How Your Club Can Be Distinguished by June

Gary Samuelson, DCP Chair
As the District 25 Distinguished Club Chair for 2012-2013, it is my duty and privilege to encourage clubs to achieve Distinguished Club status.  During three of the most recent Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI), I presented the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) and offered a few suggestions for implementing it.  After one of those sessions, an officer of one of the newly chartered clubs announced that DCP program was easy and her club—less than a year old—is going to be Select Distinguished this coming year. 


I think she is right – the Distinguished Club Program is easy, especially for clubs that start at the beginning of the Toastmasters year.  And, I believe her club will make that goal.  I want to encourage club members to believe that their club should and can become Distinguished, and to help their clubs become Distinguished, not just for the ribbon, but because doing so means that club members are achieving their individual goals.


I want to congratulate the members of District 25 who helped their clubs achieve Distinguished status or better for the 2011-2012 Toastmasters year.  Twelve clubs were Distinguished, 29 were Select Distinguished, and 47 were Presidents Distinguished, for a total of 88.  Eighteen more clubs were “almost” Distinguished, lacking either one DCP goal or lacking the required membership (20 members or net gain of five by June 30).  In addition, eighteen new clubs were chartered during the previous Toastmasters year.  It therefore seems to me to be quite reasonable to aspire to 100 or more clubs earning Distinguished status for the 2012-2013 year.

I also want to congratulate the members who achieved educational awards or made progress towards them, or served as club officers, or encouraged guests to join, or did anything else to help their clubs, even if their clubs did not achieve Distinguished status.  After all, the mission of the club “is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills.”  The Distinguished Club Program is one means of measuring a club’s success in fulfilling its mission.


This is a new year (alright, it is a month and a half old), and, as of this date, President’s Distinguished status is within reach of every club in the district.  Nearly every club submitted their club officers list on time.  That is one half of DCP goal number 10, so each of those clubs has already completed 5% of the Distinguished Club Program.  Each club for which at least four officers attend training – and there are a few opportunities left to do so – will have achieved one half of goal number 9, or another 5% of the DCP program.  Therefore, many clubs have already completed 10% of the DCP program in just six weeks.  If every club  would make it a goal to achieve  10% of the DCP program every month for the next ten months, they could be President’s Distinguished by the Spring Conference.

For example, the first DCP goal is two Competent Communicator (CC) awards.  This would require two members to give 20 speeches over the next 10 months. Note: a club that meets weekly for an hour could schedule anywhere from 100 to 150 speeches each year.  For an individual member to give one speech per month seems reasonable to me and I suggest new Toastmasters strive for that pace.  It is, in my opinion, enough to keep the member’s interest, but should not be overwhelming.  Some Toastmasters will decide that they want to give speeches more frequently, and some will decide that they want to give speeches less frequently.  In any case, there are certainly opportunities for new Toastmasters to give speeches.

It is also my opinion that, usually, new Toastmasters should be given preference over experienced Toastmasters when allocating speaking opportunities in regular club meetings.  New members need most what Toastmasters provides. These members bring new experiences (which I enjoy hearing about) and new viewpoints (which I enjoy hearing, even if I disagree). Also, new members who form a habit of participating by regularly giving speeches are more likely to stay in Toastmasters long enough to become experienced members.

My challenge this month to each club is: Identify at least two newer members who will commit to completing their CCs by June 30, 2013.  Schedule, as specifically as possible, when each speech needed to complete those two CCs will be given.  Assure them that they will have the encouragement, assistance and mentoring that they need to complete those speeches.  You may not be able to complete DCP goal number one this month, but you will have put into motion the plan to do so this year.


Gary Samuelson