An eight-session weekly youth leadership program will begin Jan. 5 at the Ramona Library.
The program is intended for girls 10 and 11 years old or in the fourth or fifth grade. The meetings will take place on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. The program is sanctioned by the Girl Scouts of America and Toastmasters International, although Girl Scouts membership is not required for participation and Toastmasters membership is only for those 18 and older.
“The age group is probably important,” said Gina Seashore, Ramona resident who will coordinate the program.
Seashore was president of Toastmasters’ Valley of the Sun chapter in Ramona before the chapter folded. She is now a member of the Downtown Escondido chapter.
The youth leadership program was developed by Toastmasters International but will also fulfill a Girl Scouts leadership badge requirement, and Caron Cappos will spearhead the involvement of Girl Scout Troop 8691.
Toastmasters International was founded in 1924 to enhance the public speaking skills of members, and in 2006 the Toastmasters certification program was modified to provide a communication track and a leadership track. The youth leadership program will cover both aspects of the Toastmasters program.
“It’s not just about speaking skills, but it’s also about the leadership training,” Seashore said.
The participants will receive manuals developed by Toastmasters International. The program is free of charge to the youth participants, and the Downtown Escondido Toastmasters club will sponsor the cost of the materials, which also include certificates upon completion.
The youth leadership program will elect two sets of officers for four-week terms, allowing more participants to serve as officers. The participants will conduct the meetings under the guidance of Seashore and Cappos, and one of the skills expected to be developed is keeping meetings from exceeding their scheduled times. As is the case with Toastmasters chapters, youth leadership participants will also have specific roles for each meeting.
Each girl will give two speeches during the eight-week session.
“It’s going to improve their speaking skills,” Seashore said.
The eight sessions cover introduction to chairmanship, introduction to public speaking, impromptu speaking, organizing speeches, listening, gestures in speaking, voice and vocabulary, and demonstrating skills.
Seashore plans to have a second youth leadership program for 12-year-old and 13-year-old girls, although a starting date for those sessions has not yet been determined.
The youth leadership program is limited to 15 participants, and the Ramona program has a handful of openings.
Registrations and requests for information may be directed to Cappos at email@example.com.