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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Optimist Club visitations are fun!

Do you ever take the time to visit other Optimist Clubs? Club visitations used to be widely promoted as a way to increase camaraderie in between zone and district meetings. When you visit a neighboring club, you get the opportunity to:

  • See how they function. Clubs have different procedures - do they have a guest speaker or is it all about networking?
  • Find out about their programs. Every club has something that most of their members are passionate about. Individual members have passions as well. How does that affect the services they provide?
  • Find out about fund raising. Where do they get their money to operate?
  • Share stories from your home club. Find out if there are opportunities to partner on events and activities and make an even bigger impact in your region.
  • Pick up a souvenir to take home. Okay, I don't really recommend this, but when it happens, it sure is fun to for the other club to plan a visit to retrieve their possession.

Over the past year, the Boise Noon and Meridian Optimist Clubs have developed a close relationship through club visitations. They support each others service projects and fundraising opportunities. On one visit, the Nooners picked up the Meridian gavel, forcing President Sue Thompson to start the meetings with a small ball-peen hammer, lovingly provided by fellow President Cindi Wall.

On the next visit, President Sue invited the Boise Noon Optimist Club mascot Buster Bronco to visit the Meridian Club for a while. He accepted and held a place of honor at Meridian feed bag until a group of Nooners turned up to retrieve him. A treaty was reached. A ransom was paid. Buster Bronco returned to his rightful place at the Boise Noon Meetings and President Sue retrieved not one, but two Meridian Optimist Club gavels for her trouble.

Try it! You will find that Optimist Clubs are more fun when you take the time to share some humor. Plus a good laugh has wonderfully positive, healing properties.

Thanks to Walt Callahan, Boise Noon Publicist for the picture. Michael Bouton and Sue Thompson are shown making the exchange while Bill Garcia looks on.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gresham Optimist Joe Anderson recognized for service

Optimist Joe Anderson, recently recognized on this blog for the Shop with a Cop program in Gresham, Oregon, has been named one of Gresham's top thirty volunteers.

According to a press release issued by the Gresham Chamber of Commerce and Boeing Company these volunteers were chosen because they have spent countless hours raising money for charities, organizing community events and volunteering at food banks, homeless shelters, senior centers and schools. They are committed to improving Gresham's image and making the city a better place to live.

Mr. Anderson was recognized specifically for his efforts with the Optimist Club to provide firewood for the needy and special projects to provide Christmas cheer.

Congratulations Joe!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Optimism surges on Inaugural Day

It's Inaugural Day in the United States where the first African American has been sworn into the highest office of the land. President Obama has united a nation like no other president in recent history. More than two million people gathered at the Mall in Washington D.C. to experience history in person and millions and millions more watched on television and through streaming video on their computers. Connected by technology, we smiled, cried and cheered as he delivered his first words as commander in chief.

His words were extraordinary in purpose and intent. President Obama said, " On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord."

Is that not the purpose of Optimist Clubs? To provide hope. To foster unity. To work towards peace and goodwill. Rest assured; optimism is alive and well in Washington D.C., throughout the United States and around the world.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Optimist Clubs earn Honor Club Distinction

Optimist International has announced the Honor Clubs for the 2007-2008 administrative year. Clubs that earned that distinction in the Pacific Northwest District are:

32001 Abbotsford, BC
32004 Auburn, WA
32029 Chehalis-Centralia, WA
32066 Coquitlam-Eve, BC
32069 Gresham, OR
32086 Meridian, ID
32092 Mission, BC
32105 Portland-Northeast, OR
32185 Vancouver, WA
32214 Nampa, ID
32227 Mason County, WA

Thank you for providing exemplary service to the youth of your community and district.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chehalis-Centralia Optimists recognize special students each month

The Optimist Club of Chehalis-Centralia celebrates students throughout the school year with the Student of the Month program. According to Emma Ball, Zone 6 Lt. Governor, it's a great way to make a regular impression and learn about some pretty neat kids at the same time.

