(Past events are archived in MEMORY LANE)

A Toastmaster's Remembrance Day Message

(This submission was originally written for the District 86 Blog)

November 11, 2014

I wish to share a message with my fellow Toastmasters about an everlasting experience I had on Remembrance Day. I believe that this is important to share with others in District 86 that serves its members so well. 

I am a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 in Dundas. On Remembrance Day, this past Tuesday, I dressed in my uniform and walked almost 2 kilometers to the branch where I was to fall in with the Colour Party (flag bearers). Along the way, through a neighbourhood park, an elderly man stopped me to express his thanks for my service. I asked him for his first name and I said, "Thank you, Ozzie, for your kindness". I felt my spine straighten even more so. Further on, I came upon three municipal workers who paused to praise me. My chin went up higher. I thanked them for their service, as well. As such, this experience already had a remarkable effect upon me.

When the Remembrance Parade started at the fire hall, the Colour Party was the second unit behind the Dundas Pipe and Drum Band which lead a long column of military and service units. When we wheeled onto King Street, we all marched to a pace that was measured by the drum roll. Step by step, we approached the cenotaph with the streets tightly packed with thousands of people. At that point, a tremendous crescendo of cheers arose from the onlookers - something I never heard before. Then the Scottish pipers played their marching tune and the cheers escalated to an even higher volume. During those moments, I did not feel any burden, whatsoever, carrying the Ontario provincial flag.

The Colour Party took its place front and centre at the cenotaph with the names of the young men and women inscribed who sacrificed all during their service to Canada. After the venerable Remembrance ceremony was conducted, local community organizations were called upon to lay their wreaths. For the second consecutive year, Valley Town Toastmasters was announced. As fellow Toastmaster Kenrick Chin stepped up to the cenotaph, a large applause from the packed audience was heard. I do not think that I ever stood taller in my life.

I am very proud to be a Toastmaster as well as a member of the Legion. It is such a great honour to serve others.

Tony Bratschitsch, DTM, Immediate Past District 86 Governor, President Valley Town Toastmasters


October 29, 2014

Our club, Valley Town Toastmasters, considers itself to be a true "community" club in the sense that we will reach out to other organizations if we can be of assistance.

We have done this many times in the past to such organizations as the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, the Community Food Advisors of Hamilton, The Arthritis Society of Canada, The Royal Canadian Legion, the Industry Education Council of Hamilton, the Dundas Valley High School Co-Op, the Hamilton Public Library, the Women's Institute, the Young Taiwanese Merchants Association of Toronto and Mohawk College.

Besides helping other community organizations, we are able to provide an opportunity for our members to practice their presentation skills outside of the club. Quite often, these events are like "litmus tests" when it comes to evaluating our communication skills in a different environment.

On Wednesday, October 29, 2014, three members of our club gave an one-hour presentation to a combined meeting of Brothers of The Masonic Lodge in their Stoney Creek location.

The purpose of this event was to demonstrate some techniques in public speaking - and audience interaction - that would help the Brethren to improve their speaking skills.

It was a great opportunity - and honour - to be of service to such an outstanding organization that has been contributing to the values of our society for hundreds of years.

The three members of our club are pictured in the above photo. They are Derek Livingstone (2nd from left), Karen Wood and Tony Bratschitsch (2nd from right).

Valley Town proud!


October 9, 2014

Area 51 conducted its annual Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests at the Dundas Town Hall.

There are four clubs in Area 51: Ambitious City Toastmasters, Brant, McMaster and Valley Town.

Pictured in the above photo (left to right) from the Humorous Speech Contest are Nina Goncharenko (3rd place, Valley Town), Derek McGrattan (2nd place, Brant), David T Shaw (1st place, Ambitious City), Dawn Claus (Chief Judge), Cody Novak (Area 51 Governor) and Tony Bratschitsch (Chair).

Congratulations to David T Shaw who will represent Area 51 in the Division L Contest on October 24 at Niagara College near St. Catharines.

From the Table Topics Contest, left to right in the above photo, are Sujane Kandasamy (3rd place, McMaster), Marie-Louise Kallsen (2nd place, Valley Town), David Ojeyinka (1st place, McMaster), Cody Novak (Area 51 Governor), Lindsay Kueh (Chair) and Ken Klunder (Chief Judge).

Congratulations to David Ojeyinka who will represent our area in the Division L Table Topics Contest.

Area 51 Proud!


October 2, 2014

Our Vice-President of Membership, Artur Filc, had a busy and enjoyable evening welcoming three new members into Valley Town Toastmasters.

Marisha Heinen joined our club to improve her presentation skills.

Marisha is a manager with a large retailer that is dedicated to customer service.

She wishes to improve her "message sending" to employees and co-workers to help her employer's continuing success.

