Welcome to the Frquent Flyer!
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Volume 01 | July 2019
Newsletter of Toastmasters District 84
Fasten your seat belts, passengers, make sure your bags are stowed and your seats are in their upright positions. It's time to take off on your Toastmasters journey. Welcome to the Frequent Flyer.
In this issue:
Main Articles

• Welcome aboard the Frequent Flyer
• An Interview with Derek Lott
• Podcasts & Multimedia

From your District Leadership

• Trio Columns
• From your Flight Directors

Recurring Columns

• Jordan's Pondering
• Out of the Blu w Ray
Welcome aboard, the Frequent Flyer has launched!
From the airstrip to your mailbox - the Frequent Flyer has been given clearance, and has launched!

Welcome, Toastmasters and Guests, to our re-launched Newsletter, which, in keeping with the District theme of the year, "Enjoy the Journey," has been dubbed "The Frequent Flyer."

The FF, as we affectionately like to call it, will be bringing you news of interest from around the District. We will feature articles submitted by members, news of upcoming events, and regular updates from your Flight Crew, which includes your Cockpit Trio and your highly capable Flight Directors.

We hope you will enjoy the FF. If you have any news items or feature articles you would like to bring to our attention or submit, please send them to news@toastmastersd84.org.

In upcoming months we will implement new features, such as more multimedia, as well as a landing page where additional information can be viewed, helping to keep the FF short and snappy, but still replete with content!

Welcome aboard! Fasten your seat belts, it will be a great flight!
Important changes to the contest structure are coming this year! Please note them:
Feature Articles
An interview with Derek Lott
District 84's first video contestant to the International Speech Video Quarterfinals

This May, at the District 84 Flying Conference, we had an unprecedented four District-Level contests, culminating in the pièce de résistance, the International Speech Contest. This contest was unique, not only for its context amoungst four, but for being the first year the next level of the competition would be submitted, not in person, but on video, in keeping with the new TI rules regarding Video Quaterfinals ( read more here).

Derek Lott was our District's winner, and had the honor of being our first video competitor.

We, at the Frequent Flyer, asked Derek a few questions about his experience. He was gracious enough to provide us answers for our readers' curiosity:
FF: You're D84's first Video submission to the Quaterfinals. Did you feel different because you knew you were being recorded, and this would be your next performance, should you win?

DL: The fact that the competition was videotaped for the Quarterfinals was not much of a distraction. In retrospect, I would have made some adjustments in gestures and staging. I believe as the future winners prepare, there will be some best practices that they will have to learn from.

FF: Was this your first foray into the International Speech or other Toastmasters contests? Which/when?

DL: I have entered all contests except the evaluation contest. I lost at districts for the humorous contest in 2013. In 2015 I won the District Table Topics Contest and, this year, I was extremely honored to win the District International Speech Contest.

FF: What do you hope audience members will obtain from hearing your prepared International Speech?

DL: There are several takeaways for the audience. Most important is the message. Sometimes we forget what is most important: FAMILY! Also, the enjoyment of a well-crafted speech that captures the attention of the audience and makes them smile, laugh, cry and laugh again. Finally, I would mention the advanced use of techniques taught in Toastmasters: gestures, eye contact, staging, storytelling, humor, vocal variety, use of colorful language, vulnerability.

FF: What inspired you to take this journey (presenting this particular speech)?

DL: I have given a number of speeches that were technically effective and demonstrated my polish and expertise as a speaker. However, I have really struggled with sharing personal stories. This has been a missing element in my development as a speaker. This year, I challenged myself to be vulnerable and, interestingly, I wasn't always technically in sync, but the connection with the audience was amazing.

FF: What do you aspire to accomplish, beyond this speech, but that this speech will allow you to “get to”?

DL: It would be great to represent the District at the next level. With that said, the personal growth has been invaluable. I feel I have a good grasp on how to create a message that can capture the hearts and imagination of my audience. Further, I would love to help others attain this level of achievement in their speaking. I believe it is often more rewarding to see someone you have helped succeed and grow in their chosen endeavors.

FF: Please share your favorite quote, and share how it ties to your personal life’s mission?

