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Friday, March 30, 2012

It's the most eggs-citing time of the year

Where's the golden egg? 
The Twin Falls, Jerome, Meridian and Middleton Area Optimist Clubs in Idaho are busy preparing for the fastest service project of the year. Scheduled to take place at different times on Saturday morning, April 7, each one of the projects have an anticipated running time of 60 seconds.

According to Robin Stanhope, editor of the Twin Falls Blab, one minute is about  how long it takes for the kiddos to find every egg that has been hidden for their hunting pleasure at an Optimist Club Easter Egg Hunt.

Known by different names, such as "Scrambles," "Hunts," or "Egg-offs," according to reports, each club is planning on hiding 2,000 to 4,000 eggs for the eligible hunters to find with special prizes for finding "golden eggs."

If you need to bring a smile to your face, join one of the Optimist Easter Egg-stravaganzas in your community. If you want to bring a smile to others, start a project on behalf of your Optimist Club. It's fun. It's quick. It's appreciated.

As of this post, these are the only Optimist Easter Egg Hunts known by the author. If your club is planning one, please leave the details in the comment section so that your community and other PNW Optimist Clubs know all about it. 

Photo credit

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Would you like some optimism with your coffee?

Albany Optimist Club Coffee Stop
Perhaps you have seen them as you have traveled down HWY 5 at the Santiam Rest Area. Located between Albany and Salem along the Santiam River, sometimes they are on the northbound side of the freeway. Sometimes they are on the southbound.

"Who might I have seen?" you ask.

The members of the Albany Optimist Club!

They have been providing coffee for travelers for many years and sharing with them the Optimist Creed and membership applications. According to Jack Towns, it is unknown if the applications do any good since the cars are mainly passing through, but I think awareness of Optimist Club programs is always a good thing.

Our district and our organization owes a hearty thanks to the Albany Optimist Club for sharing the Optimist story with others.

Thanks to Jack Towns for the picture.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fran Bounds: You're going to Vegas, baby!

Hear ye! Hear ye!

By official decree of the Pacific Northwest District, Fran Bounds has been selected to go to Las Vegas, Nevada to celebrate being an Optimist Club member.

As the lucky winner of the Vegas, Baby! membership drive, Fran's name was selected from 126 entries received by membership chair Dick Brodie as of March 17, 2012.

According to Dick, there were 126 new member additions to Optimist Clubs in the PNW District between October 1, 2011 and March 22, 2012.

Fran is a member of the Optimist Club of Roseburg and the Lieutenant Governor of Zone 6. She has sponsored two new members this year, Frosty Kjensrud and Karen Tolley.

Congratulations, Fran!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Optimist Club brand

At the PNW District Regional Meetings held in February and March, New Club Building Chairperson Gay Enyeart shared ideas about brand development and how to explain what an Optimist Club can bring to a new community.

She emphasized connecting with groups, chambers of commerce and PTAs, among others, in order to share your vision. When you passionately share your vision, it's easier to find a key person in the new community to help make your dream of a new Optimist Club a reality.

One of the benefits of starting a new Optimist Club project is that every person who participates also reflects on what belonging to their home club means to them and that makes their commitment deeper. The PowerPoint takes you through some of those ideas. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oregon City Optimists host hoops fun

Every year, the Optimist Club of Oregon City helps the kids in their community participate in their very own March Madness by hosting a little tournament called Tri-Star Basketball.

Tri-Star Basketball is open to participants of all ages and skill levels and while some of the kids have the opportunity to demonstrate their athletic ability, all of the children have a great time.

Cari Vandecoevering, of Oregon City, took her family to the event and then checked into the club's page on Facebook to say: 
"The Optimist basketball contest was a ton of fun and my kids loved it. Thanks for putting it on. You are all amazing!"

Members of the Oregon City Optimist Club led the participants in passing, dribbling and shooting skills contests. Judging was based on time and precision, but as Cari said above, smiles and laughter were the true measure of success.

See all the pictures from the Tri-Star Basketball Contest and more by liking the Oregon City Optimist Club page on Facebook.

Don't forget to like the PNW Optimist District page while you are there.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The secret to membership growth

Smiling for the camera are members of the West Tacoma Optimist Club.
Left to Right:
  Sec/Treas John Hickman, Jerry Bergstrom, Lt. Gov. Pam Vandenberg,
David Moore, Pres. Dick Disney, Guest Roger Carl, Bob Speicher, Roger Davidson,

Vice-Pres. Devena Thomsen, Waldo Stone, Shirley Zurfluh  

Have you taken a picture of your Optimist Club members recently? It's a perfect addition for your scrapbook, a nice picture for your blog or website and a great photo for your timeline on Facebook. Most important, happy, smiling club members are an invitation to those who might want to join your group. 

We speak a lot about recruiting new Optimist Club members, but equally important is the ability to retain those that you already have. Some of the best ways to retain members are to make your fellow Optimist Club members feel like they are part of the group, miss them when they are away, and call to ask them when you'll see them again. When they are there, include them in the discussion and make certain that everyone has a reason to smile. 

Those little touches really do go a long way and when your members feel included, they will ask others to join, confident that their group will make others feel just as welcome as you have made them feel. 

So there you have it friends. The secret to membership growth is happy members, the more, the merrier. Put your smile on and share some Optimist fellowship today.

Photo by Tom Kryger

Salem Optimist Club recognizes students every month

In an effort to connect with students on a regular basis and to showcase some of their remarkable talents, the Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon has started a monthly recognition program. This month, Samantha Jackson, Alicia Zieg and Lorena Alvarez received awards. Lorena and Alicia received their awards for being most involved in community affairs and Samantha was the first time female award winner in vocation technology. Congratulations!

