Wow! What a year last week was! 

We’ve all had major upheavals in our daily lives. Toastmasters has had some dramatic changes, too. 

Before I get to all of the changes, I am asking you to consider doing something differently from most other people right now. Step In, Step Out, Step Up. In times of stress and uncertainty, you have a choice. You can choose how you react to stress and uncertainty. 

When this Toastmasters year began, we came up with a vision for District 32: Bringing people together to share their individual message with the world. For us to make this vision a reality, we must Step In, Step Out and Step Up. 

How do we do this?

We Step In to someone else’s life. This has never been more important than right now. Step In and check on a fellow Toastmaster. How are we all doing as we move through this time? 

Step Out of your comfort zone. Maybe do some research on how to host an online meeting. Maybe attend another club’s online meeting if your club has canceled meetings (more on this below). 

Step Up into leadership. Stepping up could mean you lead the charge, encouraging your club members to stay in touch and find alternative ways to continue meeting. Stepping Up could mean you’re the one to take on a leadership role in our new contest world (see info on contests below). 

As things change, we continue to have an opportunity to bring people together, even when “stay at home” orders seem to be separating us. This is your time. This is how we work together. 

Our whole world is literally changing moment to moment. Here’s how our Toastmasters world is changing: 

First, we have cancelled our Annual Conference which was scheduled for May 1-3. While we will not be getting together in person, we still have work to do, fun to have and changes to embrace. 

This is a time of experimentation, creativity and expansion of our speaking and leadership skills. I know you are up to the challenge. 

Here’s what’s happening:

Club Meetings: Some clubs have canceled meetings for the short-term. You are welcome to do that if that is what is right for your club. We also have an opportunity to hold online meetings. Each club is encouraged to investigate online options and decide what will work best for your club. There are free and paid options for online meeting software ($13-15 per month). Your club collects dues and online software would be a reasonable expense for clubs. Your club is not required to hold online meetings, but it is an exciting option to investigate. Learning and growing together is what Toastmasters is all about!

As always, we will have training and online support for you. (See this article, and view the video at the end.)

Area/Division/District Contests: No contests may be held in person. On Saturday, the District Executive Council voted to hold Area and Division Contests online. We will be holding both the Evaluation and the International Speech Contests online. To that end, the District is purchasing access to Zoom meetings. Training will be held for contestants, judges and all who will be participating in the contests. 

District Council Meeting will be held online, Saturday, May 2 at 8am AK time/9am Pacific. This meeting is for all Presidents and Vice-Presidents of Education. We will be emailing details as the date approaches. 

This is a fantastic time to Step In to the life of another member. We are all feeling the uncertainty that is surrounding our daily lives. Step Out of your comfort zone and support a fellow member. You may find your self Stepping Up to lead in a whole new way in your club. 

We’re all in this together

If your club isn’t meeting and you would like to attend an online meeting, please contact another club. As you see what’s going on, you may find it less intimidating and you may step up into leading your club in a new direction.