Looking for Helping Hands at Convention 2017

Coming to our doorstep this August: The most awesome Toastmaster International event of the year!

Over 2000 members from around the globe will be convening in Vancouver for the world’s biggest speech contest, along with international elections, inspiring speakers and some seriously fun global networking.

Will you be there? Pat Johnson, Past International President, most certainly will be. She’s been attending this annual event since 1987 in Chicago, Illinois and is a huge supporter of its benefits.


This year, Pat is the Host District Convention Chair, as District 21 and District 96 welcome the world to Vancouver as co-hosting districts. One of Pat’s projects is overseeing the search for a large team of energetic volunteers who will be congenial ambassadors and facilitators throughout the convention.

Q. Is the Helping Hands program still looking for volunteers? YES!

Convention attendees must pay a registration fee to cover the 3-day event. However, the first 200 members who volunteer receive a US $100 deduction in their fees.

In return, they must commit to a minimum of 10 hours of volunteer service during the convention. They also receive a custom-ordered volunteer’s vest.

“That order has to be sent in VERY SOON so we’re being proactive in confirming our volunteers,” reminds Pat. “Do check the convention highlights and Helping Hands link—right now! We expect all 200 spaces will be filled soon.”


Q. How will volunteers be assigned their roles?

Come early July, you’ll be canvassed via email about actual tasks. Make sure you respond quickly. “People get to pick, first-come first serve – so you snooze, you lose! We’re not looking for emcees here,” Pat adds. “It’s really all those supportive, non-flashy roles…but you can’t run a great convention without committed volunteers.”

Here’s Pat’s basic list of those vital volunteer roles:

  • Security at the doors, checking tickets and ushering people into certain sections of the contest. You’ve got 2300 people storming the doors, vying for best seats for the world championship, and while it’s open seating, there are people with disabilities and VIPs who need special attention.
  • Jacks and Jills of all trades, to help out as needed during contests or sessions, including handing out programs, attending the stages to support entrances and exits, or helping with props.
  • Registration for 2000+ attendees, many of whom will be visiting Canada for the first time.
  • Staffing the stores that sell TM merchandise.
  • Welcoming people at the airport, in the main hotels and on site with west coast hospitality. Where can I find a vegan restaurant? I’m looking for halal food. How to I get to the skytrain? What is a seabus?

Q. Why are volunteers important to the convention?

“I’ve been treated curtly by volunteers and I’ve been treated royally by volunteers, so they truly alter our experience.” And Pat should know—she’s attended an amazing range of conventions, from Kuala Lumpur to Las Vegas to New Orleans.

Q. Any parting thoughts to might-be volunteers?

“Just make it a priority,” says Pat. “Come September, you’ll have no regrets….and you’ll have played a part in this ultimate opportunity that happened on our doorstep in 2017.”

Check out the Helping Hands Program here and be a vital part of the 2017 International 2017, August 23 to 26 in Vancouver.