We love stories about your Optimist Club. Please tell us one and we'll add it to the website.
Click here, email, or post to Facebook. Thank you!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Welcome to 2014

Hello Optimist Club Members and Friends, 

Welcome to 2014. We're looking forward to seeing you at a district event soon. Register now to attend a regional meeting in Oregon, Washington or Idaho.  

Thank you for all that you do to make your community a great place to live. And remember, talk health happiness and prosperity in the new year and always. 

Your PNW District Leadership Team

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Join an Optimist Club in 2014

I found this invitation and challenge on the Hillsboro Optimist Club Facebook page and I thought, this is something that every Optimist Club should say. Often.

We make resolutions for the new year and promise ourselves to be more active, more inspired, and more caring, among other things. Joining an Optimist Club will serve those purposes and so much more. It will provide motivation when you are tempted to hide away from challenges. It creates a social circle with caring friends who look out for one another. It provides opportunities to give back to the community in thanks for all that the community gives to you. And the service projects that you choose to be a part of will serve kids, community and you.

Click on the links in the left hand column of this page to find an Optimist Club in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington or British Columbia and join. Don't wait. Do it today.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Meridian Optimist Club donates to the CCDHH scholarship program

The Meridian Optimist Club announced the results of its iPad drawing today, just in time for Christmas giving or receiving.Andrea Shaul was named the winner. Congratulations Andrea!

But another winner is the PNW District's CCDHH Scholarship program. The Meridian Optimist Club also announced that $700 raised in the drawing was earmarked for this special program, the only contest in Optimist International that supports both deaf and hard of hearing students who sign and those who speak with $2,500 awards.

Thank you Meridian Optimist Club!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Calling Santa's Helpers in the Tri-Cities

According to Charlie Kissler, President, Tri-Cities Optimist Club and Lt. Governor extraordinaire, Zone 10, there's a right way and a wrong way to invite members to an Optimist Club meeting. You see, you always have to make it sound like fun; and then, of course, you have to deliver on your promise.

So for this week's meeting, the members of the Tri-Cities Optimist Club received this little poem from Santa's Chief Helper:

‘Twas the week before Christmas and some people in our city,
Could not afford gifts, isn’t that a pity?

The Tri-City Optimists, while pursuing the Sunny Side,
Chose to give back to their town, some gifts they’d provide.

Wrapped they must be, those presents willy-nilly,
So the entire group went to Hopwood’s for Chili.

Some wrapping they’d do, and all have great fun,
While ensuring a Merry Christmas for ten families, every one.

We’re halfway to our goal of a Christmas so cheery,
If we all help on this, no one will be weary.

The Kennewick place to be is 1500 S. Taft,
Where all the “wrappers” will display their craft.

Being an Optimist, I am sure I will see,
EVERYONE there, and happy, like me.

It starts at 6:30, to be early, feel free,
But if you get thirsty, it’s BYOB.

I hope my little poem doesn’t give you a fright,
Forward I’m looking to seeing everyone tonight!

Merry Christmas

Charles Kissler

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

North Okanagan Optimist Club helps coordinate Children's Christmas Workshop

The 8th Annual Children's Christmas Workshop in Vernon, BC began in November when the North Okanagan Optimist Club began collecting donations. They asked the community to look into their hearts, closets and cupboards to give away their new and gently used items that would be suitable for re-gifting.

Re-giftable suggestions for men included wallets, tools, gadgets, gloves, novelty ties, cologne. For ladies, they suggested trinkets, jewelry, spa items, lotions, soaps, candles, kitchenware, hats and bags, among other things. What they were really looking for were items that children might give to a parent.

On December 14, 2013, the Vernon Christmas Workshop opened their doors to to the community and children who "were low on funds but big on heart" came forward to do their shopping.

The North Okanagan Optimist Club, along with a number of other civic-minded individuals were there to help the kiddos with their selections, wrap the presents, and share wishes of good holiday cheer. And from the looks of the pictures, they shared some Christmas brownies and cookies, too.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Salem Optimist Club continues its Youth Appreciation Program

youth appreciation optimist club salem
Shea White-Toney and Larry Young
While Optimist Clubs shared holiday cheer throughout the Pacific Northwest District and around the world, the Salem Optimist Club continued to do what Optimist Clubs do best: celebrate the accomplishments of children.

Following their ongoing commitment to recognize students at its regular meetings, on Thursday, the Salem Optimist Club honored Shea White-Toney and Heather Kramer with the Optimist Youth Appreciation Award.

Shea is drama student at Blanchett High School. According to his high school counselor, he is hard-working and committed, with a wonderful work ethic. "He gets it," said Tom Hewitt. "He understands the focus and passion it takes to create a strong character and build a great performance. He also understands 'ensemble', that it takes all parts, large and small, to achieve something meaningful." He concluded his praise by saying that Shea is a joy to work with.

Shea is a senior at Blanchett and although he knows that theater arts will always be a part of his life, he considering physical therapy as a college major.
salem optimist club honors youth
Heather Kramer and Joe Miller

Heather Kramer is also a senior. She attends Sprague High School and was honored for achievement in fine
arts and performing arts. Jay Crystal, Assistant Principal, lists Heather's talents in her involvement in Concert Choir, Musical Theater (acting AND singing), Framework (Acapella choir) and other great contributions to Sprague's fine arts programs.

