Sooke Harbour Toastmasters member Peter Scott received the highest award in the international organization’s structure – Distinguished Toastmaster – at a special event Tuesday night.
It was a recognition eight years in the making.
A 2011 founding member of the now-defunct Metchosin club, Scott delivered more than 100 speeches and completed leadership assignments, including serving as the Sooke club’s coach for over a year.
The journey brought numerous intrinsic rewards, however.
“When I started, I had little ambition and even less idea how good or bad I was at presenting,” Scott said.
“I attempted a talk at a conference that flopped and someone in the audience was brutally kind enough to tell me that the delivery was awful. When I saw a Toastmasters club was meeting near me, I thought I’d give it a go, but I wasn’t expecting much – I thought they focused on after-dinner speeches, roasts, that sort of thing.”
Toastmasters turned out to be a transformational self-improvement organization as rich as, say, Dale Carnegie, but more affordable.
“I’m constantly impressed by how the Toastmasters process works regardless of an individual’s level of progress – you can have one person who’s just started out and another who’s an expert speaker, and both will learn something at the same meeting,” Scott said.
Originally planning to stay “just for a few months,” Scott has participated ever since.
Scott has now written a book about how we must adapt to the future and speaks on the topic regularly, including courses at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads. He will address a working group in Britain’s House of Lords this November.
“There’s no way prior to Toastmasters that I could have imagined myself doing such a thing,” he said.
At the same meeting area director Karen Hall was presented the club with the President’s Distinguished Award, the highest level of recognition, for its members’ achievements in educational progress and membership growth.
“We have an eclectic mix of people in our club,” said Marlene Barry, club president.
“We all bring skills and challenges to the table. We have a lot of fun while learning and encouraging each other.”
Toastmasters is in nearly 150 countries and has nearly 400,000 members.
Sooke Harbour Toastmasters meets Tuesday nights, 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the assisted community living room at Ayre Manor, 6754 Ayre Rd.