Toastmasters District 71 - Area 33       
   
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District 71

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      Area 33

        Dunfermline Toast

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Hello and welcome to Toastmasters in Scotland 2017/8.

It's the start of a new year for our Super, Special, Division S!

Across Scotland, clubs are renewing themselves with new committees - and in some cases, bigger changes, such as a change in name (Forth Valley Speakers). The coming twelve months should prove to be another year of advancement and consolidation for Toastmasters clubs across Scotland.

I look forward to the challenge ahead!

 

Euan Bayliss, Division S Director 2017/8

   

Oh what a year!! – 2015/16 & Division S

Having taken a breath after the 30th June, I feel that we should celebrate, and put on the record, what a wonderful year it was for Toastmasters in Scotland.

 

Organisational Highlights

Some of the highlights :

  • 2 new Clubs chartered – Livingston Speakers & Clyde Communicators

  • 4 new pre-charter Clubs – Dunfermline, Edinburgh Advanced, North Highland, Porty (Portobello)

  • 37 new CCs

  • 10 new Advanced Communication awards

  • 34 Leadership awards

  • 7 Presidents Distinguished Clubs (38%)

  • 2 Select Distinguished Clubs (11%)

  • 2 Distinguished Clubs (11%)

  • Overall, 61% of our Clubs were Distinguished

  • 1 President’s Distinguished Area (Area 30)

  • 1 Distinguished Area (Area 60), and

  • Division S was a Presidents Distinguished Division!

But, the most important highlight :

  • 237 additional members

All of these statistics, but particularly the number of new members, is a tribute to the work of our Committees, and of our general members, in spreading ‘the word’ i.e. in ‘talking up Toastmasters’. It is also a reflection of the genuine belief amongst us all that Toastmasters can truly change lives, personally, professionally, and recreationally.

 

Personal Highlights

This past year has been truly inspirational to me.

I watched individual members develop their personal confidence and skillset, with the help, encouragement and support of their mentors, their Club Officers, and their fellow members. I saw Club Officers grow into their roles and become evangelical proponents of their Clubs and of Toastmasters in general. And I saw fledgling Clubs become strong vibrant Clubs, and our strong Clubs having the confidence to encourage and foster new offshoots.

But above all, I felt truly proud; as I watched the networking, cooperation and mutual support amongst our members and our Clubs, which confirmed that we are not in competition with one another, but we are all committed to spreading the word about the benefits that being a Toastmaster can bring.

In an organisational sense, this was most evident during our two Division-wide COT sessions (Club Officer Training), and our two Division contests. The Area COT sessions were combined, August in Perth and February in Edinburgh, for the first time. This initiative was very well received as the sharing of knowledge, and networking, had a much wider reach. Our two contests were spectacularly well attended, which helped to give our winners (Laura Bruce, James McGinty, and Jim Davidson) an experience that prepared them for the District finals.

 

It wasn’t all good news

Whilst this is primarily a ‘good news’ report, I cannot reflect on 2015/16 without remembering that we have lost two stalwart & pioneering members of our small community in the last 12 months. Oscar Merkx and Alex Roberts embodied everything that I am praising about Division S. They founded Clubs, they supported Clubs, they encouraged other members and they mentored committees. We lost them, much too early, within a few weeks of one another, last Autumn. They are both sadly missed.

On a more prosaic level, but one that would be appreciated by Oscar and Alex, I have concerns about membership retention. While I mentioned above that Division S admitted 237 new members in 2015/16, we only finished the year with an additional 42 members (even with two new Clubs). I am aware that a portion of our membership is always transient, whether people join with short term goals in mind, or personal/educational/professional developments take them elsewhere, but I would recommend that retention gets as much time and attention as member growth, in 2016/17.

 

And finally, some ‘thank you’s!

I will keep this relatively short (omitting the ‘without whom I wouldn’t be here’ category), but all of the achievements listed are based on the work of others, and I am just reaping the kudos!

