The Traveling Gavel

What / Why

The District 31 tradition of the Traveling Gavel was established November 4, 1995 by Karen Purple. The purpose was to encourage clubs to visit each other, share talents and knowledge of communications and leadership, and extend the fellowship of the Toastmasters organization. This tradition has become a fun and rewarding experience for both the host and capturing clubs. Since the creation of the Traveling Gavel, it has graced more than 30 Toastmasters Clubs.

The Traveling Gavel


A qualified capture of the gavel is made when three (or more) club members from a “raiding” club visit the current Gavel Host Club. The capture team should participate in the Host Club’s meeting in some way – coordinate ahead to get on the agenda. The gavel can also change hands at a joint meeting between the current gavel host club and another qualified District 31 club.

The visiting Toastmasters “Capture” the Traveling Gavel at the end of the meeting; taking their prize home to celebrate at their own next club meeting.

The Details

  • ● Only members in good standing of clubs in good standing that meet at least twice a month are eligible to capture the gavel.
  • ● The gavel can only be captured when at least 3 qualified members of a raiding club announce their intention and travel to the host club to lay claim to the gavel.
  • ● If two or more qualified clubs attempt to capture the gavel on the same meeting, the gavel goes to the club whose meeting location is furthest.
  • ● If visiting clubs are equidistant, the gavel goes to the club sending more members.
  • ● If there is still a tie, the gavel is given to a club that has not previously held it.
  • ● If necessary, a coin toss or drawing may be used to identify a winning captor club.
  • ● It is not necessary for the host club to tell potential captors that other clubs will also be attempting a capture. This only adds to the urgency to plan your own raiding party.
  • ● A Travel Log is part of the gavel package. Host clubs are encouraged to use one page in the book to document the capture including the date and the list of “captors”. It is also nice for host club to add comments about their experiences while in possession of the gavel. All entries must be dated, signed with the name of the club listed. The Travel Log is a history of this treasure, the District 31 Traveling Gavel.

Make Your Story Known!

Once a Traveling Gavel is captured, the visiting Toastmasters must announce the new home for the Traveling Gavel by emailing the Webmaster (within 1 day, please). The new location (Club Name, Area) will be posted on the District website so that other Toastmaster Clubs can develop their plan to capture the coveted Traveling Gavel. An image or two of the capture will help the District advertise your club’s accomplishment.

Where is it Now:

Updated June 16, 2017


June 5, 2017 was a critical day in the history of the Earth. Responding to a tip of an unauthorized alien incursion, agents G1, G2, K, L1, L2, M and R departed ToastWizards central headquarters at Raytheon BBN Technologies (“Where Wizards Work”) and traveled to Acton to rescue the Isaac Davis Club in Acton from a Gavelon travelling in a small red-colored craft. We spotted and subdued the alien, then had a great meeting with the Isaac Davis Club, which allowed us to learn how a club with a long and proud history runs a meeting. We were rewarded with a chance to fully participate in the meeting and took home a few new ‘tricks of the trade’ to think about in our own club as well as the lovely and ever elusive Traveling Gavel.

Afterwards we retired to the Crossroads Café for a nosh and Agent R discovered what an Onion Martini was! All in all an amazing evening and we thank the Isaac Davis Club for their hospitality and generosity.

ToastWizards Club

Front: (L to R): Sandeep Goel, Alice Leung (Agent L2), Colleen Rock (Agent R), Sanjay Tyagi
Standing: Gary Budiansky, Hank Fitek, Jagdish Bakshi, John Griffith (Agent G1), Peter Deng, David Lintz (Agent L1), Andrew Gronosky (Agent G2,) Anne Marie Kavey (Agent K), Mike Mateo (Agent M), Vicky Maynard

Where and When the Gavel Has Traveled

  • ● May 8, 2017: Isaac Davis Club
  • ● January 11, 2017: Alcott Toastmasters
  • ● November 10, 2016: Sales & Marketing Club
  • ● May 25, 2016: FM Global Norwood Toastmasters Club
  • ● December 9, 2015: Clean Harbors Toastmasters
  • ● Nov 27, 2015: Tuesday Toastmasters at MIT Club
  • ● October 28, 2015: Toastmasters@MIT
  • ● October 26, 2015: ToastWizards
  • ● August 31, 2015: ToastWizards
  • ● Nov 12, 2014: Hanover Toastmasters
  • ● May 2014: Spirited Speakers
  • ● August 2014: Talk of the Town
  • ● July 2014: FM Global Glossophobes
  • ● Nov 2013: Saturday Brunch Bunch
  • ● Nov 2013: FM Global Glossophobes Club
  • ● Oct 2013: Somerville Toastmasters
  • ● Sept 2013: SMMA club in Cambridge
  • ● The trail of the lost Gavel grows cold in these times…
  • ● March 22, 2010: Constant Communicators
  • ● February 24, 2010: Lakesiders
  • ● January 11, 2010: Boston Speech Party Toastmasters club
  • ● March 17, 2009: Quincy Toastmasters