80 Years and Counting; Long Beach Gavel Club Celebrates 80th Anniversary

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80th anniversary

Long Beach Gavel Club #11, one of the oldest Toastmasters clubs in the world, is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this month.

Long Beach Gavel Club #11 was chartered on March 25, 1933 and has been an active club in the area ever since, providing growth opportunities for hundreds of Long Beach residents wanting to overcome their fear of public speaking and develop communication and leadership skills useful in both their personal and professional lives. Eighty years later, the club has helped professionals, entrepreneurs, retirees and students develop communication and leadership skills. The club’s rich legacy includes being one of the first clubs to allow in women; numerous members going on to District officer leadership roles including four becoming District Governors; and many Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM), which is the highest educational and leadership level of achievement in Toastmasters.

“We’re very excited to be celebrating our 80th Anniversary!” said Gavel Club President Michelle Darlington CC, CL. “In a world where the ‘latest and greatest’ are often short-lived historical moments, it’s exciting and inspiring to be a part of this club and Toastmasters International.”

Long Beach Gavel Club, 11th out of 13,500 Toastmasters International clubs currently in existence, will celebrate its 80th Anniversary on Saturday, April 13, from 5-7 pm at El Dorado Park West Senior Center at 2800 N. Studebaker Road in Long Beach. The program will include a catered dinner and presentations recalling the history of the club. Current and past club members will be sharing what they have gained from being a member. Current club members, alumni, and past and present District leaders will be present.

“Like many people, I didn’t know what to expect at a Toastmaster meeting,” Darlington said. “I thought it would be about practicing toasts and what one would say, if they were on the spot, at a wedding or other special event. But it is definitely much more than that! Joining Long Beach Gavel Club had increased my self-confidence and I feel I stand taller. This is due to the experience I gain from weekly opportunities to speak in front of familiar, friendly faces. We are each on the same path and only want each other to improve.”

Gavel Club currently has 35 members and new members continue to join. Guests are welcome to visit the club and observe what happens at a meeting. The Gavel Club meets every Monday from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m. at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church at 5633 E. Wardlow Road in Long Beach. The club encourages anyone interested in joining to visit their website at lbgavelclub.toastmastersclubs.org or find them on Meetup or Facebook for more information.

Longtime member Bob Dunning, DTM, PDG, said, “My 23 years of Gavel Club membership have provided me with a great many friends and acquaintances along with the communication and leadership opportunities that I have been able to take advantage of. Thank you Gavel Club.”

Gavel Club is part of Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has more than 270,000 members in over 13,000 clubs in 116 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

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