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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Middleton Area Optimist Club finds vital partnership

At a recent meeting, the Middleton Area Optimist Club learned that partnerships can be the key to finding what services your community needs most.

When the Middleton Gazette newspaper publisher and Optimist Club member Becky O'Meara brought her husband, Tim, with her to a meeting to discuss his role as chairman of the Greater Middleton Parks and Recreation District, the idea of movies in the park evolved. Twenty minutes later, a plan was conceived to raise the funds needed to purchase the equipment, including an outdoor screen, projector and PA system, and the Middleton Area Optimist Club was committed to staffing the event on an ongoing basis.

It's a partnership that is still being developed and molded, but one that will bring the Optimist Club greater exposure in the community which they hope will lead to more projects and people that want to work together to do great things for the Middleton area.

Already identified as potential assistants in the project are the area school students, including the Vision Charter School where a JOOI Club is being established. Since the partnership was announced earlier this month, two new members have joined.

According to President Russ Nelson, finding a direction  was  an important step in the club's progress. "Without a clear purpose, we were losing interest. We're headed in the right direction now with a project that the community will enjoy, and a way to pay for it that will lead to more projects in the future," explained Nelson. He promised to share more information soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

PNW District - Optimist International Oratorical Contest for 2011-2012

“How My Optimism Helps Me Overcome Obstacles”
  Submitted by Jeanne Large, Oratorical Chair

Since its start in 1928, the Oratorical contest has become the longest-running program sponsored by Optimist International.  The contest is designed for youth to gain experience in public speaking and to provide them with the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship. 

Optimist International’s 2012 Oratorical Contest has a theme that speaks to the heart of every Optimist volunteer.  When a volunteer stands up and says “Yes, I can!” children are given the opportunity to learn the invaluable skill of public speaking, experience the warmth of volunteers who care, and hear the empowering words of their fellow speakers. 

If you and your club think that this is an opportunity that you want the children in your community to have, now is the time to start planning for it.  Now is the time to let school speech and communication departments know about the theme and timelines, contact youth who have participated in the last couple of years and who might still be eligible, and prepare flyers that can be publicly available in libraries and community centers. 

It is also time to budget for the contest so that your contestants can be offered cash prizes, now possible for club level events.  Clubs are allowed to give monetary awards up to $500 per winner in addition to the official medallions.  The club level awards may be given in the form of a scholarship, savings bond or cash prize.  The cash incentives will attract speakers of they know about them.

Optimist International and your PNW District Oratorical Chairperson, Jeanne Large, are readily available to help you make it happen.  The complete rules and all the forms are available online at http://www.optimist.org.  To locate this year’s guides, just go to the “Members” area of the website, select “Programs” and then go to either “Scholarship Contests” or “Planning Guides”.  The planning guides are also available under the “Club” and “District” tabs atwww.optimistleaders.org

Some key dates:  
  • District Oratorical Contest:  May 18-19, 2012, Best Western Agate Beach, Newport, OR
  • Regional Oratorical Events:  At least two weeks prior to District Event –late April 2012
  • Zone Oratorical Events:  At least two weeks prior to Regional Event –early April 2012
  • Club Oratorical Contests:  At least two weeks prior to the Zone Event -March, 2012
  • Deadline to register an event with District Chair, Jeanne Large - January 31, 2012

To let me know if your club is interested in sponsoring a contest, to volunteer to be a Regional Chair for these events or for more contest information and support, please contact:
Jeanne Large at  jeannemlarge2010@hotmail.com or call 206-794-2900.


Monday, November 14, 2011

It will be here before you know it

It started last week. First, Robin Stanhope of the Twin Falls Optimist Club sent a friendly reminder that Christmas was only 45 days away.

Then in the car, I heard it ... you know what I'm talking about ... the dreaded first Christmas carol of the season. Point of order, Mr. DJ, it was not lovely weather for a sleigh ride together because I was happily enjoying the delightful 55 degrees and sunny day with no snow in sight, not even in the Boise foothills. 

And then my friends in the Meridian and Eagle Optimist Clubs emailed their flyers for the annual Christmas Tree sales.

