A Morningstar Celebrates 50 Years of Toastmasters

“I stood back, guided and filled in the gaps.”

Distinguished Toastmaster Frank Coldicott recently returned from a visit with his daughter in Australia. While he was there, father and daughter, both wood crafters, designed and constructed homemade Adroinnock chairs.  While Frank’s daughter is still exploring her abilities, Frank said he was most content to stand back, guide and fill the gaps in her training.

It is a similiar role he has filled for the Morningstars Toastmasters club on the Sunshine Coast in Gibsons, British Columbia and many clubs across British Columbia, Canada.

Frank Coldicott is celebrating his 50th year as a member of Toastmasters. Frank has experienced half a century of speeches, Table Topics, contests, and meetings. He has fifty years of chartering clubs, mentoring new ones and taking on executive roles.

When I was asked to interview Frank for a possible 50th-anniversary blog, I jumped at the chance to meet with the man I consider a friend and mentor.

50 Years of Toastmasters

Frank Coldicott - Celebrating 50 Years of ToastmastersColdicott’s journey started in 1967 when he was invited to join the Vernon Toastmasters Club. According to Frank, he joined to increase his social interactions. He was a new teacher in his hometown and living at home. If his car appeared at a person’s house or at a pub, his students knew about it. However, no one said anything when he was parked in front of a building on Toastmasters meeting night.

“Some people say that being a teacher made me a better Toastmaster. But the opposite is true. Toastmasters impacted my quality of teaching,” my friend and mentor confessed. “The pauses and vocal variety helped me to connect with students and teach them more creatively.”

The next club Coldicott joined was the Kamloops Toastmasters Club in the early 1970s. It was here that Frank witnessed one of the biggest changes within Toastmasters – the point in which the public speaking club became coed thanks to the woman’s liberation movement.

“Oh sure, our club encountered a bit of resistance. Some men felt that the club would lose the professional aspects or that ‘nothing was sacred,’” Frank explained.  “After the initial shake-up, the dust settled into a really great club.”

In the 1980s, Frank helped charter and attempted to start a few new clubs in the area. Some gained ground while others floundered.

After he formally retired from teaching, Frank was approached to be the key note speaker for the graduation ceremony of one of the classes he taught. According to Frank, he spent long hours refining and practicing the speech.

“While I was delivering the speech I crafted, the boys I taught were talking. I tried everything in my Toastmasters delivery bag to capture their attention. I put in pauses, vocal variety and gestures. I could not connect with them.

“It wasn’t until much later, after several days of ruminating, that I understood the issue. I gave an adult speech. That one event taught me the importance of knowing and understanding your audience.”

Frank eventually settled in Richmond where he joined ASK  Advanced Speakers Toastmasters Club of Greater Vancouver, where he became the Area Governor.

In the early 2000s, Frank and his wife Julie moved to the Sunshine Coast where he joined Morningstars Toastmasters Club and later helped mentor the newly formed Beachcombers Advanced Toastmasters Club.

Frank Coldicott Celebrates 50 Years with ToastmastersSpeeches and Painting More Similiar Than Many Think

“I’m better at Table Topics than written speeches,” Frank offered. “I’m way better when it comes from my emotional center rather than the rational thought. It’s how I paint.”

What some people don’t know about Frank is that he is an abstract painter – who is colour blind. He can read the colour of the tube of paint, but how it plays or blends with others is difficult. If he puts too much thought into it, it becomes overwhelming.

Franks says he paints in a flurry before he can start over analyzing or shifting into rational. He believes the end result feels better and looks better when it comes from his heart.

On Pathways

He mentioned that he has seen the curriculum for Toastmasters change significantly at least four times over the years.

“When I started out, there were two books. One was a basic training book, much like the Competent Communicator. It outlined the bare basics of the ten steps of speeches. There was one advanced book.”

He’s looking forward to the new Pathways and how it may open up the lines of communication via the digital world. Frank open admits that social media and blogs aren’t his strong points, but it is something he would like to learn.  Always the student. Always the teacher.

Favourite Roles in Toastmasters

When questioned about his favourite role in Toastmasters, the humble man emerges. Frank talks about the days when he used to enjoy the center of the stage, taking on roles like chairing Toastmaster meetings or being the Master of Ceremonies for local events.

