Youth Leadership Program (YLP)
by Terry Kozlyk, DTM
Youth – Our Most Valuable Asset
Everyone knows that our youth form a major part of everyone’s future. They will graduate from high school, choose a trade or further academic path and move onto higher learning at college or university. Eventually, they will fill a position that produces products, services or value that many of us will continue to need and use. You, I and everyone else has been through our youth. And most notably, all that will be talked about is the hard skills we will need and eventually learn through further education; most commonly referred to as the 3R’s. But was is greatly overlooked is “soft skills”; the ability to speak confidently, carry on a conversation, make good eye contact and the like. No doubt most of us will eventually learn how to do. But it is not until we need soft skills the most, after graduating and interviewing for jobs, so we slowly begin to learn these soft skills, many times at the peril of not doing well and losing out on the job.
One of the many ways that Toastmasters gives back to the community, with members voluntary time, is the Youth Leadership Program or YLP for short. It is an 8-week program running for 2 hours weekdays after school or on weekends. In Calgary, we are very fortunate for the unwavering support of the Calgary Public Libray (CPL). The library advertises the YLP’s on their website, collects the online registrations and when the count reaches 10 or more, they contact our local YLP coordinator who then connects a “club in waiting” member who facilitates the 8 weeks, with their group of volunteer speakers. The meetings mimic the traditional Toastmasters meeting for adults, focusing on speech writing, delivery and evaluation. Youth also learn table topics, which is speaking for 1 to 2 minutes off the cuff, with no more than 20 seconds of warning on the topic given them. Table topics are probably the most valuable as they instantly teach youth how to handle themselves with on-the-spot dialogue such as they will soon experience in a job interview. We also make it fun as learning makes the most inroads with us humans when we have fun. At the end of the 8 weeks, the youth will receive a certificate and makes them more confident in their potential, so early in their career development.
Soft skills are the true colour of each and every person. Nothing builds genuine confidence in oneself better than the ability to speak and express oneself confidently whether one-to-one or to large groups. It is the first attribute of us that will be noticed within the first 10 seconds of us speaking to someone. Nothing impresses people more than one’s ability and panache to speak coherently, confidently and with a purpose.
Speaking Leads Into Leadership
Not far behind the speaking skillset comes leadership. After mastering a few basics of speaking, a person will soon discover leadership and how intertwined speaking and leadership is. You cannot have one without the other. Both go hand-in-hand. Having the ability to lead others and the ability to speak, go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Speaking and Leadership; a winning combination.
To find out more about Toastmasters and the Youth Leadership Program, find a club near you by visiting Find a Club Near You
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development, with over 352,000 members in 16,400 clubs in 141 countries. The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program