In 1989 I was entering my final year as a member of a most wonderful global Service Club – Junior Chamber International. Or as we in Australia call it Jaycees. It was effectively a combination of a Rotary or Lions Club and Toastmasters or Rostrum. We did much Community Service, had many socials (including a cabaret called The Italian Night) , organised many events , visited the 5 Clubs in the district and worked with the younger people in the community. It also incorporated debating, public speaking and oratory in its Charter.

I really loved the Leadership, the Service and the Public Speaking options it encouraged. Most humans suffer or have suffered from the fear or lack of confidence in Public Speaking. This is why I have encouraged many people to join Clubs or Organisations to enhance this skill. This is the main reason why I have been so focused on continuing the annual Calanna Junior Speaking Contest. To encourage students from Years 4 – 9 to participate in Public Speaking.

I was really thrilled this year – that despite the restrictions imposed – over 1000 students from 23 schools still participated at their school level. I am so grateful to the teachers for continuing this commitment since the Contest began in 1978.

Let me explain the power of public speaking. In 1989 I was pleased to attain a goal which had eluded me for over 10 years – winning the Jaycees Geoff M King Oratory Contest. I share this, not to bang my self on the chest as a form of Ego vent – but to show how people and society still need the same connection to each other, as they did over 30 years ago.

We may have come a long way technologically. We may still be trying to build an ethereal and impossible Utopia. But the need for human connection – for Family, Friendship, Fun, Association and Service – are all still the basis of Who we are.

My Oratory topic – “Your Unknown Limited Time to Love is your most valuable possession” – is just as true today as it was in 1989 and as it was it the times of Aristotle. Take the 10 minutes of time to listen this Australian Story grounded in the power of love and connection.