Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Toastmasters looking at establishing Cheney club

 


Representatives of the international communication organization Toastmasters recently met with city of Cheney officials about the possibilities of starting a club in the area. And while there is interest, City Administrator Mark Schuller said supporting a club on its own was outside Cheney’s current capabilities.

“We don’t have the capacity (fiscal or time) to organize and/or operate the club,” Schuller said in an email.

That wouldn’t preclude interested private Cheney citizens from starting a club, however. To do so, Toastmaster officials said organizers need at least 20 individuals committed to meeting and pursuing the benefits of an organization that, according to its literature “empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.”

Founded in 1924, Toastmasters is headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and has a membership that exceeds 352,000 individuals in more than 16,400 clubs over 141 countries. Meetings feature regular speech giving, coupled with constructive feedback from trained adjudicators and other members, along with competition in larger settings.

Mary Morrison, Toastmasters’ Region 1 international director as well as organization development manager for the city of Tacoma, told those at the May 17 meeting the reason she joined Toastmasters was because of her periodic required appearances before Tacoma’s City Council. Those appearances jangled her nerves so much, she had to write out a script for herself to use.

“I had to write out where I was going to smile,” Morrison added.

Morrison said membership in Toastmasters helps individuals succeed as supervisors in their careers. One aspect of this, outgoing Eastern Washington district club growth director Maria McNamar said, was developing the ability to evaluate employees without “tearing them down.”

If enough individuals are interested in starting a club, McNamar said an informational meeting would take place first, followed by a demonstration meeting where other Toastmaster club members come to Cheney to hold a mock meeting showing “how it works.” Another demonstration meeting would take place, this time with audience participatioin.

No “open” Toastmaster clubs currently exists in Spokane County outside the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley. Costs to set up a club begin with a charter fee of $125. There is a one-time new member fee of $20, Koon said, followed by a $90 a year membership fee.

The membership fee is generally paid in twice yearly installments of $45. New members might not necessarily pay the entire $90.

“Depending on what month you join, it could be pro-rated,” McNamar said.

Koon said they have received 3-4 leads on interested individuals in Cheney, as well as the possibility of a previous club at Eastern Washington University getting reactivated.

“It helps when there’s more than one club in a community because not everybody can attend at the same time,” she added.

While the city won’t be involved on its own, Schuller said they could help out by providing other amenities needed to get a club up and running.

“I think we have an opportunity to partner with them in possibly providing a space for their meetings as we could potentially have some city employees take part in the club,” he added. “Like we discussed during the meeting, I think an informational meeting will give us a good barometer on community interest.”

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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