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Time: 7am
Location: 686 Harmony Lane (Harmony Hall) in Lower Gibsons


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.

Toastmasters Open House Week on the Coast Starts Oct. 18

Sunshine Coast Toastmasters Clubs open House fallToastmasters clubs on the Sunshine Coast will be hosting open house events the third full week of October!

At Toastmasters Open Houses, guests are invited to come and see how the self-improvement program works, listen to inspiring speeches and have the opportunity to chat with members about their experience. Guests and friends can even try their hand at impromptu speaking!

The three open house meetings are open-to-the-public and free. Pick one or visit all three events:

Tuesday October 18 at 6:30pm
Sunshine Toastmasters Club
Hummingbird Clinic
Mermaid Street, Sechelt

Wednesday, October 19 at 7am
Morningstars Toastmasters Club
Harmony Hall
686 Harmony Lane, Gibsons

Friday, October 21 at 6pm
Beachcombers Advanced Club
Sitas Spag and Suds

We hope to see you there!


Writing to Be Funny Is No Laughing Matter

Tips to be a Confident SpeakerA couple of weeks ago, I signed up to participate in the “Fun, Focus & Festivals” workshop offered by our very own Johanna R. and the talented Susan Bertoia, speech and drama adjudicator from the Performing Arts Festival.

By signed up, I mean that I was going to deliver a humourous tale or speech.


Three days out, I was still waiting for my muse to strike gold. Turns out, crafting a speech to generate laughs is no laughing matter. It’s hard work.

Susan, during the workshop, asked the attending Toastmasters to describe a humourous speech. What was it?

I know what you are thinking and it was the answer we gave her — “Make people laugh.”

How does one do that? One-liners? Comedy routine? Both of which are not allowed in the upcoming humourous contest being held at Harmony Hall on Sept. 21.

I went home and did a bit of research to get to the heart of how to deliver a speech that tickles the audience’s funny bone.

I was a bit surprised at what I learned.

The Humourous Speech is “usually a serious speech with injected points of humour.” It is a personal story with a universal theme that everyone can relate to that is fused with humour.

Humour is a speech tool to help you communicate, to carry your message to the audience. It makes the heart of your message more memorable and effective. It creates a bond between you and the audience and can act as a transition during the emotional moments of your speech.

The Humourous Speech contest is a way for Toastmasters to practice including humour in their stories, which allows the audience to learn by demonstration.

Here are a few tips for preparing your next Humourous Speech:

Discovery in the Ordinary
There is material in our everyday lives. From vacations to interactions with our mothers in the grocery stores, there is funny fodder in everything we do.

Know Your End Goal
Our group had said “to be funny” but each of our stories had a different point, premise or idea that we left with the audience. Focus on what your story is trying to demonstrate or show. Know your end goal.

Share the Personal Dirt
Share your personal story. Sharing the awkward, vulnerable and not so great moments with your audience endears them to you. We all have moments we can relate to such as interactions with in-laws, the first time you dropped the f-bomb, etc. Share your experience.

Add the Sparkle
My husband says that every story I tell, there is 80% fact and 20% sparkle to it. Embellish a bit with exaggerated details. This takes the funny bits taken from reality and pushes them to the next level. Also, people like to focus on details and this gives them just a bit more to relish.

I’m still struggling with my speech — but I think it’s headed in a better direction now! At least now I know that the way to one’s funny bone is through your own heart. Who knew?

Ready to write a humourous speech — or at least a speech with a touch of humour? On September 21, our club will be holding the Humourous Speech and Table Topics contest at Harmony Hall at 7am. Sign up via Turbobase to be a contestant or in one of the roles!

Rising to the Top: Morningstars Club Officer Election Results

This morning, May 18th, the Morningstars Toastmasters held the club officer elections for the next executive team that will guide the club from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

The morning’s festivities were presided over by PJ R., who eloquently referred to those stepping forward to join the board as “rising to the top” in leadership.

Nominating yourself, or another, is opening the door to 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 2016 2017 Executive Board

And the new Morningstars Executive Team for 2016/2017 is . . . (drum roll, please):

Board Position Member
President Johanna R.
VP of Education Ria Q.
VP of Membership Michael W.
VP of Public Relations Weegee S.
Secretary Ben R.
Sergeant at Arms Neil B.

As you can see, there is still room to join the Executive Team! We are seeking a Treasurer. Interested? Please let Johanna R. know!

A special thank you goes out to the members of the outgoing board for their hard work, dedication and communication. A round of applause for: Sharon L., Katherine S. Sheila C., Johanna R., Ben R., William B. and Liam B. They will continue in their positions until June 30.

Congratulations to the new Executive Team! Exciting things await!

— Weegee S. (aka VP of PR)

Attending My First Toastmasters Conference

Like many members, I feel I receive a weekly dose of inspiration from the members of my club during our regularly scheduled meetings. I hear stories of struggle and triumph, while learning a bit more about structure, content and how to be a good listener.

When I was approached about attending my first district conference, I scoffed. What could I possible get that goes beyond what I am already receiving?

The answer, my friends, is more than I thought.

Continue reading “Attending My First Toastmasters Conference”