Heather is considering Stanford and Seattle Pacific to complete her education.

Thanks to the Salem Optimist Club for the stories and pictures. To see other students honored by the Optimist Club this year, please visit Optimist Club of Salem on Facebook.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday projects in the PNW District - Optimist International

Over the weekend, Optimist Clubs throughout the Pacific Northwest District continued their Christmas and holiday celebrations.

In Coquitlam, BC, the Optimist Club held its annual Breakfast with Santa. According to Annette Smith, they served pancakes to more than 150 Brownies, Sparks and Cubs and collected seven boxes of food for Christmas hampers.

In Hillsboro, Oregon, the Optimist Club was working with the Boys and Girls Club to sell Christmas trees. The tree lot is located at Murphy's Furniture in Cornelius and it's open 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

On Black Friday, the Hillsboro Optimists took to the streets of Portland to work in the Macy's Holiday Parade.

The Hillsboro Optimist Club will also be ringing the bell for the Salvation Army on December 21 at Albertson's in Hillsboro.

The Optimist Club of Chilliwack has been busy decorating its float for the Christmas Parade in Chilliwack. It's not only a dragon boat float - it's a fire breathing dragon boat float!

The Chilliwack Optimists also held a Christmas Fundraiser Dance and raised money for youth projects and to fill the Christmas hampers.

In Gresham, Oregon, the Optimist Club held its annual Shop with a Cop program on Saturday, December 7.

What's your Optimist Club doing for the holiday season? Send us a picture and we'll highlight it here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Optimist Club helps new residents connect to their community

Reprinted with permission from Experience Optimism.

middleton idaho optimist club
The Middleton Area Optimist Club has created
and is selling a community calendar

The Middleton Area Optimist Club is only three years old, but it's made quite an impact on its hometown in Idaho. Most of the club's members are new to the community so they've come with fresh ideas about how to make their city a great place to live. Of course being a newcomer in a small town of less than 5,000 people can also be difficult because long-time residents "just know" when things happen and community events can pass by without the new resident's knowledge.

In order to overcome this problem, the members of the Middleton Area Optimist Club decided to create a community calendar for 2014. Members sought out dates for annual activities like craft bazaars, church socials, sports league sign-ups, among other things, and then added in their own events that include their popular Free Movies in the Park series in the summer and charity bingo throughout the year. The calendar also includes phone numbers to city services and other organizations so that a newcomer or a long-time resident can be plugged in to the events and activities year-round.

The calendar includes photos from events and activities in Middleton in 2013 and all money raised goes towards the Middleton Area Optimist Club's next big project. They are raising $150,000 for playground equipment in Foote Park, home to their signature movie in the park program.

The Middleton Area Optimist Club has become a point of pride for the community. According to one member, Victor Islas, who is shown holding the calendar in the above picture, a lot of groups start in Middleton with good intentions, but they somehow fail to follow through.The Optimist Club isn't like that, he says. They do more than talk about projects. They get things done.

Learn more about the Middleton Area Optimist Club at this link. 

Buy a Middleton Area Community Calender by sending an email here. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Support the Optimist International scholarship programs and you might win an iPad Air

The Meridian Area Optimist Club is a proud sponsor of the Optimist International Scholarship programs. It hosts the essay contest in the winter and the oratorical contest in the spring. This year it will also expand its offering to include the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

So they have a suggestion that will benefit  you and them. Skip Black Friday shopping and join them in this drawing instead for an iPad Air. If you win, you'll have a Christmas present sewn up. Your donation will benefit some of the best causes around.

Kirk Farnsworth, President, Meridian Optimist Club invites entries from anywhere. They'll mail  your tickets and prize, he promises. Just go to www.meridianoptimist.org or call 208-850-6729.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holidays are the busy season for the Meridian Optimist Club

Optimist Clubs are getting ready for the holidays and none more so than the Meridian Optimist Club where members kicked off their annual salute to the season with the long-running food drive on Friday, November 22, 2013.

For thirty-two years, the club has been serving families in need in their community by creating food baskets. Twenty or so years ago (the exact date isn't for sure, they just know it's just been done this way for a long time), the Meridian Optimist Club engaged the school district to help with the food drive and with help from the students, barrels upon barrels are collected and redistributed in the community.

Over the years, food baskets have turned into cartons and crates as hundreds of pounds of canned goods are often given to individual families.

The Meridian Optimist Club supplements the canned food drive with fresh milk, potatoes, bread and a turkey or ham. This year, thirty families received deliveries from the Optimists and the remaining canned goods went straight to the Meridian Food Bank to help others in need.

Next on the Meridian Optimist Club's calendar of events is the annual Christmas Tree lot. Trees will arrive this Saturday, November 30, 2013 and sales will begin that day.

If you live in the Boise Valley, stop by for a fresh tree. You'll find them at the corner of Meridian Road and Overland, just west of Walgreens.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The greatest thing about being an optimist is...

Optimist International, along with the Optimist International Foundation and Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation, ask you and your Optimist Club to complete the sentence, "The greatest thing about being an optimist is...," for the 2nd annual Reel Optimism video awards.

