Sharing Toastmasters With Our Youth

Renee Starling and a student

Fighter Enterprise member Renee Starling has a love for youth. She advertised early this year and held Youth Leadership Sessions at her church, Saint Christopher Episcopal in Fort Worth, Texas from February 25 through April 21, 2012. Renee created the flyer and posted it on Facebook, advertised it to the six memberships within District 25, Division A, Area 15. She tacked posters up on library bulletin boards and at her place of business, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company. Renee was successful. She recruited six youths 9 to 15 years of age. Below are testimonies of Renee, the Fighter Enterprise members who assisted in the success of the program, and a mom of three of the students, Lee Tiwari.

Youth Leadership Leader Renee Starling

“Fighter Enterprise sponsored a pilot Toastmaster Leadership Program for youths 9 to 20. We were delighted to discover kids in this modern age do have dreams, aspirations, and goals for their future.  Speeches covered everything from comedy to paleontology. They taught us about lacrosse, Vincent van Gogh, and the perils of learning to water ski with too-big skis, and what happens when you forget how to skate.

“There were eight sessions each lasting 2 hours. For this pilot program, we had six youths participate.  To avoid homework, we used the first hour for presenting and listening to speeches and devoted the second hour to helping the youths develop speeches for the next session. Retired teachers with Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Delta Phi Chapter, Mary Carter, Earline Franklin, and Helen Jones assisted the youth and offered gentle, though constructive, critiques.

“In addition, Toastmasters Karen Hagar, Ozzy Ramirez, and Larry Weatherholt shared ideas and tactics about making eye contact with the audience, being passionate about your subject, watching your time, and how to avoid nervousness. The last session was a celebration where each youth invited family and friends to hear their speeches. To my surprise, each student performed their speech without notes, projected their voice, made eye contact and used their body to get their point across.  I think we learned more than the kids learned.”

Larry Weatherholt

“I enjoyed attending one of the Youth Leadership sessions and meeting the young men and women who were dedicated to improving their communication and leadership skills. I was given the opportunity to give a speech and to also evaluate one of the students. I know the Youth Leadership program will be a long-term benefit for all students who participated.”

Osvaldo Ramirez

“It was great to see Toastmasters reach out to youth and help promote growth. I was proud to see the kids explore self-discovery and be able to share their ideas among a fantastic and supportive group.”

Lee Tiwari, mother to three students

“Three of my children, ranging in age from 11 to 15, attended the Youth Leadership sessions. I knew that intellectually, it would benefit them. But it wasn’t until the last day when each one gave a speech that I appreciated just how valuable this experience has been for them.”

Karen Hagar

“As the Area 15 Governor of District 25, Division A, I am so proud of all the motivated members in Area 15. Renee is only one example. As a testimony to the gift of giving Area 15 is so good at, I am sharing this event with the Toastmaster world. Good job, Renee, and all involved in sharing Toastmasters with our youth.”

The final session. A group shot of all the students and parents and siblings.

Story and photos by Renee Starling and Karen Hagar
Fighter Enterprise Club


By Jodie Sanders