Report by: Kevin Walsh.


Fermoy Toastmasters begin their season of meetings and entertainment, of pleasure and fun for the New Year on Tuesday evening next, January 15th, at 8.15 pm at the Fermoy Youth Centre. We extend warmest greetings and very best wishes to all our friends and supporters that 2019 may bring to you the joys of living and the rich rewards of better listening, clearer thinking and enhanced powers of expression which form the heart of our noble craft. The warm glow of Christmas lights fade away leaving behind a harvest of happy memories even as the longer daylight now extends ever further into the evening with the promise of another springtime and rebirth. Some people profess to find this a drab and dreary time of the year but it need not be. Now that the rush of preparation and the intensity of festivities have passed and the margins of time not so tightly pressed there are many opportunities for recreation and new beginnings to be discovered. In the weeks and months that lie ahead we come together to embark once more or for the very first time on the journey of renewal that forms the essence of Toastmasters. It always begins as that very welcome first time guest who sits, listens, chats before the meeting is called to order, at the tea break and again just before we all head home and who then decides to come back to set out on this wonderful new journey of life.

We meet together to make our lives so much brighter, better and happier. Everyone has their own richness of stories and life experiences, their own insights, wit and wisdom to share and exchange.  The club is the forum where we all tap into our talents and enthusiasm to create something so exciting, immensely interesting, hugely rewarding and most stimulating which none of us could do on our own.  It is a social and genial activity with some of the nicest people you could ever have the joy of knowing, coming into a bright and warm room to speak a little, to listen a lot, to enjoy plenty, to give and to receive, to learn and to guide, to relax and be happy.  It is all based on generosity of spirit and a willingness to give and to share something of ourselves to receive a rich reward of fulfilment and personal growth with enhanced life skills and the delights of friendship with the ever expanded boundaries of personal possibility and better living.

Everyone has a choice in life: to present to the world the clenched fist or the open hand. Those who live in clenched fist mode choose to remain shut away inside, they are guarded and hesitant, they refuse to venture onto bright new waters of discovery and prefer to remain safely inside all that is familiar to them. They deny themselves the chance to reach out and embrace the freshness and invigorating power of something new and original. True, the clenched fisted have their own fine attributes and good qualities but by remaining so guarded and vigilant against all hint of change and newness, of thinking outside the box and taking on anything that is different and better, they keep whatever positives they have locked away inside themselves. Their light never gets chance to shine. They have plenty to offer, but it withers inside when not given a chance to share.

For you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist. You might not be able to take out the ten cents they are so tightly holding onto, but you can’t give them the fifty euro note you would like to share. The openhanded person, the one who is up to taking on something different and exciting, who is willing to give it a go and has the spirit of adventure, who actively reaches out to others and whose imagination is for what is out there to be discovered and to be known. They give so gladly and willingly of themselves in the way that truly free and confident people really can. And because they give so liberally and generously of their time, energies and abilities they receive back in return a far greater dividend of insight, a sense of satisfaction and achievement, the enhancement and growth that comes from attaining your goals and building on one success leading to another to make a life that is refreshing and glowing with hope and promise. To reach out is to win. To give is to gain. To celebrate your own uniqueness lies in finding the depth and abundance what others have to offer so as to be enhanced, inspired and expanded as a person in every facet of our lives whether at work, at home or at play.

A New Year is just beginning. The future beckons before us and it is ours to make as best we can. All of us have the choice to remain trapped inside everything that is routine and habitual or to go out there and attempt something wonderful and new, fascinating and exciting to find out more about other people and in so doing to come to know the true significance and truth that lies within each and every one of us. On a bright fresh day who is the happier: the individual who huddles away safely and predictably indoors, or the person with the spirit and the gumption to venture out and walk along the shore and taste the true joy of life. This is the challenge and the opportunity that lies before us as we cross the threshold of another year ahead. To be alive we must live to the full and participate in all of its variety, creativity and beauty which any of us can do by taking up the challenge of Toastmasters.

There are far too many things and people in this world anxious to do us down and make us feel bad about ourselves and strip away at the foundations of our confidence. Not so in Toastmasters.  We are a group of people dedicated to building each other up so that together and in unity of purpose and the joy of shared activities we all rise ever higher together and have fun in life. Over the holiday period you may recall hearing our World Champion boxer Katie Harrington from Dublin saying on television that notwithstanding the recent difficulties that might preclude her sport from the Tokyo Olympic Games,  she spoke of how she is certain these issues will be resolved and she looks forward to representing Ireland there next year. She will not be negative, she said, and would not want anyone to be that way. Katie embraces the challenge and looks forward with dauntless hope and optimism.

There is a brilliant example for all of us to follow whether in the boxing ring or in the more far more genial, friendly and relaxed setting of the meetings of the Fermoy Toastmasters Club beginning in the Fermoy Youth Centre on Tuesday evening next, January 15th, at 8.15 pm where a warm and cheery welcome awaits everyone. For further information, please contact Mary Whelan at 087 7971006 or Kevin Walsh at 087 1228684 or log on to our mobile-friendly website