First of all, I would like to recognise the work of all our Club Committees; and the harmonious blend of long-standing members who are willing to share their acquired knowledge, and newer members who are prepared to learn on the job and give back to their Clubs.

Secondly, I would like to recognise the work and enthusiasm of my three Area Directors (Edmund McKay, Edwyn Newman, and Max Ridder-Patrick) and their assistants as they advised, cajoled, and coerced (!) during 2015/16.

Thirdly, my predecessor Sheila Fraser, the District Leadership Team (especially Kevin), and my fellow District Officers, who all pointed me in the right direction when I wanted to reinvent wheels.

Finally, I would like to thank two ladies who encouraged me when I thought about standing for the Division Director role, and who were individual rocks of common-sense at various times during the year : Jane Cameron & Moira Beaton.

 

And, in conclusion …

It’s been a great year, both personally and organisationally. I genuinely appreciate the opportunities that it gave me, to develop myself and to meet so many amazing people.

I would recommend it to anyone.

I do believe that Division S has engaged, it has inspired, and it has excelled.

(and, I leave you in very capable hands. Best wishes to Max & his team)

 

Kind regards

Eoin     31st July 2016

Eoin Mc Dunphy ACS ALB

 

Division Director 2015/16

Division S   District 71          

 

"Engage, Inspire, Excel"

   

What a fantastic day was had by all in Inverness yesterday! Tip-top Table Topics and high-quality Humorous Speeches.

The Table Topics led the way, with our contestants given the chance to ‘make a wish’. Their wishes varied from the self-interested to the altruistic; and from the genuinely aspirational to the prosaic and practical.

In the end, our defending Champion Laura Bruce (Inverness Toastmasters) retained her title, with Sheila Fraser (Linlithgow Speakers & Livingston Speakers) being the second placed winner.

The Humorous Speech contest was of a truly exceptional standard. It just proved that humour can be found in many unexpected places … I give you “The Future of the NHS” … yes really! This topic saw Sarah Maclean (Inverness Toastmasters) congratulated as our third placed winner.

Srinivasan Sankaran (Perth Toastmasters) was our second-placed winner, with his tale of marital interaction (verbal).

Our Division S Humorous Speech champion for 2015/16 is James McGinty (Southside Speakers). James regaled the audience with a tale reminiscent of ‘Brief Encounter’, told with consummate comic timing, graphic gestures, and vivid visual imagery.

On behalf of all Toastmasters and Clubs in Division S, I would like to wish James and Laura the very best, for when they represent our Division at District level, in Bedfordshire on the 14th & 15th November. Guid luck!

**********

The contest was hosted by Inverness Toastmasters who brought a club-wide commitment and enthusiasm that embodies the spirit of the Club. With a convenient venue, adjacent to the train station, and the contest times set to suit train timetables, there was a good turnout from ‘the Central belt’.

The contests were chaired by Gill Shaw (President of Inverness Toastmasters), with diligence and decorum. Gill’s relaxed yet professional manner put all the contestants at ease. (Thanks Gill)

Gill also provided the entertainment with her self-penned epic poem Harder than Bein’ a Wummin’. Gill had to fight off the crowds afterwards, as people sought to congratulate her. (However, I believe that her recipe for home-made Ferrero Rocher wasn’t in demand).

Another unique feature of yesterday’s programme was an end of meeting evaluation by our Toastmaster in Training Varshini Sankaran (aged 9). Varshini gave a composed and comprehensive review of the contest, and she finished with a plea for a gavel club to be set up in her area.

Finally, John Cox from the District Leadership Team presented the awards and complimented the contestants on the high standard of their speeches, he complimented Inverness Toastmasters on a superbly run contest, and he complimented Division S (i.e. You!) on the progress towards Distinguished Division/Area/Club status with more than 8 months left in the Toastmasters year.

Eoin Mc Dunphy ACB ALB

Division Director 2015/16

Division S District 71

“Engage, Inspire, Excel”

   

 
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