Memory Lane 2011

Valley Town Toastmasters' Photo Album 


A Banner Day!

January 6, 2011
A new club banner was unfolded during Valley Town Toastmasters' first official meeting in its new venue at the Dundas Town Hall Auditorium.

Gary Reid (ATM), left in photo, one of our club's senior members, is shown with it newest member, Param Matharu, in front of the new banner.

Valley Town will now proudly display its new "Dundas" banner alongside its original "Ancaster" one during its meetings.

A Special Story

January 27, 2011
The Honourable David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, presented a speech about the Peace and Victory Tower in Ottawa.

David talked about the history of the Tower before and after a devastating fire in 1916. He placed special emphasis on the Memorial Chamber which, today, is home to the Books of Remembrance which has the names of every Canadian man and woman who have died in the service of Canada.

It was a special story about a building dedicated to the memory of special Canadians.

Thank you, David!


International Speech Contest

February 3, 2011 - The annual club International Speech Contest was held by Valley Town Toastmasters with five excellent presentations.

The International Speech Contest is an opportunity for a Toastmaster to advance all the way to the Toastmaster International World Championships.

The five contestants are pictured above (left-to-right), Jonathan Spiegel (DTM), Viola Mueller (ACB), Geneva Neale (ACS, CL), Yolanda Miller (CC) and Ken MacKinnon. Tony Bratschitsch (ACS, ALB) was the Contest Chair is is shown at the far right in the above photo.

Congratulations to Jonathan Spiegel for his first place presentation and best wishes for the Area 51 Contest!


 Evaluation Contest

February 3, 2011 - Valley Town Toastmasters conducted the 2011 Evaluation Contest with three experienced and enthusiastic contestants.

The evaluation contest was based on the contestants providing 2 - 3 minute concise and constructive analysis of a presented "Target Speech".

Pictured above, left to right: Ken MacKinnon, Geneva Neale (ACS, CL), Jonathan Spiegel (DTM), Target Speaker Alison Feierabend from McMaster Toastmaster and Contest Chair, Kenrick Chin (ACB).

Ken MacKinnon earned first place and will represent Valley Town Toastmasters at the Area 51 Contest.

Target Speaker

February 9, 2011

Valley Town Toastmaster Mark Mullins (ACG, CL), left in photo, was the Target Speaker at the Midday Marauders Evaluation Contest.

Presenting Target Speeches for evaluation contests is a wonderful opportunity to both improve speaking skills and to help other Toastmasters improve their evaluation techniques.

Well done, Mark!

February 18, 2011 Area 51 held its annual Toastmaster International Speech and Evaluation Contests at the Dundas Town Hall auditorium.
Four clubs - Ambitious City, Brant, McMaster and Valley Town - participated by supporting their contestants with a great turnout of 45 Toastmasters and guests.
In the above photo, Gary Reid, the Evaluation Contest Chair, is shown addressing the audience before the target speech presentation.
The evaluation contest participants pictured above are (left to right): David Harfield (Ambitious City), David T Shaw (McMaster), Sandra Biggar (Brant) and Ken MacKinnon (Valley Town).
Congratulations to David T Shaw for his 1st place finish!
David will represent our Area 51 in the Division L Contest in Niagara-on-the-Lake on March 4, 2011. 
The International Speech Contestants provided excellent inspirational presentations to the audience.
The above participants (left to right), Craig Addison (Ambitious City), Sandra Biggar (Brant), Jonathan Spiegel (Valley Town) and David T Shaw (McMaster) are shown with Chair Tom Bering of McMaster Toastmasters.
Congratulations to David T Shaw for his 1st place presentation!
David will represent Area 51 in the Division L International Speech Contest, as well!

