… and the Magic Begins!
First-Time Toastmaster Attendees’ Experience at The Division B Picnic
By Toastmasters Minerva Rogers and Peter Selikowitz
It was a sunny Saturday morning on June 24 when we entered the Pelican Beach Clubhouse, wearing our sunglasses, disguising our identities due to our late arrival to the District 84 Division B Picnic. At first, it was an intimidating scene, but the feeling did not last long.
We were greeted by the sound of a crisp acoustic guitar and beautiful vocals by Ellen Onieal. Right in front of us, there was a room full of smiling, diverse Toastmasters engaged in conversations with one another.
We could not help noticing the great selection of delicious food, desserts, and drinks. The bar was stationed by none other than, Toastmaster Rebecca “Becky” McGilton who showed us the “pathway” with her friendly personality! As new Toastmasters, not familiar with most of the people in the room, we immediately felt welcome and began to engage with fellow Toastmasters.
The ambience was light, inviting, and friendly. The venue was perfect in size, location and amenities. The intimate atmosphere facilitated a feeling of comfort for everyone. The positive vibes were noticeable throughout the room.
One of the highlights of the day, a fun activity, the Hukilau dance, led by Toastmaster Pim Parpart, enhanced the engagement and beach theme of the event. Pim knows how to spice up any room with her creativity.
We also had a hula hoop competition with only one strong contestant. After seeing this young girl flawlessly doing multiple hula hoops at a time, all other possible contestants bowed out. She was the youngest person present, a daughter of a fellow Toastmaster.
Of course, this would not have been a Toastmasters get together without Table Topics. The competition was quite impressive. Most of the contestants’ responses agreed that the letter “B” in Division B stood for “BEST.”
We witnessed the “pride” of each contestant with their strong message of being part of Division B. As new Toastmasters, we were inspired by the strong sense of belonging, pride, accomplishment, and community.
We had the opportunity to meet the newly elected leadership: Incoming District Director Vickie Goodman, Incoming Program Quality Director Felicia Shorter, current District Director Paula Summa and our newly elected Division B Director Rick Pena. Engaging with them gave us the perspective of the organization’s mission and culture from the top down. We feel confident that we are in good hands!
A nice touch of the event was the precious orchid plants given out as unique gifts to contest winners and District Leaders. We also participated in the 50/50 raffle. Although we did not bring home the prize, it was fun. Maybe next time!
We met the oldest Toastmaster in the room, Mr. Werner Schultz. It was an honor to meet him and his wife, Toastmaster Susan Schultz in person.
Making connections with people was a delightful, enriching, and precious moment. We were excited to meet a strong Division B community, make connections with fellow Toastmasters and engage with everyone.
We believe magic begins with connections! These types of events define the culture of the Division, create something to look forward to next Summer to strengthen our Toastmaster community, and build bridges for new teams/clubs and members of leadership potentials.
We are ready to embark in our Toastmaster journey and let the magic begin!
Special thanks to the Advanced Leaders & Communicators Club for sponsoring a successful team building event.