Becoming a Travelling Toastmaster

During lockdown, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Daytona Beach in sunny Florida, and you can too - virtually!

One lovely, warm summer’s evening in the Yorkshire town of Harrogate, I ‘Zoomed’ my way over to Daytona Beach without the constraints of luggage limits or long airport queues.

I was greeted by two familiar faces, the President of Daytona Beach Toastmasters Club Richard Zicker, and member Norm Daley. They’d previously attended one of our digital Strictly Speaking Harrogate meetings back in June and invited our club members to attend a Florida meeting in return. Pushpika (our club Secretary) and her daughter, Kavisha (our newest member) also came along for the virtual journey.

The meeting only lasted an hour but they packed a whole lot into it! Together, all the club members gave a pledge to the American flag, followed by a joke from the Jokemaster - a role I think we could do with bringing back to our meetings regularly to lift the mood during these uncertain times. Next up was an inspirational quote from one of the members, which was a lovely addition to the meeting, leading into two entertaining and inspiring speeches.

Some of the speakers quotes that stood out for me were:

  • ‘Something different, something new, something challenging’ - which I thought was relevant, as lockdown has been different for all of us and we have all had to adapt by doing new and challenging routines.

  • ‘We are not here to blend in, we are here to stand out’ - a powerful and inspiring quote for us to live our lives to our full potential.

  • ‘Are you a cat or a lion?’ - thought provoking, sometimes I feel like a cat, other times I feel like a lion, as we all do.

Then it was time for the impromptu part of the evening - Table Topics. The Table Topic Leader asked three questions and then asked for volunteers, which is a little bit different to the way we do it but it was interesting to watch.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the friendly, Daytona Beach Club and would love to visit again, perhaps if the meeting time was earlier as 11pm was a stretch! However, I enjoyed taking some time to sit outside to enjoy the peace and quiet of lockdown and observe a beautiful Harrogate sunset whilst I waited for the meeting to begin. Although there is still uncertainty with going abroad post lockdown, I’ve become a travelling toastmaster and you can too, all from the comfort of your own home!

The Daytona Beach Club has been in existence for 36 years. Meetings are held on Mondays at 11pm BST for one hour. Check out their Facebook page where you can watch a video of one of their recent meetings.

Karen Brook

Strictly Speaking Harrogate Member

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