February 21, 2020

RW Museum

Photo by Terry Browning on Unsplash

Celebrating 11 years of Residential Weekend in Czech Republic

2009 – First edition Ever!

A new Toastmaster event takes place on a late January weekend in Lipnice nad Sázavou, the place where the Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek had written The Good Soldier Švejk.
“It was a magical setting which was enhanced by crisp, deep snow.” are the rose-colored memories of one the participants.
“Well, in fact, it snowed a lot at the time and was quite icy so I remember that a couple of cars got stuck and we all had to help get them back on the route.” are the recollections from one of the organizers, Anezka Novak.

The very simple but brilliant idea of a “residing, team-building, and intensive learning weekend away” was brought forward by an enthusiastic and persuasive Australian Toastmaster, at that time VPE of Bohemian Toastmasters club in Prague – Brandon Munro!

The highlight of the very-first-RW-agenda was a 90-minutes workshop by the Special Guest – the legendary DTM Tony Achmat (who has sadly passed away). “I gave a speech titled You’re So Cruel and some of the 25 attendees evaluated it.” shares with us Judi Challiner, one of the pioneers who much enthusiastically embraced the idea

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The editions organized in the next 5 years have happened but unfortunately, have not been documented online.
They were just like (in Titanic) Jack Dawson was to Rose: “I don’t even have a picture of him. He exists now only in my memories.”
I mean, in the memories of the lucky participants who had the chance to attend and enjoy the unique Residential Weekend experience: learning, having fun, making friends.

2014 – Evolution happens!

Residential Weekend 2014 has a Facebook group for collaboration within the organizing team, but also serves as a communication channel for the registered people.
Going through the posts, you can easily notice how they all share freely their ideas or technical troubles or delays that happened on the way. Still, they were working hard on keeping the tradition alive and making it happen!
Part of the organizing team were: Martin Hynek & Michal Blazek.
The Keynote speaker of this edition was: Mel Kelly on her workshop “How to be funny?”
The Special Guest was Robert Breadon.
Thanks to Peter Hrusovky, we could even dig out a precious stone – the RW2014 Agenda – to show off proudly in the decorated metaphorical shelves of our RW Museum.
A more vivid recollection of 2014 edition was provided in a short article by Christian & the delegation of Blue Danube Speakers club in Linz, Austria.

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Being a modern historian has its unexpected setbacks – like losing virtual tracks of the conference for the 2015 and 2016 editions.
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2017 – Evolution resumed!

For the first time, the Residential Weekend 2017 has a Facebook Public Event.
The organizing team, lead by Jakub Kratochvil and Petra Bouskova shares plenty of interesting updates and promotional content (like this video why RW is like a big family meeting, or why RW tastes like a coconut, and of course, memes ).
The event attracted 72 “going” participants and over 92 “interested” ones. This edition really goes WILD – the conference has its own website so that it’s no longer only depended on social media platforms.
The conference even has a theme: “Get REAL!
As Special guest was: Laszlo Szucs who presented on the topic of “Content is the king”.

2018 – Strong on track!

The tradition continues with the Residential Weekend 2018 event.
Lead by dedicated Cecile Chambolle, it was organized under the beautiful theme “The kind words we say”.
The Keynote speaker of this edition was Florian Mueck (who admitted to have been persuaded by Lukas Liebich after 3 years of continuous contact). Over 70 participants joined in the location of Hotel Nahac, just in the outskirts of Prague.

Personal note: This event is very close to the ‘historian’ writer of this summary, because for the first time she had her icebreaker there during the intensively exciting Masterclass. Needless to say, she fell forever in love with the Toastmasters community. The rest, as they say, is history…

2019 – Sailing Forward!

The Residential Weekend 2019 event was themed “Break the ice”, under the organization of Lucie Stranavova and her team.
The Special guest was Ovidiu Oltean. Around 83 participants joined, broke ices, enforced friendships, had fun and created unforgettable experiences.
This edition represented an important milestone:
It finalized a decade of 10 successful Residential Weekend events!

And coincidentally, the new decade in the RW life starts in parallel with
the new decade of the 21st century – perfectly aligned, isn’t it?

2020 – Challenging the standards!

The Residential Weekend 2020 edition was taken under the energetic lead of Iva Horka.
From the very beginning, she brought together an ambitious and unstoppable #girlpower-ed team with Sonia Tortorollo (Program Lead) and Jenny Haka (PR Communications).
As theme of the event was chosen “Sharing knowledge; creating impact”. Starting quite early with dedication on the preparations, the agenda now includes: 20 experienced workshop leaders, the distinguished Keynote speaker: Denise Banks-Grasedyck and the Special Guest role to Sabyasachi Sengupta.
As RW grew famous and more people wanted to join, it was necessary to move out of the “nest” into the new, more spacious location of Hotel Academic, in north of Prague.
The new residence’s capacity has been fully booked: a record of 100 people are registered in this year’s edition!
For the first time in this edition, Residential Weekend has significantly spread its online presence:
Not only the official website has been refreshed and regularly updated;
but also you can find and follow RW on the fun & friendly Instagram account; and for those being more professional onliners – follow RW on Linkedin.

With sincere gratefulness and humility to the passionate work of all the Toastmaster leaders, supporters, promoters who have kept fueling the inspiring tradition of Residential Weekend through the years in Prague
– we now look forward confidently to many more successful anniversaries for the years to come!

Anyone joining me on RW2050? 😉

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Written by Jenny Haka – Prague, 20.02.2020.
Many thanks for their precious resourcefulness go to: Lukas Liebich, Judi Challiner, Iva Horka, Anezka Novak.
(This article was published here for the first time.)