2019 Activities

Club Contests

November 28, 2019

Valley Town Toastmasters conducted their annual International Speech Contest and Evaluation Contest.

Emily Nichols won the International Speech Contest with Walter Lehman placing second. They will both represent the club in the Area 51 Contest on January 16 being held in our club's meeting place.

Tony Bratschitsch and Peter Schwarz will participate in the Area 51 Evaluation Contest on the same day.


Our club enjoys "Laughing & Learning".

Congratulations to all of the contestants and thank you to all of our members for helping with the contests!

Pictured from left to right: Lin Tian (Contest Chair), contestants Peter Schwarz, Karen Wood, Walter Lehman, Kelly Nash (Contest Chair), contestants Tony Bratschitsch, Emily Nichols and David Hayes in the front row.

Emily and Walter are pictured receiving their certificates from Chair Kelly Nash.

Once again, Emily got to "kick butt" when Tony challenged (but failed) to win the International Speech Contest.

Speech Workshop

November 21, 2019

Every once in a while, our club has the good fortune of having a guest Toastmaster do a workshop on a special activity.

Toastmaster Lou Mulligan (past District 86 Area Director of the Year) provided an interactive workshop on preparing a speech within 15 minutes.

Judging by the photo, it looks like Lou successfully got members enthusiastically involved.

Thank you, Lou!

Left to right: Theresa Horak, Joanne Peters, Karen Wood, Lou Mulligan, Tom Shears and David Tomowich.

Presidents Distinguished Club

November 14, 2019

Club President Walter Lehman and Immediate Past President Karen Wood shared the presentation of the 2018-2019 President's Distinguished Club ribbon. The ribbon represents the club's educational and administrative achievements for the past year.

It is the highest level of club award in the Toastmaster International program and is the second time that Valley Town Toastmasters has achieved it under Karen's leadership.

Essentially, this means that many members of our club did very well last year in improving their personal communication skills.

Valley Town Proud!

Congratulations Karen!

Speech Workshop

November 14, 2019

Emily Nichols has been on a roll! She received three educational awards from Vice President Education Darryl Hartwick: Level 3 Engaging Humour, Level 5 Presentation Mastery and All-Levels Presentation Mastery.

Emily has been applying her skills and talents in many different directions throughout the community.

Well done, Emily!

Remembrance with a Difference

November 11, 2019

For many years, Valley Town Toastmasters has been participating in the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Dundas cenotaph. During each ceremony, when our club is announced, two of our members lay our club's wreath at the foot of the cenotaph.

Today, one of our two presenters was Randal Eastman, a Dundas native who is currently residing in St. Petersburg, Russia and a member of a Toastmaster club in that city. Randal has been visiting our club during the past few weeks and has endeared himself to us.

Valley Town Proud!

We will never forget!

Left to right: Randal Eastman and club President Walter Lehman.Thank you to Kenrick Chin for the photo.

Golden Toaster Raid

The Golden Toaster has been "stolen" many times during the last eleven years within Area 51. Below is the latest story as narrated by Emily Nichols:

"Valley Town Toastmasters maintains a friendly rivalry with other local clubs - we can visit one of our sister clubs in order to ‘steal’ the Golden Toaster. Then we get to keep it until another club ‘steals’ it from us.

On Monday, October 28, four members of Valley Town Toastmasters visited Brant Toastmasters and came home with the Golden Toaster and so much more.

David Hayes won best Table Topics. Emily Nichols gave a prepared speech and Karen Wood and Walter Lehman also participated in Table Topics.

And what a unique Table Topics it was! Table Topics Master Catherine Krouse challenged each speaker to give witness testimony as to the death of the gruesome dummy she laid out on the floor. The wildest explanation...that said character was none other than notorious Valley Town member Tony Bratschitsch.

We’ll guard the Golden Toaster until another club dares to come and get it. Valley Town proud!"

Thank you to Emily Nichols for the story, to Angela Walker of Brant Toastmasters and to Walter Lehman, President of Valley Town Toastmasters, for the above photos.

Historical notes about Golden Toaster "raids":

The first "theft" of a Golden Toaster at Valley Town occurred on May 8, 2008 when Skyway Toastmasters of Burlington "retaliated" a few weeks after being deprived of their prized possession. The photo story can be seen here. This was an "Area 3" episode. At that point, Skyway's version of the Golden Toaster was being "stolen" for many years.

