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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grant HS Octagon Club partners with senior center

For Thanksgiving, the Grant High School Octagon Club, Portland, Oregon, helped the Hollywood Senior Center put on an authentic feast for their patrons. According to Amber Kern Johnson, Executive Director, the celebration was a great success. She wrote:

"We had over 60 seniors attend the event which provides an authentic Thanksgiving meal and social opportunity for many older adults without family and the resources to celebrate the holiday.  The lunch was a rousing success.  The seniors felt really treated, and that is a rarity in many of their lives.  

Happy Thanksgiving indeed!

The Octagon Club played a major role in making the afternoon so special. The members helped to set up, serve food, and clean-up after the event.  I know it meant a lot to the seniors  in attendance to have younger individuals be at the event and spend time with them. 

 As we head into December, we would love to have some students come to help decorate the Senior Center for the holidays. Please let me know if this is a possibility. Most afternoons will work for us to have a group come.

We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the Grant High School Octagon Club!"

What a great opportunity for the students and adults. The Grant High School Octagon Club is sponsored by the Portland Northeast Optimist Club. 

Thanks to JOOI Chair Boyd Yaden for the story. Click on the pictures to enlarge. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

NOW Meetings really, really work

The Albany Optimist Club is planning a NOW meeting. For a month or so, they've placed a notice in their newsletter that says,
NOW means New Optimists Welcome 
We need  you to give us names of folks you think would be good Optimist members. We will write a letter to them and invite them to a special meeting. 
This week, the message was amended to read,
This promo must be working. We have 3 new members and haven't even had the meeting yet. 
It's true. Just talking about about adding members to our Optimist Clubs puts us in the mindset to share what we do with others and invite them to join in on the experience.

A NOW meeting is an organized way to look at the community, see what sector of business people are missing from the roster, and formally invite them to join.

I'm inclined to believe that the real reason NOW meetings work is because we feel less inhibited to ask people to join because everybody's doing it!

Find out how your Optimist Club can benefit from the everybody's doing it mentality:
Learn more about NOW meetings here.
See a sample NOW meeting presentation here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

An Optimistic Coffee Stop

Our Optimist Clubs raise money in different ways. Some are getting ready for their biggest fundraisers of the year with Christmas Tree sales. Others are plugging away with service and earning a little bit of money to boot. 

The Chehalis Centralia Optimist Club is one that is earning money by providing service. According to President Monique Connors,
"This week our Optimist group had a coffee stop fund raiser out at Toutle Rest Stop. Despite the really nasty weather we did pretty well and served many cups of coffee...tea and cocoa. The people who stopped were grateful and a delight to serve.

Looking forward to out next fund raiser in March when we have a Silent/Chinese Auction & Dinner. Lots of great items so come see, March 23-2013 starting at 5:00 P.M."
As families traveled to be with one another on the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm sure the coffee was well appreciated. Thank you for your service.

Thanks to Monique for sharing the story.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to Optimists everywhere

Today, in the United States, families and friends will gather for the first feast of the holiday season. They know that they aren't gathering merely to eat. They are coming together to share stories, their spirit and culture with others so that it may continue far into the future.

Giving thanks is respectful. It is good to celebrate the human spirit with gratitude. Thank you, Optimist Club members, for all that you do every day to share your spirit of service and hope.

Click here to read about the first Thanksgiving (celebrated in September) at history.com. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vegas in March? Why not!

PNW District Membership Chair Dick Brodie sends the following message to you and your Optimist Club:

Greetings Everyone

Now is the time to recruit new members! With Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, our communities need us more than ever. It is easier to show people what your Clubs’ projects do at this time of year to help the youth and needy families. Get people involved in your projects and we’ll get those elusive new members we need.