Marisha presented a humorous speech in our recent contest even before she have her Ice Breaker!

Dale Skvereckas
is a legal professional who wants to maintain and improve her people skills.

She is an experienced Toastmaster who has held many leadership roles in another club.

Dale has attended some of our club functions in the past and she recently walked with us in the Cactus Festival parade.

Welcome, Dale!

Derek Livingstone
is a teacher who wishes to improve his comfort level in front of large groups of people.

Derek enjoys humour and challenges. He bravely entered our club contest recently and qualified to ne one of our two representatives at the Area 51 Contest on October 9.

Well done, Derek!

Welcome to our new members! We look forward to growing with you!

Us, nervous? No way!!!

September 25, 2014

It was unusual but awesome! Our club opened our contest event (see below story) with two Ice Breakers by Rose-Anne St.Jean and Andrea Malick (left to right in upper photo).

Both Andrea and Rose-Anne presented superb introductory speeches in front of the lectern and without notes. Wow!

Thank you, Andrea and Rose-Anne, for your inspiring presentations!


September 25, 2014

Valley Town Toastmasters conducted their Annual Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest. Everybody won!

It was an action packed event with started with two Ice Breakers before the contests started.

The Table Topics Contest consisted of a two-minute impromptu presentation. In this case, the topic was "patience".

The winners, pictured left to right beside Kenrick Chin (Contest Chair), are Karen Wood (1st), Marie-Louise Kallsen (2nd) and Derek Livingstone (3rd).

The Humorous Speech Contest had presentations of seven-minute prepared speeches. The winners are pictured in the above photo, left to right beside Kenrick Chin (Contest Chief Judge), Nina Goncharenko (1st), Gary Reid (2nd) and Karen Wood (3rd).

Our top two place finishers for both contests will advance to the Area 51 Contest that will be held in our meeting room on October 9.

Contests are club events that try to get everyone involved as either a contestant, official or, sometimes, both. For over 20 years, Beverley and Gary Reid have participated and supported our club contests.

Rose Kulyk followed Gary's lead by being both a contestant and a contest official. Unlike Gary, this was Rose's first contest event but you wouldn't know it based on the level of her enthusiasm. Thank you, Rose, for the joy that you bring to our events!

One person who really embodied our Table Topics subject - "patience" - was Zhao Hui, our timer. Hui never stopped working throughout the evening. Members like him represent the true success of our club. Thank you, Hui!

Thank you, everyone, for making this club contest very successful and memorable!


September 11, 2014

Our club member Karen Wood (centre in photo) gave a special presentation to the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (IODE).

Karen's topic was about handling the fear of public speaking in which she gave personal examples.

The IODE was founded in 1900 and is involved in many generous and worthwhile events such as their War Memorial Scholarships for students.

Such speaking opportunities as this gives our members a chance to enhance their skills outside of our club while providing a service to others at the same time.

Well done, Karen! It was a great speech for an excellent organization.


September 4, 2014

Sahil Arora (left in photo) was warmly welcomed as a new member by VP Membership, Artur Filc.

Sahil is a Hamilton resident and he is working on a post-graduate degree. His interest in joining Toastmasters was to improve his presentation skills while learning in a positive environment.

Welcome, Sahil!


August 28, 2014

Our club was very pleased to induct Rose-Anne St.Jean as a member.

Rose-Anne is a Dundas resident and she joined Toastmasters to improve her comfort level with presentations and speaking skills.

She is pictured being welcomed by VP Membership, Artur Filc.

Welcome, Rose-Anne!


August 19, 2014

An excited group of young people graduated from a Youth Leadership Program that was conducted at the Dundas Public Library.

Pictured in the centre of the photo are program coordinators Jaime Jewer and Valley Town Toastmaster Imelda Esporlas-Jewer.

The Youth Leadership certificates were enclosed in beautiful portfolios provided by our local Member of Parliament, The Honourable David Sweet.

Congratulations to our graduates!


August 15-17, 2014

For the 6th straight year, Valley Town Toastmasters and fellow members from neighbouring clubs promoted the benefits of our organization to the public at the Cactus Festival with an information pavilion.

From Friday evening through Sunday afternoon, there were enthusiastic representatives providing information to interested people.

Pictured in the photo is (left to right) is Geneva Neale and Gerri McManamy.

It was another great opportunity to work with our local clubs.


August 14, 2014

Members, family, friends and fellow Toastmasters from nearby clubs took part in this year's Cactus Festival Parade.

It was a festive occasion with our participants dancing most of the 2.2 kilometer parade route. Click on this link to watch a brief video.

Thank you, everyone, for making this event very memorable!


August 7, 2014

Valley Town Toastmasters were pleased to welcome Andrea Malick as a new member at a meeting in the Dundas Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Andrea is a corporate consultant who is working on enhancing her presentation skills. She is pictured being greeted by Artur Filc, VP Membership.

