Hello McGuire Achievers Toastmasters Members and Guests,
The 2019-2020 Toastmasters fiscal year will end in the next few days. This year has presented many challenges for our club but I am pleased to announce that our club has adapted and overcame every challenge with successful results. As the outgoing VP of Education, please allow me to share with you those challenges and successes.
Our first challenge was a high turnover in active members. We started the new fiscal year with 9 active/paid members and approximately 50 guests in our email group. Our meeting attendance averaged 6-8 attendees. Currently we have 15 active/paid members, over 120 guests in our email group, and meeting attendance is averaging 11-12 participants.
In years past, our club would have 2 meetings per month and perhaps 1-2 Open Houses per year to promote our club and attract new members. We had a Facebook page but very little Social Media presence. Today, we are having 4 meetings per month. We have an active Facebook Page and post on 11 different Facebook/Meet-up groups/pages. We had 2 Open Houses, an outdoor campfire/bonfire meeting, and our first ever Murder Mystery event that set the stage for similar events in the future.
Last year, due to a decline in membership from military moves, our two club coaches were not able to earn credit as a club coach through Toastmasters. This year, we surpassed our membership and educational requirements that allowed our coaches to meet their requirements in their professional development goals.
Speaking of surpassing membership and educational requirements, for the 1st time in 12 years and 4th time in our club’s 22-year history, Our club has earned the highest level of recognition as Presidential Distinguished. You may ask what did our club have to do to earn this recognition. Well, we met all the administrative requirements of paying dues on time, electing/submitting new officers on time, enough club officers attended Spring/Fall training, and we had 10 new members join the club. Then we had individual accomplishments that helped our club as well. We had 2 member earn advanced communicator awards, 2 members completed Level 2 of their selected educational path, and 1 member completed both level 4 and level 5 of her path which fulfilled 2 requirements for the club. Additionally, the club and the member has not received credit through Toastmasters yet but will very soon; one of our club coaches, Christine Velasco, has met all the requirements for an Advanced Leader award and will be soon recognized as a Distinguished Toastmasters. Congratulations Chris on a significant milestone that takes most people years to complete.
We also had the challenge of finding a new location to host club meetings. Cilantro’s Restaurant hosted us for about 2-3 years in its Wrightstown, NJ location but moved to Browns Mills, NJ which turned out to be a great move for Cilantro’s. We had a great relationship with the Cilantro’s owner but the new location was not adequate for our meeting requirements. We were able to work out an arrangement with the Garden State Diner as a new meeting location until the COVID-19 pandemic came along.
This brings us to the most recent challenge. We missed 1-2 scheduled meetings due to COVID-19 but during that time, club officers tested out different web-based applications to determine the feasibility of on-line meetings. McGuire Achievers now has access to a Zoom Pro account which allows groups up to 100 and 24 hours of meeting time. Our members and guests have learned many basic skills of attending and even hosting on-line meetings. I think our meetings of the future will be a combination of in-person and on-line attendance/participation. These are great skills our members/guests are learning because they are transferrable and applicable to many business/organizations.
Finally, many members of McGuire Achievers have and continue to step up in leadership roles outside the club. As mentioned before, we had 2 club coaches that became members and earned recognition for supporting McGuire Achievers during a rebuilding period. One of the club coaches was also an Area Director (mentored/aided 5 clubs) and volunteered to serve again next year. One member volunteered to be a club coach for another club which was approved this past week. And finally, another member has volunteered to serve as Division Director starting in June. He will be responsible for mentoring/supporting 5 Areas and 24 clubs.
The McGuire Achievers Club is so proud of all its members and guests. All you have made our meetings fun and meaningful. The outgoing VP of Education has reviewed all the members progress to date and he is pleased to announce that McGuire Achievers is in really good position to earn Presidential Distinguished again next year. Our biggest challenge for next year will be making sure our club membership is up to 20 (increase of 5 from current membership) by the end of June 2021. If we hit that mark, all other requirements should be met. But without reaching 20 members, our club will not be eligible for any Distinguished Club recognition.
So I hope many of our guests consider joining our club so we can help you start your own professional development journey in Toastmasters and help McGuire Achiever become Presidential Distinguished for 2 consecutive years. Whether you join or not, keep coming to the meetings. The more people that attend, the more we all learn together and hone our individual communication/leadership skills.
Raise a glass if you have one and help me congratulate McGuire Achievers on a phenomenal year and wish us luck for an even better year for 2020-2021…Cheers to McGuire Achievers!
We look forward to seeing all of you over the next 12 months.
Good Luck and God Bless.
VP Public Relations