By Anika Bagga, Girls Innovate! Teen Committee
“The chairs are in the middle, 10 rows of five, 3 tables for check-in, make sure the nametags are entangled, open up breeze,” was the lingo we were all using 15 minutes before showtime. On October 19, Girls Innovate held an informational meeting for the community to learn more about Gavel Club. As communication and leadership are ever prevalent, Gavel Club enhances public speaking skills through doing. Christie, our club advisor, approached us with the idea of starting a Gavel Club for Girls Innovate! Gavel Club is sub-program of Toastmasters International, which is a forum for people of all ages and backgrounds to work on their public speaking and leadership skills. Gavel Club for Girls Innovate! creates a space for girls only to gain confidence by delivering a series of speeches, getting feedback, as well as learning from each other and other experienced toastmasters. We didn’t start mapping out a Gavel Club for Girls Innovate, until late in the summer.
Throughout the entire planning process, we tried to implement a new planning method using milestones and an online management tool, called Breeze. At times these tools we used were confusing, but in the end they really helped us to organize and assign tasks, as well as keep us on track. In the beginning, one of our biggest roadblocks was finding a location for the Gavel Club to meet Once we were able to confirm dates and locations for the events, we started publicizing the event, molding an agenda for the meeting, and gathering volunteers to help out at the event. We set October 19, as the informational meeting date for the public to get to know more about Girls Innovate! and Gavel Club.
October 19, was the day where our numerous emails and google hangouts really showed. We were able to set-up efficiently and lead the event smoothly. One of my favorite parts of the meeting was having a mini-session with components of a real meeting. During the meeting we had a brave teen committee member give her ice-breaker speech, something each Gavel Club member will do, and we also got some attendees involved by challenging them to speak impromptu on topics. I really liked this concept, since the audience was more involved laughing, encouraging the girls, and learning more about the benefits of joining toastmasters during the meeting. We also had Christie bring in a couple of her fellow toastmasters as guests during the meeting, Donnie and Youngmi. They helped encourage the speakers by giving their evaluations and described their experiences being adult toastmasters. It was a pleasure having them at our meeting. In addition, the teamwork of all the volunteers, Arushi, Christie, and Uyen, made this event possible. The turnout was great and as president, I can’t be more proud of all that we have accomplished in the past couple of months.
Now we have close to 20 girls signed up and I personally can’t wait to start on this amazing learning experience. All girls are equipped with their manuals and we are ready to kick-off Girls Innovates! Gavel Club 2014-2015!