The Golden Toaster!
The Golden Toaster is back!
This prized trophy was re-introduced to Area 51 on Friday, February 18, 2011 at the annual International Speech & Evaluation Contests and will be rewarded to the club that has the gumption to "steal" it from its current host club.
If you look carefully, you can see the authentic brand "Toastmaster" logo on the lower centre facing of our coveted prize.
The Golden Toaster was "recovered" and refurbished to its previous glory by Valley Town President Kenrick Chin.
Kenrick is pictured in the centre of the the left photo presenting the Golden Toaster to David T Shaw (right) of McMaster Toastmasters as the 1st winner as a result of his first place finish in the International Speech Contest.
Tom Bering, contest chair and also from the deserving McMaster club, is shown looking on with good cheer!
Well done, McMaster Toastmasters!
Thank you, Kenrick!
May the Golden Toaster be the toast of many more golden moments!
Follow the Golden Toaster on its own page.

February 23, 2011 Area 54 conducted their 2011 International Speech and Evaluation Contests at the Royal Canadian Legion in Dundas, hosted by Valley Town Toastmasters.
Hamilton TSO, Midday Marauders and OPS Bravehearts Toastmasters had their club winners well primed to challenge for the honour of representing Area 54 in the Division L Contests on March 4, 2011.
The Evaluation Contestants, pictured in the above photo, are Rebecca DesRoches (left) from OPS Bravehearts and Vanessa Pazzi from Midday Marauders.The Evaluation Contest Chair was Tony Bratschitsch from Valley Town Toastmasters.
Vanessa Pazzi was the 1st place finisher and will represent Area 54 in the Division L competition.
Area 54's International Speech Contestants, in the above photo from right to left) are Ron Tammer, Hamilton TSO, Jim Brown, OPS Bravehearts and Sharon Babineau, Midday Marauders.
Gary Reid, Valley Town Toastmasters, the contest chair is shown on the far left.
Congratulations to Sharon Babineau for her 1st place finish.
Sharon will represent Area 54 in the Division L International Speech Contest on March 4, 2011.

Coach's Corner
March 10, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters were pleased to host "Coach's Corner", presented by Lori Lococo (DTM) and Philip Lococo (ACB, ALS) of the Honeymoon Toastmaster Club from Niagara Falls.
Coach's Corner is a brainstorming tool that brings a member's speech ideas to a group setting consisting of fellow Toastmasters.
Members from the Ambitious City, Brant, First Waterdown, Hamilton TSO, Honeymoon City, OPS Bravehearts and, of course, Valley Town Toastmaster Clubs were on hand to participate in this workshop.
Lori Lococo is seen in the above photo explaining the concept to the audience.
Guests also had an opportunity to observe how Toastmasters continue to provide innovative ideas to improve confidence through communication and leadership.
Thank you, Lori and Phil!

The Golden Toaster is Ours!

April 6, 2011

Valley Town Toastmasters raided the McMaster club and stole the Golden Toaster.
It was a fun evening and was well hosted by our friends from McMaster.
Pictured from Valley Town (left to right): Viola Mueller (ACB), Jeff Bonner, Tony Bratschitsch (ACS, ALB) and Jonathan Spiegel (DTM).
David T. Shaw (DTM) of the McMaster club is on the far right being shown graciously handing over the prized Golden Toaster.
The purpose of the Golden Toaster is to encourage Area 51 clubs to send their members to visit the other clubs.
To "steal" the Golden Toaster, Jonathan presented a manual speech and Tony provided an evaluation of a McMaster Toastmaster's project.
For more information, go to the Golden Toaster page.

"Busy Bunny" Visits Club!
April 21, 2011
Just in time for Easter, Valley Town Toastmasters were thrilled to receive a visit from "Busy Bunny"!
Generously spreading gifts of delicious chocolates, Busy Bunny (also known as Grace Trushinski, Area 54 Governor and member of Hamilton No. 1 Toastmasters) delighted her adoring audience with tales of dyeing easter eggs (and her hair).
Thank you, Grace, er..., Busy Bunny, for fulfilling our theme of the week! 


