Our Club Spotlight blog series highlights District 101 clubs that are high achieving, unique or just plain fun. To start this new series off we spotlight Excalibur Toastmasters Club’s awesome Youth Leadership Program (YLP) for serving young adults in our communities….

Several members of the Excalibur Toastmasters Club in Cupertino formed a Youth Leadership Program to help 14 local youth improve their communication, leadership and presentation skills! Kate Plant, Evelyn Belen, and Neil Evangelista have been supporting the youth participants over the last 8 weeks and have enjoyed seeing the kids and teens gain confidence and improve their speaking and listening skills!

The youth members enjoyed debating about whether a PC or Mac is better, whether Roblox or Fortnite is more entertaining, and the health benefits (if any) of video games. The participants made it fun with jokes and used technology to enhance their images and backgrounds! Yet they were very serious when it came to their presentation skills as they used eye contact, vocal, variety, hand gestures and visual aides.

The youth members especially enjoyed Table Topics as awards made it into a friendly competition! Speeches ranged from camping, parties around the world, cyber-bullying, and Covid19. Each week there was a guest adult speaker who discussed topics such improving your listening skills, utilizing gestures and organizing your speech. These discussions helped the kids learn the fundamentals of communication.

At the end of the 8 week program, youth members filled out a survey to give their feedback. The participants’ overall feedback is that the program has helped them become more confident and social. One participant has decided to run for Student Council President at her elementary school. Another participant said, “It has been a fun experience to be at a Toastmasters meeting on Friday night”. Who would have thought a 13 year old would say that?

The youth members also gave feedback for improvement. They wanted more speaking opportunities (since roles fill up fast), a funnier format and more debates. Based on the feedback and the participants’ enthusiasm and willingness to learn, the group has decided to transition to a Gavel Club and focus on Speech and Debate development skills!

We’re looking for more participants between the ages of 10-16 who want to improve their leadership, communication, listening, impromptu speaking and debate skills!

The Youth Toastmasters Speech and Debate Club had a recent Open House. Kids and teens between the ages of 10-16 were welcome to attend with their parents. The youth members showcased a shortened 30 minutes Toastmasters meeting, followed by a questions and answer session for prospective youth members and their parents. Contact Neil Evangelista at evangeln@gmail.com for the Zoom link or more information on the Youth Toastmasters Speech and Debate Club!

The youth members are thankful to the Excalibur TM Club for creating this program for them!

Written by Neil Evangelista of Excalibur Toastmasters Club