Club History

original Toastmasters International charter document

In the beginning

South County Toastmasters was founded in 1975 by Howard Brandt. The club held it’s first meeting in November of 1974 and chartered on October 6, 1975. The club has a rich history of strong leaders and is honored that it’s founder, Howard Brandt is still an active member.

south county toastmasters timeline

First Meeting Held:  October, 1974

Club Chartered:  October 6, 1975

Meets at the Buck or Two behind South County Center.  Dinner meetings.  Food is cheap.

Club holds its first Speechcraft consisting of 8 participants, 4 of whom were already members of the Club, March, 1976

Club holds its first Youth Leadership at Dressel School consisting of 24 young people most of whom were Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, October, 1976

Distinguished Club 1976-77

Select Distinguished Club, 1977-78

Presidents Top Ten Club, 1978-79

Select Distinguished Club, 1979-80

Presidents Top Ten Club, 1980-81

Sponsored Downtowners Toastmasters Club, 1981

Sponsored Capital T Toastmasters Club, 1982

President’s Distinguished Club, 1981-82

Sponsored Shawnee, IL Toastmasters Club 1983

President’s Distinguished Club, 1982-83

President’s Distinguished Club, 1983-84

Moved to Pope’s Cafeteria in South County Center, July, 1984 when Buck or Two closes

Buck or Two becomes Godfather’s Pizza and Club moves there, November 1984

President’s Distinguished Club, 1984-85

Sponsored Blue Chip Toastmasters Club, 1985

Howard Brandt’s Rambler with 300,000 miles “dies”, May 1986

President’s Distinguished Club, 1985-86

Moved to Sheraton South County (now Holiday Inn) on Lindbergh and I-55, July 1986

Sponsored Concordia Publishing Toastmasters Club, 1986

President’s Distinguished Club, 1986-87

Moved to Holiday Inn Holidome on Butler Hill and I-55, approximately July 1987

President’s Distinguished Club, 1987-88

President’s Distinguished Club, 1988-89

President’s Distinguished Club, 1989-90

Select Distinguished Club, 1990-91

Select Distinguished Club, 1991-92

Sponsored Pet Toasties Toastmasters Club, 1993

#5 Club In Toastmasters International, 1992-93

Sponsored Jeffco Challengers Toastmasters Club, 1994

Select Distinguished Club, 1993-94

Flight to the Top culminates in club being #2 Club in Toastmasters International, 1995-96

Moved back to Sheraton South County (now Holiday Inn) on Lindbergh and I-55, approximately July, 1996

Select Distinguished Club, 1996-97

Moved back to Holiday Inn Holidome on Butler Hill and I-55, approximately 1998

Moved to Dohack’s basement on Lindbergh and Lemay Ferry, approximately October 1999

Moved to Best Western Motel on Meramec Bottoms Road at I-55, approximately May 2000

Select Distinguished Club, 1999-2000

President’s Distinguished Club, 2000-01

President’s Distinguished Club, 2001-02

Select Distinguished Club, 2002-03

President’s Distinguished Club, 2003-04

Select Distinguished Club, 2004-05

Moved to General American/MetLife Campus on Tesson Ferry at Butler Hill, approximately October 2007

President’s Distinguished Club, 2005-06

Select Distinguished Club, 2006-07

Select Distinguished Club, 2007-08

President’s Distinguished Club, 2008-09

President’s Distinguished Club, 2009-10

Select Distinguished Club, 2010-11

President’s Distinguished Club, 2011-12

President’s Distinguished Club, 2012-13

President’s Distinguished Club, 2013-14

President’s Distinguished Club, 2014-15

President’s Distinguished Club, 2015-16

President’s Distinguished Club, 2016-17

President’s Distinguished Club, 2017-18

President’s Distinguished Club, 2018-19

Moved to Sunset Hills Community Center, March, 2020

Held First Virtual Meeting, April, 2020

President’s Distinguished Club, 2019-20

Held First Combined In-Person and Virtual (“Hybrid) Meeting, August, 2020

south county toastmasters “flight to the top”

By Brent Stewart

In April 1995, President Dan Corsair obtained the commitment from the members of South County Toastmasters to do the work necessary to be recognized as the #1 Club of all the 8,000 Clubs in Toastmasters International at the 1996 Toastmasters International Convention which was to be held in St. Louis.

In those days, the Educational Program consisted of various manuals, each of which contained a number of speaking assignments.  Members who complete the Communications and Leadership (aka Basic) manual were awarded the designation of Competent Toastmaster or CTM.  The Club received points for each CTM received by its members.  Members who completed various advanced manuals were awarded the designation of Able Toastmaster or ATM.  The Club received points for those as well.  The Club also received points for new members as well as certain other achievements.

During the 1994-95 Toastmaster year, the top Club in the world had earned 45,500 points, so we set our goal at 48,500.

Oh, did we work hard!  When our Flight to the Top began in July 1995, the Club had more than 50 members and we were meeting at the Holiday Inn Holidome which was at I-55 and Butler Hill Road.  After our business meeting the group would split in two.  One group would stay in the main meeting room and another group would meet in one of the conference rooms in the hotel.  Each group would do 4 speeches so each week we were completing 8 speeches!

The speeches, manual completions, CTMs, ATMs and new members began to pile up.  By the end of the Toastmasters year on June 30, 1996, we had completed 60 CTMs, 16 ATMs and recruited 35 new members!  We had accumulated 70,990 points!!

With 70,990 points, we thought we had it made!  We had to be #1!  But NO!  We were beaten by a Military Toastmasters Club from Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania which had 143 members (almost twice as many as we had) and had accumulated 115,060 points!  It turns out that the Commanding Officer required that all of his officers be members of Toastmasters which gave them a much bigger Club and thus an advantage.

The Toastmasters International Convention was held at the Adams Mark Hotel in St. Louis in August, 1996.  A number of our members attended and we received our recognition as the #2 Club in all of Toastmasters International!  We also received publicity in the local papers recognizing our achievement.

Our founder, Howard Brandt wrote letters to both the President and Executive Director of Toastmasters International protesting the inequity of having no limit on the size of Clubs competing to be the top club in Toastmasters International and recommending changes in the manner in which Toastmasters International recognized the achievements of its Clubs.     Toastmasters International DID revise their system for awarding top Club recognitions.  That system lasted for just a few years until Toastmasters brought out the recognition system that we currently use which no longer ranks Clubs based on points but instead consists of 10 goals that each Club strives to accomplish.  All Clubs that achieve 9 or 10 of the goals is recognized as a President’s Distinguished Club.  Since 2003 South County Toastmasters has achieved President’s Distinguished Club status 13 times.

President, Jerry Paul and Founder, Howard Brandt

Forty-five years later

In October of 2020, South County Toastmasters celebrated it’s 45th anniversary. Howard gave a speech about starting the club at the October 21st, 2020 celebratory meeting. He was awarded a plaque of appreciation from the membership.