Welcome, Andrea!


July 24, 2014

Valley Town Toastmasters participated in a historic walking tour of Dundas, one of the oldest communities in Ontario.

A great turnout was guided by one of the town's most ardent history buffs.

Thank you, Stan, for donating your time to sharing your knowledge and passion of Dundas' history with our club!


June 26, 2014

The weather was perfect and so were the people!

Toastmasters and friends from all over attended our annual barbecue to share their good cheer.

Thanks to the generosity of our club member, Jonathan Spiegel (right in photo), who hosted this event at his home, we all had a great time.

Thanks also go to Steve Bartley (left in photo) of Honeymoon Toastmasters for this entire collection of excellent photos. Steve painstakingly took a lot of beautiful pictures that were difficult to choose from for this posting. 

There was a lot of food to go along with the camaraderie. Old friendships were re-united and new ones were made.

We had great musical accompaniment with club members Kenrick Chin and Mark Mullins and friends.

From Left to right: Rose (Valley Town), Phil & Lori (Honeymoon), James & Imelda (Valley Town).

         Karen & Caroline                                         Artur (Valley Town) &
      (Valley Town Toastmasters)                     Dale (Mansion Toastmasters)


May 9, 2014

On Canada's first National Day of Honour, the Dundas Branch of The Royal Canadian Legion recognized the 2nd place Dominion (national) finisher of its 2013 Annual Colour Poster Contest at Westdale Secondary School.

Srinidhi Shaw, a Grade 10 student, submitted the entry that will be displayed in the lobby of the House of Commons during Remembrance Week, 2014.

Srinidhi is pictured with our club member, Tony Bratschitsch, who made the presentation in his capacity at the branch's Youth Leadership Education Chair.

A number of our club members also participated in this event by helping to judge the entries at the branch level.

Congratulations to Srinidhi!


March 15, 2014

During the last five years, our Valley Town Toastmasters club has benefited from our friendly relationship with the Dundas Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Quite often, we have used their facilities to host some of our meetings, Christmas parties and to even stage contests for other Toastmaster Areas outside of our own. As well, many of our members have joined the Legion.

Last year, we were asked to run their Annual Literary & Poster Contest that promotes Remembrance to the students in the Canadian school system.

Valley Town members, such as Imelda Esporlas-Jewer, Judy Shepalo, Karen Wood, Nina Goncharenko and Tony Bratschitsch were involved in judging 67 submissions from local school children in the categories of poetry, essays, black & white and colour posters.

All four of our senior (Grade 10 - 12) winners went on to win at the next level (Zone) with three submissions winning at the District.

One of our student's entries - a colour poster created by Srinidhi Shaw (Grade 10 at Westdale High School) won the Provincial Command 1st Place finish and will now vie for the Dominion (national) honours.

Srinidhi was recognized at the Dundas Legion's Honours & Awards Banquet  on March 15, 2014 where she received a number of awards and gifts from the Royal Canadian Legion. Srinidhi is pictured with our club member Tony Bratschitsch who is the Legion Branch's Education & Leadership Chair.

This is a joint effort of our club working with our excellent community neighbour, Branch 36 of the Royal Canadian Legion.

Thank you to our club members for helping with this success!


March 6, 2014

Our club was pleased to induct Katherine Finelli as a new member. Katherine, a Hamilton resident, is studying towards an advanced degree in the social field. She is also involved with computer technology and marketing.

Katherine (right in photo) is shown being welcomed by Esther Smith, VP Public Relations.

Thank you, Katherine!


March 6, 2014

Sandra Green (right in photo) was warmly welcomed as a member by VP Public Relations, Esther Smith

Sandra is a Dundas resident who has a passion for nature and animals. She also has a particular interest for northern Canada.

Welcome, Sandra!


February 15, 2014

Valley Town Toastmasters were pleased to induct Aileen Verheul as a new member. 

Aileen is a medical professional who wishes to improve her presentation skills including public speaking.

She is shown in the photo with Artur Filc, VP Membership.

We look forward to growing with you, Aileen!


February 15, 2014

David Hayes (left in photo) was inducted as a member (for the 2nd time). He had belonged to our club before and his interest was rekindled when he attended our 20th Anniversary Celebration two weeks earlier.

David is a financial services specialist who enjoys public speaking and he is interested in improving his inter-communication skills. He is pictured with Artur Filc, VP Membership.

Welcome back, David!


February 15, 2014

Valley Town Toastmasters conducted its Annual International Speech & Evaluation Contest with a good number of enthusiastic competitors.

Pictured above from left to right: International Speech Contest Chair Mark Mullins, 2nd place finisher Artur Filc, winner Sergio DiGiovanni and 3rd place finisher Jonathan Spiegel.