The grand prize is a $1,000 Club grant. Deadline for submission: March 15, 2014. Put on your director's hat and show us what's great about being an optimist. For complete details and contest rules, please visit: http://www.optimist.org/reeloptimism/.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Like the PNW Optimist District Facebook page

If you are reading this post, chances are you are already subscribed to the PNW Optimist District Facebook page. But in case you aren't, please go ahead and give us a like right now.

The reason? When you subscribe to the district's Facebook page, you'll get information on what's happening in our district including district meetings dates, scholarship contest updates and links to what's happening in other clubs and with Optimist International, among other things. Most important, we'll give you an inspirational lift daily; every day we post something to make you smile.

One of my recent favorites is shown below. It was also a favorite of many others as it was shared and liked all around Facebook on Sunday afternoon.

To like the district page, just click on the like button below. If you have a Facebook account, it will allow you to log in and immediately add it to your regular feed. If you don't have a Facebook account, you'll be asked to create one. Please say yes. Facebook is the easiest way to share in your family's joys and to find out more about your personal interests.

Facebook is the largest social networking site and the number of users over 50 years of age doubles each year. So if you are in that demographic, please know, it's very likely that many of your friends are already there. If you are younger than 50, well, I'm assuming, you're already on Facebook, so like us already! Thank you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Add a member, eat ice cream

Robin Stanhope and Chris Stearns are co-chairing the PNW District Membership Committee this year and they've organized a district-wide plan for membership growth based on the model that has been used in the Twin Falls Optimist Club for the past three years. It's worked for their club, allowing it to grow from 75 members to its current status of 131 members, and earn Honor and Distinguished Club recognition along the way. Most important, the new members have brought new ideas and allowed the club members to tackle new programs for their community.

The crux of the membership program is to get everyone involved. We all have associates, friends and family that would benefit from belonging to an Optimist Club, but without extra encouragement from your club about increasing membership, we often forget to ask them to join. Through the membership plan, Robin and Chris suggest that you recruit membership chairs (yes, more than one) and then allow them to organize a friendly competition inside the club to see which group can add the most members.

The plan recommends potential target membership groupings: Torch Carriers, Business Partners, Non-English Speaking, Invitation Plan, Family Plan, Friends of Optimist, Matching Funds Members, Prospective Members and 30 under 30.

Most important, the plan also focuses on retention. When you add new members, and for those clubs who have added members recently, be sure that the new members are involved and understand the organization that they have joined. We can't grow our clubs when members are coming in the front door and going out the back door at the same time.

Finally, the co-chairs have also proposed a district competition. District leaders, including the executive committee and past governors will make up one team. Everyone else makes up the second team.

At the 4th Quarter Convention, the winning team - the one that has added the most members - will be served by the losing team during an ice cream social.

It's just about fun. And growth. And doing more things in your communities. Now go get that new member.

Read more about the membership plan here. 

Contact Robin and Chris here. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside!

It's amazing how quickly the cold weather hit Idaho and that means that the Optimist Clubs of Jerome and Twin Falls were thrown into overdrive as they scrambled to get their Coats for Kids drive underway.

The Twin Falls Optimist Club reached out to the local television station and began advertising for donations.

They also applied for a Powering Lives grant with Idaho Power. Committee Chair Patsy Bland shared the Coats for Kids story on the Idaho Power Facebook page and asked her friends and the public to vote for the club to win. Click on over and give them a vote!

In Jerome, President Sheri Mitchell went a little softer with her sell, reaching out to club members and community stakeholders to express the need. In the monthly newsletter, she wrote,
"The Jerome Optimist Club has chaired the Coats for Kids project for 38 years and still running strong. Coat barrels are located at the Jerome Wal-Mart (north entrance), the Jerome Library and the Jerome Middle School. Also assisting the Jerome Optimist Club is the Snake River Corvette Club, Falls City 4 H Club, JMS Leadership Students, Jerome Girl Scouts and Brownies, Horizon/Jefferson Elementary and Wal-Mart. PLEASE remember kids come in every size so adult coats are needed too. For a coat please call Sheri 308-3264."
According to Sheri, the Jerome Optimist Club has already delivered 122 coats this year.

Your donations will help keep kids warm this year. If you can give, please contact the club presidents at the following links: Twin Falls Optimist Club     Jerome Optimist Club .

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Job posting: Motivational representative for PNW District Optimist Clubs

Do you want to share your optimistic ideas with others? Then this job is for you!

Motivational representative for PNW District Optimist Clubs

The company: The Pacific Northwest District is a regional division of Optimist International with an outstanding reputation and strong community ties. We have been a source of inspiration in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia since 1922 where Optimist Clubs have grown and thrived.  Our adult members are known for their positive outlooks and dependable community service activities.  

The role: We need a reliable representative to share their optimism with new communities and to inspire others to do the same. This person will develop and implement a plan to start not less than two Optimist Clubs in the 2013-2014 administrative year using members from neighboring Optimist Clubs as catalysts for growth.

Requirements: The candidate should have an entrepreneurial and civic-minded spirit, have been an Optimist Club member for at least one year, and enjoy meeting new people. She or he must be comfortable making presentations for small and large groups and have the flexibility to travel within the Pacific Northwest District at least once per quarter.  Efficient computer skills and a comfortable telephone presence would be a plus; optimism is a must.

