Toastmasters International Youth Leadership Program Overview & Key Design Features
Below is an overview of the TI Youth Leadership program, prepared by Jean Keating. Jean served as the 2008-09 District 6 Youth Leadership Program Chair. The information below is very helpful for Toastmasters members and clubs interested in conducting the program, and also provides information about the program for the community that may be interested in hosting the program. Whether you are interested in helping conduct a program, or would like to host a program in your school or community, please use the Contact form and select category Youth Leadership.
About the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program
The Toastmasters International Youth Leadership Program (YLP) is designed as an experiential workshop that provides the opportunity for youth participants to develop and practice communication and leadership skills. The YLP consists of 6 to 8 sessions, and can be tailored to serve any school age child, as long as the program design is modified to reflect the capacity and interests of the specific group of participants.
The Youth Leadership Program largely mirrors the basic adult Toastmasters program, except the youth program is designed to be a limited in duration consisting of six to eight sessions, and has a scaled-down learning agenda. Typically, a Youth Leadership Program meets weekly or bi-weekly, with each session running 1 to 2 hours in length. The number of youth participants may typically range from six to twenty youth participants.
Two qualifications apply in order to serve as a Toastmaster YLP Coordinator
To qualify to serve as a Youth Leadership Program Coordinator, the individual must first be an active Toastmaster in good standing with a Toastmasters club, and have accomplished six speech projects in the basic Communication and Leadership Program. Secondly, since Toastmasters clubs are the only recognized sponsors of a Youth Leadership Program, the Toastmaster club’s executive committee must authorize a decision to offer a Youth Leadership Program, and then appoints or approves a qualifying Toastmaster to serve as Youth Leadership Program Coordinator. It is typically the case that the sponsoring Toastmasters club funds the materials cost for the YLP offering.
The YLP Coordinator may welcome in additional support and involvement of a Toastmaster assistant, or various outside speakers, presenters or community members, however only one Toastmaster and one Toastmaster Club is recognized as having served as the YLP Coordinator and sponsoring Toastmaster Club for any given Youth Leadership Program.
Serving as Youth Leadership Program Coordinator meets one of the achievement criteria of Advanced Communicator Gold. Individual Toastmasters who coordinate and conduct a Youth Leadership Program can record this on a “Member Achievement Record”, then use this recorded information when completing the application for the Advanced Communicator – Gold achievement level. The signature of the club’s Vice President – Education then verifies that a Youth Leadership Program has been completed.
Youth Leadership Program guides can be ordered from Toastmasters International website
Toastmasters International has created a Youth Leadership Program Coordinator’s Guide and a Participant’s Handbook to present various assignments and tools to guide the speech projects, leadership roles, sample session agendas, and overall process. These materials can be ordered from the Toastmasters International (TI) website (see items 811 and 805). If your YLP offering needs to begin prior to TI YLP materials arriving, contact the District 6 Chair, Youth Leadership, for sample YLP Coordinator’s Guide and YLP Participant’s Handbook which may be used in the interim.
The Toastmasters International Youth Leadership Program materials represent the comprehensive, highly structured program, which is generally geared to a high school or middle school level of participant. Having said that, it is essential that any Youth Leadership Program initiative be tailored to fit the needs, desires and characteristics of the youth group it serves! The learning agenda can be simplified to serve even an elementary grade level group.
The standard learning agenda for the YLP largely mirrors the adult Toastmaster program. The standard learning agenda for the Youth Leadership Program, as contained in the Guide and Handbook, includes:
- Introduction to Chairmanship (electing officers, understanding meeting roles)
- Introduction to Public Speaking
- Impromptu Speaking
- Organizing Your Speech
- Gestures in Speaking
- Voice and Vocabulary
- Show Your Skills
- Special Event
Create a Presentation Banquet or Special Event to celebrate youth accomplishments
Following the completion of the basic sessions, a Presentation Banquet or Special Event designed by and with the youth can showcase the skills the youth have developed, and provide a forum to acknowledge their accomplishments, through granting a certificate and providing any other acknowledgment the community desires. Parents, friends and community leaders are welcomed.
Toastmasters International has created special publicity kits for the Youth Leadership Program
Toastmasters International offers a Youth Leadership Program Packet (803), which contains YLP information pamphlets and sample news releases, to assist in creating positive public perceptions of your club’s engagement with youth.
