My name is Cal Lockhart and have on several occasions assisted and acted as a judge for Gavel Club (junior Toastmasters) speech contests. On these occasions, those kids are nothing short of amazing! Granted, in the contest arena we are treated to the ‘creme de la crème’ of the genre.
I was told of a previous Youth Leadership Program (YLP) that the Brampton Library had sponsored, where only 12 of the starters actually completed the program. Taking on this YLP I was astounded that of the 26 participants 24 completed the program! I arbitrarily added one whose father told me that his son was on the waiting list and was very anxious to be part of the program.
Our 9 week program was reduced to 8 weeks. I had planned the 9th session to include the representatives from the Brampton Library, Brampton City Council and other dignitaries from the Toastmasters Organization and district 86. The participants however, in one of the Parliamentary Procedures exercises, made a motion which was seconded, that we cancel the 9th session and that a simple Certificate Presentation Ceremony be held instead on the 8th week. The motion was discussed by the group, the question was called and passed by a huge majority. Hence, I "bowed to the will of the people" and cancelled my 9th session plan.
I must add that not since my experience as Assistant Scoutmaster, between the late 1950's and early 1970's, had I ever dealt with teenage boys, and I have never encountered teenage girls at all. To do so, in a quasi-academic situation was enlightening, to say the least! While I tried to treat the group as young adults, I was never certain that the approach was either proper or appropriate. Nevertheless, it was the 'road taken' and my approach never changed.
I was, therefore, absolutely astonished by the program evaluations from 21 of 24 participants of the program. It would appear that they not only heard an 80 year old man talk, they ACTUALLY LISTENED, and apparently learned! That is a measure of success!
With respect to our desire for 100% attendance, I'm very much of the view that such is an 'impossible dream'. Some of the reasons for this included pressing appointments with University of Toronto with possible ambitions to enroll as students for a coming term. Also withe the fast approaching holiday season, with its associated needs for shopping, parties and social events tends to rate much higher on 'Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs' than the requirement to listen to an old man talk!
In summary, in retrospect I think the program was far more successful than I had imagined to have ever thought possible. I am grateful by the encouraging comments provided by the participants, and I am appreciative of the opportunity afforded me by the Brampton Library and my home club 'Speak To Inspire Toastmasters'.
With my very best regards,
Cal Lockhart ALB, ACG
To view the PDF of evaluations click HERE.