Young leaders graduate Toastmasters programme

| 01/11/2017
CNS Local Life

Franz Manderson presents graduation certificate to amateur chef Bradley McLaughlin

(CNS Local Life): The Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), run by the Grand Cayman Toastmasters Club, graduated 11 young people on Saturday, 21 October. “The aim of the programme is to teach participants to be better thinkers, listeners and speakers,” assistant coordinator and master of ceremonies Josette Lawrence said. “Skills learned during the eight-week programme can be transferred to the classroom and other aspects of their lives. Every week I had the immense pleasure of seeing our young people grow from strength to strength.”

This year’s graduates, aged 13 to 18, were Alex Richards, Dejea Lyons, Hannah Lawrence, Taejah-Rae Nixon, Bradley McLaughlin, Carlyah Santo, Diandra Whittaker, Martina Watler, Romilly Miller, Tarec Francis and Thea Foster-Ebanks.

Participants were from Clifton Hunter High School, John Gray High School, University College of the Cayman Islands, St Ignatius Catholic School, Cayman International School and Cayman Prep and High School. Several of the young people are members of the Youth Flex Programme run by the Youth Services Unit’s Acting Director James Myles.

After the welcome and opening remarks by civil servant and toastmaster Lawrence, four of the participants delivered speeches. Amateur chef McLaughlin spoke about his passion for cooking, Santo gave an ice-breaker speech introducing herself to the audience, Lawrence spoke on the art of self-expression and Watler talked about the significance of art in life to family and friends.

A panel of fellow YLP participants gave feedback on the speeches, which were assessed on criteria including content, use of sophisticated vocabulary, structure and coherence of speech. Physical cues, including maintaining eye contact, use of body language and speaking up, were also reviewed.

There was also a ‘Table Topics’ session, with audience members blind-picking an item from a bag and speakers then asked to respond at length to a question involving the item. The exercise demonstrated the speakers’ powers to ad lib.

Before handing out graduation certificates at the George Town Library event, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson spoke about leadership. He said that true leaders were inspirational and did not blindly maintain the status quo. Manderson personally congratulated each graduate, commending the young people on following their dreams.

Toastmasters area director Paul Persaud presented awards to Santo for most improved speaker and Lawrence for best speaker. He emphasised that these awards were especially meaningful, as the young leaders were voted on by their peers and the toastmasters.

Toastmaster Anna Clarke, the overall programme coordinator, received a special mention her work in making the programme a success. “This has been a rewarding experience for me,” she said. “At the first session, I did most of the talking but I promised participants they would be able to do the same by the end of week seven.  This was evident by the display of chairmanship and choice of speech topics. Both were well received by their peers and the coordinators.”

In her vote of thanks, Whittaker singled out Kirk Freeport for the graduates’ gift certificates as well as Toastmasters and assistant coordinators Merrell McCann, Jodiann Jackson, Kevin Creary and Gerry Robinson.

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Category: Youth

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