Toastmasters International guidelines regarding Cooperation and Sponsorship of a Youth Leadership Program
The following is the expressed position of Toastmasters International as it relates to cooperation and sponsorship of the Youth Leadership Program, as documented in the Toastmasters International Youth Leadership Program Coordinator’s Guide:
Toastmasters clubs are the only recognized sponsors of a Youth Leadership Program, and only Toastmasters may present the course…Cooperation with some special groups is permitted if there is no danger of loss of our [Toastmasters International] public identity. However, such cooperation should not be sought to relieve the Toastmasters club of its responsibility in presenting the program and underwriting its cost. In no case is ‘co-sponsorship’ permitted. Cash sponsorship [donation] toward the cost is acceptable, and proper recognition may be given provided the donor is not identified as a ‘co-sponsor.’
No fees are allowed to be charged to youth participants.
A Few Additional Thoughts from the Chair of District 6 Youth Leadership
How Toastmasters Youth Leadership Programs typically become offered
It is typically the case that what causes a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program to be offered is that a youth organization, home school group, parent group, spiritual community, teacher or other ‘champion’ in a school (whether a student, Principal, parent or teacher) publicizes and builds interest in a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program offering to its community of youth, thereby building a critical momentum and number of youth participants to proceed with the program.
Individual Toastmasters are also invited to initiate contact with any community of youth, including schools, in order to build interest in a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program offering. Public school and home school settings are great places to propose offering a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program. Securing the school’s Principal, Administrator, Teacher or a Student as a champion within the youth community is then critical to gaining enough youth participants to proceed. The ‘champion’ contacts a Toastmasters club or the District 6 Youth Leadership Chair to arrange for appointment of a qualified Toastmasters YLP Coordinator to coordinate and conduct the YLP program. Securing youth participants is the responsibility of the community, school, or youth organization or other champion who steps forward to build participation in a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program offering.
Be aware that public schools often request that a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program Coordinator also cooperate with the guidelines set forth by an associated Community Education organization (guidelines may include agreeing to a background check, as well as following other protocols to assure the safety of school age youth). The Toastmasters Youth Leadership Programs are generally NOT available on an open enrollment basis, since the Youth Leadership Programs are limited duration endeavors arranged on behalf of a particular community of youth.
The importance of creativity
Honoring creativity is a critical component of tapping innate potential. The many forms of creative expression are also forms of communication. Moreover, the creative process is, in its purest sense, a path to greater awareness. Greater awareness opens a greater field of possibilities. Holding an open and honoring space in Youth Leadership Programs where both individual and group creative pathways are included in fulfilling various meeting assignments and roles, also yields greater excellence, capacity, and passion in one’s personal communication and leadership qualities. These dynamics also powerfully support the manifestation of dreams and passions into life. Special theme meetings that overtly include integration of various artistic forms of expression are an additional pathway for honoring and including creativity.
How self esteem may be enhanced
The honoring stance created for one’s self and each other within a Youth Leadership Program can powerfully support enhancement of self-esteem. Special theme meetings can also be created, including special guest speakers who richly understand the dynamics and pathways to self-honoring. Special focus program offerings can also be provided just to the side of the Youth Leadership Program, which serve to expand the learning within a given theme.
How the Toastmasters YLP enhances language development
When a Youth Leadership Program is conducted in a way that honors individual expression, and provides a safe and loving space for individuals to explore creativity, expression, listening, understanding, facilitation, and leadership, miraculous things begin happening. The individual begins to open to their deeper inner voice and artistry; verbal expression deepens. The YLP design also fosters richer use of language through “Word of the Day” exercises, impromptu speaking, speech evaluation and feedback, and exposure to outside speakers and concepts. Additionally, as individual youth step into various meeting and leadership roles, deeper qualities of expression and leadership are invited into expression.
How the Toastmasters YLP can informally link in to other youth enhancement programs
In addition to welcoming creative expression and presentation within the Youth Leadership Program (YLP) projects and roles, special Artist/Creative/Special Interest receptions or presentations can be offered just to the side of the Youth Leadership Program, or as a special theme within the YLP. Partnering with area Art Centers, Galleries, Schools, Community Centers, and Churches may provide an additional venue for young artists to be given expression. Video productions that convey the Artist Voice and creative pathway may also be created off to the side.
Share your Youth Leadership Program experience
Please take a moment and share the results of your Youth Leadership Program offering with the District 6 Youth Leadership Chair, conveying the following information:
- Name, Email, and Phone of the Toastmaster serving as Youth Leadership Program
- Name and club number of Toastmasters Club sponsoring YLP Coordinator
- Name of the Youth Group, School or other Organization offering the Toastmasters YLP to youth participants
- Start and End Dates of the YLP offering
- Age or Grade Level of youth participants
- Number of youth participants
- Special objectives, challenges, and/or accomplishments of YLP offering
- Names of additional Toastmasters supporting this YLP offering
Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents with our children and youth, who are our greatest treasure!