Jonathan Spiegel won the Evaluation Contest with Nina Goncharenko earning 2nd place.

Thank you to all of our contestants, officials and guests for making this a memorable evening!


January 30, 2014

A lot happened at Valley Town's 20th Anniversary - before the event as well as during this special occasion.

For the full story, please click on this 20th Anniversary link.

Thank you to Karen Wood and the Committee for all your hard work!

Again, please go to the 20th Anniversary page for more details.


January 15, 2014

Our Immediate Past President, Karen Wood, has worked very hard to help VMware Toastmasters in Burlington charter their new club, late last year.

In her official role as Club Mentor, Karen assisted in launching their first meeting on May 28, 2013 and all the way through until their Charter Party on November 26.

While most Mentors would leave their roles upon chartering, Karen has continued to visit and support VMware to ensure their ongoing success. She is pictured in the above photo along with VMware club president Faisal Akber during a visit on Tuesday, January 14, 2014.

It is such commitment to other Toastmasters outside of our club that truly makes Toastmasters a satisfying and wonderful experience.

Well done, Karen!

Valley Town Proud!

Folding Lectern for Youths

January 12, 2014

Al Wood, husband of respected Toastmaster, Karen (pictured in photo), graciously donated a folding lectern for the Valley Town's Youth Leadership Program.

Ingeniously designed and skillfully constructed, this folding lectern will help showcase our members' commitment to the youth of our community.

Thank you, Al!

"We remember!"
November 11, 2013
On a cold, blustery and rainy day, club president Kenrick Chin laid Valley Town Toastmaster's commemorative Remembrance Day wreath at the foot of the Cenotaph on Market Street in Dundas.
Accompanying Kenrick, left in the photo, is club member Tony Bratschitsch with the Dundas Golf & Curling Club's wreath. The Dundas Golf & Curling Club is hosting our 20th Anniversary on January 30, 2014.

October 10, 2013
Every year about this time, every Toastmaster club in the world (+14,000) conducts their annual Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests.
Valley Town Toastmasters had a very successful contest night with four contestants for the Table Topics and five for the Humorous Speech.
The Table Topics contest features the challenge of instantly presenting a two-minute speech without preparation.
This short speech must have an opening and closing that is connected along with a message or story.
This is an excellent skill that is worth developing for many types of professional, social and personal situations.
The 1st place winner was Jonathan Spiegel and the 2nd place finisher was Imelda Esporlas-Jewer (left) with Karen Wood, Contest Chair, in the above photo.
The Humorous Speech Contest involved seven-minute speeches that were entertaining in nature. The first place winner was Karen Wood, 3rd from the right, and the 2nd place winner was Kate Cave, 2nd from the left. Faith West, far left, Jonathan Spiegel, 2nd from the right, and third place finisher, Gary Reid, far right, also gave great performances. All pictured in the above photo is Mark Mullins, Contest Chair, 3rd from the left.
The first and second place winners from both of our contests will be representing Valley Town Toastmasters at the Area 51 Contests on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at the Dundas Town Hall upper auditorium.
Valley Town Proud!

 October 3, 2013

Faith West gave her Ice Breaker - her first speech - about "finding her voice". She spoke about being the youngest child in a large family and learning how to be heard among the midst of an active family.

Faith described her life journey from Jamaica to Canada and how she "found her voice". Her Ice Breaker was an excellent presentation and we look forward to many more.

Well done, Faith!


September 26, 2013

Mandy Dreyer was warmly welcomed into Valley Town Toastmasters as a new member.

Mandy joined our club to improve her presentation skills and her comfort level in front of large groups of people. She is a business owner specializing in sports therapy.

Mandy is a renown elite cyclist who enjoys the outdoors. Our club is excited that she will be sharing her experiences as we grow together.

Welcome, Mandy! 


September 26, 2013

Valley Town Toastmasters were thrilled to induct Faith West as a new member to our club.

Faith is a local resident and an accomplished business executive who has recently become a full time entrepreneur.

She joined Toastmasters to improve her already excellent presentation skills.

Welcome, Faith!


September 19, 2013

Josie Gallitrico presented her first speech - the Ice Breaker - to the club. 

As is the norm, the Ice Breaker gives a new member the opportunity to stand in front of a group of people while talking about herself so that the club members get to know her better.

What a wonderful job Josie did! Standing in front, she told us a delightful story of her education and career paths that took her from Argentina to South Africa to Canada.

Having started as an engineer, Josie transferred her excellent personal skills and disciplined engineering background to the world of real estate sales.

Thank you for sharing your story, Josie!