Apply to this position by providing your name, contact information, and the name of your Optimist Club to Governor Fred Wallace. Please use the subject line: New Club Building Chair. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tell Sarah about your Optimist Club

The PNW District - Optimist International is excited to welcome a new bulletin editor to the leadership team this year. Sarah Newton, who joined the Hillsboro Optimist Club only a little over one year ago, has accepted the opportunity to write for and about the district in her new role. Her positive outlook will bring a fresh voice to the publication.

At the recent district meeting, Sarah explained that she hopes to hear from Optimist Clubs frequently with stories about people and projects.

Please add Sarah to your club bulletin distribution list and be sure to share stories about people and projects with her too.

Click here for Sarah's email and send her a note now.

*Sarah was the bulletin editor for 2013-2014. Please address your note to pnwdistrict@gmail.com. Thank you.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rose Brodie is going to Disneyland

From April 1 to September 30, 2013, Optimist Club members were entered into a drawing for sponsoring new members into Optimist Clubs. The prize, $500 or a trip to Disneyland, was drawn at the first quarter meeting. Rose Brodie, you're going to Disneyland! Congratulations.

Other membership mentions included Linda Jackson, Fran Bounds and Boyd Yaden who received the five and three member sponsor awards from Immediate Past Governor Larry Blackburn on behalf of International President 2012-2013 JC St. Onge.

The Twin Falls Optimist Club led the way in new member additions during the final half of the administrative year, followed by Lebanon, Albany and the Middleton Area Optimist Clubs.

Thanks to all for sharing your optimism by inviting someone to join an Optimist Club.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The 2013-14 PNW District Optimist Leadership Team

The Pacific Northwest District held its first quarter meeting on October 25-26. Each year, approximately twenty-five or so individuals volunteer to help with training and governance functions. The're a good looking group, Santas and all.

As a disclaimer, this year, many of the group dressed up for Halloween. If you want to know more, including who makes up this cast of characters, please check our our Facebook Page. Thank you.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

An invitation to lead

Ray Hilts, PNW District Secretary-Treasurer, has submitted the proposed district budget for 2013-2014 for your review.

Please click here to review the proposed budget for the PNWD 2013-2014. 

According to Ray, he and Governor Fred Wallace met with finance chair Jim Jensen to evaluate and assign budget amounts based on the district history while taking into account goals for the coming year and decisions reached at the district convention. Jim will make a presentation on the proposed budget at the upcoming district meeting on Saturday, October 26.

Club presidents, please take time to review this information and be prepared to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for changes if you see areas that are addressed differently than you think wise.

In my years of attending district meetings, I've noticed that there is a tendency to just accept a budget as presented for various reasons. Some say, "It's just a guideline." Others say, "It's the governor's year, he or she can do what they want." Some just don't care because they fail to see how the budget might affect them.

All of these perspectives are wrong. The budget impacts very Optimist Club in the district. First and foremost, the dues have increased by $3.00 this year for every club member. That means that there should be more money to help us accomplish more. However, the sad truth is that dues were raised because membership has declined over the past three years. Each club member now must contribute more to receive the same level of service.

Second, I would like to point out that it not just a guideline. As the district has foregone the use of strategic planning, the only way we know what is planned for the year is through budget analysis. The district leadership is expected to do what it says it will do with its members' money.

Third, it's not "the governor's year." It's really not. Every year is yet another administrative year for Optimist Clubs, Districts and Optimist International and it is merely the elected governor's turn to lead the organization. We always hope that the governor will do so in a manner that sustains and nurtures the clubs in their district and helps Optimist International to grow. If they come at their duty with a sense of entitlement, that may not happen.

The purpose of this post is to help Optimist Club leaders overcome their fear of being engaged participants at the district meeting. It's okay to ask questions, and to agree or disagree with what you hear. The only way our organization will grow is by enabling our new leaders to lead.

Club presidents, this is your invitation. Come to the District Meeting on October 25-26, 2013 and lend your voice; please share your ideas and your optimism.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

See the PNW District financial report for 2012-2013

One of the purposes of holding district conferences is to gather the club presidents who make up the district board of directors. It is their responsibility to provide counsel to the district so that the district may provide services that Optimist Clubs need to expand the organization and serve their communities.

That responsibility includes reviewing and advising on the district budget. Chris Stearns, District Secretary-Treasurer, 2012-2013 has prepared the final budget report for the administrative year completed on September 30, 2013 and she asked me to share it with you so that you may be aware as you attend the upcoming district meeting on October 25-26, 2013.

Click here to review and download the Profit&Loss Statement for the PNWD 2012-2013. 

This information is used to help prepare an appropriate and strategic budget for the next year. In addition to reviewing and accepting the 2012-2013 administration's final report, members of the board of directors (club presidents or their representatives) will set priorities for the PNW District when they vote on the proposed budget for 2013-2014. Optimist Club presidents, please don't take this responsibility lightly. If you want the district to do more to help your club in your local community, this is the time to make your voice heard so that plans may be adopted and implemented in 2013-2014.

As a reminder, if the club president cannot attend this or any district meeting, they must provide in writing their named representative in order for the club to be able to vote.

If you want more information about the final report from 2012-2013, please contact Chris.

Click here if you would like more information about the budgeting process.