The current version of the Area 51 Golden Toaster, along with its iconic "Toastmaster" brand label, can be seen in the above photo. It was introduced on February 18, 2011 during an Area 51 contest. That photo story - along with the initial rules - can be seen here.

The Golden Toaster
Table Topics Winner David Hayes

Open House Success

October 24, 2019

"Open House" meetings are an opportunity to showcase the Toastmaster program to our community and to solicit new membership. It is also provides the basis for teamwork and leadership in organizing and executing such an event.

Valley Town Toastmasters conducted a successful Open House this evening. A large audience including guests witnessed and participated in a full agenda that included a panel discussion.

Each member of the panel discussed their personal benefits from the Toastmaster program.

Thank you to everyone for this wonderful meeting!

October 24, 2019 Open House
The participants (from left to right): David Tomowich, Joanne Peters, Peter Schwarz, Area 51 Director Ruth Larbie and panel moderator Emily Nichols.

Education Awards

October 17, 2019

Toastmasters is all about education in an enjoyable environment.

Vice-President of Education, Darryl Hartwick (kneeling centre of photo) is pleased to announce the club's most recent education award recipients in the Toastmasters Pathways program.

Congratulations to everyone for your achievements!

Thank you to Darryl for your guidance and support in the Pathways educational program!

Standing left to right: Walter Lehman (Innovative Planning, Level 3), Emily Nichols (Presentation Mastery, Level 4 and Engaging Humour, Level 2), Peter Schwarz (Strategic Relationships, Level 2) and David Tomowich, Presentation Mastery, Level 1). Not in the photo is award recipient Chunhwa Wu (Leadership Development, Level 1).

Cactus Festival Parade

August 15, 2019

It was our 11th parade at the Annual Cactus Festival. Along with members of Ambitious City Toastmasters, we proudly and happily marched through the main streets of Dundas.

There was substantial "family" participation with Emily Nichols and her family. Emily is pictured in these photos along with her husband, Marcel, her sister Rebecca and niece Ivey. Nephew Henry was in the wagon.

Karen Wood also brought three of her grandchildren.

Club president Walter Lehman led the way with the "The Big Gavel" with Theresa Hovak's "float" following the marchers.

Thank you to David Hayes and Karen Wood for helping to organize our parade!

Photos courtesy of Sergio DiGiovanni and Emily Nichols.

Cactus Festival
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5th Annual Golf Tournament

August 11, 2019

Valley Town's 5th Annual Golf Tournament was another huge success!

Three teams battled for the "Green Jacket" as proudly worn by Jackson Bisson. Jackson is Karen and Al's grandson.

David Tomowich and David Hayes are repeating as Champs!

Thank you to Dale Skvereckas and Sergio DiGiovanni for organizing this wonderful event!

Congratulations to all of the participants!

Photos courtesy of Karen Wood and Sergio DiGiovanni.

The champion team consisted of David Tomowich (top left), Jackson Bisson, Walter Lehman and David Hayes (sitting).
Seated from left to right are Mark Mullins, Sergio DiGiovanni and Maybelline DiGiovanni, Walter Lehman, David Tomowich, Al Wood, Carrie Mullins, Karen Wood, Jackson Bisson, David Hayes, Roman Horak and Theresa Horak.
Roman appears to be enjoying his tasty meal in true golf style!
Sergio DiGiovanni preparing to tee off.
Al Wood preparing to tee off.
Maybelline lining up her next putt

Karen Wood, DTM

May 30, 2019

Last night, in the beautiful Dundas Town Hall auditorium, Karen Wood was honoured for earning her Distinguished Toastmaster award. A large audience of members from Valley Town Toastmasters along with members from other clubs, district officials, guests and family were in attendance.

Karen Wood, DTM Congratulations!

Myrna Barthe DTM, District 86 Administration Manager and past Division L Director conducted the ceremonial DTM presentation followed by a wonderful talk by Karen's husband, Al Wood.

Also recognized for their recent educational achievements were Darryl Hartwick and Kelly Nash.

