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Toastmasters gather local following

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Tired of being traumatized or passed over when you are asked to speak in public? Well, public speaking butterflies is not an uncommon malady and a local Toastmasters group has been organized to help get those butterflies in formation, according to Deanna Cashman, president of the Soldotna Toastmasters.

"Toastmaster's is a group to further your ability to speak in front of people and also to further your ability to move into a leadership role. Getting up in front of a crowd of people is probably the scariest, most frightening thing for all people," Cashman told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce last week.

Presently there are about 35 members of the local Toastmasters that started in the fall of 2002, but this is not the first Toastmasters club to form on the Peninsula. In the late eighties and early nineties there was another vibrant group in the Central Peninsula, according to Toastmaster Rosie Reeder.

"I guess we just kind of lost our steam, but we got it back, so Soldotna Toastmasters is back and we meet on Mondays at noon at the Soldotna Church of God in the basement and we invite folks to bring along a brown bag lunch and stop by and visit us." Reeder concurs that public speaking evokes the butterfly thing, "You don't ever loose the butterflies, but you can try to get them to fly in formation; so every Monday we try to get those butterflies a little more in formation. The truth of the matter is that we all have to speak somewhere, sometime in public. Maybe a School Board meeting, church group or whatever, and you want to make everything that comes out of your mouth make as much sense as it does in your mind, and that's what we work on, getting those butterflies going in the right direction," said Reeder.

Participants in the Toasters must be at least 18 years of age, but the group says they are planning an eight-week learning group for youth in the fall. Future plans may also call for the formation for a Toastmasters club in Kenai next year. Members may go on to compete at the state and national levels and earn the title of being a Distinguished Toastmaster. For moreinformation go to www.toastmasters.org, or call Deanna Cashman at 262-2386.



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