Yes, Christmas will be here before you know it. As most of our Optimist Club in the Pacific Northwest District have special activities to celebrate the season, we thought this would be a good time to tell us about them. Please comment here. Tell us:
  • Your favorite Christmas holiday Optimist Club project.
  • A favorite memory from holidays past. 
  • Advertise your Breakfast with Santa or other project. 

To comment, please click on the link below. We allow anonymous comments on our blog, but it's more fun if you tell us who you are and what Optimist Club you are with. 

Comments placed two weeks after this post are moderated and will appear a short time after they are made. All other comments should appear immediately. 

Go to it! Let's start the season with enthusiasm! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What's an ACPC? I'm glad you asked!

Click to enlarge and print 
We are forty days into a new administrative year for Optimist Clubs and Optimist International. By now, your club president should have heard from your Lt. Governor and hopefully, the Lt. Governor visited your club to complete the Annual Club Planning Conference (ACPC) report.

The ACPC is a tool that helps your new club officers plan for the activities that they want to accomplish during the year. By asking obvious questions, like what are your club dues and do you have an annual budget, clubs are reminded that they must tend to the business side of the organization.

By asking the Club Chair names, the president is encouraged to delegate duties. And by asking about goals in membership, participation and service, the Lt. Governor can learn how they might help the clubs in their zone be successful.

The ACPC has returned this year as an important club development resource. International President Jack Creswell emphasizes that  Lt. Governors should have this discussion with the clubs in their zone so that they may also identify problem areas and offer district services for support.

Many of the questions on the report can be answered by your secretary-treasurer, but that's really not the point. No one wants to fill out paperwork just for the sake of doing paperwork. Please take ten to fifteen minutes of your time at your next Optimist Club meeting and complete the answers with your club members present. It's a learning and growing experience for all.

Find out more about Optimist International and its Districts structure and services here. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's happening in your Optimist Club?

The best way to get the word out about the great things that your Optimist Club does in the community is to write about it, share it on Twitter, post it on Facebook and then talk about it ... a lot.

It's the new age of word of mouth marketing. It used to be sufficient to tell a friend or family member and they would tell another friend and the chain would continue. Today, we still communicate with our friends, but there are so many messages vying for their attention in our technology-driven world that we need to give them reminders; and the best part of that statement is when we give them reminders, we also tell the world.

The PNW District wants to help your Optimist Club share your messages with the world. Tell us a story of service or the details of a project that you have coming up and we will:

Be sure to add this group of followers to your club bulletin and we might even write the story for you. 

We hope to hear from you soon! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Be active, Optimists!

John Cozzi, Jr., President
Optimist Club of Vancouver, WA
Those who attend district meetings regularly most often return home to tell their fellow Optimist Club members, "We have to add new members."

"Why?" they ask. And as we give our laundry list of reasons like making Honor Club, serving our community better, or because it's what we have to do to continue to exist;  the message is somehow lost, perhaps because they have heard it all before again and again, from the same person.

John Cozzi, President of the Vancouver, WA Optimist Club attended his first district meeting in Hood River last month. It's not surprising that he returned home with a similar message; however, a fresh new perspective gives a slightly different point of view. Here's what John told his club:
"Fresh off of training from the conference in Hood River, I ascertained three major items that both national and locally of what each clubs goals should be focused on. The three goals that were given are growing our clubs active membership, forming committees and fundraising. All three of these goals are the same goals that I mentioned in my induction speech. 
By growing our club with ACTIVE members, we will be able to reach more kids with our help and message. 
Putting committees in place and having people work the committees; will support our ability to help more kids. 
The final goal of fundraising will allow our club to reach more groups and support us in getting our message out to more kids.
I believe that meeting each of these goals is attainable for us to reach with the support of all club members.“Bringing out the best in kids” is not a job but an adventure." 
What a great message for Optimist Club members. Be active. Encourage others to be active. Make a point to bring a first timer with you to every district meeting and then ask them to share what they learned with others. You will be pleasantly surprised at what fresh voice can do to raise the level of enthusiasm in your club.

John's message first appeared in the Van-Guard, 11-7-2011, newsletter editor Steve Enyeart. 

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