April 28, 2011

They came, they spoke, they evaluated, they stole!
Brant Toastmasters swiped the Golden Toaster!
Five members from our friendly neighbouring club in Brantford visited Valley Town Toastmasters to participate in the Area 51 Golden Toaster program.
This program was designed to encourage Toastmasters from other clubs to visit one another.
In "stealing" the Golden Toaster, Sara Hillis (far left) presented a speech and both Janice McDonald (third from left) and Ken Klunder (far right) gave evaluations.
Also visiting from Brant Toastmasters was Bill Jol (second from left) and Julia Sek (third from right).
Valley Town president, Kenrick Chin (second from right), is also pictured presenting the Golden Toaster to our friends.
Thank you, Brant Toastmasters, for the fun and good spirit that you brought to our meeting!
May 6, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters were invited to Kenrick Chin's 60th birthday party at his home.
Besides many members from our club, Kenrick's church choir also attended along with their musical instruments.
Karen Wood was the Master of Ceremonies and she commenced the programmed part of the party once everyone was nicely settled in.
Marie-Louise Kallsen was the Table Topics Master and ingeniously contrived musical topics from the 1950s nd 1960s.
At that point, the music started playing, the singing geared up and the laughter flowed.
After the "musical table topics", Kenrick was gently roasted by Gary Reid, then John Martin who was then followed up by Tony Bratschitsch.
Thank you to Kenrick's family - spouse Julie and children Allison, Melanie, Patrick and Robert - for opening your home to us and for being excellent and gracious hosts!  

Newspaper Exposure!
June 13, 2011
The Hamilton Spectator Newspaper placed a large photo and featured Valley Town Toastmasters in its Monday, June 13, 2011 edition.
The caption below the photo reads:
"Stay away from the ums and ahs. Valley Town Toastmasters meets Thursdays, 7 PM, at Dundas Town Hall Auditorium (2nd floor), 60 Main St., in Dundas."

Barbecue Fun!
June 23, 2011
What a way to "Laugh & Learn"!
Many Toastmasters and friends from different clubs joined us for our annual June barbecue.
They brought their good cheer from Brantford, Hamilton, Kincardine, Niagara Falls, and St. Catharines to prove, once again, that we all belong to "one big club"!
Our District 86 Governor, Merri Macartney (DTM) , participated in our celebration and spoke to us about the great accomplishments that we have achieved in our district during the past year.
Merri's vision of "Soaring to Excellence" was a major driving force to accomplishing those many successes that we all enjoyed.
Many thanks to Jonathan Spiegel (DTM) for hosting almost 75 people in his back yard, including these enthusiastic dancers!
Congratulations to Ambitious City Toastmasters for finally getting rid of their dreaded "Ah Brush".
David T Shaw (DTM) is pictured giving "the last rites" to the Ah Brush before it was tossed into the barbecue pit.
Taking the place of the "Ah Brush" is the "Clear Speech" Trophy which was deservedly presented to long-time Ambitious City Toastmaster Ray Redbourne (DTM), left in photo, by out-going Ambitious City Toastmasters President David Harfield (DTM).
Even though this cake didn't last long, there's a lot more "Laughing & Learning" to come!
Thank you, everyone!

June 28, 2011
As soon as you pick up the June 2011 issue of THE BAY OBSERVER, she is looking right at you - Maggie Szabo of Valley Town Toastmasters.
And the music world is looking right back at her!
Deservedly so.
They are finding out what we already know - that Maggie is talented, spirited and genuine.
Way to go, Maggie!
(More info at

It's Your Festival
July 1, 2011
Four members of Valley Town Toastmasters were pictured at the It's Your Festival celebration held at Gage Park in Hamilton on Canada Day (Friday, July 1, 2011).
From left to right in the above photo are Jonathan Spiegel (DTM), Geneva Neale (ACG, CL) and Tony Bratschitsch (ACS, ALB).
This was the second day of participation for Jonathan and Geneva who have selflessly dedicated their holiday and spare time for the betterment of all Toastmasters in the greater Hamilton area.
The Toastmaster involvement in this year's festival was initiated and organized by Area 53 Governor Nathalie Xian Yi Yan (ACG, CL) of the Access Toastmaster Club.
It's Your Festival is being held from June 30 to July 3 and is being supported by many Toastmasters from many clubs in the Hamilton area.
Thank you to all of you who have been able to help support this event.