DL: I have several favorite quotes, however, this year I would say Maya Angelou's well known and often recited quote surfaces: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

FF: Based on this experience, do you have any tips for any Toastmasters considering competing in International Speech, in the future?

DL: There is the speech that has to tell a story that connects with your audience, shows vulnerability, and fits the current trend in public speaking. Most successful speeches that I have seen have been personal stories. The organization must flow so the audience can follow the story. Effectively use all techniques as appropriate e.g. staging, body language, vocal variety, gestures, props, humor and advanced language techniques.

This is followed by preparation. Each level of competition requires a certain amount of practice and feedback. As you approach the District finals, you will want to get in front of as many different audiences as possible and ask for detailed feedback. I would also recommend, someone serious about going far in competition, find a couple of Toastmasters to assist in the process.

Watch great speeches! Whether that is recent World Champions or popular Ted and TedX talks. Being exposed to great communicators will help you find the common substance to great speeches and elevate your skills. Also, read resources that are available to you. The Toastmasters magazine and website offer a ton of information on how you advance your communication skills. Read books such as Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo and Say It Well, by yours truly.

FF: Will we see you making a run for the title, again?

DL: It is extremely difficult to develop a speech to this level, let alone win. I am enjoying this years accomplishment and will get back into the swing of my local club and working on my Pathways. As the year winds down, I will see how I feel, and if I have content I believe an audience can gain value from and enjoy, I will return to competition.

FF: What one factor of this experience was most unexpected, before your experience with the 2019 contests?

DL: The growth I have experienced this year, by focusing on personal stories and showing vulnerability, has been totally unexpected. I learned that I won't move on to the Quarterfinals this year, and that tells me there is more to learn, and more growing to do. But walking away from this year's process being a better storyteller, and being able to show vulnerability, is the real win!
Podcasts & Multimedia

by Judd Spitzer, DTM, Social Media Chair

In case you are wondering, last year. the Toastmasters District 84 Podcast was on hiatus, but it is on its way back, better than ever. It can be found at http://www.toastmastersd84.org/podcast/ or you can search the Apple Podcast App for Toastmasters District 84. This year we will bring you some interviews with Toastmasters from around the District, round table discussions with District leadership, and much more. 

If you are unfamiliar with podcasts or podcasting, it is a way to place audio and/or video files on the internet and have them be easily accessible from applications, such as the Apple Podcast app. These files are recorded and then edited for content and time to create a show. People listen to podcasts during their morning commutes, or when working out, or just whenever they have sometime, just as they would listen to any talk radio station.

We are also working on short videos to be placed on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. We have done some great things in the past with video, and it is time to bring those skill sets back and create the type of content that will get our district noticed. These short videos can help clubs gain new members by exposing people to the Toastmasters brand. We look forward to your feedback and input as we move forward with some great ideas for this Toastmaster year.

From your District Leaders
This is your Captain speaking...
by Beth Ramsay, DTM
District Director

Welcome to our 2019-2020 Toastmasters year!

Whether you came to Toastmasters to gain confidence, become a better speaker or strengthen your leadership capabilities, each of us are on our own journey.

Therefore, the theme this year of “Enjoy the Journey!” is an important one. Let this message serve as a reminder that as you move through your own personal journey, you pause to appreciate the friends you are making, the skills you are gaining, and the depth of learning you are experiencing which all come together to enrich your time investment with Toastmasters.

This is one of the most dynamic, challenging and character-building organizations in existence today, yet, it isn’t like a restaurant where you can sit back and wait to be served. The old adage of “you get out of it what you put in to it” is definitely apropos. If you engage at a variety of levels of opportunity, you will unlock all the treasures that await you.

If you are ready to feel strong, energized, confident, motivated, active, happy and unstoppable … you’re on the right journey with Toastmasters District 84!

Enjoy the Journey!

Beth Ramsay
View from the Co-Pilot's seat...
by Pim Parpart, DTM, PQD

"Keep Climbing!"

