CWCC - Ready to launch!
Thanks to our Demo team's efforts in presenting a spectacular meeting, the inmates and administration of the CWCC were overwhelming impressed. They're ready to go!
What we need now is a pool of volunteers who are available on Thursday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30pm.
We're expecting a group of between 20 and 25, so we'll need weekly meetings to provide enough opportunities.
While we'd welcome anyone wishing to commit to every week, we recognize that may not be practical. To prevent volunteer burnout and ensure adequate mentoring opportunities and coverage, we'd like to have a pool of 6 - 8 volunteers. For the first few months we'll probably need 4 or 5 volunteers per meeting. Once the club gets on its feet, we'll need only need 2 or 3.
The first few weeks are going to run 7:00 - 9:00 as we conduct meetings followed by the steps necessary to get a club off the ground. This will include things like naming the club, electing and training officers, and some educational presentations. Are you looking to give some speeches from the Better Speaker or Better Club series towards your ALB and ACS? Here's your chance!
All volunteers must consent to a background check by the institution and attend a one-hour orientation.
Can you help? Please contact
by August 6 if you can!
Chicopee Women's Correctional Facility Demo Meeting
When a Thursday night Demo meeting brings in Toastmasters from all three states in District 53 PLUS two Toastmasters from District 31 (eastern MA and Rhode Island), you know it has to be a pretty special meeting.
l. to r. Sharon Roth, Rick Winer, Jon Toner, Richard Chang, Dave Anderson, Jeff Sobel, Lani Brown, Richard Peck, Susan Tortella, Jeff Smith
Indeed it was! Ten Toastmasters put together a fun-filled meeting at the Chicopee Women's Correctional Facility on Thursday, July 22. The CWCC has a program called "Leadership Institute" which offers a variety of programs to help inmates re-integrate upon release. We were gratified to see an audience of over 20 attend our meeting!
As we walked in, we were greeted in the visitor's lobby by a smartly dressed and courteous woman named Isha who we assumed was a staff member. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that Isha was not a staff member, but in fact an inmate of the facility who recently completed her Competent Communicator in the Framingham Prison Club, and upon transfer, told Assistant Deputy Superintendent Sally Johnson Van Wright about her Toastmasters experience and how it would help others.
We then met in a conference room where Sally Johnson Van Wright allowed Isha to share more with us. She began her Toastmasters experience in a Framingham Prison Club, admittedly reluctant, being told, "Get out of bed, you're coming with me!" by a friend. Several months later she became the club's president, and within a year had completed her Competent Communicator. For over half an hour, Isha shared her experiences with us and how Toastmasters had changed her life. She said her biggest concern now is finding a club upon her release. We all assured her that there were plenty of clubs who'd love to have her!
Susan Tortella opened the meeting by offering attendees a brief overview of Toastmasters and introducing Toastmaster Richard Peck.
As Toastmaster, Richard began the program explaining the key roles and described the reach of Toastmasters, with over 250,000 members worldwide.
Jeff Smith, our Wordmaster gave us our Word of the Day, "Aplomb", meaning great coolness and composure under strain. It was used with great aplomb by Toastmasters and attendees alike throughout the meeting.
Richard Chang was our Thoughtmaster for the meeting, and shared how he was inspired by Isha's story and how we were all gathered to foster more success. He closed with a few words encouraging attendees to look to their faith as well.
Our first speaker was Sharon Roth, who delivered Speech #10 from her Competent Communicator manual titled, "Peace Train". She explained how she's found a path to peace by focusing on the many good things that happen each day that are so easily overlooked. She shared a reading from her favorite book and wrapped up by offering daily journals for our attendees.
Susan Tortella was our second speaker, delivering Speech #7 from her CC. She told about her many successes with prison clubs, some of the reluctance she's encountered and why public speaking skills are important for everyone, not just those in the corporate boardroom.
Next came Table Topics. Lani Brown was prepared with a series of great topics. We were gratified to see such eager participation. As Susan explained later, it is uncommon in prison clubs for attendees to participate right away. She explained that in some clubs she couldn't even get a smile from the audience for two or three meetings. Instead, we had many eager volunteers, most of whom even managed to use our word of the day, including one speaker who used it twice!
Jon Toner served as General Evaluator and began by complimenting both speakers and bringing up our speech evaluators.
David Anderson evaluated Sharon's speech, sharing how impressed he was with the many aspects of it, especially the call to action in inviting attendees to ride their own peace train.
Richard Chang evaluated Susan's speech, noting that while the facility's limitations on props and visual aids made her topic especially challenging, her body language and gestures served much the same purpose, giving life to her speech and reinforcing her point effectively.
Jeff Smith delivered his Wordmaster and Grammarian report, citing how many speakers had used it, and complimenting all participants on excellent grammar. He pointed out a particularly effective phrase by Sharon Roth, describing a photographer taking a negative, exposing it to light and getting a different picture.
Rick Winer served as our Ah Counter, and in so doing, completed the final project of his Competent Leader manual. All congratulated Rick on his achievement with a stirring round of applause. While our use of audible pauses and crutch words was minimal, Rick kept careful score. He also reported that one of our Table Topics speakers had a clean slate, for which she received a rousing round of applause!
Jeff Sobel delivered the Timer's report. Only one speaker exceeded time, and then only by 15 seconds! Our meeting ran smoothly and effectively, with no time wasted.
Jon Toner served as the General Evaluation pointing out that our demo meeting was made possible by the efforts of ten people, all coming from different clubs. The meeting appeared so seamless because whether you attend your local Toastmasters club or a meeting on the other side of the world, it's the same proven formula for success.
Before Toastmaster Richard Peck brought the meeting to a close, he noted how much laughter we'd shared and explained that having fun is critical to success in Toastmasters. He then asked for a show of hands on people interested in starting a club at CWCC. A sea of hands shot up and he brought back Lani Brown, District 53 Prison Club Chair. Most questions were along the lines of "How do we get started?".
Soon our meeting was over, and we were innundated with smiling, grateful attendees, thanking us for sharing Toastmasters with them and eager to get started and share the news of our program with others.
Leaving the CWCC, we spoke with Sally who expects a lot of interest. She's enthusiastic to bring Toastmasters to CWCC, and we're eager to help.
District 53 recognized as a Distinguished District for 2009-2010!
Happy Toastmasters New Year!
We're celebrating the new year with an updated look for the website. Please bear with us while we integrate some of the features you know and love into this new look.
Our theme for the 2010-2011 year is, "Have Fun... and Get It Done!" reminding us that you'll have the greatest Toastmasters experience when you balance the fun with your educational goals.
We look forward to a great year!
Education & Training
District 53 wants you!
We're looking for volunteers to fill some vital upcoming roles:
|Role||Description of Duties|
We have recruited multiple webmasters for 2010-2011 but would like a few more so that we can have one webmaster per Division.
|2011 Spring Conference
Site Selection Committee
The 2010 Spring Conference Committee set the bar pretty high for our conference venue - are you up for a challenge?
Division E is hosting the 2011 Spring Conference and we're in need of volunteers for the site selection committee.
|2011 Spring Conference
Looking for something hands-on?
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