July 16, 2011
A group of Toastmasters and guests enjoyed a superb trip to Niagara's vineyards on this gorgeous Saturday!
For the complete story and more photos, go to our WINE TOUR page.

August 11, 2011
Two of Valley Town Toastmasters were recognized by our club for their contributions to other Toastmaster clubs.
Mark Mullins (ACG, CL) received a CLUB MENTOR CERTIFICATE from Toastmasters International for helping a new club develop its program from its start up.
Mark spent many months in guiding and directing CREATECH (CHAT) TOASTMASTERS of Hamilton into the proper procedures of running a meeting, setting up its club executive, developing its educational program and much more.
One of the great benefits of being a Toastmaster is having the opportunity to help other Toastmasters.
Createch Toastmasters were fortunate to have the services of one of the best.
Mark is pictured receiving his CLUB MENTOR CERTIFICATE from Viola Mueller (ACB), meeting Chair.
Well done, Mark!
Another Valley Town Toastmaster, Tony Bratschitsch (ACS, ALB) was also recognized by the club for his role in helping a neighbouring club, AMBITIOUS CITY TOASTMASTERS, in a time of need.
Tony received a CLUB COACH CERTIFICATE from Toastmasters International for assisting Ambitious City in rejuvenating itself.
Along with fellow co-coach David T Shaw (DTM) of the McMaster Toastmaster Club, Tony was successful in helping to bring the Ambitious City club from near collapse last October to President's Distinguished Club status in June.
Tony is seen receiving the CLUB COACH CERTIFICATE from Viola Mueller, meeting Chair.
Toastmaster recognition is given when our members apply themselves outside the club as well as within.
Congratulations Mark and Tony!

August 13, 2011
Jonathan Spiegel (DTM) of Valley Town Toastmasters received special recognition for his speech presentation at the Judging Work Shop at the Division L Club Officer Training.
Jonathan (centre of photo, standing just left of the banner) was voted by a panel of experienced evaluators to have presented the best speech from among three highly qualified Toastmasters.
As a result, work shop facilitator, Peter Maxymuik (DTM), was inspired to present Jonathan with the TOP BANANA award.
Everyone was impressed with Jonathan's usage of "speechcraft, bodycraft and stagecraft" to deliver the essence of his powerful message to the audience.
By doing so, Jonathan was able to demonstrate the importance of coordinating those three different aspects of speech making into a remarkable example of delivering a message with lasting impact.
As well, Jonathan - who has already achieved his Distinguished Toastmaster designation - continues to show that learning never stops.
Way to go, Jonathan!