Hello, District 84 Members,

My name is Pim Parpart, and I am serving you as District 84 Program Quality Director. My job is to support Quality Club Programming efforts, promoting the DCP Program, and planning, organizing and executing District Conference, Toastmasters Leadership Institutes (TLI), and other District educational and training events.

Pathways is here to stay, and we only have one more year to finish the Legacy program. If your club is struggling in transitioning into Pathways, help is on the way. We have a Pathways team standing by to support all clubs in achieving Pathways excellence.

PQD Team:

Pathways Chair - Becky McGilton
Club Quality Chair - John Morrow
DCP Chair - Sabrina Mallay
Conference Chair - Gail Hill Smith
Education Chair - Barbara Amato

Let’s work together to embrace all the positive changes this year. Let’s Enjoy the Journey together.

- Pim
Engineer's report...
by Debi Jo Londono, DTM, CGD

"Eyes on the Prize"

Ralph Smedley’s passion was to help others learn to speak and lead. Many of us share that passion. A passionate goal that the Trio shares is for our District to be Smedley Distinguished this year.

Why should you care if we are Smedley Distinguished?

  • Members who are learning in clubs that are growing not only have fun but also have more personal growth opportunities.
  • Clubs sustain success because they serve the needs of individual club members, and they do it in ways that can be measured.
  • A good measure that the club is providing you with the positive and supportive learning environment that will help you meet your goals is achieving Distinguished Status.

The CGD Marketing team is passionately focused on helping your club achieve excellence and helping the District Achieve Smedley Distinguished Status.

The Mission for this team is the District Mission:
"We build new clubs and support all clubs in Achieving Excellence" (and Have Fun Doing it!)

Some of us focus passionately on building new clubs:
  • Club Extension Committee: David Santiago – Eva Mae Brinson – Ajay Koovackal
  • New Club Sponsor Mentor Chair: Fred Bergeron
  • Youth leadership Chair: Oscar Kaalstad

Some of us focus passionately on supporting all clubs in Achieving Excellence:
  • Membership Chair: Christina Gonzalez
  • Club Coach Chair: Shelley Paros:
  • Club Assist Chair: Kelly Moore
  • Renewal Chair: Liz Frisbie
  • Club Ambassador Program Chair: Edwin Mercado-Rivera

What are you passionate about?
How is Toastmasters helping you with your passion?

Send the answers to these 2 questions to cgd@toastmastersd84.org and your story could be featured in the Frequent Flyer.

Please pay attention to your flight crew ...

News briefs submitted by your Flight (Division) Directors:

Division C:

Greetings Fellow Travelers, This is Marie Loeffler, your Division C Director.   My Toastmaster Journey began in 2011. Since then, I have served in every Club Office Position and in several District Chair positions, presented numerous workshops, and given enough speeches to earn two Distinguished Toastmaster Designations. Needless to say, I am committed to the Toastmasters organization.

This year’s incredibly competent Division C Team includes: Area 31 Director Conscientious Maria Son, Area 32 Director Confident Graig Heron, Area 33 Director Caring Kara Newcomb, and Area 34 Director Confident Wyetta Ford.

Division C is committed to enjoying our journey to success and we are glad you are coming along.

Division E:

In Division E, Loews Hotels Universal Orlando has filed final paperwork for charter on 7/9/2019.

Division H:

1. Kudos to Past Division H Director Maggie Beth McGrotha for receiving the District 84 Toastmaster of the Year Award. We are proud of Maggie Beth and her contributions to Division H.

2. TLI and Club Officer Training is August 3, 2019, from 9 am to 2:30 pm at Keiser University. Register now at https://form.jotform.com/91495267763167 and save $$.

3. Division H now has 5 Areas (Area 80, 81, 82, 83, and 84) with 4 clubs each. Reach out to your Area Directors or Division Director (ramdeo_seepaul@yahoo.coom) if you have any questions.

4. Do you know of an organization that wants to start a Toastmasters Club in Leon, Gadsden, Liberty, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, or Taylor counties? Email ramdeo_seepaul@yahoo.coom with the details.

