My son and I started our gavel club to fulfill his speech requirement for high school. What better way to learn public speaking than the Toastmaster’s International organization? With a little research, we soon discovered that Fort Collins has a number of clubs. So we picked one that met on a day that we were free and started visiting.
Typically, Toastmaster clubs like you to visit three times before you apply for membership. So we did! We thoroughly enjoyed observing and even participating a bit. The club we visited was extremely welcoming to new visitors and their members were very experienced. We took our applications home to fill out and then, to our dismay, found the small print where it said “Members must be 18 years or older to join.” My son was only 15 — not quite there yet! No one noticed his age because he is tall.
So, back to the drawing board! We quickly were referred to the Toastmaster’s pages that described a Gavel Club and how to start one. Basically, a Gavel Club is a low-budget option for people who don’t have income, like people under the age of 18, or moms who homeschool. We don’t get all the bells and whistles of a full-fledged Toastmaster’s Club, but we do get access to the excellent development materials — time-tested curriculum for developing accomplished public speakers.
We put out the word and found 14 “founding members” this past year. Our group is young — we all started at Speech 1: The Ice Breaker at the same time. This past year, some of our speakers are already on Speech 7: Research Your Topic. We’re looking forward to the future.
So that’s our story. Stop by and see us in action.