What is a Gavel Club? According to Toastmasters International, “Gavel clubs are a way of providing the Toastmasters experience to groups who may be ineligible for regular membership due to age, or other circumstances.”
What does that mean in English? Gavel Clubs are typically established in high schools (where participants are too young to join Toastmasters) and prisons (where participants are not able to attend outside meetings). They operate like other Toastmasters clubs, with manual speeches, evaluators, table topics, officers…the works!
District 26 members currently coordinate two Gavel Clubs in State of Colorado Correctional Facilities and has no school-based clubs. One prison club meets every Monday evening at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility (near Havana and Smith Road, Denver) and one will run on Thursday evenings from January 9 – March 26 at the Colorado Correctional Facility (Golden).
Why should I care? Imagine the head start Gavel Club participation would give a high school student. They might even join a “regular” club once they turn 18. Prison Gavel Clubs help offenders develop better communication skills and boost their self-confidence, increasing their chances of success once they are released from prison. Either way, it’s a fantastic opportunity for Toastmasters to “pay it forward”.
How can I help? Because Gavel Club members do not currently participate in Pathways we can use your club’s unwanted manuals from the traditional educational system; bring them to an upcoming TLI or contact me at Beth@bethboaz.com
Second, if you’d like to volunteer, and are available on Mondays or Thursdays, we’d welcome your help.
Finally, if you know any schools or prisons that would benefit from a Gavel Club, let me know and we’ll see what we can do.
Thanks for supporting these valuable programs!
Beth Boaz, DTM, PID, Gavel Clubs Chair