Evolution of a Club

by Deron Scott, Club President

How did Toast-Stars Club # 9269 evolve from a single individual to a diverse, multi-state club? It all started in March 1993 when a Grumman employee relocated from Bethpage, New York, to Melbourne, Florida, and wanted to start a Toastmasters club because he was impressed with what he experienced in New York. The first Florida members chose a club name that pays homage to Melbourne’s famous Joint Stars program.

The club began expanding in 1994 when the California-based Northrop Corporation and the New York-based Grumman Corporation merged to become the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC). Toastmaster clubs were able to continue their participation at their locations, and the clubs thrived.

Unfortunately, when the company began losing employees, club membership also declined. The group made the logical decision to open the club to “outsiders.” Because attendance required U.S. citizenships, plus an escort for each meeting, arrangements were made to provide visitor badges.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it was a real shock for everyone. The club could no longer meet in person at the company during the scheduled time. ZOOM seemed to be an easy solution, and the members transitioned relatively quickly. Several members moved out of state, so the club began meeting in the evening to accommodate those in different time zones, while the club’s home base remained in Florida. Due to the ZOOM format, remote members from Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Utah, Virginia, and others have been able to participate.

Toast-Stars continues to meet online through ZOOM with a small contingent meeting in person at the Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Logan, Utah. Both NGC and SDL have been gracious in allowing our club to meet onsite to hold meetings and contests. Like many clubs, we have had to be flexible and evolve to meet members’ needs and changing life seasons. We continue to foster a supportive atmosphere to increase speaking and leadership skills for members of all ages and varied experiences. 

You can join us on any given Thursday evening at 7:00 PM EST, and you will experience a fun, diverse group of people who are collaboratively working together to become better communicators.

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