Division I:

Division I is complete! Our team is inventive, imaginative, illustrious and filled with integrity! Our team consists of Dennis E. Wooldridge, Division I Director, Eveline Kraljic, Area 90 Director, Charles Merkle, Area 91 Director, David Bradley, Area 92 Director, Stephany Byrnes, Area 93 Director, and Lori Richard, Area 94 Director. It’s gonna be a great year!
Recurring features...
Jordan's Pondering

by Jordan Camenker, J.D.

Welcome to Jordan's Pondering, that sliver of the universe where I tinker with tidbit-ish questions of words and wit, writing and speaking, and stories and yarns. I'll try to serve up stuff you can use, and if I don't know the answers (as may well be the case) at least I'll strive to ask the right questions.

"Pondering How to Enjoy The Journey"

Quick show of hands: who can tell me what a hike along the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains has in common with the Toastmasters meeting? 

Just a few days ago, I visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of my favorite places in the world. It gave me an opportunity to walk the path up to Laurel Falls and to view the cloud-covered peaks from the observation tower at Clingman’s Dome. I was able to hike along the Appalachian Trail and also to wander off along some lesser-known, but equally inviting trails in those magical mountains. There is an almost holy feel to the place, as though one has trod through sacred space. If you’ve been, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t been, then go.

There were only a few places in the mountains where I could actually text anyone. Once, at Newfound Gap, and also, I think, near Cades Cove. I assume others’ experience was not unlike my own. And yet, folks’ phones were everywhere, serving as cameras. Beautiful vista? Capture it. Interesting tree? Capture it. Inviting trail? Capture it? And so on. 

Forty years ago, I tramped around Europe and Asia, my Kodak Instamatic in my backpack, along with several rolls of film. That was to last me for half a year. Nowadays, in a place like the Smokies, one might easily snap just as many pictures over a long weekend. After all, you can take multiple shots of the same thing, then delete the ones that don’t turn out just right. Indeed, we can take a thousand pics and multiple videos in the space of an hour without ever reaching our limit.

Right after I returned, I got back in the saddle and showed up at my weekly Toastmasters meeting. I heard fine speeches that week, some insightful evaluations, and several very clever table topics. And yet, I guess it wasn’t engaging enough. Several members repeatedly checked their phones. A few were sheepish enough to have to hide them in their laps below the table. Others were insouciant about their behavior - they simply constantly alternated their attention between speaker and phone.   

The common thread sewn through a hike in the Smokies and a meeting with Toastmasters is the ubiquity of those darn cell phones. They are everywhere, every moment. We are addicted and, as a consequence, we are slowly surrendering slices of our humanity. These devices are both a boon and a bane.

I’m no Luddite. I may not have quite the digital mastery of my millennial offspring, but I can hold my own when it comes to harnessing the power of these wondrous devices. Even so, I am reminded of the ancient wisdom: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..." I believe the next verse goes, “including a time for phone use and a time for phone avoidance.” Or something like that.

We are well familiar with the benefits this technology confers, but, as I have discovered, many of us are much less familiar with the corresponding burdens. Two centuries ago, Goethe warned that "[a] distracted existence leads us to no goal." And these days we are endlessly distracted.

First and foremost, the constant caressing of social media sites, incessant texting, running multiple tabs, our photographing - and then publicizing - each tasty morsel that adorns our dinner plate - the cumulative effect is an avalanche of interruptions. We flit back and forth. We confidently multi-task, when, in fact, we're really not built to multi-task, and we don't do it very well at all.

There is a mounting body of research, the results of which are disturbing. We love the fact that our technology allows us to connect with people we love in faraway places. At the same time, many of us, young people in particular, feel less genuinely connected to people, with fewer meaningful relationships, then at any time in memory. Educators report that our young people increasingly lack empathy. They have had fewer opportunities, over briefer in-person interactions, to experience group dynamics and form meaningful relationships.  All of us are hooked – we are physically addicted to our social media, enjoying each tiny squirt of dopamine our body secretes every time we garner a “like.” And oxytocin, the “cuddle chemical,” can spike dramatically with just a few minutes of sweetly-packaged tweets – almost akin to a really great date with your one true love.  But there’s the rub – more time on our devices means less time with real people, making real connections.

