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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.

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