As part of a membership drive, our Toastmasters club in Gettysburg, PA hosted an open house in 2010. I wrote this original poem for the occasion.

Ode to The Gettysburg Addressers 
by Douglas Bayliss

There’s a club in town. It’s been around. Has a name that sounds quite admirable – The Gettysburg Addressers of Toastmasters International.

It started back in two thousand and five, this year’s the 5th anniversary. The club is fun and casual but doesn’t do things cursory.

On Wednesday nights throughout the year, at the Adams County library, a meeting ensues that helps one grow but nothing that’s too contrary.

Just walk right in and give a speech it’s sure to build your confidence, you’ll soon find out without a doubt it was a decision of great consequence.

In nineteen hundred and twenty-four the 1st club started quite readily. From humble beginnings, the plans were made by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley.

He worked at a Y and realized, as VP of Education, the boys who were there could use some help with their public relations.

So he started a club, a Toastmasters club to teach the boys to think, and they grew confident in their speaking; he must have been a shrink!

The club caught on and started to grow, there’s over 10,000 of them now, The Addressers is one that’s come of late, and that you cannot disavow.

There are speeches to evaluate, a timer to commiserate, ah counter and grammarian; joke-of-the-day; word-of-the-day; thought-of-the-day: Are table topics rational? The Gettysburg Addressers of Toastmasters International!

An officer you might become the leadership has just begun. With a President, Sergeant at Arms, VP of Education. There’s PR of course and Marketing with Public Relations.

A Secretary and Treasurer?… Ahhh… The executive committee!

But don’t stop there, there’s more to come on an area and district level. With a Governor and her Lieutenant; why they deserve a medal! They organize clubs with great ambitions and help to run the competitions.

To raise the toll of one’s body mind and soul is really quite sensational. You gotta admit, and I submit, this is more than recreational.

If you dream of being more ambitious, the International level is most propitious, with more speeches to give and conventions to host, you might have to travel from East to West coast!

But there’s nothing to fear with the confidence gained from all of the leadership drills, just step right up and volunteer –  it turns out you’ve got the skills!

So let’s be thankful for this club of choice, that helps us find our inner voice with a name that is quite admirable:  The Gettysburg Addressers of Toastmasters International!

Words for the day:

toll n. The quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable.

propitious adj. Presenting favorable circumstances.

© 2010 Douglas R. Bayliss

My inspiration for this poem comes from “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General,”  a fast-paced patter song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance:

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