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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Childhood Health & Wellness Program announced

pnw optimist clubs children wellnessOptimist International has long been searching for a flagship program, something that allows the general public to uniquely and inherently identify a certain activity with an Optimist Club and its parent organization.

For many years, it has held the Childhood Cancer Campaign as a flagship idea. However well-meaning and accomplished this campaign has been, it does not speak to the universal mission adopted by the organization that reads, "With hope and positive vision, Optimist Clubs bring out the best in youth, our community and ourselves."

We are excited to announce in January 2019 Optimist International will introduce a new program, one that we believe could very well be a true flagship idea: The Childhood Health & Wellness Campaign.

Explained in the December Optimist International Hotline:
"The Childhood Health & Wellness Program will build on the highly successful Childhood Cancer Campaign to expand our impact. Clubs and Districts will now have the opportunity to initiate projects and services to improve the quality of life for children in their communities across a broader spectrum of needs. 
Childhood Health & Wellness will include four focus areas (not limited to the examples below):
  • Healthy Lifestyles (Child Obesity, Healthy Eating, Physical Fitness, Happy Heart Advice, March of Dimes)
  • Chronic Diseases (Childhood Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia)
  • Mental Health (Depression, Bullying, Abuse)
  • Disabilities – Physical, Intellectual & Developmental (Autism, Special Olympics
The Foundations will begin accepting donations for the new program in January 2019 and more information will be available at that time. 
Money previously donated to the Childhood Cancer Campaign will remain in the Childhood Cancer Campaign funds.
The value of this program is that it plays on the many strengths of the autonomous Optimist Clubs around the world. Because Optimist Clubs serve local communities by identifying local needs and designing programs to fit those needs, many projects that our clubs perform already fit inside the broad spectrum of the Childhood Health & Wellness Program. By focusing on the four areas, Optimist International will enhance the contributions its Optimist Clubs make through program support, financial contributions from its Foundations, and increased awareness worldwide.

It's true; Optimist Clubs bring out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves. The Childhood Health & Wellness Program will present new opportunities to share the Optimist difference in our communities and around the world. We can't wait to hear more and we'll publish here as soon as we do!

Photo credit: Margaret Weir

Monday, November 26, 2018

A quick review of the PNW Optimist District Fall Board Meeting

The First Quarter District Meeting for the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International was held November 16-18, 2018. Renamed the Fall Board Meeting, there were fewer attendees than the meeting has seen in the past, but we believe that was due to the scheduling change that moved the meeting too close to the Thanksgiving (US) holiday.

Six first-timers were there, as was Optimist International Certified International Trainer Tracy Huxley. Together they helped bridge any perceived generation gap as Tracy reminded those assembled, "We and Them IS Us."

pnw optimist clubs first timers

During a special convention session, authorized by International President Rebecca Butler Mona, several important decisions were made for the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District.

First was an increase in dues. Beginning January 1, 2019, regular members in Optimist Clubs in the PNW District will pay $20 annually to the District coffers. College members will pay $5 annually. Any members added with an Optimist International incentive such as Homecoming, $30 Under 30, or the Recruit a Teacher Incentive are exempt from District dues.

PNW Optimist Clubs Ben DeRemerThe second decision was the adoption of an entirely new set of PNW District Policies. The policies are different than we have seen before, and according to Governor Ben DeRemer, bring the District in closer alignment with the policies and bylaws of Optimist International.

Governor Ben appeared confident and prepared with the changes he has proposed and will now enact for the PNW District. One of the changes that might cause confusion is the creation of 6 separate Assistant Governor positions. Each Assistant Governor will chair a standing committee and oversee a number of subcommittees that we would typically believe to stand alone. Please click the link below to review the standing committees on page 2 of the November newsletter. 

We hope that you will save the date for the Spring Board Meeting. It will be held April 12-14, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Suites, Bellingham, WA. This meeting will feature the District Finals for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH). A Certified International Trainer has been requested to lead the Catch-A-Rising Star program, among other things, and of course, the District Board Meeting will be held as well.

Regional meetings will be held in March to facilitate the second level of competition in the Scholarship Contests on the following dates and locations:

  • Alaska - March 2, 2019
  • Utah - March 2, 2019
  • Oregon - March 9, 2019
  • Idaho - March 16, 2019
  • Washington - March 23, 2019
  • British Columbia (mainland) - March 30, 2019
  • Vancouver Island (Victoria) - April 6, 2019
  • Yukon Territory - April 6, 2019
More information will be published as it becomes available.