Prince Albert Toastmasters threw a party at SIAST Woodland Campus on Saturday to celebrate the chartering of their newest area club.
© Herald photo by Matt Gardner
Toastmasters members celebrate the recent chartering of the Woodland Communicators, which is the organization’s newest club in Prince Albert. Left to right: Toastmasters District 42 governor Keith Lee and Woodland Communicators members Lorna Boryski, John Thompson and Douglas Purcell.
The Woodland Communicators were officially chartered as a Toastmasters club on March 14 after attaining the minimum of 20 paid members.
“We started as a vision,” Woodland Communicators vice president of public relations Lorna Boryski said. “Our president right now, Brenda Georget … decided that Prince Albert needed another club.
“We already have two clubs, so some people thought that maybe it was a necessity.”
Toastmasters International is a non-profit organization active in 122 countries that is dedicated to helping members improve their communication and public speaking skills.
In their bid to recruit enough members to attain club status, local Toastmasters waged an extensive campaign that used any method they could find to spread the word.
Initially, the group began by holding information meetings at SIAST.
“SIAST Woodland Campus was wonderful enough to give us a facility, because it is totally non-profit,” Boryski said. “We don’t make money doing this, and it’s self-help, so there’s not a lot of funds that happen with Toastmasters.”
Toastmasters members also helped raise awareness of the new club through word of mouth and by advertising in local media.
Their efforts paid off when they successfully recruited the necessary amount of new members in only four months.
“You can ask any service club … how hard it is to get new members to come and join,” Boryski said.
“Well, we got 20 in less than four months, so that was pretty awesome. We’re proud of that.”
While the club was officially chartered two months ago, the preparation time required to plan a party meant that the attendant celebration only occurred this weekend.
At the celebration, club members and guests mingled over coffee and refreshments, heard speeches and took pictures at a photo booth.
Aside from members of the new club, others in attendance at Saturday’s celebration included Toastmasters District 42 governor Keith Lee and Coun. Don Cody, who offered remarks on behalf of the city.
Among the newer club members present was Douglas Purcell, who decided to join the group in part out of a desire to improve his communication skills in his job as a professional executive coach.
You can ask any service club … how hard it is to get new members to come and join. Well, we got 20 in less than four months, so that was pretty awesome. We’re proud of that. Lorna Boryski
“I’m starting to get asked to come in to do a group setting, maybe even a group like this … Sometimes I pull it off very well and sometimes I get overconscious and I get a little nervous,” Purcell said.
“So I was talking to my friend Paul who’s a member of the club and he just said, ‘Come on out and we’ll get you honed up and you’ll look like a pro up there now,’ and so that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Purcell delivered his first speech to the group -- known as the “icebreaker” speech -- on Monday, building it around the theme “Snapshots to My Life.”
He praised the constructive feedback from other group members, who offered helpful tips on body language as well as the content of the speech.
“I got a mentor in the club -- he’ll slide me a note and he says (things) like, ‘OK, on that table topic, you kind of derailed after about a minute, you went on and on … Just wrap it up sooner,’ and things like that.”
Table Topics are another group exercise in which one member is chosen to provide a theme the previous week and then goes around the room asking related questions.
“It really helps stretch your imagination,” Purcell said. “It’s a lot of fun and the people you meet around here are just top-shelf. They just make you feel so warm and they bring that humour out of me. It’s just a lot of fun.”
The Woodland Communicators meet on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Other local Toastmasters clubs include the Nesbitt Nooners, who meet at the L.F. McIntosh Bulding on Mondays for 45 minutes over lunch, and the Prince Albert Toastmasters, who meet on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Elks Club.
Boryski invited anyone interested in joining the Toastmasters to stop by.
“Just come to a meeting and see if it’s something that suits your fancy,” she said. “If it is, we’d love to have you as a member.”
Additional information is available at www.toastmasters.org.