It’s said that public speaking is most people’s number 1 fear, eclipsing even death! Comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously joked that more people would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy at a funeral! No one ever died from public speaking so why this irrational fear?
Well, we all fear judgement from our fellow humans. We all fear tripping up publicly, making fools of ourselves and losing credibility. But what if there was a safe place to practice this crucial life skill? What if there was a place where we knew we could fail so we could learn our strengths and weaknesses and work on both?
There is. Head Start Public Speaking For Kids is here for young people to discover how truly awesome they can be. And I have seen shaking, fearful kids turn into kids who are beginning to understand who they are and what’s important to them and to understand that their voices are important! I’ve seen them find their voices and begin to RELISH speaking and know that their opinions are as valid as anyone else’s. I’ve seen kids speak up for others who were too afraid to and speak up for themselves when they needed to. They walk out of their fear and into their confidence!
When I was 16, a teacher challenged me to enter a public speaking contest & it changed the course of my life!
Because preparing for that contest meant thinking about what was important to me for the first time ever.
Deciding on HOW I wanted to deliver my message to the public was fun and challenging.
But getting up on that stage and speaking before those people showed me that I could do hard things, that I could push through my fear and that what I had to say MATTERED.
Those three things are foundational at Head Start Public Speaking For Kids and striving for them is the goal we have for every kid who walks through the door. At Head Start, we want kids know that THEY can do hard things, push through their fear and that their voices are important.
Head Start will be heading into more locations in fall of 2017 but last month was our first ever Final Presentation Night at Head Start in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast and what a JOY it was to watch these kids walk into their confidence!
Our MC’s were first timers, both of them including our youngest EVER MC Madeline Van der Stelt at only 8 years of age rocking the stage! Jonah was definitely our tallest ever MC and did a great job keeping us on schedule despite several mishaps that were out of his hands!
So, here they are, in no particular order: The first Gibsons graduates of Head Start Public Speaking For Kids!
Simon Cameron – Always a Hockey Fan
Simon is a third year student with Head Start and has really stepped into himself. Funny, fun to watch with a unique perspective, there is never a dull moment with Simon.
Jonah Byron- The Storm
Jonah worked super hard on this speech, pushing himself waaaaaay outside of his comfort zone to make his delivery more dynamic. I couldn’t be more proud of his efforts!
Brandalyn was not at all comfortable with public speaking despite a natural wit and stylish delivery. Nevertheless, she pushed through her fear and came through in the clutch. Way to go Brandalyn!
Maria Relova -“Bearies”
Maria was literally in the middle of her dance dress rehearsal and had to zip over to Head Start in the middle of it to give her presentation and zip back again. Super impressed with Maria’s work ethic! Enjoy this classic rural story!
Madeline Van der Stelt – The Dentist
Madeline is the youngest MC Head Start has ever had and I know she was super nervous. The thing is, she walked right through her fear and did it anyway. That is my definition of a superstar. Madeline improved so much this year and I hope is very proud of herself! I know I am!
Iris Cameron – The Little Things
Iris is also a third year student and is working on another level now. Her speeches are well written and meaningful as well as well delivered. I’ve watched Iris go from tentative to sure of herself and it has been a blessing to have a front row seat through her transformation. She also competed for the second year in a row in the Festival of the Performing Arts Public Speaking division. I love how hard Iris pushes herself because she KNOWS it gets her results. She is one smart cookie.
Alex Collison – How I Got My Dog
Alex joined Head Start over half way through the year and jumped in with both feet. He worked hard on his speeches, using edit suggestions and delivery suggestions. I loved his enthusiasm and work ethic. Alex did over half a year’s work in only 3 months and I am super impressed!
Max Relova – Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me Again!
Max was one of the few students who memorized his speech for the final presentation. Memorization makes eye contact and natural gesturing much easier and more effective. It’s also a challenge to do so so kudos to you Max! Max has a great sense of humour and it was fun getting to hear it develop this year!
Georgia was our MC earlier in the year and is a natural performer. For naturals, the challenge is learning when to say when. I think Georgia had some success in learning that this year. She is funny and thoughtful and a sensitive soul who cares about others and I felt that came through in her presentations. Congratulations!
Bella Miller-Hogg – Get Back On That Horse
Bella is also a natural performer with a great sense of humour and a quirky delivery style. I enjoy watching her perform and know she will hone her craft as time goes on. Bella also MCed an event earlier this year! Well done Bella!
There you have it folks! Other than the Camerons, these are all first years kids who pushed through their discomfort and learned a lot about themselves and what they are made of. I am so proud of their efforts and know that they will continue to use these skills and their discoveries about just how much they can do for years to come.
Gibsons Head Start, you guys are AWESOME.
Have a great summer! Registration for fall begins in mid-August and anyone who successfully refers a new student gets %50 off their first payment!
See you all in the fall!