We will publish the proposed budget for 2013-2014 on this blog when received.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Optimist International Essay Contest Update

The PNW District has been alerted to a typographical error on the Optimist International Essay Contest entry form. It appears in Sections V and VI regarding scoring and penalties.  As printed, the penalties of self identification and proper word count appear in Section V (scoring of contest) and they should be in Section VI (penalties).

We don't think that this should prevent students from participating, but we wanted to let Optimist Clubs and Essay Contest chairpersons know so that they may advise the complete rules to participants and especially teachers who are encouraging their classes to be involved.

The correct rules may be found on PAGE 5 of the Club Planning Guide. Sections V and VI appear here as they should appear on the entry form. We anticipate that Optimist International will correct the form and post it to the website soon.

Please consider sharing the complete rules from the Club Planning Guide, found on pages 4 and 5, with your Optimist International Essay Contestants.

Download the Essay Contest Club Chair Planning Guide here.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

North Shore Optimist Club are stewards of the salmon

Andrew Saxton, MP and
Darrell Mussatto, Mayor
Optimist Clubs and members have many different interests, but there is always one constant theme: Optimist Clubs support projects that make our world a better place to live. That might have been what was on the minds of the Vancouver North Shore Optimist Club when they attended an open house held by the Seymour Salmonid Society.

The first open house in ten years, the event drew dignitaries and community organizations and honored them for their contributions and support of the Seymour River Hatchery. Included along with the North Shore Optimist Club were Andrew Saxton, MP, North Vancouver; Darrel Mussatto, Mayor, City of North Vancouver; and Jane Thornthwaite, MLA, North Vancouver/Seymour, representing the government of British Columbia.

Following the ceremony, Optimist Club members Bob Renshaw and Robert Jackson joined a tour of the Seymour Hatchery where they discovered the many fry that are being prepared for their trip to the ocean within the next two years. They learned about the habitat created for the fish to lay eggs and how student field trips are conducted. The Optimist Club was invited to return in the spring to interact with the classes and students.
Bob Renshaw, Matt Casselman,
and Robert Jackson

When the tour was over, Robert and Bob met with Matt Casselman and Ed Walls of the Salmonind Society and presented the organization with a $1,000 donation.

It's important that our Optimist Clubs be present for important community events, showing both financial and moral support for what is good in our communities. Kudos the North Shore Optimist Club for their involvement.

Story and photos courtesy of Robert Jackson, Vancouver North Shore Optimist Club. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Let's be optimistic

Optimist International President Ron Huxley is using all resources to reach out to Optimist Club members. In the following beginning of the year video, he explains about how the theme "My Optimism" can inspire individuals to be involved with an Optimist Club.

This year, we encourage you to follow President Ron's lead. Record a video and share it with your Optimist Club members. Send us a link too so we can share it with the world. As the Vancouver, WA Optimist Club says, "Let's be optimistic." My addendum, "Let's share our optimism."

Please be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to this blog for regular updates about optimism in the PNW District - Optimist International.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A new year of optimism begins today

On the first of October every year, Optimist Clubs, Districts, and Optimist International welcome new
leaders. In the PNW District, Fred Wallace, Gresham Optimist Club, will take over the reins as governor. His motto is, "Step it up for the kids."

On an international level, Ron Huxley, Optimist Clubs of Ausable-Port Franks, ON and Jeffersonville, IN will share his version of optimism with the world as he spreads his theme, "My Optimism." 

What does being an optimist mean to you? President Ron overcame adversity to become the optimist that he is today and he shares the following letter with you. 
"My Optimism" ... an open letter to fellow Optimists

My friends, one and all,

Every member is an Optimist because of a feeling they get when they affect the lives of young people. Whether it is at the club or the district or international level, each of us moves forward with one unified goal in mind; make our community and our world a better place for our children to live in.

How we portray our optimism varies for each of us. Some of us strive to be a part of the decision making process. While others are happy with witnessing the smiles on the faces of the young people we serve. It is important that every club and district of Optimist International recognizes that the involvement of our members must be filled with personal enjoyment. It must be entertaining and it must capture the underlining need of our members to feel that they make a difference.

In 2013 -2014 it is my wish that every club and district recognize that our children are served by active members. All members place their involvement in club and district meetings and activities on their social priority list. If we satisfy their desire for fun and enjoyment we move higher up on their personal list. We need to find out what makes our members happy and make it happen. The answer may be different for every club but the results will return big rewards in more working members and new leadership.

We can no longer lose members without a proactive plan to replace them first. For what ever reason, even the smallest of deletions has a major effect on the ability of this organization to continue to support its endeavors. Every club must understand the fact that we are all Optimist International. We are all a voice that makes a difference in our communities and our districts. It is time to raise that voice so that it echoes from club to club, village to village, city to city. Build Optimism to a stature that everyone wants to be apart of. That is my “MO” (MyOptimism). Put a smile on a child and love in your heart.

Only you can make the difference.

Yours in Optimism,
Ron Huxley
2013-2014 President Optimist International

Monday, September 30, 2013

The end is only the beginning

Nothing is so bittersweet as the end of the Optimist International administrative year. So many memories have been made, so many projects held, and so many new relationships begun. Yet there is still so much more to do in our communities.

That's why we elect and induct new leaders, add new members, adopt new projects and pick up the very next day and start it all over again.

