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Toastmaster Intl.

A.S.T. - District 50, Area 66, Club 9872



The Story of Toastmasters Since Toastmasters began, more than two million men and women have benefited from the communication and leadership programs of the organization.

The first club was formed in October 1924, when a group of men assembled by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met in the basement of the Santa Ana, California YMCA to form a club "to afford practice and training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings, and to promote sociability and good fellowship among its members." The group took the name "Toastmasters."

A year later, a second club was started in Anaheim, California, followed by a third in Los Angeles. By 1930, it was apparent that a federation was necessary to coordinate activities of the clubs and to provide standard methods. After formation of a club in Victoria, British Columbia, the group became known as Toastmasters International.

Growth was slow during the early years, but the number of clubs increased steadily. The forerunner of today's Communication and Leadership program, Basic Training, was introduced in 1942 and has been expanded and updated many times since then to keep abreast of the times and members' needs.

Membership in Toastmasters International increased rapidly after the end of World War II, and by 1954 the number of Toastmasters clubs had approached 1500.                          

Gavel Clubs were formed in 1958 to accommodate groups wanting Toastmasters training but not qualified for Toastmasters membership. These clubs provide communication and leadership training in correctional institutions, hospitals, and schools. In 1966, the Youth Leadership Program, for young people in junior and senior high school, was added to the list of established community programs being presented by Toastmasters.

In 1962, World Headquarters offices were moved to a new building in Santa Ana, California, not far from where the first club began.

In 1973, Toastmasters club membership was opened to women, enabling them to benefit also from self-development in communication and leadership. In the same year, a comprehensive listening program was introduced to further help members develop their communication skills. The following year saw a celebration of their organization's first 50 years and the promise of an even more successful second half-century.

New programs, including the modular Advanced Manual Series, Success/ Leadership Series, and self-study cassette tape programs, were added to augment the Communication and Leadership program. Growth in new clubs, especially in the corporate sector, reached new highs in the late 1980s, with more than 7000 clubs.

Toastmasters International is the undisputed world leader in public speaking training with the promise that the best is yet to come.


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