Making a Real-World Impact Through Volunteerism

My Journey to a Second DTM

I decided all of the projects for my second DTM would include a volunteer organization and have an impact in the real world. As the videographer/photographer for the Medicine Hat Cowboy Poetry Foundation, I had the opportunity to film and edit a historical documentary of Bud Van Cleave, a 93-year-old Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee. Watch the documentary here.

The next opportunity was to learn how to create a poster with the District 42 Content Creators, then write a press release and advertise the Bud Van Cleave video release in his hometown, Taber, AB. The video release led to my debut as an Emcee with over 100 attendees.

Another project was assisting the three ranch families being awarded the Heritage  Ranching Award at the Friends of the Bar U Stockmen’s Dinner and drafting a presentation template for future recipients. This project also included photographing a part of history.

These experiences, along with the numerous speeches, provided me with the confidence to enjoy the highlight of my Toastmasters journey – Emceeing the Taber Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Round-Up.

I have networked and learned from other giving individuals. Thank you to all of the friends (both within and outside TM) that I have made and who have helped me achieve both of my DTMs. It has changed my life. I encourage each of you to take on projects that impact the real world to make your DTM journey a life-changing experience.

My Toastmasters journey began on February 15, 2015, when I joined The Regulators. While I was working on my second DTM I was a member of both High River Toastmasters and Hearth of the Rockies.  Initially, I joined Toastmasters to learn to speak and build confidence. However, what has kept me in the organization are the friends and mentors I’ve met along the way, especially those involved in the Content Creators.

One of my proudest accomplishments in Toastmasters was being awarded the 2018 D42 Area Director of the Year. This recognition was an asset to the learning and relationships I developed while completing my second DTM, particularly through projects that had a tangible impact on the real world.

Currently, I serve as the Treasurer for Heart of the Rockies. The biggest challenge I faced in achieving my DTM was finding the time to complete a second DTM. Despite the challenges, the journey was incredibly rewarding. My greatest learning on the DTM path involved all aspects of video capture, photography, and editing to produce a documentary and then advertise its release.

My DTM project was particularly fulfilling. I worked on the Friends of the Bar U Stockmen’s Dinner, where I guided award recipients in preparing their presentations, developed a template for future recipients, and photographed the event. This project allowed me to combine my skills in videography and photography with my passion for preserving history and celebrating rural heritage.

Through all these experiences, Toastmasters has been a transformative journey. The skills I gained and the people I met have profoundly impacted my life. I encourage everyone to take on projects that make a real-world impact, as they can make your DTM journey truly life-changing.

Cheryl Dust 
D42 Content Creator Member

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