Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Gavel Club explained...

Imagine a group of young people being trained in public speaking skills in a Christian setting. Basically that is what the Gavel Club is. Gavel club is a part of Toastmasters International. There are certain age requirements to be involved with Toastmasters, but Gavel Clubs fit the needs of everyone else who can not attend Toastmaster meetings.

Will and I have been involved with Toastmasters clubs for about eight years. He has been club president, VP of education and an area governor. He has developed his public speaking skills through this tremendously. It is NOT a Christian group, per se. It is, however, a great opportunity to develop speaking skills that could later be used in a Christian setting. I have been involved also, but my involvement has been a little less regular. I have a minor in communications and love public speaking, so it was just an "outlet for fun" for me when I could attend.

About this time last year, we were introduced to the Caswell family. If you are local to Northwest Illinois, you probably know the Caswells. They are famous around here. O.K. maybe not famous, but they do speak at ICHE (homeschool conference) and travel around and sing as a family (with 8 children). They also hosted the Northern Illinois Youth Orchestra (which was a total success). So, they are the movers and shakers among us. Incidentally, it was an unbeliever in Toastmasters who saw the similarities in our two families (big, homeschooling, music interest and toastmasters) that said, "Hey! You guys need to meet!"

It was totally the Lord. We had more than "just the basics" in common. They live about one hour west of us, so it wasn't like we were bumping into each other at every other turn. We went to their home and attended a first gavel club meeting afterwards. Wow! and Wow! These were polished, prepared young people. They were mature in the Lord and able to articulate it.

It didn't take long for us to see the vision and importance of this in our children's lives. And yet, how do you make a "public speaking club" sound like fun?

We basically found two other families who saw the vision and need for this in their own children. We used Hallstrom as our "starting place", but time/ space requirements have had us switch to not being affiliated with Hallstrom and moved to the public library.

So, we started this fall with an eight week session called "the Youth Leadership Program" which prepares the initial group in leading the Gavel Club. At the end of our program, we had a celebration party for the kids at our home. Incidentally, the only thing we have in common with these families is that they are Christian and they homeschool. None of them attend our church, and if we sat down and discussed things, we'd probably find some real doctrinal differences. But what we do have in common is this: we are all committed to preparing our children to love and live Christ, as we each understand it.

Will and I have come to love each one of these kids and it has been a pleasure to train them in this way with the few skills the Lord has given us. We found it to be a blessing!

If you are local to Rockford and would like to join our Gavel Club, we meet on Tuesday evenings at the Montague Branch Library at 4:30 p.m.

Makes my home sing at Moms the Word link up/


momstheword said...

I don't really like speaking in public, it makes me nervous, although I'm pretty comfortable with my woman's Bible class.

Some people we know do Toastmasters and they really seem to enjoy it. I love how you are teaching your children how to speak up, and how to do it with confidence! Thanks for linking up today.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Wow! That sounds really neat. I would love to do something like that when our kids get older.

mmohome said...

AWESOME work. And amazing assortment of tools to work... Really great!!

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