After a successful launch, an organization focused on the perfection of public speaking is continuing their success and looking to expand its membership.
Soaring Eagles, a Toastmasters International club, held a demonstration meeting in March for the local chapter. The purpose of the nonprofit group is to help participants improve communication and leadership skills.
Jacqueline Howard, president of Soaring Eagles, believes it helps people in all facets of life, such as interviews or business meetings.
“There’s a need for it — young people in this area going to school and they’re not comfortable in front of the class,” Howard said. “I’ve been there and you’re trying to assert yourself and find your voice.”
Toastmasters International was formed in 1924 and was incorporated in 1932. Today, the club has more than 330,000 members from 135 countries.
Currently, the Sampson County group has 21. Members are hoping to get several more people by the end of September through a membership drive. Anyone 18 or older may join and participate for at least six months. Sometimes people stay longer for different reasons such as applying for permits or other job duties.
“We’re constantly trying to get new members in,” Howard said about the recently formed organization and the work of getting more people to join.
While speaking to the club, members are given an allotted time, which is usually several minutes. Afterwards, productive feedback is given.
“Even with that, we’ve had some awesome meetings,” Howard said about participants. “They’re coming and they get excited because they can tell that they’re growing and learning. It’s just a matter of commitment.”
For Howard it offers more than just public speaking. She said Toastmasters helps people in other parts of life, including reading to children
“In Toastmasters, there’s a book for everything,” Howard said about a range of topics such as facilitating meetings or story telling.
For the 2016-17 year, officers were inducted during an Aug. 27 charter and banner ceremony conducted by David Lindquist, Area 74 Division Director, at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. In addition to Howard, the officers included Teresa Alston, vice president of membership; LaTricia Smith, vice president of education; Peggy Goodman, secretary, treasurer; and Richard Carr, sergeant-at-arms.
The Soaring Eagles Toastmasters meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to noon at the fellowship hall of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, 4442 Bonnetsville Road, Clinton. For more information about membership, contact Howard at 910-214-0769 or Smith at 910-257-2991.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.