You can see the monthly choices by liking the Salem Optimist Club's page on Facebook.

Please send us links and pictures of how your Optimist Club recognizes students and youth in your community. And don't forget to like our PNW District page on Facebook too. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tri Cities Optimists: They're not bowling alone

Last weekend, Lareena Roberson, President, Tri Cities Optimist Club led the "I Love Lucy" team in the Celebrity Bowl for Junior Achievement.

In addition to making a generous $1,500 donation to the Junior Achievement program, some of the club members dressed up as celebrities to share the spirit of the event.

To the right, president Lareena demonstrated what Grammy-award winner singer Adele might look like if she took up bowling.

In true PNW District Optimist fashion, others simply dressed up for the occasion. It appears that all, crazy outfit or not, had a great time.

Team TCO, aka "I Love Lucy," pose for the camera

Monday, March 5, 2012

One, two, three ... GROW!

March is the month for recruiting new members, or so I have been told, and in honor of this special time of year, Optimist International has created a very useful reward. In fact, this reward is so useful, it will double as promotional tool for your Optimist Club.

A sign with an
outdated logo
>> A new road sign! <<

Is your sign old and worn? Does it have an outdated logo? Perhaps your community has never had one? Now is the time to take action! Optimist International promises to send you a brand new sign if you add ten new members to your club's roster between March 1 and May 30, 2012.

A new road sign will help you get the word out to your community that it is being served with optimism. But first, you'll need to use your fantastic word of mouth marketing approaches to encourage new members to join your Optimist Club!

Here are some tools discussed at the recent regional meeting in Twin Falls, ID:

Barry Knoblich, Membership Co-chair for the Twin Falls Optimist Club says it is important to have a membership chairperson and that chairperson must have a plan.
  • The objective of the plan is simply the number of new members that you want to add to your club. Since you will historically lose 20% of your club's membership to attrition every year, your goal must include that number. 
  • The key elements of the plan are to make it fun for everyone to participate, help them understand what they are selling, and to reward them when they are successful. 
Goals should be strategic and attainable. A good example of both is to ask every member to sponsor one new member every year. This emphasizes the importance of volunteers to the success of the club's projects and ongoing mission. It also helps decrease burnout. Extra hands bring needed help and the bonus is veteran members become friends with the new members they recruit.

Your product, or what you are selling, must be easy to understand. First and foremost, belonging to an Optimist Club allows the potential new member to provide service, in coordination with other like-minded people, for their community. Because you are working with others, there is the built-in camaraderie; however, through participation in meetings and projects, real fellowship develops. Finally, working in the community provides an opportunity for personal growth, sometimes career-wise and sometimes in one's own self-awareness. The product of Optimist membership, in a vibrant Optimist Club, provides all three.

The reward for sponsoring new members should reflect the culture or personality of the club. In Twin Falls, they recognize individuals weekly for bringing guests and have an annual celebration where the losers (those who didn't sponsor new members) serve the winners (those who sponsored new members). Last year, the party also doubled as an orientation for 50+ new members who joined the Twin Falls Optimist Club last year.

Finally, Barry explained that everything you do must be enjoyable or as interesting as possible. Why? Because you are competing for time with members' work obligations and family time. It's up to your club to make it worth your members' time.

Mike Kohout, President, McCall Optimist Club, shared three simple ideas for keeping club members engaged:

  1.  Have interesting speakers. Often clubs will treat their meetings like committee meetings and discuss only business or plan for the next event. While that might be necessary on occasion, a steady diet of planning is boring. Most important, it doesn't allow the club to learn what is happening in their community. Speakers share needs, ideas and successes, and they take what they have learned about your Optimist Club back to their own organization or describe their visit when they make presentations at other clubs. 
  2. Seek out grants. Often, clubs become discouraged when they are turned down, but instead, they should take the information gained from the rejection and learn to ask better. He also encouraged connecting with the community foundation in your state for dedicated grant-seeking and grant-making opportunities. 
  3. Click to enlarge pictures
  4. Create a brochure that describes your Optimist Club's projects and mission. The brochure serves several purposes. In addition to being easy to hand-out, it also helps the Optimist Club member recall all of the great things that she is able to do because she is a member of the club and reinforces her commitment to the cause. 

Click here to download the brochure sample in a Word format. Thanks to Jim Thackeray for the example. 

You have the drive and the reasons to bring new members to your Optimist Club and now you have the tools.

We know you can do it!  One, two, three...GROW!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Only a day away

Tomorrow, just as little orphan Annie tells us, is only a day away. That means that we are only one day away from the final second quarter regional gathering of Optimist Club members in the PNW District.

Optimist Clubs from British Columbia and Washington will be highlighted in this one-day event designed to provide a forum for all clubs to talk about the things they do in their communities to help others. Attendees will also learn about the recently extended membership incentive, how to be an effective club leader, new club building, how your club can fight human trafficking and a special presentation about wind generation in our district. No, not the overly verbose past governor type of wind generation. Steve Enyeart will really tell the group all about the windmills that dot the Columbia Gorge and beyond.

It's not too late to participate in this friendly gathering of Optimist Clubs. You may still register online or at the door. Here are the meeting details:

March 3, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Inn at Port Gardner
1700 West Marine View Drive
Everett, Washington 98201
Registration $35
Overnight guests: $96 plus tax for marina rooms with 1-king bed
Click here to download the agenda. 

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