New Club in Paris Ontario
The “Prettiest Little Town in Canada” will be home to one of the newest clubs is District 86. Paris is approximately 15 minutes from Brantford, Ontario & home to wonderful shops and restaurants. It is home to the provincial head office for the Canadian Deafblind Association, Tigercat Industries, Darby Sportswear, Duff Packaging Machinery, and ABC Recreation. It’s over 11,000 residents enjoy some beautiful parks and trails.
Area 51 Director, and club sponsor Jennifer Aucoin is working with Brant Toastmaster’s Club immediate past president Ken Klunder and president Nate Friedman on promoting the club. A club launch meeting was held on Jun 7th, and was successful. Public relations efforts in other areas such as the Brant News are continuing over the summer. The club has formed a small group of interested people who will form the first executive. They are grateful that Tigercat Industries has offered the use of their meeting room at 40 Consolidated Drive. They expect to be meeting on Wednesday or Thursday nights.
Jennifer and her team are confident that the club will charter in the fall and become one of the Districts fall “blooms.”
Anyone interested in joining the Paris Toastmasters Grand Speakers should contact Jennifer through her District email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Twist to Inductions: New Members' Swag Bag
When we induct new members at Ambitious City, we try to make it memorable and fun. After the promises made by the new members and the club promises to support them, we give a swag bag: a zip-lock sandwich bag full of small items.
The items often change, but they are to illustrate a benefit of the club. Currently we offer:
'Scaries' (the Hallowe’en version of Smarties) - Smarties so their intelligence shines through in their speeches, Scaries in the hope that they conquer their fear
Batteries – so that you’ll always get a charge out of the club
Push pin - so you always make your point
Excel gum - because we want you to excel
Box of Matches - so you can set the audience on fire with your words
A Hersey Hug – to remind you of the good fellowship of the club
Chocolate Coin – to remind you of the value of the club
Eraser – Remember: mistakes are expected but they can be corrected
This List - So even after the chocolate is eaten, the eraser worn away and the matches expended, you can remember the remaining value of Ambitious City Toastmasters.
TM Pin – To let the world know that you are a member of a great organization: Toastmasters International. And when people ask you about the pin, you can brag about the club and invite them to come as guests.
When there is more than one inductee, one gets the items one at a time, the rest just get the bag – except for the pin. That is pinned to the new member. To make it easy, the pin is attached to the top of the bag so it doesn’t have to be searched for.
David T. Shaw DTM
Ambitious City #1586 and McMaster #6307
District 86 Historian
Room To Grow
Like many clubs, Ambitious City Toastmasters in Hamilton has struggled with maintaining membership, but we’ve experienced a dramatic turnaround. The inevitable ebb and flow, attrition vs attracting new members has kept Ambitious City’s numbers at around 11 for the last few yrs. We were certain we had something special in the club itself, we just weren’t able to reach our potential without a larger membership.
Last year we were more successful in attracting guests, but they were not joining. The executive brainstormed what we could do better and consequently conducted the workshop “Moments of Truth” to examine each facet of the club. The conclusion was that our guests and members enjoy a very positive experience. Guests are greeted warmly, receive an excellent guest package, the program is explained, and they are invited to join. After the meeting a follow up by the VP of Membership thanks them for coming and invites them to come back. Guests reported being surprised by how much fun they had. Still… they did not join. Our VP of Membership added a survey to the website asking for honest and anonymous feedback, but it yielded no suggestions.
Since it seemed we were doing almost everything right, we had to look elsewhere. It was noted that when we had more than one guest at a time as well as a good turnout of members, our meeting room felt cramped. In the past when considering guest perceptions we usually considered that our club appeared small. Finally, we agreed it was more likely that we appeared full, that guests may not feel comfortable because the room was crowded. I remembered learning that a fish kept in a small aquarium will not grow to its full potential, but remain a size relative to that of its environment. Our executive decided to consider a larger venue, to give us room to grow.
We were very fortunate that the retirement home where we meet decided they did not need a swimming pool after all, so created a large recreation room on top of it. We negotiated the use of the room and Ambitious City moved within the same building!
Soon after our move in the month of September, 4 guests joined! This turn of events was so dramatic, we feel confident in attributing it to the increase in our room size. By the new year we were up to 24 members!
If your club would like to grow its numbers, I encourage you to reconsider the size of your meeting room. Does it feel tight for space as our former room did? As Toastmasters we are all striving to achieve our personal potential. Ambitious City is looking forward to this opportunity to work toward our potential as a club.
VP Education 2015-2016
& Past President