Toastmasters help Junior Rangers excel in speech

One West Coast group specializes in helping people get comfortable with public speaking, and a handful of Junior Rangers were the beneficiary in a recent sixweek program.

Eighteen students achieved all their goals with making three introductions, three speeches, and three evaluations, said local Toastmasters president Marilyn McEwen.

“They rocked … It was a very rewarding experience for us. Most of the kids really blossomed before our very eyes -gaining confidence with peer support and a little encouragement from us,” McEwen said.

Asked to say what they thought of the program as they accepted their certificates, -some said it was their favourite program yet offered to them through the Junior Rangers, McEwen said.

Parents who attended the final session were beaming, she added.

“I think we’ll approach the high school to offer it, now that we’re seasoned Speechcraft implementers,” said McEwen.

“Every speech they give, they learn a new technique – one ‘icebreaker,’ the next one ‘organize’ and the third ‘say it with passion,'” said Toastmasters member Julie Beeley.

The program breaks down the speechmaking process. The applications for speechmaking are wide-ranging – from job interviews to networking to running a productive meeting, you get out of it what you put into it, said Beeley.

“Every speech is a bit different, and at the end they should know how to produce a professional speech. It’s always exciting to see people excel, and change, and grow,” she said.

Something of success story herself, Beeley knows the power of Toastmasters firsthand. In a group of people she doesn’t know, like many folks, she is shy, she said.

When she first joined the group in the Vancouver area, it took Beeley three months to get up and say something. Within three years, however, she was area governor of the Vancouver region – which in turn produced a lot of speaking opportunities.

“Toastmasters has made me a lot less awkward in social settings where I don’t know anyone,” she said.

The Toastmasters meet Thursdays at the Ucluelet Community Centre in Room 2 at 7:30 p.m.