August 15, 2013
Toastmasters from six clubs came out to march with Valley Town Toastmasters at the annual Cactus Festival Parade. Altogether, there were 42 participants, including friends and family, that enjoyed the 2.3 kilometre stroll through Dundas' packed parade route.
The "Traveling Toaster" made another return performance to the crowd's delight. At the steady helm was Artur Filc, Valley Town's Vice-President Membership with his son, Richard, alongside.
Grace Trushinski of Hamilton No. 1 Toastmasters was one of the many members from neighbouring clubs that came out to promote the Toastmaster program to the community.
Other clubs were Access Toastmasters, Ambitious City Toastmasters, Brant Toastmasters, Burlington Advanced Toastmasters, McMaster Toastmasters and, of course, Valley Town Toastmasters.
Helping us pass out business cards along the way were many young family members, such as Jackson and Victoria.
As you can see from the back of their shirts, they know a good program when they see one.
A special thank you to our Parade Master, Jonathan Spiegel, for arranging - and inspiring - another record turnout of participants.
Valley Town Proud!

July 13, 2013
Valley Town Toastmasters sent a big message to the district on behalf of its fellow clubs.
At the beginning of the first District 86 Executive Council Meeting, our club member and District Governor Tony Bratschitsch presented the Giant Gavel (see story below) to its 44 Area Governors, 8 Division Governors and 15 executives.
Our message was "...on behalf of the over 200 clubs and nearly 5000 members in District 86, Valley Town Toastmasters of Dundas, Ontario, presents this Giant Gavel as a reminder of our duties as executives to work towards the educational success and personal growth of each and every member."
The Giant Gavel is pictured with the above group of Division Governors who lead the district's eight divisions.
Also, the same photo was featured on the front page of the District 86 web site.
Our message was obviously well received and the Giant Gavel is now a part of our District 86 legacy in the pursuit of educational excellence!
Well done, Valley Town Toastmasters!

July 11, 2013
Every Toastmaster club is directed by an elected group of seven officers who have specific roles.
Valley Town Toastmasters new executive was inducted by Area 51 Governor Diana Parker (far left).
From left to right are Julia Juarez (Secretary), Nina Goncharenko (Treasurer), Karen Wood (Immediate Past President), Kenrick Chin (President & Vice-President Education) and Artur Filc (Vice-President Membership).
Missing from the photo are Esther Smith (Vice-President Public Relations) and Colin Tan (Sergeant-At-Arms).
We are very fortunate to have such an excellent team of volunteers who are dedicated to the well-being of our club and its members' progress.
Thank you to our 2013 - 2014 executive!

July 11, 2013
Kelly Massey
of Stoney Creek, Ontario, returned to our club to present Valley Town Toastmasters with another special gift - a giant gavel.
This was the second such contribution by Kelly with the first being on November 1, 2012 - also a specially handcrafted gavel. This time, the gavel was even larger and was designated for a presentation to District 86 on behalf of Valley Town Toastmasters.
Kelly is pictured in the above file photo from his first visit along with club past president, Karen Wood.
Karen is shown in the left photo handing off the original Big Gavel to incoming president, Kenrick Chin.
Kelly's Giant Gavel can be seen in the forefront of the photo.
Thank you, Kelly, for your significant and symbolic contributions to Valley Town Toastmasters!



June 27, 2013

Over 80 Toastmasters and guests from Oakville through Niagara Falls attended our annual Summer Barbecue.
Once again, ultimate host Jonathan Spiegel provided his home and back yard for this event.
The weather was great and so was the camaraderie and friendship as we had a chance to catch up with old friends and new!
Live musical entertainment was provided by our club members Kenrick Chin and Mark Mullins along with Kenrick's son Patrick and family friend Dan. This was a great time to dance to the music!
Club president Karen Wood (left in photo) and Committee Chair Kate Cave (right) announced the winner of the Toastmaster-of-the Year (non-executive) as Maureen Hills, a very deserving achievement!
Congratulations, Maureen!
Thank you, everyone, for a fantastic barbecue event!
June 13, 2013
Valley Town Toastmasters were pleased to welcome Josie Gallitrico as a new member to our club.
Josie is a real estate professional who lives in Dundas with her family. She is originally from Argentina and one of her favourite pastimes this summer is watching her son play baseball.
Josie joined Toastmasters to improve her presentation skills. She is pictured in the left of the photo along with club president Karen Wood.
Welcome, Josie!

April 28, 2013
Local Toastmasters volunteered their services to provide judging at the 10th Annual Southern Air Cadet Debate Competition at Mohawk College in Hamilton.
22 squadrons of cadets, including their debating teams, coaches and officials, provided hotly contested arguments on two resolutions - one prepared and the other impromptu.
Supporting such an organization of motivated young men and women is one of the finest contributions that we can make to our society.
This was the fourth year of our club members' participation in this event.
Pictured above, left to right, are Heather Rush (Hamilton TSO Toastmasters), our Karen Wood, members of a local air squadron and Tony Bratschitsch.

