Youth Leadership

Overview of the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program

The Youth Leadership Program is structured as an eight session delivery model, assuming each session is 90 -120 minutes in length. Learn more about the Youth Leadership Program. Read an article on the Youth Leadership Program, “Teaching Presentation Skills to Kids” by freelance writer, Julie Bawden Davis.

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 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!

Each Youth Leadership program group is limited to 15 to 20 people, with a maximum of 25. 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.

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, 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. Participants, working from a handbook, select officers who 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 prepared speeches. In every meeting, participants learn to apply the principles of listening, thinking and speaking.

Think of the successful leaders you know. They probably have one trait in common – the ability to communicate effectively.

Kids need the Youth Leadership program so they can grow to meet the challenges of adulthood and leadership successfully. Sponsored and conducted by Toastmasters International and its local clubs, Youth Leadership helps young people build their communication and leadership skills so they may become tomorrow’s leaders in business, industry and the community.

Here is a general list of activities by week:

  • Week 1: Get Acquainted, Discuss Chairmanship, Elect Officers for first four weeks, Self-evaluation, Elements of a Speech
  • Week 2: Discussion of Speaking, Prepared Speeches and Evaluations
  • Week 3: Prepared Speeches and Evaluations, Introduction to Impromptu Speaking, Group Discussion
  • Week 4: Impromptu Speaking, Prepared Speeches and Evaluations, Elect Officers for Weeks 5 – 8
  • Week 5: Impromptu Speaking, Prepared Speeches and Evaluations, Listening
  • Week 6: Impromptu Speaking, Prepared Speeches and Evaluations, Gestures in Speaking
  • Week 7: Impromptu Speaking, Prepared Speeches and Evaluations, Voice & Vocabulary, Self-evaluate, Select a Special Program to be presented in Session 8
  • Week 8: Special Program, Awards, Adjourn

There is flexibility in the layout of the Program to allow it to fit the target organization’s needs.

Youth Leadership may be conducted for scout troops, 4-H clubs, church youth groups and many other organizations, and for young people in the community.

Normally, a local Toastmasters club is contacted to present the program. Use our maps to find a Toastmasters club near you in Arizona District 3 and contact them directly. Note that you may zoom the map by clicking on the left-hand side. The map is “draggable” also. Zoom in on the desired geographical area; then click on a numbered bubble for the club’s contact info.

No club nearby? Email youth.leadership@aztoastmasters.org.

  • One workbook per participant;
  • One Coordinator’s Guide for each Toastmaster that is running the program;
  • One Completion Certificate for each participant that completes the program;
  • Evaluation Guides (This could be considered optional as there are evaluation guides in the participant’s manuals as well. ;Also, we have often used our club evaluation guides in lieu of the ones provided with the Program materials when we want to focus on specific aspects of performing evaluations.
  • Kits including all materials for a group of 5 students are available through the company store at a cost of approximately $17 per kit. Toastmasters members may receive a discount on this, or the separate materials that comprise the kit. See the kit at the Toastmasters store.
  • One Toastmaster. A Toastmasters club member is expected to attend each weekly meeting. A second assisting Toastmaster is suggested.

Typically each student will be expected to deliver at least 2 prepared speeches between 4 or 5 minutes each over the course of the program. This requires them to do the ‘homework’ to prepare their speeches. I typically advise the students to outlinetheir speech and then practice it by actually performing the speech at least 3 times before they present it in the program. This can be done in front of a mirror, in front of family members or friends, as they choose. It would be helpful if they received some assistance, but they should be personally responsible for the majority of the effort. I would expect that there would be 2 to 3 hours of work in preparing for each speech. In addition, they are expected to read the materials for each upcoming session.

  • Overall, time required of the students looks something like this:
  • Reading for the next session: 30 minutes each for a total of 7 times
  • Preparing speeches: 2 to 3 hours each speech for a total of 2 times
  • For the student, this amounts to about 12 hours total outside of the sessions themselves over the course of either 8 or 16 weeks, depending on whether we have a session a week, or a session every other week.
  • For the parents, listening to the speech practice would be helpful and that would amount to about 30 to 40 minutes total I would expect.

Glad you asked! People from all walks of life and all educational levels enjoy the learning experiences provided by Toastmasters. Toastmasters has specific assignments that help improve your speaking in business and social situations. It also provides opportunities to enhance your leadership abilities. Toastmasters may also provide local business and professional networking opportunities. If you are not currently a member of “Adult” Toastmasters, use the Find a Club map link to zoom in and contact a local club to get your career in Toastmasters started. Note that you may zoom the map by clicking on the left-hand side. The map is draggable also. Zoom in on the desired geographical area, then click on a numbered bubble for the club’s contact info.

I would not expect the parents to provide additional coaching or guidance, but to let the students take the work on for themselves…. or to provide the absolute minimal level of assistance necessary to assure that the student goes through enough of the steps to be minimally prepared. There are no grades! The point is to gain experience in order to gain confidence and if a student is heavily coached or tutored, that goal is compromised. I try to get them to make progress on their own at a pace that they can be reasonably comfortable with. I specifically try not to do anything to increase the stress level for the students, since fear of public speaking is the 2nd most feared thing for people, behind only the fear of dying. Sometimes, ‘help’ from parents is not desired by the students (at least my own children made that point to me more than once as they grew up) and the stress that ‘help’ generates ends up being counter-productive. Everyone needs to make their own judgments, but my advice is to err on the side of giving the student too much latitude than to give them too little. Let them be successful on their own.