Many thanks to the  leaders who have served their Optimist Clubs and the PNW District so well in the 2012-2013 administrative year. Many thanks to the members, new and experienced alike, for always sharing your enthusiasm. Many thanks to the communities and children who allow Optimist Clubs to serve them.

We're part of a growing movement dedicated to sharing our optimism with each other and with the world. The first lesson: you'll be surprised to learn how far you can go from the point where you thought it was the end.

Are you ready for the next ride?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It is time to complete your paperwork

Well, it's September 29, 2013. Another Optimist Club administrative year is about to begin. But, before we start, we owe it to our club and district leaders to do all that we need to do to make this year complete.

One of the greatest accomplishments that every Optimist Club can celebrate every year is attaining the status of Honor Club. Clubs that perform at this level make a promise to club members and their communities that they intend to be around for a long time and are acting in a manner to do so. The Honor Club requirements are simple: 
award cert optimist club
You must complete this form for Club
Honor or Distinguished recognition
  • Complete at least three service projects a year
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and Optimist International dues
Some Optimist Clubs will do just a little bit more. By completing the above requirements and making Optimist Club growth a priority, a small number of clubs will also attain the Distinguished Club recognition. They must complete all that is required of an Honor Club plus: 
  • Grow their Optimist Club by net 15 members, or 
  • Start a new Optimist Club
So this message is meant to encourage Optimist Club leaders to close out their leadership year in style by completing the paperwork that tells Optimist International and the district that their club has completed some or all of the above requirements. 

Log in to Optimistleaders.com now and complete the President's Pride report. Add any new members that may be waiting. Make sure your financial obligations have been paid. And finally, download this certification and notify Optimist International that your club has recognized a club member or local community individual for their optimism. 

Don't just be an Honor Club or Distinguished Club. Take pride in telling others that you have accomplished this level commitment and allow Optimist International recognize you and your Optimist Club for its service. Our communities and our Optimist Clubs deserve it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Groundbreaking for the Lebanon Optimist Club Gazebo

A note on the Lebanon Optimist Club Facebook Page read, "Optimists, remember to wear your Optimist shirts today at noon and bring an umbrella. See you there, rain or ... rain."

Wyatt King, the Facebook manager, was pretty sure that overcast skies would be the course of the day. But he was also certain that a great group of Optimist Club members would bring their own kind of sunshine for the Gazebo groundbreaking ceremony. And he was right.

Several hours after the first post, he returned with the accompanying picture and stated, "The Gazebo groundbreaking was a great success."

Lebanon Optimist Club 

He also reminded interested readers that they could still buy a brick in honor of their family, business or even a pet. Get in touch with them at the Lebanon Optimist Club Facebook page and get involved with this great community project and awesome community service club.

Read more about the Lebanon Optimist Club Gazebo project here. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Roseburg Optimists honor those who protect and serve

We wrote about it in 2008 and then again in 2011. It's now 2013; another year has passed and the Roseburg Optimist Club has again hosted what may be considered their signature event: the Annual Respect for Law Banquet. 

This year marks the 38th time that the Roseburg Optimist Club has recognized the contribution that law enforcement agencies make to the well-being of the region in Southern Oregon.

In a touching salute, Douglas County Commissioner Susan Morgan explained for The Umpqua Post what it is like for law enforcement officers and their families. She says, "While we go about our busy lives, our skilled and dedicated law enforcement officers face each day not knowing exactly what will come their way, but knowing that they will likely find themselves in situations of anger, instability, violence, abuse, broken bodies, illegal drugs and despair.

Their families say good-bye to them as they leave the house each workday, knowing that this could be the day their loved ones don’t come home."

The column goes on ending with with a nod to the Roseburg Optimist Club for taking the time to recognize the extraordinary commitment to the community made by the individuals of the City of Winston Police Department, the City of Sutherlin Police Department, the City of Roseburg Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oregon State Police

That's what being an Optimist Club member is all about: expecting, working for, and believing in the best and recognizing others who do the same. 

Kudos to the Roseburg Optimist Club, their community, and the law enforcement agencies and officers that protect and serve. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Past Optimist International President looks to the future

In 1973, Washington resident and PNW District member Ronald E. Thompson was inducted as the President of Optimist International.

In July 2013, he attended the 95th Annual Optimist International Convention and thus made his 48th crusade to the gathering of Optimist Club leaders. At 82, he is the the second oldest of the past presidents.

A lot has changed since Ron was president. Women are now members and leaders. Programs have been added including the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships and the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. And sadly, although Optimist Clubs continue to do even more in their communities, membership is down.

Ron recently made a presentation to the West Tacoma Optimist Club, his home club, regarding the business conducted at the most recent convention. He explained that membership in the international organization is now at approximately 80,000 individuals and made a plea that new and younger members were needed.

He also explained some steps that were taken by convention attendees that might attract busy young members to get involved. Among those changes was an initiative for online voting. Beginning in 2014, Optimist Clubs will vote online for international officers prior to the convention.

Also beginning this year, Optimist International will host a series of summits at sixteen different locations. The idea is to host quality affordable and accessible Optimist Club training at more locations than ever before.  And of course, for the Optimist Club members in the Western Region, we'll be delighted to know that the Optimist International Convention will also be affordable and accessible. It will be held in Las Vegas, July 10-12, 2014.

