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October 2022 View PDF

Hidden Gems in Base Camp

Uncover two advanced Pathways projects to help hone your skills.

By Bill Brown, DTM


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Illustration by Bart Browne

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where, if a character said a secret word, a door magically appeared? Pathways has some of those same features built into it.

No, they are not activated by a secret word. They are activated by the progress that you make in Pathways.

In this article, we will look at two of them—the Pathways Mentor Program and the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) project.

Don’t let the name fool you. The Pathways Mentor Program is not about mentoring a member in Pathways. It is about mentoring a member in any topic, but it is found in Pathways.

You might be thinking, I have explored every square inch of Base Camp and I can’t find it. That is because it is only available to those who have completed Level 2 of a path. And you have to know where to look for it.

On your Base Camp home page, in the lower left-hand corner, you will see a section called “Suggested Learning.” There are a number of additional articles and podcast episodes on key skills pertinent to each level. In that same section, if you have completed Level 2, you will see a link to the Pathways Mentor Program. Select that link to go to a project page where you can activate the program. When you do this, the link disappears from the Suggested Learning section and the Pathways Mentor Program is added to your Paths and Learning page.

This is an optional program that gives you advanced training and experience in mentoring. You don’t have to do it, but if you want to develop your mentoring skills, this is a program to consider. There are three projects that must be done sequentially, and you only have access to the next one on the list when you have completed the previous project.

The first project is simple. In it you assess your expertise, experiences, expectations, and goals.

The real work begins in the second project. In addition to some training, you are challenged to mentor a member in a short-term project. Upon completion, like all Toastmasters projects, there is an evaluation—both for your protégé and for you. Yes, your protégé gets to give you feedback on how good a mentor you have been.

Once you have finished the second project, you receive the activation button for project three. This is a larger mentoring project with a six-month duration. Again, training and feedback are involved.

If you want to hone your mentoring or leadership skills, the Pathways Mentor Program and the DTM project may be what you are looking for.

Upon completion of the program and a full path in Pathways, you will receive the designation of Pathways Mentor.

When I heard about this program, my first question was “Do I have to have this designation to be a mentor in Toastmasters?” No. In fact, each club can decide their own requirements for who can be a mentor. This program does not need to be part of the consideration. But if you want to be a better mentor, whether it is in Toastmasters or in your professional or personal life, this program just may be for you.

Another one of these hidden gems is the DTM project.

If you are an old-timer like me, you probably remember that to earn your DTM you needed to complete a High Performance Leadership (HPL) project. That has changed in Pathways. Some paths require an HPL as part of Level 5, while others have it as a Level 5 elective. If, however, you want to earn a DTM, you must complete a separate DTM project. This is where you put together all the leadership skills you have learned in the program to build a team and design a unique project that benefits an organization.

This is also one of those initially invisible projects. When you have completed one path and have finished Level 3 in another, you can ask Toastmasters to activate your DTM project option. Email educationprogram@toastmasters.org. From this point, you can work on the DTM project in parallel with your second path.

In addition to completing the two paths and the DTM project, you must also serve in other capacities to earn your DTM. Those are outside the scope of this article. I suggest that you refer to the full description on the Toastmasters website.

If you only want to focus on the paths, that is perfectly fine. But if you want to hone your mentoring and leadership skills, the Pathways Mentor Program and the DTM project may be what you are looking for.


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