Nobody ever said it would be easy!

Submitted by Ted Corcoran DTM, International President 2003-2004

Dear District 21 Leaders and Members,

Achieving Distinguished District status is never easy. If it were, then most districts would be successful every year, when, in fact, less than half of them are.

To remind you, a Toastmasters district is not a thing, an object, or a place, but an administrative unit consisting of every one of you.

It’s easy to work out, therefore, that when your district achieves Distinguished status, all of you can feel part of the success. When it’s not, well, you can just as easily work out what that means.

If District 21 is Distinguished by June 30th next, every one of you present at the Toastmasters Hall of Fame event, in your amazing Conference Centre downtown, can stand proudly on the stage and accept the cheers and congratulations of every Toastmaster present. That is the tribute and recognition given to you and your district for serving your fellow members so well.

I can well remember, many years ago, when as a Trio member of my district, District 71, sitting in the body of the great hall and watching members of district after district celebrating their success on stage. Our district didn’t get on the stage back then, in 1992, but sitting there, feeling downhearted and excluded from the celebrations, I was determined we would do our best to be celebrating the following year. And we were! But it took a huge team effort to do so.

Now it’s your turn to replicate this effort. And here’s why.

There are three primary goals which districts are required to achieve to be Distinguished. These are the number of paid clubs, number of member payments, and number of distinguished clubs.

Looking at the current statistics, your district seems to be on target to achieve the payments and distinguished club goal. However,  there is a worryingly big gap between the number of paid clubs and the goal. It’s not exaggerating the problem to say that your district needs at least 10 new clubs chartered between now and June 30th.

Are you ready, able, and excited to start getting this done?

It will take total commitment, persistence, and personal sacrifice to build this number of new clubs in such a short time window. The good news is that a number are already meeting, or have demo meetings planned. But, as the old proverb goes, “never count your chickens before they’re hatched”.

It may come as a surprise to many of you to learn that one of my personal heroes for many years now  has been your own much loved Terry Fox (I have  even visited his monument in Victoria). His “Marathon of Hope” was an inspiration to me and many others, not just in Canada, but around the world.

All I’m asking, is that you take inspiration from Terry’s story and set out on your own “Distinguished District” journey which, hopefully will end on the stage before the eyes of the world’s Toastmasters next August. Ten new clubs can and will be chartered. I believe that – I ask that you believe it too.

Keep the buzz buzzing. Stay all fired up and when you’re ready, get going!

See you all on the stage in August!

“Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are”. Theodore Roosevelt