Toasting Maple Ridge Toastmasters

Group celebrates 20th anniversary

Twenty young people from Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows shed their fears of public speaking after a six-week training session hosted by Toastmasters International.

Led by fellow Toastmasters Denis LeClerc and Malcolm Cooper, the group between the ages of 12 and 20 learned how to organize and present their ideas logically and convincingly, improve their speaking and leadership skills as well as participate in and possibly lead group discussions.

Janine Willemsen says by the end of the six weeks, the group presented speeches on topics such as “How to be a Gentleman,” “Without the Toronto Maple Leafs, there would be no NHL,” “Long hair doesn’t make me a rebel” and “Dr. Seuss.”

Maple Ridge’s Positively Speaking Toastmaster has been nurturing public speakers and leaders since April 1991.

With a go-at-your-own-pace program, members get to present their speeches, plan meetings, and participate with humourous and inspiring stories.

“In the past 20 years, we have had members who were city councillors, and even a member of the Order of Canada, but most of our members are people who feel the need to express themselves better, and who just want to have fun on Wednesday nights,” said club president Neila Scott.

• Positively Speaking Toastmasters meet every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Maple Ridge district hall.

The club celebrated its 20th anniversary April 20. For more, visit