Toastmasters International District 76

Toastmasters International District 76 Japan Communication and Leadership Program since 1924

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Oki Orators Toastmasters Club chartered!

The seeds and the process that grew the Oki Orators
Alfred C. Meyers
President, Oki Orators Toastmasters Club
In 2006 my wife and I was invited to Word Weavers club, Wiesbaden, Germany. After the visit we were very impressed by what happened during our visit. The following month we joined and by June 9th I had given my Ice Breaker. I was very excited about the feedback received. The evaluation made the difference in my attitude to move forward.

By Jan 17, 2007 I had completed my 5th project rearing to move on to the next. Unfortunately, we received orders for Okinawa, Japan and March of 2007 we were introduced to Camp Foster, Japan with our pets ready to set up our new home and to do the assigned task.

Reading a local magazine I noticed there was a Pacific Pearls Toastmasters club and they were meeting in the local Chapel annex. I visited a few times during the summer, at that time I met a few of the members; even though the club had difficulty making a quorum I planned to participate more often but after what seemed like an unusually long time I was having difficulty getting entered on the roles; after turning in my reinstatement application I never got any feedback and over the months when I attended there were 4 or 5 members present and two of them generally were new members. Eventually, I stopped going because and decided to use that time as a community volunteer.

During my last visit I understood the President of the club had planned to dissolve the club; I requested that instead of dissolving turn everything over to me and I’ll begin with all new members. The president felt that beginning with all new members wasn’t a good idea. Therefore, we agreed to disagree. With me just completing my fifth project I kind of agreed but felt confident that professionals are professionals enough to take a program and develop it regardless of what they knew about it before. Furthermore from what I read about Toastmasters education system I felt it was very possible to begin with new members; I was very optimistic about the idea and over the months I begin talking about Toastmasters to people I thought was educated and wanted to be better at what they were doing and might find Toastmasters as an avenue to make that happen.

Afterwards I talked about Toastmasters to almost everyone I met. Many of those I spoke with showed signs of curiosity and interest. After a time of talking too many I decided to seek out Toastmasters International leadership for answers related to organizing a club new club on Okinawa.  I went on Toastmasters International web page to research the information to better present it to others and eventually I came to a point I was ready to sign folks up. I requested information and procedures for organizing a new Club in Okinawa from the web. 

TM International referred me to Bunzo Suzuki the Lt Governor for marketing of District #76 of Japan.  Dr Suzuki linked up with me via email as well as introduced me to another Toastmaster with the same idea; unfortunately that Toastmaster had physical issues that caused a withdrawal.

Nevertheless, I proceed to speak to community members throughout the community; American, Indian, Okinawa, Japanese and Chinese. This club was going to be a true representative of the Okinawa community.  Of course all expenses came directly from my account which I was willing to contribute to what I considered a very worthy cause for my community.

My wife and I begin to spread the news around through advertisement by putting signs on the bulletin boards and going out talking to friends on and off the installation. I wanted to let those working with the American military community as well as the Americans know that this was a grand opportunity to develop their English presentation in a non-threatening environment among colleagues and friends at the lowest possible cost. 

I begin to get a number of emails from those interested; in the matter of two months I had forty names. However, when the request for the Charter went in I had 27 paid committed new members and two reinstatements ready to begin the adventure. We got one member who was referred by DTM Joel Campbell in Korea. The others who were unable to break away to be in the chartered group is trickling in now; we have two members waiting to be voted into the club as of today 13 Jan 2011. I truly believe by year’s end we may have to split into two or more clubs.

With the help of our Lt Governor for Marketing Bunzo Suzuki and a few members soliciting and giving directions to our first meeting location in the United Service Organization (USO) class room on Kadena Air Force Base.  Our first meeting was a great success in that we were able to get the members oriented to the Toastmasters organization through a meeting of instruction as to what Toastmasters standards were and how we would proceed with Toastmasters here in Okinawa.

I assigned English speaking members as mentors and a support for those who may have a bit of shyness about speaking in English. We had ten (10) local members that lived on Okinawa and nineteen (19) members on assignment for the Department of Defense.  As we met at the USO it was extremely difficult to get local nationals signed on the base and if they were Chinese that could not enter; that is when my decision was made to hold our meeting in off base location. We will have to try a few places before we can say we have established a home for Oki Orators Toastmasters Club. The Oki Orators Toastmasters is a go and a work in progress.

It’s a rewarding experience but truly a commitment have to made to divide the time from other activity dedicated to the mission of good public relation at every opportunity. I look forward to a number of active Toastmasters clubs here on Okinawa with the mother club being Oki Orators.
Oki Orators Charter Ceremony



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