It was HOT! Really, it was hot in Palm Desert, California, at the 79th annual Toastmasters International Convention. Both the
temperatures and the energy soared as Toastmasters from all over the world poured into the hotel to register. The news reported
temperatures in excess of 110 degrees and hundreds of delegates and guests boiled over with enthusiasm to renew old friendships
and establish new ones.
District 26 was well represented at the conference with over 15 people in attendance. This was the first time that we met our
fellow members from Region I. Previously we were part of Region III which was made up of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, part of
Oklahoma, and District 26. Now we are part of a region that stretches from Alaska to Nebraska and Colorado to California. Here
are the Julia chronicles.
Tuesday 7:00 AM: Training started early as we poured into the classrooms to be instructed on the new policies and procedures that
Toastmasters International was initiating as well as basic training for those that had never been to this level of training. It was
a long day, but well worth the information I learned and the relationships I forged with our new Region I partners and the rest
of the world. I spent my time between and after class meeting dignitaries, candidates, world champion speakers, and just plain
Wednesday 7:00 AM: Training continued through most of the day. The evening started with an impressive flag ceremony where each
country that has a Toastmasters presence paraded their flags about the huge auditorium. It was a stirring sight as the United States
flag, last in the parade, was brought up on stage. They were supposed to play the star spangled banner, but a technical glitch
prevented the music from playing. After a brief moment of silence, someone in the audience started singing the national anthem and
the entire audience joined in to make it a memorable and stirring moment for me. Outgoing International President, Gary Schmidt, gave
the state of the organization report followed by the keynote address expertly delivered by Todd Newton. Afterwards I got to hobnob
with the candidates running for various international offices at the candidate’s reception.