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Toastmasters are talk of the town

With new officers and a new, weekly meeting schedule, the 412 Lakes Club 8339 of Toastmasters International has a fresh focus and is looking to boost its membership, as well.

"We're making a new start, with a fresh slate of officers," says Ted Schaum, who serves as the group's vice president of membership and public relations. Those officers also include Brenda Houts, president; Gloria Anderson, secretary/treasurer; Katherine Furey, sergeant-at-arms; and Patty Heath Gordon, coach.

Toastmasters is an organization aimed at improving the community leadership, public speaking and focused listening skills of its members, Schaum adds.

"You learn by doing, and by watching fellow club members," he explains. The club's mission is to provide "a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth."

Its philosophy is that developing these skills will "promote self actualization, enhance leadership potential, foster human understanding and contribute to the betterment of mankind."

There are no instructors, professors or classrooms, and no one's work is graded or tested. Club meetings are workshops, where members study and practice communication and leadership skills, and help each other improve by offering feedback on their public presentations. Members will also introduce speakers, conduct meetings and perform other roles that will give plenty of practice in a variety of communication experiences. Most presentations are no more than 5-7 minutes in length.

Schaum recently returned from the Toastmasters District 78 convention in Mandan, N.D., on Nov. 3-4. Eventually, he says, the DL club would like to make a bid for hosting the annual convention locally.

The 412 Lakes Club 8339 of Toastmasters International meets every Monday in the Elks Room of DL's Speak Easy Restaurant, starting at noon. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to attend.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454