“The greatest joy for me, anymore, is watching others as they grow,” Frank said. He reminded me of a parent on Christmas Day who once enjoyed opening gifts and is now happy to give them to the next generation.

Franks says that he enjoys listening to others, watching them grow and offering his advice through evaluations.

Or standing back, guiding and filling the gaps.

On Mentoring

I asked Frank if he mentors Toastmasters and he replied, “Oh, maybe one or two over the years.”

Like many Toastmasters, I think there’s a chance he doesn’t see how many lives he impacts. He may not realize how his evaluations and keen observations help layer the growth in skill and confidence of all the Toastmasters in his club.

Frank Coldicott is an asset to the Toastmasters community and especially to Morningstars Toastmasters Club 1248 where he continues to help fellow members shine.

Happy 50th Anniversary, Frank!

And thank you!

Submitted by Weegee S.







Back to Toastmasters – Join Us for Our First Meeting

Start of Toastmaster Season

Labour Day weekend is the last hurrah for many as students prepare to head back to school.

For Morningstars, it is the beginning of many hurrahs as the 2017-2018 Toastmasters season kicks off!

The upcoming year looks to be an exciting one — fall contests, a 80s Halloween theme party and powerful speeches from our talented members.

Morningstars is an hour and fifteen minute investment into one’s personal development. From elevator pitches to small talk, the energetic club can take your personal goals to the next level.

Join us for our first meeting of the new year on September 6, 2017 at 7am at Harmony Hall in Gibsons.

You won’t regret it.

Don’t want to let go of summer quite yet? Here are a few snapshots from the summer meetings:

Submitted by Weegee S.

142 Countries – One Awesome Experience

Submitted by Neil B.

What’s so great about a convention?

I don’t know if there is one word, one thing or one event that made it “great” . . . it was the entire experience. One that will linger long after the final ferry took me home.

My six days in a row of Toastmasters started two days before the convention with a spectacular sunrise and a ride on the 6:20 ferry from the Sunshine Coast to Horseshoe Bay. What a beautiful part of the world we call home.

I was greeted on the steps of the convention center by a Helping Hands Volunteer and from that moment on I was welcomed “in the club”.

I was a Helping Hands Volunteer and by working early I had the whole convention off. Great right? Well I watched how much fun and comradery there was going on and kind of wished I had worked more during the events.

For most of the convention goers the First Timers Reception is where the real convention started. Don’t imagine mingling and hors d’oeuvres, think 800 people hosted by Toastmaster CEO, Danial Rex working the crowd, Table Topics style. It was a great way to break the ice and learn about fellow Toastmasters.

The opening ceremonies were, for me, one of the best parts. I was surprised at how the powerful Flag Ceremony. 142 Toastmaster flags were carried in by members, many in traditional dress. It felt like you were a part of something really good and big. Toastmasters was bigger than my little part of the world and I felt like I was part of a bigger community.

Throughout the week there were endless workshops, Keynotes, and contest speakers. There were more than 100 competitors, but because three contests ran simultaneously, you could only see about one third of them. I watched 31 speech’s in one day, all better than any I had heard before.

And then the Finals. Wow. You had to be there to feel the impact.

The week wrapped up with the Business Meeting, an interesting part of the process. And then the big party. The Presidents Inauguration Celebrations. I can’t say how that went, I was Toastmastered out. B.C. Ferries, take me home.



And the winner is . . . ME!

Toastmasters International Convention 2017 VancouverSubmitted by Sheila C.

I was so excited to learn that the 86th Annual Toastmasters International Convention would be in Vancouver, BC in 2017, and I looked forward to the event all year. By the time it actually rolled around, I admit I was feeling a little weary of Toastmasters. I’d had a big year already serving as Area Director, achieving President’s Distinguished Area, completing a High Performance Leadership Project that included co-sponsoring a new club, and completing the DTM award — all of which culminated at the end of June.

Continue reading “And the winner is . . . ME!”

Hidden Benefit of Club Mentoring

Become a Club Mentor in ToastmastersWhen I joined Toastmasters, I had a specific reason. I often felt like the little kid at the adult table. I felt awkward and out of place. I laughed at the wrong times. My contributions to the conversation was unrelated. I felt under education, out classed and . . . uncomfortable.

I joined Toastmasters to gain the confidence to not only sit at the adult table — but feel like I belonged there.