April 27, 2013
The Art Gallery of Hamilton was the scene of a historic visit by members of Valley Town Toastmasters.
A large group of our members with some friends and family enjoyed inspecting the world class collection of Napoleonic memorabilia from the early 19th century.
Despite Napoleon's legendary hostile nature, our event was relatively peaceful until Tony spilled a pot of tea over Viola's place setting at the restaurant, whereupon war was promptly declared.
Pictured above, left to right, are Valley Town club members Tony Bratschitsch, Imelda Esporlas-Jewer, Karen Wood, Viola Mueller, Beverley Reid, Esther Smith, Jonathan Spiegel and Artur Filc.
If you look closely at Napoleon's painting, Gary Reid has taken his place, leading the charge!
Thank you to Esther Smith for organizing this wonderful outing!

April 25, 2013
Lavinia Hoff enthralled our club with her first speech (Ice Breaker) titled "How New Age Music Stole My Spontaneity and How I Got it Back".
During her speech, Lavinia described how, in the past, her loss of passion was related to her temporary fascination with "New Age" music. 
Thanks to her young son's astuteness, Lavinia rediscovered her spontaneity, as she certainly proved to us by jumping in with her Ice Breaker with just a few hours of preparation.
Very inspiring and well done, Lavinia!

April 19 - 21, 2013
District 86 held its 2013 Spring Conference at the Burlington Holiday Inn for its 209 clubs throughout Southern, Central and Northern Ontario.
This conference had a distinctive Valley Town flavour with our club member Tony Bratschitsch being inducted as the District Governor for the 2013- 2014 year (pictured above).
Our club president Karen Wood was in attendance and she greatly enjoyed the educational work shops that were conducted throughout the conference.
Club members Jonathan Spiegel and Marie Pavone were at the conference for the Saturday events.
Tony Bratschitsch was also an
inaugral recipient of the District 86 MMAD (Member Making A Difference) Award.
Valley Town Proud!

April 11, 2013
Valley Town Toastmasters were treated to Melanie Booth's Ice Breaker, her first speech, titled "My Musical Life".
She took us through her journey of musical genres starting with "rock", "oldies", "classics" and currently, "country".
We enjoyed Melanie's reminiscing of her role as a young band member during her short "industrial music" stint.
Although she focused on music in her initial presentation, we were left with the distinct impression that Melanie has a huge creative streak.
Stay tuned, Valley Town!

April 11, 2013
Welcome to Julia Dawn Juarez!
She joined Valley Town Toastmasters to improve her comfort level while communicating with large groups of people.
Julia is a Hamilton business woman who enjoys health, horses and painting.
She is pictured being greeted by Artur Filc, Vice-President Membership.
We're looking forward to growing with you, Julia!

Toastmasters in the News
April 11, 2013
The Ancaster News and the Dundas Star weekly newspapers published a photograph of our booth that we had in the Home & Lifestyle Show on April 6.
Such media coverage is a welcomed contribution to an ongoing membership drive of which has made Valley Town Toastmasters probably the biggest "small town" club in the district.

April 6, 2013
For the 2nd year in a row, Valley Town Toastmasters participated in the Dundas Home & Lifestyle Show, presented by the Rotary Club of Dundas, at the Lions Community Centre.
Once again, the club had an opportunity to develop community awareness while trying to build membership.
Pictured working our exhibit booth is Esther Smith, Vice-President Public Relations and Jonathan Spiegel.
Other club members volunteered their time throughout the day-long event to talk to visitors about the benefits of Toastmaster membership.
This event also gave individual members a chance to show case their own businesses and other community event participation.
Judy Shepalo of our club also had an exhibit booth, marketing her realty "service package" to prospective clients, such as senior citizens.
Judy is pictured along with her husband and our good friend, Gary Wyber.
Allyson Wenzowski
(left in photo) was also at the Home Show representing the Hamilton Conservation Foundation.
Particularly, Allyson is specializing with the new exciting Dundas Eco-Park project.
Sue Wunderlich is pictured with her son, David, at her "healthy choice" food exhibit. 
She also had an opportunity to act as a spokeperson for a local restaurant, giving her a chance to enhance her public presentation skills.
Sue is pictured being interviewed by local radio personalities regarding the restaurant's cuisinary attractions.
Thank you to the following members who provided assistance to our exhibit throughout the day:
Abeer Musleh
Esther Smith
Jonathan Spiegel
Kenrick Chin
Patricia Cirillo
Tony Bratschitsch

Toastmasters in the News
"Toastmasters & Business"
April 5, 2013
One of our club members, Tony Bratschitsch, was featured in a local online business magazine,
Tony talked about the value of Toastmaster training in the business world, which includes presentations, reports, interviews and running meetings. is a daily online subscription-based business magazine operated by the same organization that owns the Hamilton Spectator and Toronto Star.

