"My Mistake. Make that Four Coffins"
I take from popular art what others might take from a great painting, and so it is that a movie clip offers me a different form of storytelling around my own college toastmasters learning journey. This journey to date involves five toastmasters club, four of which are history. What I am personally looking for out of a Toastmasters club is not simply a learning laboratory but a means to transform in parallel with the future.
The clip from the movie "A Fistful of Dollars" is a nice way of conveying where I am on my own learning journey and how it is I have got to this point. The first three clubs I had joined all had good people in them but they were not at all a fit with my learning journey - these experiences therefore were personally DOA a.k.a. dead-on-arrival.
It was the fourth club that I had expected to be the "one". This is where the name "CityVP" arose, because I was VP of Education on the executive of City Centre Toastmasters. Naturally, I had geared up this learning journey with an array of "CityVP" online media properties, covering all facets of the Toastmasters experience I was prepared to develop as a self-paced learning.
The story is not complete without this fourth club not working out, and so this is my fourth coffin. What did not die and that moves on to my fifth club is the "CityVP" learning frame and having been to three community clubs and one corporate club, my latest club is my first college club. This club is different from the other four dead experiences (and these are my dead experiences and not a reflection on the actual quality of each of those four clubs), is that the college club is based not on one charter but two charters. The Toastmasters charter (let me call that the Baxter Charter in tribute to the movie "A Fistful of Dollars", and a Student Club Charter, let me call that the Rojas Charter.
In a college environment no matter how deep the affiliation with the Toastmasters charter is, the student club charter is the stronger one because it accords first with college policy and unlike Toastmasters Clubs with a single charter, the student club charter comes with something the Toastmasters charter does not - $600 from the students union to support each college club. For those who say that Toastmasters in college faces an uphill challenge competing against many clubs vying for the student attention, and its membership is limited to those who are connected with a college, miss the point that a well curated and crafted learning experience is the difference between success and failure. Thus the issue is long-term engagement.
My personal vision is not in the development of a single campus club, for we have three campus clubs in our college, based on the locations of the three campuses. Each Toastmasters club has its own executive and operates independently of the other, each has a unique charter with Toastmasters international but a shared charter with Student Clubs. My vision is a globally connected peer-to-peer network of campus clubs and that is my next step. To begin discerning where these clubs exist and the current state of this union.
In my case it is not a case of "there's money to be made in a town like this" but there is value to be made between the charter driven by the Baxters (Toastmasters) and the Rojas (Student Clubs). It simply requires me to elevate my own imagination and do what I do best, which is view things at a global perspective. If I maintain the freedom of that learning journey, then this journey has massive potential in the value of education delivered, which means my learning. The great thing about Toastmasters is that it is not a pass/fail system and the learning journey is what it is the individual makes of it. What I do best in life is make meaning, and it is this meaning that I hope become a catalyst for all those who have a kindred spirit. The last thing I need on my learning journey is a Fifth Coffin, what I actually need is a Fifth Discipline.