Retirees pick Toastmasters: Club to start meeting weekly in 2019

A popular place to retire, Sequim is becoming a popular place to stay active in leadership and communication roles.

Skwim Toastmasters, part of Toastmasters International — a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders — now meets each week from 7–8:30 p.m. at The Gathering Place in Sunland, 135 Fairway Dr.

With the tag line, “Where Leaders Are Made,” Toastmasters International is a good club for retirees to sharpen skills even after their professional careers are complete.

Linda Christensen, a Sequim resident since retiring and relocating from California’s Bay Area in 2016, said she saw a newspaper listing for the group and paid a visit to a meeting.

“I knew I would stay when I heard people laughing — you know, real laughter,” she said. “These people were having a good time, and I wanted in!”

Christensen said she’s become fascinated with the process of creating a speech.

“When you want to be entertaining, have a point, and speak without notes, it’s an enormous challenge.”

Stepping up to serve as the club’s Vice President of Education this year has required Christensen to stretch her comfort with technology. “I’m keeping my brain agile,” she said.

Sheryl Lamb is a young retiree, newly relocated to Sequim from Anchorage, Alaska.

“Toastmasters offers great ‘bang for your buck’ for sales and communication skills,” Lamb said. “But it goes far beyond that. We all have different opportunities when we want to be able to confidently speak up—birthdays, weddings, funerals. Giving a eulogy is an honor you don’t want to have to pass up due to fear.”

As a Weight Watcher leader for 13 years, Lamb used her Toastmasters skills to support and encourage others. She also used the skills to help in local work on the Trey Green Guild board, raising funds to support uncompensated care at Children’s Hospital in Seattle

“Being comfortable making face-to-face pleas puts me ahead of those who’ve only sent a written request for funding,” Lamb said. “Thanks to Toastmasters, I can share what I’m doing and why — and everyone wants to help once they hear that.”

For Sharon Labrecque, Toastmasters offers a combination of social stimulus, mental challenge and opportunity to encourage and mentor others.

“When my husband retired and we moved to Sequim, I re-joined Toastmasters,” said Labrecque, a member of the Everett Pacesetters Club in Marysville while still a professional.

Labrecque said she noticed her father benefited from Toastmasters after retiring.

“Through Toastmasters, he was always surrounded by younger people,” she said. “It kept him connected, stimulated, and gave him a way to continue sharing his skills and life wisdom beyond his working life.”

Labrecque added, “Volunteer work requires the same leadership and communication skills as the working world, if not more.

“In our diverse world, knowing how to diplomatically let your message be heard is of enormous value. Toastmasters has taught me how to communicate clearly in ways that support harmony.”

Sequim’s Toastmasters Club hosts an Open House from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29m at their usual meeting location at 135 Fairway Dr.

The club welcomes visitors of all ages.

Admission is always free for guests; get free open house tickets at SkwimTM.eventbrite.com.

For more information about this event and the club, see 907529.toastmastersclubs.org or www.facebook.com/SequimToastmasters. For other local Toastmasters club meeting information: visit www.Toastmasters.org and click on “find a club.”

Storytelling-themed Toastmasters meeting in PT

The Jefferson County Toastmasters Club explore the theme of storytelling during their Thursday, Jan 10. meeting at the Port Townsend Library Pink House Learning Center, 1220 Lawrence St., set for noon-1 p.m. Two speakers will be practicing different levels of storytelling skills and stretching themselves to improve while other club members and guests provide feedback on their efforts. For more information go to Jeffco.ToastmastersClubs.org or call Jean McDonald at 360-789-7691.

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