And yes, Past International President Ron Thompson plans to be there for the 49th time.

Photo courtesy of the West Tacoma Optimist Club. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Optimist football - it can touch your heart

Football is a passion for some of the Optimist Clubs in Idaho including Boise, Nampa, Mountain Home, Emmett and Horseshoe Bend. It's that last club that recently shared some Optimist football history with me.

Deb Miller, a charter member of the Horseshoe Bend Optimist Club shared this picture of four generations of her family being involved in Optimist Football as players and coaches.  Shown are the members and coaches of the flag football team. She explained that her son, John Wolsleben is the head coach and his father, John, and Grandpa, Ben are the assistant coaches. The second player from the right is John's little brother Jerrod and not shown in the picture, is John's daughter Ashlyn, an Optimist Football cheerleader.

Horseshoe Bend Optimist Club Football
According to Deb, this story of Optimist mentoring touches her heart. I'm sure you'll agree, as I do, that it touches yours too. 

Thanks for sharing, Deb!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7, a busy day for PNW Optimist Clubs

Optimist Clubs around the Pacific Northwest District are busy this weekend. Some of the activities reported to the district website include motorcycles, tailgates and free pizza! All sound like fun.

The Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club is hosting its Annual Motorcycle Ride. It's a fund raiser for the Lewis County Eighth Grade Students Scholarship. The ride includes a breakfast and barbecue, along with all types of fun amenities for the bikes and riders including a 50/50 raffle and silent auction.

On the other side of the district in Idaho, the Twin Falls Optimist Club will host its Third Annual Wings and Things Ultimate Tailgate Challenge. They have planned a party atmosphere and with a Boise State Football game today, the club is sure to succeed.

This fun fund raiser has helped build a track at a local high school and much more. Most important, it helps club members rally for a good cause and the fun activity sparks interest in all projects that the Twin Falls Optimist Club performs for its community. Not necessarily in conjunction with the event, the Twin Falls Optimist Club announced this week that they had created a foundation and could now accept charitable donations as the Twin Falls Optimist Foundation.

In Middleton, Idaho, the Middleton Area Optimist Club has planned a community pizza party. Its celebration comes on the 3rd anniversary of its charter with Optimist International. According to club member Tyson Sparrow, its a great way to say thank you to the community for their support. The timing is in conjunction with the Free Movies in the Park event. There will be bounce houses for kids, free pizza while it lasts and then the movie will follow at dusk. The Optimist Club has gained strength from partnering with the Middleton Rural Fire District and the Greater Middleton Parks and Recreation District. Events like this one are sparking interest and the club has added 12 new members this year.

All of these activities symbolize the commitment that Optimist Clubs have for their community. All are excellent examples of what it takes to interact with the people around you to make your Optimist Club a vital component of the community's well being.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Caldwell Optimists invite you to Stand Up for America

Are you ready to get up off the sidelines and stand up for America against bullying, drugs and alcohol, gangs, violence and discrimination? In Idaho, the Caldwell Optimist Club is and it has partnered with inspirational Derrick Boles to participate in the first Stand Up Idaho Community Challenge Ride on September 28, 2013, 8:30 a.m. at the Idaho Center, Nampa, Idaho.

In December 2012, Boles launched the Stand Up America initiative by completing a 1,892 mile Elliptigo bike ride. The Elliptigo bike, true to the leader's mission, places the rider in a stand-up position. From this launch, he then began sharing his mission of generating community empowerment to find solutions to social ills.

Caldwell Mayor Garrett Nancolas and Nampa Mayor Tom Dale will participate in the Idaho challenge ride, along with law enforcement officers and many community groups including the Caldwell Optimist Club. According to Boles, the event is a fundraiser for National PAL and the Idaho Middle Level Association. Community organizations can share in the benefit. By registering online at www.stand-upamerica.com and entering the code "Caldwell Optimist," the Optimist Club will receive 50% of the proceeds.

What are you doing on September 28? Why not join the Optimists for a community bike ride and Stand up for Idaho and America.

  Read more with the Stand Up Idaho brochure.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Plan now for the Optimist International Scholarship Contests

This weekend is that last long weekend of the summer. As we celebrate Labor Day with a camping trip or backyard barbecue, the children know that the school year is really, truly underway. For Optimist Clubs, and frazzled parents, that's a good thing. Many Optimist Clubs go into overdrive with their programs when their target audiences are easy to reach.

Now is the time to reach out to those students, teachers and parents with some of Optimist International's longest running programs. The scholarship contests connect students with caring adults, teach communication skills and helps participants, even at an early age, prepare for college and the future.

We begin with the Optimist International Essay Contest. The theme this year is "How Dreams Lead to Success." Optimist Clubs set their own timelines for the contest with the knowledge that their entries must be received by the district chair by February 28, 2014.

Following quickly behind the Essay Contest are the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and the Optimist International Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. For these contests, students will speak or sign to the topic, "How My Passions Impact the World." Zone and regional contests will be set by area lt. governors to be completed in time for the winners to advance to the finals at the Third Quarter PNW District Meeting in May.