Depression and anxiety rates are sky-rocketing, and they correlate strongly with extensive social media use. Moreover, multiple studies demonstrate that ready access to technology in a learning environment makes us think we are more knowledgeable than we actually are. Contrariwise, photographing something, without more, leaves us with a less distinct memory of the subject then we would have had if no photograph had been taken. Of course, we have the pictures to return to later on, but along the way, we miss the chance to be wholly in the moment with the subject we were photographing and the people we were with.

And there is, of course, the rudeness factor. But it's not just about the rudeness. It’s the disconnectedness. Look around any family restaurant. You'll see parents looking at their devices instead of their children. You'll see children with their own devices, so they won't be a nuisance to their parents. Family time is precious, and yet they are all missing out on the stuff of life. 

And this, my fellow Toastmasters, is, ultimately, what provides fodder for our speeches. Yet increasingly, we are AWOL as life unfolds right before our very lives. The slogan for District 84 this coming year is "Enjoy the Journey." Enjoy the journey? Many of us are often unaware that we are even on the journey! And I’ve just scratched the surface.

There is another way. I suggest the following:
1. Put your phone away when you are at meetings, meals, and family events;
2. Limit your daily social media time, and designate screen-free time;
3. Never sleep with your phone. I recommend using a simple alarm clock, if you need one, and leaving your phone in the other room. Otherwise, at least keep it beyond arm's reach;
4. Two or three times per hour, spend a few minutes away from your screens. Get some exercise. Enjoy a bit of fresh air;
5. Consider using filters or apps to block the blue light (which influences melatonin);
6. Meditate once per day; and
7. For your sake, for the sake of those you love, and for the sake of every sentient being in this quadrant of the galaxy (okay, I'm overdoing it just a tad), read at least one of the following books:

By Sherry Turkle: 
Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other and
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

By Nicholas Carr:
The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us and
The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

By Adam Alter:
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

By Jean M. Twenge:
iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us

If we try this, we'll be - dare I say it? – hooked on the books, start our digital de-tox, and begin to truly enjoy our journey.

Ponderingly Yours,  
Jordy C.

Jordan Camenker is an award-winning humorist who provides entertainment, coaching, teaching and training on topics pertaining to comedy and wit. You may e-mail him at jcamenker@gmail.com  
Out of the Blu w/ Ray ...

by Monty Ray Davidson, DTM

"Table Topics at 20,000 feet"

Imagine, if you will, flying on a jet plane. You just happen to notice something strange on the wing of said plane. You'd probably freak out, like William Shatner did, in the Twilight Zone classic, "Nightmare at 20,000 feet." Bill desperately tries to convince everyone that "There's a man on the wing of this plane!" But to no avail. He then takes matters into his own hands. (Spoiler Alert for a late 1950s TV show: It doesn't end well for the future Captain of the Enterprise!)

What can we take away from this, regarding Table Topics? Be like Shatner, and be aware of what's going on around you. No one else on the plane was looking out the window to see the poorly-made-up actor in the shaggy gremlin suit! We should be alert and watchful, at all times, to be able to observe, then report back interesting things during Table Topics.

Do this, and you'll always have a unique perspective, and something of value to add to your next Toastmasters meeting.

By no means am I advocating pointing out monsters to your hard-working Flight Attendant, the next time you travel (though I must confess -- it crosses my mind every time I get a window seat!)

Til next time -- this is Captain Monty Ray, from the Flight Deck. The seat belt sign is off. Feel free to move about the cabin.
"There's a Table Topic on the wing!"
Keep in mind...
Enjoy the Journey!
This year's theme is "Enjoy the Journey."

We hope you enjoy your Toastmasters Journey and offer you to reach out to your District Leaders and fellow Toastmasters to share your experiences, or for more information.

Please see us on social media for the latest updates, and, of course, visit a club near you.

Remember the Facebook hashtag: #TMD84
"The Frequent Flyer" - Newsletter of Toastmasters District 84
Beth Ramsay, DTM - Publisher
Jerome Kalisz, DTM - Editor
Bob Fischer, DTM - Public Relations Manager