Thursday, July 31, 2014

Toastmasters finds home

A club with a long history in Fort Frances has opened its doors once more after disbanding 15 year ago.
This time, however, Toastmasters will be meeting weekly in the basement of the United Native Friendship Centre on Portage Avenue–a location they acquired earlier this month.

Kirsty Sinclair said her father’s involvement with the club always resonated with her. But it wasn’t until she felt the need to hone her own ability to speak publicly that she decided to head the local chapter.
“With all of the texting and short blurbs in my life, I felt the need to improve my communication skills,” Sinclair reasoned, adding she thought others in the community also could benefit from Toastmasters.
“It’s not a scary thing,” she stressed. “It is a skill practised and made better through the group.
“People shouldn’t be put off by it because they hate public speaking,” Sinclair noted. “If they have any interest in improving their speaking skills, we encourage them to come on out.”
Although Sinclair already has seen great strides made by club members since they started meeting in her kitchen two months ago, a shortage in membership has been hindering their growth.
This is an obstacle she hopes to overcome now that the club has a permanent location.
“So far we’ve been limping along,” Sinclair admitted.
“We are currently filling some of the roles that need to be filled permanently,” she noted. “Each of us have been taking turns and getting accustomed to them.
“But we need a minimum of 20 members before we can get chartered,” she stressed.
“When that happens, we will be able to enter competitions and we would have the ongoing support of the organization.”
Currently, there’s been up to 15 members at each weekly meeting. Sinclair hopes these numbers will continue to rise when the group resumes meeting in the fall.
Member Robin McCormick echoed this optimism, having witnessed the original club’s success years ago.
“I think once we get going, it will be equally or even better than before,” she enthused.
“Previously we had a set location and it’s better that way,” McCormick added.
“It’s more structured and when we get the podium there, it will seem more official.”
Although excited to be involved with the Toastmasters once again, McCormick admitted the resurrected club still is in its beginning stages.
“I contacted Kirsty a few months ago but like many things, it took a while to get going,” she conceded.
“Our meetings aren’t officially run like a meeting yet,” she noted. “We are just kind of getting things together.
“But the meetings have been great and there is lots of enthusiasm,” McCormick exclaimed, adding now is a good time for newcomers to jump aboard.
And with the move to a permanent meeting place, McCormick said the group will be able to expand and make its mark on the community.
“I love public speaking,” she remarked. “And the one thing that has happened since the first time that I joined [is] I’ve done a fair amount of speaking around the Rainy River District.
“It is a great self-esteem builder and it is a great community thing, too.”
Meetings will resume on a weekly basis come fall, however there will be a monthly meeting in both July and August.
For more info, contact Kirsty Sinclair at 275-7550 or via e-mail at kirsty.sinclair@hotmail.com

More stories