Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program concludes

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The seven week long Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program wrapped up on Monday, August 19, 2019. Forty children from six to seventeen years of age, participated in the Youth Program that was held at Five Stones Church in Waxhaw, NC. Tom Grimm, President of Toastmasters of Waxhaw, explains, “When we teach kids how to communicate clearly, they’re better prepared for success. This seven week, Youth Leadership Program helps kids learn to tell a story and hold the attention of the listener. Effective communicators all seem to have the following skills in common: empathy, active-listening, and organized vocal variety; moreover, it’s not a coincidence that those who can tell their story, seem to be more liked by others.”

The meeting on Monday started with an introduction and welcome by Grimm. Then Officer Kevin Gasser, of the Waxhaw Police Department and a DARE officer, spoke about how he learned that communication is the most important part of his job. The participants then broke out into age groups to give presentations to each other before deciding who would make the presentations during the assembly. They then met back in the Five Stones Church auditorium and gave their final presentations before being awarded certificates.

Jen Korvink, from Waxhaw, attended the event to watch her daughter, Maddie, “I think it’s been a great opportunity for her to develop communication skills that build on what they learn in school and helps them put it into practice. In school, they don’t get to focus as much on the presentations. This program gives them an opportunity to learn, organize their thoughts, and practice in front of a smaller group to build confidence.”

Grimm’s three children also participate in the program. He was inspired to reach out to the other Toastmasters after realizing that the techniques he learned from the club could be taught to children to help them. He mentioned that his kid’s stories used to ramble and they would sometimes get frustrated trying to tell their own stories. They weren’t effective communicators but Grimm and his friends knew that they could help! “The same basic rules and methods apply to any story. Stories should have a beginning, middle, and end with relevant content. Lots of kids, and adults, will branch off and confuse a listener. They need to learn where to put emphasis. Learning how to communicate can build confidence.”

Grimm has been a member of Toastmasters since 2013. He was looking to enhance his public speaking, since as an investment advisor, he wanted to learn how to present in the most effective way possible. He explains that the youth program is not an official organization, since candidates must be at least 18 to join Toastmasters, but they have an eight week program that any club can host. Grimm along with Aaron Brown, Jim Pohlig, Tony Temprile, Tyson Nero, Sam Brown, and Gina Brannagan volunteered and set up everything for this year’s event. They hope to do it every year and are working to make sure the kids can learn to communicate better.

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Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program, August 19. 2019
Tom Grimm, President of Toastmasters of Waxhaw, uses a giant Kit Kat to make a point to the crowd at the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program.
One of the participants in the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program gives a presentation on Aug 19, 2019.
Officer Kevin Gasser, with the Waxhaw P.D. and DARE, addresses the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program about the importance of communication at work.
Tom Grimm, President of Toastmasters of Waxhaw, gives the opening remarks at the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program on Aug. 19, 2019.
Callahan Perry presents her presentation on Lucille Ball at the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program in a breakout group.
During the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program, Ryan Mierzejewski, 13, of Waxhaw, shares his presentation on Bernese Mountain Dog care.
One of the participants practices speaking on stage to an audience during the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program on Aug. 19, 2019.

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