Continue reading “Hidden Benefit of Club Mentoring”

What Does That Mean? Toastmasters Acronyms

“I am working on my HPL for my ALS.”
“Only two speeches away from my ALS.”

CC, ACB, DCP . . . Toastmasters toss around an alphabet soup of Acronyms but what do they all mean?

The letters after a Toastmaster’s name on the agenda or their name tent is recognition of the levels they have completed in the Communication and Leadership tracks.

Toastmasters Leadership and Communication Track

The two tracks are not mutually exclusive and many progress through the two tracks at the same time.  Members progress through each track by completing a series of manuals that contain projects and evaluation guides. There are many opportunities for awards and recognition along the way.

Which brings us back to the letters.  Here is a cheatsheet for your quick reference:

Communication Track:

Competent Communication
The 10 speech projects in the Competent Communication manual help you develop your speaking skills one step at a time. When you finish all of the projects, you are eligible for the Competent Communicator award.

Advanced Communication Track
After receiving the Competent Communicator award, you can begin to develop more advanced speaking and communication skills through the Advanced Communication Series manuals. There are 15 in all, each containing five speech projects. Many of the manuals are career-oriented. You choose the manuals you want to complete and the skills you want to learn.

Competent Communicator award; given to someone who has completed the 10 speeches in the Competent Communicator manual; the first award earned in the communication track.

Advanced Communicator Bronze; given to a member who has achieved their CC and completed two manuals from the Advanced Communication series.

Advanced Communicator Silver; given to a member who achieved ACB, completed two manuals from the Advanced Communication Series and conducted TWO speeches from The Better Speaker Series and/or The Successful Club Series.

Advanced Communicator Gold; given to a member who achieved ACS, completed two additional manuals from the Advanced Communication series and conducted a presentation from the Successful/Leadership series, Success/Communication series or Youth Leadership.

Leadership Track:

Competent Leadership

This is the core of the Leadership track. The Competent Leadership manual features 10 projects that you complete while serving in various club meeting roles. An evaluator will give you feedback on each project, helping you to improve. When you complete the manual, you are eligible for the Competent Leader award.

Advanced Leader Program

After earning the Competent Leadership award, you can further refine and develop more complex leadership skills by completing projects in manuals that are part of the Advanced Leader Program.

Competent Leadership award; given to a Toastmaster who completed the Competent Leader’s manual; the first award earned in the Leadership Track.

Advanced Leadership Bronze; given to a Toastmaster who received the CL & CC awards, served at least six months as a club officer*, participated in a district-sponsored club officer training and conducted two presentations from The Successful Club Series and/or The Leadership Excellence Series.

* Club officer roles include: President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer and Sergeant at Arms.

Advanced Leadership Silver; given to a Toastmaster who has achieved ALB, served a complete term as a district officer**, completed the High Performance Leadership program and served successfully as a club sponsor, mentor or coach

** District officer roles include: District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Public Relations Manager, Administration Manager, Finance Manager, Division Director & Area Director


The Distinguished Toastmaster award is the highest recognition a member may receive. The DTM recognizes a superior level of achievement in both communication and leadership. To be eligible for the award, you must have earned the following:

Advanced Communicator Gold or Advanced Toastmaster Gold award
Advanced Leader Silver or Advanced Leader award

Other Acronyms

HPL High Performance Leadership award
PRES President
VPE Vice President Education
VPM Vice President Membership
VPPR Vice President Public Relations
SEC Secretary
TREAS Treasurer
SAA Sergeant At Arms


District 96? Division H? What Does That Mean?

Agenda_May3_MyKindOfTown_Elections“Welcome to MorningSTARS Toastmasters Club 1248 of Area 73, Division H, District 96, Region 1 of Toastmasters International.”

The above is the welcome and intro for many meeting chairs and it appears across the top of our agendas. But what does it mean?

Here is the breakdown:

Club 1248
1248 is the number assigned to our club when the organization was chartered through Toastmasters International. Club 1248 is located in . . .

Club 1248 is located in . . .

Area 73
Toastmasters clubs are grouped into AREAS consisting of 4 to 6 clubs max. Area 73 encompasses the three (soon to be 4) clubs on the lower Sunshine Coast: Morningstars, Sunshine, Beachcombers and Coastmasters (soon!).

Area 73 is part of

Division H
AREAS are organized into DIVISIONS. There are four areas in Division H (69, 72, 72 & 76). Division H includes the Sunshine Coast, Squamish, Whistler and North Vancouver.

