Local Toastmasters Chapter celebrates 25 year milestone

Dianne St. Jean
Raise a toast! Christine Torgerson raises a toast with Pat Bennett for the 25 year milestone of the Robson Valley Chapter.
Raise a toast! Christine Torgerson raises a toast with Pat Bennett for the 25 year milestone of the Robson Valley Chapter.
Dianne St. Jean photo

On Tuesday April 18 members of the Robson Valley Chapter of Toastmasters International took the opportunity to celebrate its 25th Anniversary.

About a dozen people attended the meeting, which consisted of regular members and guests.

The Chapter began its history on April 7, 1992, headed by Pat Bennett, who has continued to lead it up to the present.
The celebration of 25 years is bittersweet to Bennett, who will soon be leaving the area and moving to Vernon to retire and be closer to family.

Pat Bennett cutting the cake at the celebration.
Pat Bennett cutting the cake at the celebration.
Dianne St. Jean photo

Bennett is hopeful that the torch will be carried on for the Robson Valley Chapter to continue.
The meeting was carried out according to the regular Toastmaster agenda, with speeches, grammarian presentation and Table Topics.

What was different was the input of some special guests, namely Trish Appleton and John Baragar, who was Area Governor at the inception of the Robson Valley Chapter.

Near the end of the meeting Baragar presented Bennett with a specially designed Toastmasters coin he had received years ago with the Toastmasters’ core values  “Integrity, Respect, Service, Excellence” engraved on it.

In her speech, Area Director Trish Appleton spoke of the significance of the “toast”, also recalling the challenges encountered by the Robson Valley Chapter.

“Despite those challenges,” she said, “the Robson Valley Chapter is here to celebrate 25 years.”

Appleton noted the excellence of quality the Chapter has continued to execute despite these challenges.

“In their submissions,” she says, “they’ve never missed a requirement,” noting the obvious commitment Club Members here have had as well as the pride in their camaraderie.

The speech ended in a toast for the Chapter’s success in reaching its 25-year milestone.

The Chapter has had its struggles with maintaining status within the Toastmasters requirements, particularly in maintaining membership numbers to keep the Chapter going.

In her comments, Bennett encouraged the members to continue, noting that the benefits of Toastmasters cannot be underscored enough, including the confidence  that the Toastmasters’ process brings into one’s life.

“It’s the thing that gets you the job you want,” says Bennett, “or the ability to better communicate with your family.
“I hope that Valemount realizes that, and will come out and take hold of the one thing in their life they hope for.”