The Student of the Month program started in the 2002-2003 school year. Partnering with the Chehalis Middle School and the Centralia Middle School the Optimist Club began to recognize students for qualities other than sports and grades. They recognize students who display a good work ethic, who volunteer and help others without being asked, and for setting and working towards personal goals. And with those very basic guidelines, the Student of the Month Program has continued to honor students for 7 years.

All Students of the Month receive a gift certificate and vie for the opportunity to be chosen as Student of the Year during the recognition party in June.

In December, the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club recognized Cora Macy, Centralia Middle School and Alex Ackerson of Chehalis Middle School.

Cora is interested in becoming an orthodontist. She participates in Track and is a member of the Napavine 4H Club where she enjoys raising a steer every year. She volunteers with nursing home residents through her participation with 4H.

Alex wants to become a doctor or a writer. He volunteers with the Jackson Prairie Lutheran Church and participates in the Thanksgiving Dinner and Easter Breakfast events. He is very proud of Chehalis and supports beautification efforts by removing graffiti and picking up litter.

Information for this post was provided by Emma Ball and Mazie Schlickeizer.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Issaquah Optimists find their target audience

Does your Optimist Club have a close relationship with a school? A close enough relationship that they publish your flyers on the high school web site? The Issaquah Optimist Club has formed a partnership with the Issaquah High School that allows them to broadcast youth serving activities through this important portal.

Click on this link to take a look at the flyer that promotes the Optimist International Essay Contest for the Issaquah Optimist Club. In addition to reaching their target audience with great placement on the high school website, the flyer has accomplished other important tasks:

It connects the club with something larger than themselves -
Optimist International.

It explains the purposes of Optimist Clubs with a clear,
easy-to read layout.

It provides multiple contact points for more

It includes the entry form and provides a list of all things
to include with the entry.

It tells what the awards are and when they will be given.

Great job Issaquah Optimists!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gresham Optimists Shop with a Cop on YouTube

The Gresham Optimist Club wants more people to know about the things they do so they have turned to YouTube to spread the word. According to Don Weston, Publicity Chairman, it's easy to do; all it takes is a little computer knowledge and patience.

He has created two videos and posted them on YouTube that document the club's popular "Shop with a Cop" Santa activity. One runs 8 minutes and one runs 2 minutes. We've embedded the 2 minute version for you here.

Don says he took the video with a digital camera in the camera’s video setting and used Microsoft movie maker (a free program on Vista) to produce the film. He saved it on the computer and uploaded it to You Tube.

So how does Shop with a Cop work? According to Project Chairman Joe Anderson the Gresham Optimists have been coordinating Shop with a Cop for eight years. The Optimist Club, the Police Department and the Fire Department each contribute $500.00 to the project. They receive fifteen names from the Salvation Army and on shopping day each child is paired up with an Optimist member, a fireman and a cop at a Fred Meyer Store. Each child, armed with $100.00, proceeds to purchase gifts for himself or his family. Joe says, "The kids are great shoppers and they know what they want." They also receive free books for all children courtesy of the Willamette Writers.

The shopping spree lasted about 1.5 hours and afterward the Optimists hosted lunch for all at Burgerville.

Nice project and great use of technology!
Information for this post provided by Don Weston.

Friday, January 2, 2009

An Optimist wishes you Success

Oprah Winfrey was showing a pragmatic view when she welcomed the new year saying, "Cheers to the new year. It's another chance to get it right."

Some of our Optimist Clubs have gotten it right. How do I know? They have consistently earned the distinction of honor club.

Some of our Optimist Clubs have gotten part of it right. They have consistently served their communities without being acknowledged by a higher authority.

And then there are others who struggle from lack of manpower, financial challenges, and inconsistent public relations within their communities. These Optimist Clubs put themselves out there every year in hopes of getting it right.

This is my new year's wish to each kind of Optimist Club. Keep trying. Keep positive. Keep evolving. Keep inspiring others with your drive. I wish you success. Welcome to 2009!

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