August 19 - 21, 2011
Thousands of people flooded the main street of Dundas during the 36th Cactus Festival - one of the Top 10 of Ontario's 2,000 annual festivals.
Valley Town Toastmasters participated with an information pavilion for the third straight year.
Supported by Toastmasters from neighbouring clubs, Valley Town's club members spoke to dozens of interested people from southern Ontario about the benefits of "speaking with confidence".
One delightful visitor was Member of Parliament David Sweet (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale), pictured on the right in the above photo.
Standing with David is Kenrick Chin (left in photo), the designer and builder of the acclaimed Travelling Toaster and Tony Bratschitsch (centre), Division L Governor.
The Toastmaster Information Pavilion was located in the centre of the festival and was operated from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon by many Toastmasters.
Pictured in the above photo, taken Friday PM, from left to right, is David T Shaw (McMaster Toastmasters), District 86 Historian and Division L Secretary, Carl Wais (Valley Town Toastmasters), Tony Bratschitsch and Abeer Musleh (Valley Town Toastmasters).
Special Thanks to our Pavilion Participants:
Abeer Musleh (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Carl Wais (Valley Town Toastmasters)
David T Shaw (McMaster Toastmasters)
Gary Wyber (Judy Shepalo's husband)
Gerri McManamy (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Grace Trushinski (Hamilton No. 1 Toastmasters)
Judi Kruzins (Midday Marrauders Toastmasters)
Judy Shepalo (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Karen Wood (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Kenrick Chin (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Maureen Hills (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Penny Batey (Brampton Toastmasters), Division A Governor
Richard Parrish (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Tony Bratschitsch (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Yolanda Miller (Valley Town Toastmasters)
Thank you to Kenrick Chin and Richard Parrish for the photos.
August 18, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters participated in its fourth Cactus Festival Parade by walking, e-biking and "toasting" through downtown Dundas.
Toastmasters from four clubs and some friends out-waited the thunder storm and rain that preceded the parade.
On cue, the clouds parted and the sun reappeared just in time for the parade to start.
Our big feature this year was the Travelling Toaster - a mobile facsimile of a large slice of toasted bread that would pop up and down as it moved along the parade route.
Kenrick Chin, who designed and built the Travelling Toaster, is pictured above as he drove along King Street.
Jonathan Spiegel rode escort on one of Kenrick's e-bikes as Melissa Chan and her friend, Jing Jing, followed at the end of our procession.
Special Thanks to our Parade Participants:
David T. Shaw, McMaster Toastmaster
Geneva Neale, Valley Town Toastmasters
Grace Trushinski, Hamilton No. 1 Toastmasters
Jim Panoff, Valley Town Toastmasters
Jing Jing (Melissa's friend)
Jonathan Spiegel, Valley Town Toastmasters
Karen Wood, Valley Town Toastmasters
Ken Klunder (Area 51 Governor), Brant Toastmasters
Kenrick Chin, Valley Town Toastmasters
Maybelline (Sergio's wife)
Melissa Chan, Valley Town Toastmasters
Sergio DiGiovanni, Valley Town Toastmasters
Tony Bratschitsch, Valley Town Toastmasters
William (Jonathan's friend)
Thank you to Kenrick Chin and Richard Parrish for the photos.

August 28, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters is one of four clubs in AREA 51.
The other clubs are Ambitious City, Brant and McMaster Toastmasters.
Last year, one of the clubs almost folded while two others struggled with membership growth.
However, we all worked really well together and ended the year on a strong note.
That momentum seems to have carried over into this year.
Right now, all four AREA 51 clubs have great membership numbers and are moving forward with excellent programs.
Besides having one of the highest membership growth rates in District 86, AREA 51 is the only area that can boast that it has 100% of its club officers trained.
So, it was quite a coincidence to see that Popular Mechanics Magazine was inquiring into the Roswell version of Area 51.
Or was it?
Because that guy on the front cover looks a lot like our own Area 51 Governor Ken Klunder.
Excellent work, Governor Ken, but the next time you offer to "pick us up", we'll drive.

Barbecue Fun!
September 1, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters held an in-club barbecue for its members and guests at Jonathan Spiegel's home.
 The party theme was "The '80s" .
Our Master of Ceremony, Allyson Wenzowski, is pictured in the background of the right section of the photo as she was introducing our Table Topics Master, John Martin.
As always, we enjoyed a huge variety and volume of various foods and beverages - thanks to everyone's generosity.
Our Entertainment Chair, Daniel Salonen (also know as "Don Johnson" of Miami Vice, centre of the left photo), prepared a large selection of authentic '80's music.
Many thanks, again, to Jonathan Spiegel for hosting our September barbecue.

September 29, 2011
Two club contests were conducted on this night - the Table Topics Contest and the Humorous Speech Contest.
able Topics are short, impromptu speeches that challenge the speakers to think on their feet while expressing themselves in a structured manner.
Pictured in the left photo (left-to-right) are the Contest Chair and contestants Richard Parrish, Jonathan Spiegel and James Craig.
Congratulations to James Craig for his first place finish in the Table Topics Contest!
The Humorous Speech Contest was a competition of funny 5-7 minute speeches.
Pictured in the right photo (left-to-right) are Geneva Neale, Contest Chair, Gary Reid, James Craig, Melissa Chan and Jonathan Spiegel.
The first place winner of the Humorous Speech Contest was Gary Reid.
Both James and Gary will proceed to compete in the Area 51 Contest on October 11, 2011.
Well done, everyone!