If you can sponsor a new member by New Year’s Day , I will DOUBLE your chances to win that trip to "SUNNY LAS VEGAS" in March by putting your name in the drawing twice (that’s 2 times) for every member that you sponsor!
The Pacific Northwest District is proud of our members and what we do for others, especially the KIDS. Let’s get more people involved by bringing in more new members.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A new Optimist Club year gets underway

Two weeks ago, many Optimist Club and District leaders gathered in Hood River, Oregon for the first quarter district meeting. We launched the new year with Governor Larry Blackburn's commitment to fun. There was a talent show where DiAnne Wilson, Ms. Oregon Senior America sang her way into our hearts. We saw talent from others too including a rocking rendition of "Born to be Wild" from the sound-man extraordinaire Steve Andersen that brought many in the audience to their feet.

The Nightly News
Earlier in the day, Dustin and Kayleigh Godfrey shared some of the secrets to the success of the Twin Falls Optimist Club, now at 130 members and still growing. According to Dustin and Kayleigh, fun is what separates their club from all others. They demonstrated just how they keep people laughing with a version of "The Nightly News."

Of course there was business conducted at the meeting as well. Of great importance to the beginning of any administration, was the acceptance of the budget for the year. It was noted that the previous administration spent more than $13,000 of the cash that was transferred to them starting this year's treasury with only $16,000 and perhaps signalling a downward trend. Immediate past district secretary/treasurer Mary White pointed to loss in membership and increased expenses in the scholarship programs as reasons for the difference.

Obviously, the district hopes to regain members in the coming year, but there was great discussion about the scholarship program expenses which, budgeted at $7,300 in 2012-2013, is significantly higher (more than $5,000 higher) than the income that is collected to manage these programs. Until last year, the income and expenses have been close, and have not warranted additional expenses.

What's different? Last year, the administration, without consulting its clubs, arbitrarily decided to give a second scholarship to the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) contest.

Before we continue, a primer in Optimist International scholarships is in order. The Optimist International Foundation(s) raises money for and administers the scholarship programs for Optimist International. They are endowed programs that allow each district to give away to top contestants the following amounts

  • Essay: $2,500 to a single winner
  • CCDHH: $2,500 to a single winner
  • Oratorical: $2,500 to a single boy winner and $2,500 to a single girl winner. Districts may choose to combine the contests (co-ed) and give $2,500 to a first place winner, $1,500 to a second place winner, and $1,000 to a third place winner
As stated above, last year, the administration gave an additional $2,500 to a second CCDHH contestant. Furthermore, unlike the Optimist International Foundation, which distributes the award to the university when  a student enrolls, the PNW District gave $2,500 directly from the treasury to a student. In its budget for 2012-2013, the district has proposed to do the same thing. Additionally, an amendment to the district policies was proposed that this would be required of other administrations in the future. 

This proposal drew a great amount of interest and the district budget narrowly passed. However, the policy proposal was tabled so that a committee could be formed to look into the matter further. 

It is likely that the budget would not have passed except for one thing. Many of the Optimist Club members in attendance did not have their club president's proxy and therefore were not eligible to vote. Even though they may have represented the club's wishes, these members voices were not officially recognized. Lesson 1: Club presidents, your participation is needed. Lesson 2: Club presidents, if you cannot attend, please provide a written proxy to those who attend from your club on your behalf. 

So what about next year and this budget that seems perhaps misaligned? Scott Keller, President, Portland Northeast Optimist Club, challenged other Optimist Clubs to contribute $100 over and above their annual dues to help defray the costs of the scholarship programs. If your club can and will contribute, please tell us now.  Additionally, a number of Optimist Club members on both sides of the issue volunteered to work together to provide more information and recommend a course of action for the future. Governor Larry will assemble this advisory committee soon. 

Accepting a budget is one of the main functions of the first quarter meeting for it prioritizes what district leaders will focus on in the coming year. Additionally, we shared stories and friendships, learned about the social web (friend us on Facebook or click here to sign up to receive district updates)  and OptimistLeaders.org, met the new committee chairs and lt. governors for 2012-2013 and made plans to spread Optimism in our communities.

Sharing Optimism should be job one and we know that we all have it in us to "Get more out of life by helping a child." 

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