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Some of you may know this about me already.  But for the last 4 years, I have been an active member of Toastmasters.  Through their program, and just putting myself out there in a calm supportive environment, I was able to break out of my shy shell and become a much more active communicator.  But confidence is not the only that that it has given me over the years.  Over the years I have taken on several executive roles at our club in order to help out.  This includes:

  • Sergeant at Arms
  • Vice President of Education
  • Mentorship Chair

While there, I found out about a program that I never knew existed.  It is called the “Youth Leadership Program”.  It is an eight-session program which is free for teenagers (from ages 12-18) to attend.  During these sessions, they learn a bit about leadership as well as improve their communication skills in order to boost their overall confidence.

Over these 8 sessions, each Youth Leader is required to complete 2 speeches and 2 evaluations.  But these are not the only things that they will be doing during this session.  Each Youth Leader will be encouraged to participate in Table Topics (speaking off the cuff) and take on other roles, in order to gain even better experience.

This year, IcePets is partnering with Brampton Toastmasters as a sponsor for two of these programs.  The first program has been already been scheduled for August 8th - 12th, and the second will be planned out later on in the year.

Looking back, I personally wish I had known about and actively participated in a Youth Leadership Program in the past.  I managed to work my way through University and the first few years of my career with being that quiet individual that knew a fair bit, but wouldn’t share it unless asked.  However, thanks to Toastmasters, I was able to break from that mold which has helped me to excel in what I do.

Last April I had the privilege to be the co-ordinator for a Youth Leadership Program and it was such an incredible experience.  The Youth Leaders amazed me from the very first day!  Everyone started off very  quiet, not really wanting to talk even amongst themselves.  However, that changed within the first hour of the program and by the very end, the Youth Leaders had been transformed into much more confident presenters.

These programs are all around the world, so if you are not aware of where they may be, ask at a local library, or go on Google and look for a local Toastmasters club, they could point you in the right direction.

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