Prison Club Chair Update

Hello District 19,
I wanted to clear the air with some information that has been recently distributed regarding prison clubs, the Prison Club Chair position, and my actions. The Prison Club Chair was created by me then appointed by the District Governor in my Lt. Governor of Marketing year nearly 3 years ago. The appointment of this position is done by the District Director each and every Toastmasters’ year based on the Toastmasters International Bylaws.
Governing Documents, District Administrative Bylaws, Article XI: Committees
d. Other Committees
Other committees may be appointed from time to time as may be deemed advisable by the district director or the district council. Such committees may include, among others, the following special committees: district program quality, district club growth, district public relations, Youth Leadership program, Speechcraft, administrative policies, awards, speakers bureau, district newsletter, and past district directors committee..
This is not a required position for the District nor is it a recommended committee to have by our Governing Documents (as seen above)..
This week, I communicated with the Prison Club Chair that I was eliminating that position effective immediately. I am not going to get into the reasons for this decision, but I wanted to clear up some misinformation that is circulating.
  1. I am not recommending that all prison clubs be disbanded. The club system in the prisons is a vital part to the inmates’ development. I hope all facilities in our District will eventually charter a club.
  2. I am not saying the District will stop supporting the prison clubs. The District and I will continue to support the prison clubs with the same passion, energy, enthusiasm and integrity we always have had in the past, and the same passion and energy the District has for supporting all clubs in our District.
The decision to eliminate this position has been considered for quite some time. I discussed this with my mentors, advisers, fellow District Leaders in Region IV, and had lengthy conversations with the rest of the Trio regarding the pros and cons of this position, which lead to the final decision to eliminate the Prison Club Chair position in our District. I have spoken with Toastmasters International and they fully support my actions.
Our organization’s guiding values include Integrity which I hold as the pillar to my own personal values. While not everyone may agree with this decision, know that the decision was carefully considered. .
District leaders are elected annually and tasked with leading the District to the best of their ability to achieve the mission of the District. This is a responsibility that I have taken very seriously for several years.
If you would like to do things differently, I encourage you to pick up a District Leadership nominations form and run for a leadership role from the floor at the upcoming conference held on April 28th and 29th in Marshalltown (see registration details here: Take the leadership journey and see what decisions and impact you can make on our great District.
If district leadership doesn’t suit you, I would encourage you to come to the conference and cast your vote for your club. Make your voice heard and counted.
Keith A. Nielsen DTM
District Director
District 19