April 4, 2013
Charissa Williams gave her first speech, her Ice Breaker, titled "I am a Gemini". 
She based her speech on the Gemini zodiac sign which symbolizes "twins".  Playing off that, Charissa talked about two different pathways that she has followed throughout her life.
Sprinked with humour and interspersed with wit and a good sense of timing, Charissa displayed the skills - and the will - to become an outstanding speaker.
Superb presentation, Charissa!

April 4, 2013
Our club member, Tony Bratschitsch, wa
asked by the Community Food Advisors (CFA) to conduct a training session on "Effective Presentations".
The Community Food Advisors program is part of the City of Hamilton's Public Health Services Department.  Their goal is to help members of the public select and prepare healthier foods.  The CFAs, themselves, are dedicated volunteers with a passion for civic service and personal growth.
This is another instance of one of our club members providing a service to the community.

March 28, 2013
Mon J Gamil, our Division L International Speech Contest champion, presented his winning speech to our club.
Titled "Raiders of the Lost Art", Mon's speech was about personal virtue and was based on both fact and fiction.
We were touched by his humanity and impressed by his sincerity.
Certainly, Mon has a great message to deliver when he challenges for the District 86 championship in Burlington on April 20.
Reach out and touch some more, Mon!

March 28, 2013
Patricia Cirillo's first speech - her Ice Breaker - was a family affair.
Accompanied by husband, Pablo, and daughter, Jessica, Patricia spoke about her arrival to Canada. She told us an amusing story of how "helpful" Pablo was in obtaining her recent job.
Young Jessica wrapped up the Ice Breaker with a lovely rendition of our national anthem, "Oh, Canada!".
A memorable Ice Breaker! Well done!

March 28, 2013
Valley Town Toastmasters welcomed Makarand Vaidya into our club as a new member.
Makarand is an Information Technology professional who resides in Ancaster with his family.
He joined Toastmasters to improve his comfort level with public speaking and impromptu presentations.
Makarand is pictured with club charter member and evening chair, Gary Reid (left), and Vice-President of Membership, Artur Filc.
We look forward to growing with you, Makarand!

March 28, 2013
Lavinia Hoff was welcomed into Valley Toastmasters as a new member.
Lavinia is a Dundas resident with a passion for nature's beauty, such as gardening and the outdoors.
She joined Toastmasters to improve her public speaking and preentation skills.
Lavinia is pictured with club charter member and evening chair, Gary Reid (left), and Vice-President of Membership, Artur Filc.
Welcome to our club, Lavinia!

March 14, 2013
Michael Churm gave hist first speech - the Ice Breaker - about his upbringing in hometown Dundas.
He regaled us about his childhood adventures throughout the neighbourhoods and parks with his friends and about his career in the health industry.
Michael's presentation was a warm story about a great work-in-progress - an adventure through life.
Way to go, Michael!

March 14, 2013
Valley Town Toastmasters were pleased to induct Colin Tan into our club.
Colin is a university student who enjoys sporting activities with his friends and family.
He joined Toastmasters to improve his communication and presentation skills.
Colin is pictured, left in photo, with club Vice President Membership Artur Filc.
Welcome, Colin!

March 7, 2013
Charissa Williams was welcomed into our club as one of our newest members.
She joined our club to build her public speaking confidence and to learn new communication skills. She is seen in the picture being greeted by club VP Membership, Artur Filc.
Charissa is a corporate interior designer by profession who happens to enjoy the same role as a hobbyist. She prides herself on her arts and musical skills.
Welcome, Charissa!

March 7, 2013
Melanie Booth was welcomed as a new member by VP Membership, Artur Filc, and the rest of our club.
Melanie joined Toastmasters to improve her "message delivery" where she could better present her thoughts in a clearer manner.
She is a resident of Hamilton and enjoys design/rennovating, racing and singing.
We look forward to laughing and learning, together!

March 4, 2013
Valley Town Toastmasters is one of four clubs that belong to Area 51.  The area conducted its annual International Speech & Evaluation Contests in Brantford, graciously hosted by Brant Toastmasters.
Our club's International Speech contestants, Maureen Hills and Karen Wood, along with our Evaluation contestants, Maureen Hills (club double contest winner) and Jennifer Noble presented outstanding performances.
Maureen is pictured 4th from the left in the above photo, Jennifer is 2nd from the left, and our club member Gary Reid, Chair of the Evaluation Contest is on the far right.
Maureen placed second in the area's International Speech Contest.
Well done, everyone!