The incoming club president for Valley Town Toastmasters, Walter Lehman, knelt in good grace to receive the "Big Gavel of Leadership" from Karen who is the outgoing president.

Karen with Myrna Barthe, DTM
Karen and Al Wood
Also recognized for their recent educational achievements were Darryl Hartwick and Kelly Nash.

Walter's first act as incoming president was to induct the club's new leadership team (see photo).

Outgoing club president Karen Wood also thanked the current executive, Darryl Hartwick, Joanne Peters, David Hayes and Emily Nichols for their valuable contributions to a successful year.

Thank you to Joanne Peters for a very nice job of chairing the event and to Emily Nichols for conducting her interactive "DTM interview" with Karen.

Congratulations to Karen Wood, Darryl Hartwick, Kelly Nash and thank you to the outgoing executive for an excellent year of service and dedication.

Valley Town Proud!

The club's new leadership team (holding the Big Gavel, left to right) Darryl Hartwick, Peter Schwarz, David Hayes, Emily Nichols and Tom Shears.
The current executive, left to right: Darryl Hartwick, Joanne Peters, David Hayes, Emily Nichols, Karen Wood

Air Cadet Debate Delight

April 30, 2019

Five current and one former member of Valley Town Toastmasters were judges at the 16th Annual Provincial Air Cadet Debate at Mohawk College in Hamilton. 26 teams of young men and women along with their coaches, families and friends came from across Ontario to demonstrate their debating skills.

Valley Town Toastmasters has supported this event for a long time. It is always a heartfelt pleasure to provide service to these cadets. They are not just the youth of our country but the future. And they represent the best in attitude, effort and dedication.

Valley Town Proud!

Pictured from left to right: Cettina Cuffaro (former member), club President Karen Wood, Kelly Nash, Walter Lehman, Vice-President Education Darryl Hartwick and Tony Bratschitsch

Toastmasters of Tomorrow

April 26, 2019

Three Valley Town Toastmasters had the pleasure of judging the public speaking finals at Yorkview Elementary School in Dundas. Toastmasters Emily Nichols, Kelly Nash, and Darryl Hartwick listened to presentations from seven excellent speakers. Their topics included anxiety, internet safety, and pay inequity in sports. The judges were impressed with the contestants’ poise, posture, confidence and courage as they delivered their speeches at a packed assembly in the school’s gymnasium.

[Thanks to Vice-President of Education Darryl Hartwick for submitting the photo story.]

Toastmasters Emily Nichols (left), Kelly Nash (center), and Darryl Hartwick (right)

District Award

April 14, 2019

Valley Town Toastmaster Tony Bratschitsch, DTM is the proud recipient of the Douglas Barclay Award which was presented during the District 86 Conference on April 14, 2019.

The prestigious award is given to a Past District Officer who exemplifies Toastmasters’ values of integrity, respect, service, and excellence. It also recognizes the recipient’s leadership and service to Toastmasters, and the promotion of the organization to the outside community.

True to the "Valley Town" tradition of participating in local community events and along with other members of our club, Tony has been involved with the Air Cadets, Royal Canadian Legion, The Arthritis Society of Canada, the City of Hamilton Health Unit, the Masonic Lodge, Women's Institute of Canada and many other organizations.

Tony was the District 86 Governor in 2013-2014 when the district achieved Distinguished status. He was the Division L Governor in 2011-2012 in which the division earned President Distinguished status. Tony was recognized as the Division Governor of the Year, that year.

Although he was given the award, Tony considers it to be a club achievement.

[Thanks to Vice-President of Education Darryl Hartwick for submitting the photos and the main part of the article.]

Tony Bratschitsch, DTM is the proud recipient of the Douglas Barclay Award

Area Contest Winners

February 5, 2019

After only seven months since joining, Emily Nichols presented another excellent presentation that earned 2nd place out of 8 contestants in the International Speech Contest at the Area 51 Contest in Waterdown. Emily won our club contest on December 6, 2018.

Veteran member Tony Bratschitsch won 1st place in the Evaluation Contest and will represent Area 51 at the Division L Contest in Burlington on March 6.

There were ten members from Valley Town Toastmasters that attended this event.

Congratulations to Emily and Tony!

Valley Town Proud!