October 21, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters hosted the Division L Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contests on this Friday evening in our meeting room - the upper auditorium in the Dundas Town Hall.
The attendance exceeded our expectations with over 130 Toastmasters arriving from 30 clubs from Niagara Falls through Oakville.
Valley Town's Gary Reid was the Chief Judge of the Humour Speech Contest during the second-half of the event.
Gary is shown in the centre of the photo on the left explaining the rules to the audience.
Jonathan Spiegel performed very well in the Table Topics Contest, representing our club and Area 51.

Mark Mullins, also from Valley Town, was the Chair for the Humorous Speech Contest.
Mark is shown in the photo on the right interviewing the seven contestants.

The overall meeting was chaired by our Tony Bratschitsch, Division L Governor.
Valley Town Toastmasters wishes to acknowledge and thank all of its following members for organizing and staging this memorable event:
Abeer Musleh (Registrar and Counter)
Amy Hunter (Chief Timer)
Beverley Featherstone (Registrar and Counter)
Beverley Reid (Judge)
Gary Reid (Contest Chief Judge)
Geneva Neale (Registrar and Counter)
Imelda Esporlas-Jewer
Jonathan Spiegel (Set-Up)
Karen Wood (Judge)
Kenrick Chin (Wrap-Up)
Marie-Louise Kallsen (Timer)
Mark Mullins (Contest Chair)
Maureen Hills (Registrar and Timer)
Tony Bratschitsch (Event Chair)
Yolanda Miller (Caligrapher)
Thank you to Beverley and Gary Reid for bring those three cakes!
Thank you to those who helped with preparing and placing the food.
Valley Town Proud!

A Beautiful Christmas Party
December 10, 2011

This year's Christmas party was held at Viola Mueller's home in Dundas.
Viola and her husband, Mike, graciously provided our club members and guests with a warm and happy environment for a great festive event.
We enjoyed the best of everything - friendship, food, and good cheer - throughout the evening.
Musical entertainment was provided by three
of our members - Mark MullinsMarie-Louise Kallsen and Kenrick Chin (left to right) - along with Kenrick's wife, Julie.
For the second straight year, we were also able to sing the four Toastmaster Christmas Carols for the humour and joy of our new members and our guests.

We will have many pleasant memories of our beautiful Christmas party, such as the group enjoying themselves in the above photo and new friendships being made, such as Rafi Musleh (left in photo) and friendships being shared, as with Sergio DiGiovanni and Imelda Esporals-Jewer, below.

Merry Christmas, everyone  - and a happy New Year to you and your loved ones!
 * The "Christmas Reindeer Banner" at the top of this story was designed by Viola Mueller.

December 15, 2011
Valley Town Toastmasters were treated to a visit by a special guest - Rock Santa.
Upon barging through our meeting doors, Rock Santa took over the meeting and bitterly complained about an "overly gaseous" Rudolph who was making unwanted contributions to the greenhouse effect.
In this photo, Kenrick Chin appears to be pleading with an unconvinced Rock Santa that Christmas is meant to be a time for forgiveness - even for Rudolph.
From that point on, Rock Santa took the club to task on its knowledge of Canadian geography - probably to get an idea where he had to go to deliver more gifts to other Toastmasters.
He liberally rewarded those astute members of our club with gifts, including a can of beans, a box of macaroni, a jar of chicken soup.
Rock Santa is pictured with some of his favourite Toastmasters:
Yolanda Miller
Evelyn MacDonald
Thank you for a rocking good time, Rock Santa!
(We hope that Rudolph won't miss that can of beans!)