Toastmasters International started out as a small meeting in the basement of a YWCA in Santa Ana, California in 1924 by Mr. Ralph Smedley who believed that public speaking would help young people develop communication and leadership skills. Over the decades, the Toastmasters Club has grown to be an international organization which has 11,300 clubs with more than 220,000 members in 90 countries, and is still thriving worldwide.
The Okayama Toastmasters club I belong to is observing its 10th anniversary this year. I have the pleasure of serving as President of the club in this memorable year. On September 2nd, we held our 10th anniversary party at Kanidouraku restaurant, the very venue where the club was first chartered 10 years ago. Some guests from other clubs came all the way to Okayama to share this celebratory occasion with us. Associating with many like-minded members committed to self-development is always a true reminder of how wonderful this club is. The party offered us a great opportunity to nurture our solidarity as club members and helped strengthen our commitment to the club by looking back on the past and looking forward to the journey being Toastmasters will take us. Although Mr. Roy True, the founder of the Okayama Club, is no longer with our club, I felt assured that all of us successfully rekindled the spark that inspired him to launch a club in Okayama a decade ago.
During my past six years’ membership, this club has offered me many wonderful opportunities to challenge myself. For those wishing to develop themselves, the club could offer limitless challenges to help bring out the best in all of us. Six years ago, I wouldn’t have even imagined myself speaking in front of many people, not to mention serving as the president of the club. Were it not for the Toastmasters experiences, I would be much less self-confident now. What I have gained through the Toastmasters has been positively reflected on my work as well as my private life. Through the skills I have learned from this club, I would like to make a difference in my personal world and the world around me.
Currently, the Okayama Toastmasters Club has 32 members from all walks of life. Our regular meeting held on the first Sunday each month is conducted in a very uplifting and educational atmosphere where we help each other and learn from each other. Anyone interested is more than welcome just to observe one of our regular meetings. Why not join us on the journey with The Toastmasters? If you wish to find out more about Toastmasters International, please feel free to contact me.