Division H is grouped into . . .

District 96
DIVISIONS are grouped together to form DISTRICTS.  There are 9 Divisions (B, D, H, J, L, M, N, S & T) in District 96, and there are two Districts in BC (96 & 21).

District 96 is in . . .

Region 1
DISTRICTS are organized into groups called REGIONS, the largest administrative grouping. There are seven districts in Region 1 (2, 9, 15, 21, 26, & 96) which stretches from “Nebraska to Alaska.”


Region 1 of District 96 of Toastmasters International

Chair, Fellow Toastmasters and Welcome Guests

It’s the most popular opening for a speech, Table Topics response or the explanation of a role during a meeting.

Chair, Fellow Toastmasters & Most Welcomed Guests - Greeting

Why do we use this greeting? Glad you asked. Here are a few of the popular reasons Toastmasters use the greeting:

Attention Grabber
The greeting is to cut through the noise in the minds of the audience and bring attention to the speaker. Think of it as the dimming of the lights before the movie or play starts.

The greeting is a way for the speaker or role to acknowledge the audience. It’s a way to say, “Thank you for giving me the floor.”

Buys Time
It is often at the very beginning of a speech or role that nerves are at their strongest. As the speaker searches for the words or topic they wish to discuss for Table Topics, this brief introduction buys them time.

Establishing a habit, routine or structure often helps with nerves. Shaking hands and delivering the greeting helps a speaker to mental segway into their presentation or performance. It allows them to slip into their speaker groove.

At the Front? After an Intro?
When do we say the greeting? At the very beginning of the speech? After a brief intro?

Well, it depends on you and your speech.

The first words you speak to your audience lays the foundation for your speech. This is the point in which you will build and layer the various elements of your speech. It is your chance to grab the audience’s and pull them along on your wild ride.

For most of our speeches, it is recommended that you use one of the many speech opening techniques. This can be a compelling question, sound effect, vivid description or a shocking fact. Then pause, do the greeting, and ease into the remainder of your speech.

Note: Particularly for contest speeches, it is urged that the greeting is said within the first thirty seconds. The chair during contests remains standing until the greeting is uttered by the contestant. After thirty seconds, the chair will sit and some judges note the incident.

When the greeting is best at the beginning is when you are making a Table Topics impromptu speech, performing your meeting role or delivering one of the speeches designed to enhance the club experience (Successful Club, Better Speeches or Leadership Excellence).

Play with the greeting and see what works for you. It comes down to comfort level and the impact you are looking to make.

What are your thoughts on the greeting? Discuss in the comments below!

Area 45 Director Visits Coastal Clubs

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.

Beach2To 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!

Morningstars Journey Through the Hourglass

Do I speak from the lectern or my chair?
What’s with all the clapping?
When do you do the secret handshake?

At my first Toastmasters meeting, I was a bit surprised at the amount of structure in a Toastmasters meeting.  There was an adherence to a set agenda, protocol, and etiquette.  The meeting flowed from one person to another almost seamlessly, like they were reading each other’s minds.

For someone like me who is preoccupied with a fear of doing something wrong, the silent order of business was a bit intimidating. As I found out, it is also a necessary element for the Morningstars journey. Or what I like to call . . .

Through the Hourglass - Morningstars Toastmasters JourneyThrough the Hourglass

The journey of Toastmasters through the program for personal growth resembles an hourglass.

When we start our Toastmasters journey, we are at the top wide part of the hourglass. At this point, the possibilities are endless. You are starting with eager abandonment, much like a child learning to finger paint. Anything goes. You are starting to explore, test your skill and boundaries.

After a few meetings and the Icebreaker speech, the Morningstar Toastmaster moves into the middle part of the hourglass. The journey narrows as members start learning new elements. Members incorporate advanced techniques into speeches and push their abilities with advanced manuals. The narrow focus (structure) creates a foundation to allow members to blossom.

Then, the member transitions into the bottom half. Creativity and innovation are unleashed as members tap into their beginner’s mind – but with and understanding of the structure, protocol and etiquette of Toastmasters. Members grow in new ways, new directions.

So, in short, the protocols, procedures and peculiarities help to create the solid foundation that enhances our growth.

Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting peculiar customs of Morningstars to help you understand why our club does what it does on a weekly basis!