The Traveling Gavel

The Traveling Gavel

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


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 and PR Manager (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 May 31, 2018

On Monday, May 21, 2018, five members of the Curious Toasters team from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt visited ToastWizards at Raytheon BBN Technologies in Cambridge to “seize the gavel.” Despite some minor hiccups with rush hour traffic, they were able to join the Toast Wizards and are particularly grateful to Jack Dietz for his role in organizing the meetup. The Curious Toasters were impressed with the Wizard’s well-timed schedule and excellent speeches. Special shout-outs to Lisa Tiberio for an excellent speech on evaluations, Ann Marie Kavey for her talk on lunch hangouts, and to everyone else for a great meeting!

Ready to capture the gavel? Visit its home at Curious Toasters.

Left to right: Megan Foster, Leslie Bordonaro, Laura Brady, Jack Dietz, Trevor Crippen, and Scott McCoy

Where and When the Gavel Has Traveled

  • June 5, 2017: ToastWizards
  • 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