by Melissa Southerland
A low hum of conversation surrounds you. Excitement is in the air. The District 25 2018 Spring Conference has arrived!
You nervously walk up to the first timers table and are cheerfully greeted by Amanda Vasquez. “Great to see you! Her exhilarating demeanor makes you even more enthusiastic about the adventure that awaits. “We have some exciting things for First Timers this year!”
At every turn, you were greeted by more friendly and welcoming faces. All those you pass had a smile on their face and a skip in their step. Everyone thrilled to be a part of the festivities. The hospitality room was bursting with First Timers and dignitaries, welcoming us into the fold.
The banner parade was a sight to behold! All the ribbons proudly displayed gave you a sense of accomplishment for your club as well as anticipation for the next ribbon received with each new goal met.
At dinner, we found out just how Crazy we are with a Keynote speaker, Russ Riddle. He provided a refreshing outlook on making life a crazy fun adventure.
Saturday was packed full of education and recognition! All the education sessions/speakers were full of inspiration, hope, and guidance toward a fulfilled life, both in and outside of Toastmasters.
Deepak Menon, Toastmasters International First Vice President, was a treat! Both his education session and keynote speech were packed with inspiration and hope for traveling along our Toastmasters Journey. He was very humble and full of knowledge to be shared. He was also a great conversationalist, I’m sure a skill sharpened by Toastmasters. Deepak showed us how each journey holds keys to unlocking lessons that only Toastmasters can provide. The lessons are learned and goals achieved through the decisions we make on along our journey.
The Tall Tales and International Contests did not disappoint. They were full of humor and delight with the Pathways purple people eater monster and snow sharks. There were also tales of struggles with disease and doubt along with motivation for all to live the life of your choosing. Seeing so many Toastmasters, old and new, who gave their all was a great experience. It was a thrill to consider future contests where you might be competing too! Oh, the possibilities our Journey could provide.
The Spring Conference was an adventure! My favorite part was the recognition and celebration. The common theme throughout the program was that we are a team, and as a team, we celebrate each success as clubs and as individual members. Everyone was overjoyed with each other’s progress in our journey. It was motivating to see all the proud members and clubs stand to receive recognition. It was even better to see the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) ceremony where several members reached a major milestone along their Toastmasters Journey. D25 takes time to acknowledge the hard work and effort that it took to achieve the honor of DTM.
My first Spring Conference was a huge success. I took away many ideas for success for my home club as well as in my own journey. I met and mingled with some fantastic people and began new, lifelong friendships. I was encouraged by all my fellow toastmasters and dignitaries to reach my highest potential in Toastmasters, as well as my professional and personal lives. As I walk away from the D25 2018 Spring Conference, I mark my calendar for the Fall Summit in November, as I know that I will be ‘Traveling by Map’ to get to the next D25 event.