Start a Youth Leadership Program

Youth holding up Toastmasters ribbons on celebrating

Start a Youth Leadership Program

As you may know Toastmasters International has an age limit for members of clubs.  It's 18 years old, but that doesn't mean that young adults younger than that should miss out on the important skills that being in a Toastmasters clubs teaches. That is where the Youth Leadership Program comes in.  It's for youth between 7 and 17 years of age.

Kids need the Youth Leadership program so they can grow to meet the challenges of adulthood and leadership successfully. Sponsored and conducted by Toastmasters International and its local clubs, Youth Leadership helps young people build their communication and leadership skills so they may become tomorrow's leaders in business, industry and the community.

The Sponsors

A local Toastmasters club serves as sponsor and provides the experienced leaders needed to present the program. These adults are patient and understanding; they remember their own struggles with youthful issues and work well with kids as a result.

The adult with overall responsibility for the program is the coordinator. He or she works closely with any cooperating organization and attends each meeting, conducting most of the training and counseling participants. The coordinator has an assistant who conducts discussions and substitutes for the coordinator, should he or she be unable to attend a meeting.

How it Works

The program is presented in eight sessions during or after school, or on weekends. Each session usually lasts one to two hours. Activities taking place in the sessions include the following:

  • Evaluation of present speaking ability
  • Discussion of chairmanship principles
  • Presentation of speeches
  • Impromptu talks
  • Group evaluation
  • Discussion of speech organization
  • Discussion and practice in listening
  • Discussion of gestures in speaking
  • Discussion of voice and vocabulary
  • Exercise in chairmanship

There is usually no cost to participants for tuition or materials. The materials used in the program are produced by Toastmasters International and are provided by the sponsoring Toastmasters club, which orders them from Toastmasters World Headquarters for a small fee.

Generally, meetings follow a format similar to that of a Toastmasters club meeting. In every meeting, participants learn to apply the principles of listening, thinking and speaking.

How to Start a Program

Youth Leadership may be conducted for scout troops, 4-H clubs, church youth groups and many other organizations, and for young people in the community. All programs must be presented by a Toastmasters club.

There are five elements to be considered when organizing a Youth Leadership Program (YLP)

1) SPONSOR

The sponsor can be the school, the local library, a community centre or club, a parent group, a Toastmasters club or youth organizations. Being a sponsor can help the organization meet their mandates.

2) PARTICIPANTS

There are three levels of YLP for the participants depending on their age or level of experience:

  1. Junior YLP for youth 7-11 years old
  2. YLP for youth 11-17 years old
  3. Advanced YLP for youth 14 – 17 years old and have have had previous YLP experience

They gain Toastmasters skills including listening, thinking, organizing meetings, having discussions and will gain self confidence.

3) COORDINATORS

The adult with overall responsibility for the program is the coordinator. He or she works closely with any cooperating organization and attends each meeting, conducting most of the training and counselling participants. The coordinator has an assistant who conducts discussions and substitutes for the coordinator, should he or she be unable to attend a meeting. 

As a coordinator the Toastmaster will gain new skills, improve organization skills, learn facilitating skills and get to see the youth progress.  As well running a YLP program will count towards AC-Gold award.

4) FACILITIES

The YLP nees a proper place to meet for the full length of the program and there are some considerations that must be made.  

Is it private and quiet?  Will it comfortably fit all the participants and have room for the speaker?  If there are costs, who will cover them.

5) MATERIALS

Like a regular Toastmaster Meeting the YLP will need some materials in addition to the manuals to run an effective meeting.  These include:

  • Gavel
  • Stop watch
  • Timing lights lights or coloured cards
  • Nameplates
  • Agendas
  • Prizes

To check out the YLP Coordinator Resources section : click here

If you would like to take on the rewarding challenge to coordinate a Youth Leadership Section please contact the Club Growth Director today.