Two Oceans Toastmasters member Alana Byrne has for the last few months been running a Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) at Silvermine Academy in order to help the youth of Fish Hoek find their voice.  Alana Byrne, a life coach and Two Oceans Toastmasters member from Capri, has taken the opportunity to help Grade 11 & 12 students at Silvermine Academy take part in the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Programme as part of her own progress within the Toastmasters Leadership programme.

The Youth Leadership Programme is a “hands-on” courses to teach High School learners the rudiments of effective communication and practical business skills. Following a program designed by Toastmasters International, members of a Toastmasters Club supervise and mentor learners in weekly meetings at a school. The learners, usually from Grade 11, learn both communication, listening and evaluation skills, while receiving the fundamentals of running a business meeting, the roles and responsibilities of each member of a meeting and Parliamentary Procedure.  Photo: of Silvermine Academy students and Two Oceans Toastmistress Alana Byrne.

Studies are showing that the current generation of teenagers are losing the skills to express thoughts in an expanded way. With social media, they are learning to get a point across in 130 characters, but this is having a serious impact when it comes to the interview process. When asked questions, they give very short concise answers, without being able to expand into the detail necessary for an interviewer to get a full picture of their skills and personality. One of the big advantages of YLP is that it teaches the participants how to expand on ideas and make them interesting, as well as giving them the opportunity to practice impromptu speaking.

Alana shares “One of the things I have learned is that everybody has something important to say. They just don’t always have the skills to say it in a way that other people want to listen. And as a mother, I realised very quickly that, contrary to popular belief, teens often have a unique and deeply profound view of the world they live in, but just don’t know how to express these thoughts clearly. With the Toasmaster’s YLP, it has been an incredibly satisfying experience to watch these teens develop and grow in confidence and skills, so that they can stand up in front of a group of people and share their thoughts in an informative, inspiring and even entertaining way. It struck me, as I listened to these speeches, that these truly are our future leaders and if these eight weeks were any indication of where our teens are headed, our future is in good hands.”

Michaela Reed says: “Toastmasters helped me overcome my huge fear of talking in front of people and to present a speech that I can be proud of!”  Another student Mitchell Tappe shares “All my life I have been the quiet shy girl and Toastmasters has helped to gain some confidence and get over my fear of public speaking”.

Silvermine Academy Principal Charlene Murray:  “Toastmasters has allowed for our students to develop an element of maturity, and not only in their public speaking skills. Over the short period of a term, we have seen our students flourish in confidence, poise and in the expression of their ideas.

Under the masterful guidance of Alana Byrne they have begun to develop a host of skills and it is a programme which perfectly prepares our Grade 12 students for oral moderation. It is without hesitation we have made allowance for the inclusion of further Toastmasters courses in our extra curricular programme. It is a most valuable extension of any high school’s curriculum.”

“Alana’s humourous and amazing skills as a coach are brilliant and I personally think every student should take part in the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Programme.” says Jamie Blackwell.  Dylan found that “the ability to express my mind in words that are understandable is a trait that has been lacking for me before doing the Toastmasters course”.

Should other schools be interested in running a Youth Leadership Programme for their pupils, please contact Verity on 082 685 5256 or visit www.twooceanstoastmasters.co.za.   If you would like more information or to schedule an interview with Alana please call  Verity on 082 685 5256 or click to email Verity 

By: Verity Price, Two Oceans Toastmasters, Vice President Pubic Relations

Read about  Two Oceans Toastmasters Southern African Champion, Kay Price Lindsay of Clovelly,  who is representing  Southern Africa at the World Championships in USA in October.  http://scenicsouth.co.za//2012/07/two-oceans-toastmaster-kay-price-lindsay-represents-southern-africa-in-world-champs-usa/