Pep Squad!!!


The value of all things, even our lives, depends on the use we make of them.


A sense of values is the most important single element in human personality.


Men must decide on what they will not do, and then they are able to act with vigor on what they ought to do.

– Mencius

Don't reserve your best behavior for special occasions. You can't have two sets of manners, two social codes — one for those you admire and want to impress, another for those whom you consider unimportant. You must be the same to all people

– Lillian Eichler Watson

Ray Mohr (left) and Ann Lockhart (right)

Ten former members joined current members of BodyShops Toastmasters for its 30th anniversary potluck lunch at noon Thursday, July 8 at 4500 Cherry Creek Dr. in Glendale, for a very pleasant trip down public speaking memory lane.

Ann Lockhart, the only remaining charter member, presented the club’s colorful history in a speech titled "Blood, Sweat and Fears: the History of Bodyshops Toastmasters, 1980-2010," and Ray Mohr, another long-time member and returning club president, led table topics.

Lockhart said one former member’s story of fear of public speaking stood out. He wrote later that he had tried "hypnotism, meditation, psychiatrists, you name it, to get over public speaking anxiety." A doctor recommended Toastmasters. With great trepidation, the man attended a meeting "and found a welcoming environment where it was OK to be nervous." Within weeks, his anxiety decreased significantly, and within a few months, he was competing in speech contests.

Ann said training directors at Rose Medical Center and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center started the club in 1980 along with staff from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (three organizations that worked on bodies, hence the name).

She said the club met for 28 years at eight locations near E. 9th and Colorado Blvd. in Denver, before the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center moved to the former Fitzsimons campus in Aurora (where a member started a new club). In April, 2008, BodyShops moved to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment near S. Colorado Blvd. and Cherry Creek Drive South. Attendance immediately rebounded.

BodyShops has had a number of international members over the years with current members from Britain, Japan, the Philippines and Nigeria. Members have represented various religions too from Christians to Jews to Muslims to Hari Krishna. The Hari Krishna couple’s visit a overflowing

few years ago caused a flurry of concerned phone calls afterward, but it turned out that they wanted what every other guests wanted: to become better speakers. They joined and they did.

Members from diverse professions have joined over the years, from accountants, administrators, attorneys, realtors and financial planners to a former Canadian hockey player, retired United Airlines pilot, Yugoslavian doctor, Chinese researcher, musician, radio DJ, toxicologist, travel agent, hazardous waste engineer and many more, adding to the creativity and cultural richness of the speeches and table topics, Lockhart said.

One woman honed her comedy improv and speaking skills, another honed her keynote speech skills, and a third practiced cooking demonstrations to go on to paid gigs. One man became a leader in the Colorado state legislature and is running for office again. Members have practiced toasts for weddings, eulogies for funerals and major speeches for professional conferences.

Speech topics have ranged from very personal to serious to seriously witty. Some very personal topics covered dating, marriage, divorce, teenagers, traumatic childhoods, etc. More serious topics have included airline safety, radon gas, cigarette smoking, radio-active and medical wastes, obituaries, benefits of failure and a simple explanation of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

One former member did an entire speech with homonym pairs (using a word with the same pronunciation, but different meanings). Another member did a speech filled with malapropisms (mistakingly using a word in place of a familiar one.)

Club members’ demonstration speeches have covered bicycling, skiing the bumps, kayaking, sailing, judo, backpacking, gourmet cooking, acting as a villain in a melodrama, using a condom (banana as prop), packing a parachute, serving tea Morroccan style and using Knox gelatin for hair before synchronized swimming.

Members of the club have sponsored eight new clubs over the years, mostly in the Denver area, but also in Shanghai, China, and in Chicago. Two members started the District 26 Toastmasters University in 1992, which was soon renamed Toastmasters Leadership Institute. The club also has had two mother-daughter teams.

Lockhart said the club’s history is interesting, but the most important thing is how many people the club has helped in gaining speaking and leadership skills useful in their careers, communities and personal lives. She said, "Members have literally bloomed like flowers in front of our eyes–and we couldn’t be prouder."

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