Still time to become charter member of Heritage Valley Toastmasters

February 17, 2012
Santa Paula News

With a new name, an international club is on its way to becoming the most talked about organization in the Santa Clara River Valley - or at least one that centers on communication.

Charter members agreed Monday to call their club Heritage Valley Toastmasters to reflect that it will serve members from Santa Paula, Fillmore and Piru. “We want to give the community at large one last notice that we will reach charter strength next Monday, February 20,” said Heritage Valley Toastmasters President Gloria Davidson, “and there is still time to join our Toastmasters Club to become a charter member.”

According to its mission statement, a Toastmasters Club “is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.” 

Meetings are held each Monday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the historic Santa Paula Depot, where a variety of river valley residents have been meeting to formulate the club. According to Davidson, “Continuing education is valuable in today’s environment, so everyone in the community who wants to overcome their fear of speaking in public or improve their speaking skills and develop leadership skills are invited to attend our meeting next Monday.” 

The only restriction is that members must be 18 years or older, although Toastmaster does work with youth speakers. “College students can learn speaking skills and techniques they will use in their chosen careers” and, Davidson noted, “Toastmasters are in every occupation, business and profession.”

Barbara Kroon, the Chamber of Commerce director of Membership Services, worked with Carlos Juarez to establish the Heritage Valley Toastmasters. “This Toastmasters Club is made up of a great cross-section of our community,” said Kroon. “Joining has provided me with an opportunity to improve my public speaking skills while having fun!”

Club charter members include married couples (Davidson said one couple at another club referred to their club membership as “date night”), public safety personnel, a writer, a rancher and a musician/composer/producer, among others. There are business people, government workers and those who work with youth. That’s the beauty of Toastmasters: everyone is welcome and everyone can join the organization that has branches throughout the world.

Davidson, an accomplished speaker, said one of her most favorite quotes comes from Dr. Ralph C. Smedley: “Here we are, with tremendous opportunity before us. I challenge you to get to work to bring us up to a higher level of service. Let us share with others the benefits we have gained for ourselves.”

Smedley’s words certainly apply to the Heritage Valley Toastmasters where, Davidson noted, “we do not compete with each other, we help each other” and challenge members to “expand your life daily. Compete with yourself to be the best you can be.” That last one is a quote from Donald Trump, words Davidson believes relate to Toastmasters and its benefits.

If you have to miss a weekly meeting there is no fine, although the club asks that it be notified if members are unable to attend. Meetings are known for their friendly, fun and productive atmosphere. First time dues and fees for the year are only $59.25, payable by check or credit card. 

When the club is officially chartered, “This historical event will be recorded at Toastmasters Headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA and 270,000+ Toastmasters in 116 countries around the world will join in celebrating the chartering of a new Toastmasters club in Santa Paula.”  Watch for details about the chartering ceremony in the near future.

For more information on the Heritage Valley Toastmasters, call 805-525-5561 or email If you would like more information about the organization, visit the website

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