February 28, 2013
Patricia Cirillo was inducted as a new member of Valley Town Toastmasters.  She came to Canada nine years ago and has learned to tolerate our winters while falling in love with our country.
Patricia joined Toastmasters to help her with her communication and netwoking skills.  She is a web page designer with a stong focus on creativity.
Patricia is pictured with Artur Filc, Vice-President of Membership.
Welcome, Patricia!

Getting Ready for our 20th!
February 28, 2013
Club President Karen Wood officially launched our preparation for Valley Town Toastmasters's 20th Anniversary Celebration to be held in January, 2014.
Committees are being established, Committee Chairs are being selected and the program is being planned.
We will be honouring those that started the club in 1994 and we will be celebrating our many successes that happened along the way.
We are fortunate to have two charter members, Mark Mullins and Gary Reid, still in our club actively guiding our course.
Historical information, such as media releases and the charter programme is available on our History's Archive page on our web site.

February 21, 2013
At this time of year, about 13,000 Toastmaster clubs in over 120 countries stage their Annual International Speech & Evaluation Contests.
It was Valley Town Toastmasters delight to conduct their own with the newer members giving the veterans an enthusiastic challenge.
The Evaluation Contest was the first of the evening giving the contestants the opportunity to provide 2-3 minute insightful critiques of a "target" speaker's presentation.
The participants, shown from left to right, were Jonathan Spiegel, Maureen Hills, Jennifer Noble and Karen Wood, contest chair.
The top two finishers, Maureen and Jennifer, will be representing Valley Town Toastmasters in the Area 51 Evaluation Contest in Brantford on March 4.

Either Maureen or Jennifer could eventually go all the way to the District 86 finals in Burlington on April 21.
The International Speech Contest provided our contestants with a chance to present entertaining or inspirational 5-7 minute speeches of their own origin.
The contestants are pictured above, left to right, Maureen Hills (double champion), Karen Wood, Jonathan Spiegel, Sue Wunderlich, and Viola Mueller alongside Mark Mullins, contest chair.
The two top place finishers, Maureen and Karen, will be representing our club at the Area 51 Contest on March 4.
Either one of them has the opportunity to eventually represent District 86 at the International Speech Contest in August in Cincinnati, Ohio.
All of our members - contestants, officials and audience - were winners this evening.
Well done, every one!

February 14, 2013
In her first presentation - the Ice Breaker - Jennifer Noble told us how a twist in life gave her an appreciation for family and nature.
As a young teenager, Jenn's family decided to leave the city life when they moved up north to live in a rural setting.
After she overcame the usual forgivings expected from a teenager, Jenn developed a passion for the simple things in life.
While being a memorable speech, her Ice Breaker also served to be a profound and thoughtful inspiration.
Well done, Jenn!

February 14, 2013
Hui Zhao gave his first speech - his Ice Breaker - with a power point presentation.
Zhao spoke about his upbringing in his home city in central China, about his education and about his family of his wife and twin sons.
The power point presentation, itself, had a distinctive Chinese flavour to it with beautiful design and brilliant colour.
This was a delightful Ice Breaker that our club thoroughly enjoyed.
Thank you, Zhao!

January 24, 2013
Welcome to Michael Churm, our newest member!
Valley Town Toastmasters were pleased to welcome Michael into our club.
A long time resident of Dundas, Michael is a healthcare professional who enjoys travelling, reading and cooking.
He joined Toastmasters to improve his public speaking.
Michael is pictured, left in the photo, being welcomed by Artur Filc, Vice-President Membership.

Valley Town Toastmasters in the Media
January 11, 2013
Two of Valley Town Toastmasters' members worked extremely hard to enhance the communication skills of a group of young members of our society.
Karen Wood (far right in photo) and Imelda Esporlas-Jewer (far left presented a twelve-week version of Toastmasters International's Youth Leadership Program to students of the Dundas Valley Home School Co-Operative.
The photograph was taken at the graduation ceremony on December 13, 2012, and was recently published in both the Dundas Star-News and Ancaster News weekly newspapers.
Congratulations to Karen and Imelda for their hard work and leadership!
Valley Town Proud!

January 10, 2013
Nina Goncharenko presented her first speech, her Ice Breaker.
Titled "About Nina", Nina spoke about her early childhood within her close family in the Ukraine.
As she talked about her education in the fields of botomy and biology, it was evident to all listeners that Nina has a love of knowledge and, probably more importantly, a desire to share that knowledge.
We are excited about her Nina's passion for people and life and we look forward to growing with her.
Well done, Nina!

January 10, 2013
Jennifer Noble was inducted as Valley Town Toastmasters' newest member.
She has joined Toastmasters to improve her public speaking skills to support her life coaching business.
Jennifer's family roots are based in Dundas and it is with pleasure that we welcome her into our club.
Jennifer is seen in the photo with Artur Filc, Vice-President Membership.
Welcome, Jennifer!