HAWORTH, N.J. -- Two local members of the Valley Toastmasters won awards at their local club level, on Monday, March 7.
Toastmasters is a club to improve public speaking and leadership skills -- and improve confidence, Maxine Kaufman added. She's the club's secretary.
Winners can move on to contests at the area, division and district levels. And the International competition has two levels, a semifinal and the World Championship of Public Speaking. The area contest will be toward the end of March.
According to the Toastmasters International website, more than 30,000 Toastmasters compete. There are six different types of competitions, including "International," where contestants present a five- to seven- minute speech on any subject; humorous; and "Evaluation," where contestants observe a five-to seven-minute test speech and then present a two-to three-minute evaluation of it.
The local winners were Greg Holden, who won the International contest, and Henry Pruitt, who won the Evaluator contest.
Kaufman explained that her husband, Don, had been a stutterer -- and one of the club's founders. "He always credited Toastmasters with changing his life."
After he died, the club began to falter, Kaufman said. "No one's more terrified than me, of public speaking," she said, but she felt she needed to get involved. And she now calls the club a joy: "It's such a blessing for me, to do this."
Members of the public are always welcome to attend meetings, without advance notice.Valley Toastmasters meets on the first and third Monday of each month, from 8-10 p.m., at the First Congregational Church, 276 Haworth Ave., in Haworth. For more information, call 201-767-3063 or check the club's website or Facebook page.