About the Program

Think of all the benefits you gained from your involvement in Toastmasters. Now imagine giving all those benefits to 7th to 12th graders. Imagine all the things they might accomplish and the advantage they will have if they have self confidence and speaking skills.

Youth Leadership program can help young people successfully grow to meet the challenges of adulthood by building their self-confidence as they develop their communication and leadership skills so they may become tomorrow's leaders in business, industry and the community. The materials are based on the program sponsored and conducted by Toastmasters International and its local clubs.

Purpose of the Program

Every young person has the potential to become a good communicator and leader, but this potential needs to be developed. The program's unique eight-session, workshop-style design enables participants to develop this potential through practical experience, the example of others and guidance from the program’s facilitators.

The program is not in competition with school programs or courses, or other established youth projects. Instead, it's a supplement to these programs, providing emphasis on specialized speaking and leadership skills, and individual needs.

Participants learn to:

  • Overcome nervousness when speaking before an audience.
  • Organize and present ideas logically and convincingly.
  • Listen carefully to others' ideas.
  • Offer advice to help others improve their speaking and leadership skills.
  • Participate in - and even lead - group discussion or meetings.

Participants increase their self-confidence as they learn. They also make new friends and have fun. Toastmasters is an enjoyable learning experience!

The Participants

Each Youth Leadership program group is limited to 15 to 20 people. That way, each person receives individual attention and has the opportunity to get practical experience. Participants for the program are selected by the sponsoring Toastmasters club or by a cooperating organization (such as their school). The program is not an award to honor those who already have become leaders. It’s designed for the much larger group who are still working on communication skills. Participants are selected for what they can become, not for what they already have done. Often teenagers want the course as a supplement to their high school education, or to prepare for college.

The Sponsors

A local Toastmasters club serves as sponsor and provides the experienced leaders needed to present the program. These adults are patient and understanding; they remember their own struggles with youthful issues and work well with kids as a result.

The adult with overall responsibility for the program is the coordinator. He or she works closely with any cooperating organization and attends each meeting, conducting most of the training and counseling participants. The coordinator has an assistant who conducts discussions and substitutes for the coordinator, should he or she be unable to attend a meeting.

How it Works

The program is presented in eight sessions during or after school, evenings or on weekends. Each session usually lasts one to two hours. Activities taking place in the sessions include the following:

  • Evaluation of present speaking ability
  • Discussion of chairmanship principles
  • Presentation of speeches
  • Impromptu talks
  • Group evaluation
  • Discussion of speech organization
  • Discussion and practice in listening
  • Discussion of gestures in speaking
  • Discussion of voice and vocabulary
  • Exercise in chairmanship

There is usually no cost to participants for tuition or materials. The materials used in the program are produced by Toastmasters International and are provided by the sponsoring Toastmasters club, which orders them from Toastmasters World Headquarters for a small fee.

Generally, meetings follow a format similar to that of a Toastmasters club meeting. There is an announced agenda and participants learn and practice parliamentary procedure during each meeting. Lecturing is minimal, but discussion is held during each session. Select participants preside over the meetings. The remaining class members are assigned other duties on a rotating basis, so everyone is actively involved. Participants also deliver short impromptu and four prepared speeches. In every meeting, participants learn to apply the principles of listening, thinking and speaking. Email membership@toastmasters.org  to learn more about the Youth Leadership program.

Clubs conduct the program on a voluntary basis. Find a nearby club that may want to conduct a program for your organization.

If you need to order materials, contact the Member Services Department at 949-858-8255 or visit the online store.

For more information about the program within District 8, please contact the Youth Leadership District Chair, Suresh Gopalakrishnan.

Student Testimonials

The Toastmasters Youth Program has been a wonderful experience for me. Before the first session I was extremely nervous and did not know whether I would enjoy the Program or not. I was very shy and I rarely spoke in front of more than ten people at a time. During my first speech I was as motionless as a rock. I was extremely nervous. I spoke for the required amount of time and sat down. As I continued to attend the Toastmasters sessions, my love for and skills in public speaking grew side-by-side. The Program challenged me to do something outside of my comfort zone and talk in front of large groups of people. Soon I began to enjoy giving speeches, and became more confident.

The Toastmasters program has provided me with opportunities to give different types of speeches. The Prop speech is one of my favorites. Once I used a piece of kale for a prop, while another time I brought yarn, a hat, a scarf, and chair cover. I came to enjoy giving different types of speeches, and each new speech helped improve my speaking skills. I loved entertaining others with my speeches, and I liked coming up with different topics to talk about. One of the Convince Me speeches that I gave was about Condoleezza Rice. Being more comfortable with giving funnier speeches, it stretched me and challenged me to do something different. I enjoyed learning about Condoleezza Rice, telling others about what I had learned, and giving a type of speech that I was unaccustomed to.

I also enjoyed learning the many different roles that were offered at each session. One favorite role is the Table Topics Master, because they choose questions for the other participants to answer. There are some roles that are more challenging than others, but after I attended the Toastmasters Program a few more times they became easier to do. Now my favorite role is the Toastmaster. I enjoy introducing the other speakers and concluding the session at the end of the meeting.

I have enjoyed the Toastmasters Youth Program, which has helped me improve my speaking skills, provided me with new opportunities, and stretched me in many ways.

9th Grade – Cardinal Academy Home School
University City, MO

Calendar of Future Classes

Youth Services (314) 727-3150

Sample Materials

Below is a list of sample documents you can incorporate into your own Youth Leadership sessions.