By René with cooperation of Vivienne and Ted.
We kicked off 2012 on the fancy facilities of the Centre for Social Innovation, with a robust, and energetic meeting, marked by the spirit of new year resolutions as explained by Sean on his introduction in a combined role of chair and Toastmaster.
Here is what our four speakers had to say….
Speaker 1: Vanessa Smith / Ice Breaker / The Power of Purr / Evaluated by Michelle
Vanessa has recently joined Liberty Village and her enthusiasm is contagious. The ink was barely dry on her membership dues cheque and she was right up at the podium giving her first speech at the club. Welcome Vanessa!
Vanessa is a cat lover and a self described “Cat Lady” In her first speech she shared a story of how it all started. As a English teacher in Japan in 2008 she was 6 months into her contract and having quite a time. She was learning about a new culture first hand and meeting great new friends. On a particular day Nov 1 to be exact she was a bit out of sorts – her Mom who was back home in Canada was troubled about things and Vanessa was in a difficult and unrequited romance with one of her best friends.
So she had a few things on her mind and it was a national holiday in the rural area she was staying in. So the crew deicide it was a great time to go out and celebrate but they needed to find an authentic off-the-beaten-trail-locals-only bar to do it in.
So they found a perfect spot and rolled in and grabbed a table. By all accounts it was a dusty and quirky old and out of the way place. Well as the locals began to file in they were surprised and excited to find these strangers in their bar as virtually no one but these locals ever visited this little watering hole.
As the night rolled along a women approached and presented her with a little cat named “Cat”. Just like that. It was unannounced and quite surprising. Here she was siting in this strange little sport surrounded by friends while feeling a little bummed out and poof, she has a cat on her lap.
As the night wore on her began to feel a certain calm come over her. It was then that she realized that the little feline friend she had nestled in her lap was soothingly purring away. Like a little engine it purred and purred away. It was as though this little creature was transferring positive and calm energy directly to Vanessa’s soul. Many hours later the crew left the little bar. Walking into the rising eastern sun for Vanessa at least it was indeed a different day. She was a “Cat Lady” now.
Speaker 2: Mark Kilter / Project #3 Get to the Point / Cycling through the Benefits of Commuting / Evaluated by Ram
Mark continues to pedal his way through his speech assignments and this week he highlighted that fact by sharing his love of cycling and the many benefits is provides us especially when commuting. Opening with a fun reference to the hoopla about cycling being almost as big as the hoopla that was the recent civic elections mark noted that cycling in the city is much more than a for or against proposition.
As a health issue Mark suggested we embrace any daily activity that raises the heart rate, increases your intake of fresh air and one that gets you outdoors. Then zeroing in on his personal favorite Mark outlined the key benefits of cycling.
Starting with the misconception that you have to be a athlete he pointed out that he simply rides around all the big hills. But seriously he made the point that it’s not an activity that requires supreme athletic prowess.
The next benefit of cycling was that it’s relatively quite safe. With bike lanes and more bikes means safer travel and more visibility. In fact the more traffic the better as it’s reduces the effective average speed of automobiles.
The third benefit had to do with how much fun it is. The joy or de-stressing on the way home from work is fantastic and the joy you get drafting behind a fellow cyclists is profound in Marks view.
The final benefit Mark shared is probably the number one benefit of all and is that cycling is so convenient. As a personal that works and lives in the city core it is the fastest way to travel. Shopping, visiting friends or just running errands all seem as easy as ever with a bike. No parking or Transit to deal with. Mark also noted that Toronto has the highest per capita percentage of cyclists of all the major Canadian cities so it is legitimately popular here.
In closing Mark left us with this thought. Is necessity is the mother of invention than convenience is the father of invention and that father is cycling.
They are as follows; a) you don’t have to be an athlete, b) it’s safer than you think, c) it’s totally fun, d) it’s extremely convenient.
Four easy to follow reasons!!!
Speaker 3: Rose Wan / Project #5 – Your Body Speaks / Golf: a Beginner’s Experience / Evaluated by Francisco
Rose started off Speech Number five titled Golf: A beginner’s Experience by explaining how she attended an indoor golf event last November in Markham. She was extremely excited because she finally had the opportunity to participate in such an elite sport. She entered the indoor facility to be first awed by her surroundings of a large space with two wind turbines and one of the biggest driving ranges she had ever seen! After learning the difference of the clubs, she chose a mid-size club and began practicing on her stance and swing. She showed us how the swing worked and didn’t work for her. After hitting the ball a few times and much practice, she won some further free golf time at the facility (one out of five winners in a group of forty) and even made a new friend who she will be going golfing with in the future. She plans to master the sport in 2012 with some practice and positivity! Way to go Rose!
Speaker 4: Cleaver Barnes / Project #5 – Your Body Speaks / The Secret of the Martial Arts” / Evaluated by Ted
Our fourth and final speaker was Cleaver, also speaking Speech Number Five, Your Body Speaks. Cleaver shared with us how he had to stop cycling due to injury but thus began his exploration of the martial arts with his speech titled, The Secret of Martial Arts. He Originally began martial arts with the idea of learning how to throw an opponent with one finger and after trying various forms of martial arts, he settled on Thai Chi. After much practice (like the elderly in the park), Cleaver began sparring and in doing so learnt the true secret of martial arts, Focus and Calm. When you are under pressure, you dispense energy but the calm helps you keep your energy. This realization is why martial arts includes mediation and breathing exercises. These skills can also help you in business or even your personal lives and in Cleaver’s case, they have helped him with his rock-climbing! By meditating, he was able to stay clam, move forward and continue to climb up when he was stuck in a slightly precarious position. He also explained that this art caters to people from all walks of life and is based on respect and understanding so why not try a class? You would probably ace it because it is all in the mind!
Our General Evaluator was Jullian, assisted by Mark (Grammarian), Vivienne (Timekeeper), Andrew (Quizmaster), Michelle (SE1), Ram(SE2), Francisco (SE3), Ted (SE4) and René (Ah Counter)
Our Table Topics Master as John and the Table Topics Winner was Jullian.
We hope to see you on January 11th at 6:15pm on the Harbourfront Community Centre.