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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take time to boast about unique Optimist Club projects

The regional meetings allow us to get a taste of what is happening in the different corners of the PNW Optimist District. It's especially rewarding to hear of new ways that Optimist Clubs impact their communities.

In Mission, BC, we learned about Camp Moomba, a retreat for kids suffering from AIDS, for which all clubs will combine their efforts to achieve a grant from the Optimist International Foundation of Canada. This opportunity is unique to the Canadian clubs because due to Canadian law, the funds raised for the the Childhood Cancer Campaign in Canada must remain in Canada. I can't wait to hear more from champion Sam Mohan about their success with this program.

Another thing that happens in Canada is - you guessed it - curling. Led by Al Kersey, the clubs have created a calendar of Optimist events that they use as a fundraising tool. Annette Smith helped design the calendar making sure to include events from every club in BC. What are the funds raised for? Advertising! They advertise Optimist Clubs in the the curling publications.

In Oregon, we heard about the great collaborative effort and opportunities that might await at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum; but we also heard from our Optimist Clubs. Here is a sample of some of the new projects that our members bragged about:

  • Issaquah: Instead of holding a regular old meeting they serve food at a local shelter and food bank.
  • Vancouver, WA: They started a Baking Contest as a celebration of the city's 100th anniversary and it caught on as an annual event.
  • Roseburg: They serve more than 600 kids at their Safety Day - the event sounds like a bike safety fair on steroids!
  • Mason County: They create celebration baskets that are given to a domestic violence shelter for the just-in-case need of a child's birthday or other special occasion that may arise while the family is staying there.
  • Gresham: Beat the Heat Racing gets teenage drag racers off the streets and onto a racetrack once a week during the racing season.
  • Salem: They believe actions speak louder than words so they are working with a Middle School to enable kids to perform 20 different projects that make an impact.
  • Albany: A fundraising project! They sell advertising on a handout of the Optimist Creed and then distribute it in the community and at the rest areas.

I can't wait to hear what's up in Idaho on March 7! I hope to see you there.

Monday, February 23, 2009

PNW Optimists meet in McMinnville

Congratulations and thank you to Karon and Boyd Yaden for organizing a terrific Regional Meeting in McMinnville, Oregon! More than fifty PNW Optimists gathered at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum on February 21 to share stories and friendship and to celebrate their service to the kids in their communities.

The day began with a special proclamation by Mayor Rick Olson when he declared February 21, 2009 to be Optimist Day in McMinnville. He welcomed the PNW Optimists to the city and asserted that McMinnville shares a similar dedication to youth. Our purposes and our mission are fully in tune with the community he represents. We were honored and humbled in his praise. Sometimes it is good to hear from outsiders just what our service means to the children that we serve.

Some of the highlights of our meeting were:

  • Presentations from Immediate Past Governor Steve Andersen recognizing Honor Clubs and Honor Lt. Governors

  • NOW Presentation from Leadership Development Team Member Ed Murphy
  • Fundraising by Marlean Stevens for the Childhood Cancer Campaign

  • Major Club Projects presented by participating members
  • Committee and program updates for Membership, JOOI, Junior Golf, AAA and Oratorical Contest

An inspirational addition to the meeting was a presentation from Ed Uecker, Coordinator for EASA- Engineering & Aerospace Sciences Academy. EASA is a collaborative magnet program between McMinnville High School, the Evergreen Air & Space Museum and the volunteers that donate their time to both. The innovative program links shop, science, physics, engineering and English together and makes the study relevant to students. In fact it is so relevant, and so interesting, these students show up to school on Saturdays!

Mr. Uecker is himself a high school dropout who nonetheless managed to finish college with two degrees. A personable speaker, he delivers a great presentation and a great program. Director of Operations for the program Kenneth Till joined him in sharing the mission and reach of the program. The City of McMinnville and the Evergreen Air & Space Museum are friends of youth. We hope they will soon be Optimists.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

PNW Optimists set dates for the Optimist Junior Golf Qualifying Tournaments

The 15th Annual Optimist International Junior Golf Championships returns to PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, July 23-August 2, 2009 and the path to the tournament has been set by Optimist Districts around the world. To view the master list of qualifying tournaments, please click here.

Because of the international scope of the district, the Pacific Northwest District of Optimist International holds qualifying tournaments in Canada and the US. Please click on the links below for more information.

Date: MAY 23-24, 2009
Age Divisions Offered: BOYS & GIRLS 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18
Registration fee: $125
Registration deadline: MAY 18, 2009To download a tournament entry form, click here.
For more details and registration information, click here.

United States
Date: JUNE 22, 2009
Age Divisions Offered: BOYS & GIRLS 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18
Registration fee: $75
Registration deadline: JUNE 15, 2009To download a tournament entry form, click here.

There will also be a pre-qualifying tournament held in Idaho and sponsored by the Meridian Optimist Club. This tournament will offer sponsorship into the district tournament for at least two deserving winners. More information will be available at http://www.meridianoptimist.org/ soon.

Children may also qualify and participate through an at-large entry. Information for at-large participants is available here.

Each year more than 5,000 boys and girls participate in the Optimist International Junior Golf Program. All participants learn valuable social skills and sportsmanship as they hone their athletic ability and earn the right to advance to the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Commonly referred to as The Optimist, the the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships is one of the most prestigious junior golf events in the world. More than 650 golfers from 30 countries participated in the 2008 tournament.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Students compete for Optimist Scholarships

The Optimist International Essay Contest deadline is here. All PNW Optimist Clubs should send their winning essays to our district chairs no later than February 28, 2009. Canada Email US Email

And now it is time to move on to the Optimist International Oratorical Contest! Easily my favorite of all International programs, the Optimist Oratorical contest allows students to develop and present their thoughts on the same topic. This year the topic is "For me, optimism is...".

Competition for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest begins at the Club level. Each participant must enter through their local Optimist Club where they will compete for small awards and the opportunity to advance towards a $1,500 scholarship. The first place winner will advance to the zone level. If successful at the zone level, they qualify for an all-expense paid trip to the District Finals to be held in Hood River, Oregon on May 15, 2009 and the opportunity to compete for $500, $1000, or $1500 in college scholarships.

Find out more from your local Optimist Club. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you.

Read and download the complete entry form and rules here. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PNW Optimists hold regional meetings

The first of three regional meetings for the PNW Optimist District was held in Mission, B.C. on February 7. Nearly fifty Optimists from Zones 1, 2 and 13 gathered to share club successes, discuss opportunities and discover new approaches to serving the kids in our communities.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Some of the highlights were:

  • Jessica Grindler, JOOI member, provided entertainment during lunch
  • NOW presentation from Joe Jenkins, Auburn Optimist Club Secretary and Leadership Development team member
  • Pediatric AIDS presentation from Sam Mohan, Chilliwack Optimist member and Essay Chair

Governor Peter Smith will head to McMinnville, Oregon on February 21 and then on to Twin Falls, Idaho on March 7 to visit Regions 2 and 3. Plan to be there! Register online now.

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