While it may seem early to some to prepare these contests now, it's not! It is so important get on the teachers' radar screen. Ask to talk to the students directly and prepare and distribute this flyer. Often. And again. Hand out the flyer at every event that your Optimist Club sponsors. That will generate interest, word of mouth marketing and more participants for your club.

pnw district optimist international scholarship contests

Click here to go to Optimist International. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Portland NE Optimist Club announces Donna Jo Anne Flye Memorial Scholarship

The PNW District received a note from Boyd Yaden today that announced the passing of a long time Optimist Club member of the Portland NE Optimist Club, Donna J. Flye.

According to the announcement, she was an outstanding optimist and the club has decided to honor her memory by creating a scholarship in her name. The Donna Jo Anne Flye Memorial Scholarship will be an annual award and full details are available by contacting Boyd Yaden, Treasurer, Portland NE Optimist Club at 503-702-3812. 

Donations may be made to the scholarship fund by mailing the  Portland NE Optimist Club, attention Boyd Yaden, Treasurer, 13640 SE Hwy 2012, #103, Clackamas, OR 97015-8511. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Business decisions that affect your Optimist Club

Early this week, members representing twenty-two Optimist Clubs in the PNW District gathered in McCall, Idaho for the annual district convention. Joining them was JC St-Onge, Optimist International President.

Details of the fun that was had will be provided by Governor Larry Blackburn in an accompanying post soon, but this post is to communicate some of the business that was conducted as decisions were made that affect every Optimist Club in the district.

Governor-designate Fred Wallace congratulates
Governor-elect Dick Disney
First, hearty and sincere congratulations go to Dick Disney, member of the W. Tacoma Optimist Club, for being elected to serve as District Governor, 2014-2015. Dick explained that way back in 1974 his captain in the reserves told him to go to a meeting. It turned out to be an Optimist Club meeting and he has kept coming back ever since because his captain never told him to stop. Good decision, Dick!

Several critical decisions were on the agenda and to make a long story short, everything passed. And then some.

The representatives chose to pursue a Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing model that expands from Optimist International's program. As has been conducted for the past two years, there will continue to be two contests, one for traditional rules participants and one for deaf students who speak. Two scholarships will be provided, one from the traditional source (Optimist International Foundation and Optimist Children's Foundation) and one from contributions to the CCDHH scholarship fund for deaf students who speak in the PNW District. The separate scholarship will be set up as a District Campaign with the Optimist International Foundation and Optimist Children's Foundation. District S/T Chris Stearns has been authorized to complete the details with the foundations.

The representatives also voted to increase district dues pending Optimist International approval. This is the "and then some portion" of the message. While a dues increase wasn't formally published, it was mentioned and hinted at in several messages indicating that a dues increase of $2/per member would be considered. As presented and and adopted, however, the dues increase that was approved is $3/per member. Clubs need to take note of this now in case they need to raise their own dues for the October 1 billing period. PNW District dues are now $18/per member. 

Finally, in order to meet an Optimist International request, the district has revised its policies. Working largely independently, Joe Shreve, Lt. Governor Zone 7 & 8, completed and presented a new document that incorporated the changes required and the previous document. It was also approved with the caveat that a committee be formed to make suggested amendments to be approved at the 2013-2014 first quarter
optimist clubs pacific northwest district
Governor Larry Blackburn

Governor Larry and President JC also encouraged membership growth. Every club is challenged to add at least one member between now and September 30, 2013 in order to earn a banner patch.

Why not do just a little more for the future of your club?

We challenge each and every member of the PNW District to recruit one new member and to do it now. Let's end the year in positive numbers. Go Optimists!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Adjust the sails and move on

The Boise Noon Optimist Club is adopting a new logo. President-elect Larry Highley is shown here with the new design.

Okay, Optimists, look closely; notice anything missing?

That's right, the club is dropping the word "noon" from its title and returning to the original name that is shown on its charter with Optimist International.

I guess the change is a sign of the times as the club no longer meets at noon every week. In order to encourage more participation, they've changed the schedule to evening meetings on the first and third Tuesdays, noon meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays, and occasional social activities on months when there is a fifth Tuesday.

The noon designation was important when there were multiple Optimist Clubs in Boise City. In addition to Boise Noon there were the Boise Sunrise, Fort Boise, and Boise Bench Optimist Clubs, among others. Most clubs participated in the football program and as members were lost by natural attrition, the clubs were subsumed by the stable Boise Nooners.

The Nooners haven't bee all that stable in recent past. That's why I'm excited to see the new direction that Larry is leading the group. With his leadership, I predict that football will continue to grow, but the club will become involved in more traditional programs again.

That means they'll be looking for more members and more members means more excitement for the many the many projects that Optimist Clubs perform in our communities. Go get'em Larry and the BOC, formerly known as BNOC. Your leadership is needed to spread the word and the enthusiasm.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Optimist Club members, here's something for next year

It doesn't take a lot of arm-twisting to encourage friends to join you for a trip to Las Vegas. That's why we expect that the 2014 Optimist International Convention will be one of the best attended in recent history. And with the convention returning to the West region, we hope that PNW District Optimist Club members will be there in full force. It's a great opportunity to learn from your peers and have a great time.

What happens in Vegas will inspire you all year so as you look forward to the next year in optimism, please make your plans to attend the 96th Annual Optimist International Convention at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, July 10-12, 2014.

Click here for the Las Vegas promotion from Optimist International.

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