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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome to 2015, the year of the Honor Club

At the beginning of the new year, many will make resolutions to live healthier, manage debt, take a trip, and help others, among other things. As Optimist Club leaders, advocates and fans, Governor Dick Disney challenges you to make and keep one more resolution on behalf of your beloved organization.

In 2015,  resolve to make your Optimist Club an Honor Club

The requirements are simple and they help ensure that Optimist Clubs are always THE BEST service clubs in the world:
  • Complete at least three service projects this year (submit President's Pride Report)
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and OI dues
The PNW District - Optimist leadership team wants to help you achieve this goal. Please contact an officer or committee chair  and find out more about their commitment to make your Optimist Club THE BEST. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Portland Peninsula Optimist Club celebrates the season with Christmas trees

The biggest and longest-running Optimist Club Christmas Tree lot in the PNW District is just about to wrap up another season and according to club member Sharon Speer, it's been a good one.

Sharon sent us a few pictures of the Portland Peninsula Optimist Club that included Santa and his elves at work. (left)

She explained that Mario's, a men's clothing store in Downtown Portland, helped them advertise the tree lot this year. It created a window display with trees and coats that sent their shoppers to the Portland Peninsula Optimist Club tree lot. (right)

Shoppers found a well stocked and well-lit tree lot from which to choose their centerpiece for the Christmas season. (left)

Sharon also explained that the Optimist Club took time at its December 15, 2014 meeting to recognize a past president for his service to the Portland Peninsula Optimist Club. Reverend Bill Van Nostron was celebrated with cake and gratitude during this festive time of year. (right)

Thanks to Sharon Speer, Portland Peninsula Optimist Club, for the photos. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

It's Christmas Party time in Lebanon, OR

The Lebanon Optimist Club took time out from its Christmas party to pose for a Merry Christmas greeting. It looks like it should be a Facebook cover photo to me. Just sayin'....

Please send your Christmas photos - and more - to the PNW District webmaster so that we might share your adventures with others. Thanks!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club hosts Student-of-the-Month presentations

Optimist Club Student of the Month
Governor Dick Disney visited the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 for Student-of-the-Month presentations and a delicious ham dinner. President Emma Ball with the assistance of her husband, Don, and Monique Connors provided the potluck enjoyed by Optimist Club members, students and parents. The activity was held at the Chehalis Senior Center.

A signature event for the club, the program recognizes students each month and asks them to make an oral presentation about their background and their future ambitions and desires. Club members then ask questions of the students while four Optimist Club members scorethem. The results of the evening will be tabulated with other Students-of-the-Mont and scholarships are then provided to the winners to establish a College Fund they may add to in preparation for college.

According to Governor Dick, it was an engaging evening, enjoyed by all, including the proud parents of the special Student-of-the-Month honorees.

Photo, left to right: Olivia Rodriguez, Adna School; Emma Ball, Club President & District Sec/Treas;Ruby Bower, Adna School; Monique Connors, Lt. Gov. WA Zone; Chase Conaway, Chehalis Middle school; Dick Disney, PNW District Governor

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bring in the New Year with your Optimist Club friends

The Optimist Club of Albany, Oregon is hosting a new fundraising event this year: a New Year's Eve Party!

It will take place at Wheelhouse, 421 NE Water Avenue, Albany, Oregon, December 31, 2014, 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

For only $50 per person, you'll receive 2 drink tickets and appetizers and dessert bar plus live music from the 70s and 80s by Mach Six.

Click here to purchase your tickets online: www.nodinx.com/new-years-eve-cocktail-celebration.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Twin Falls Optimist Club promotes "Scardust"

Donna Bohrn, member of the Twin Falls Optimist Club, wrote in this week to tell us about a strong young lady that has caught the attention of the Optimists and others in the Twin Falls, Idaho community. Her name is Jennifer Devine-Hatch and she has suffered with cystic fibrosis all of her life, spending countless days in hospital and many undergoing surgery.

This Christmas season finds Jennifer struggling for perhaps her last time as she waits for surgery on December 19, 2014.

Donna explains that the Twin Falls Optimist Club "has bought this small book for children with scars and painful scars to their souls, Scardust." Written by Ms. Devine-Hatch, the 28-page book serves as an inspiration and advocate for those who, like she, are surviving and coping with chronic illness.

Ms. Devine-Hatch has a Christmas wish: to put more of these books in the hands of children in hospitals and available to read in physicians' offices. Donna thought perhaps the PNW District might help. If each Optimist Club bought one book - or more - to distribute in their community, the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest, and around the world, can help this young lady's dream come true and help others suffering in similar ways as well.

The book can be purchased at the Girl with Scars website, on Amazon (affiliate link) or by contacting Donna Bohrn at 208.539.1836.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Chilliwack Optimist Club shares some holiday cheer

The Chilliwack Optimist Club has been busy this week celebrating the holidays and other end of year activities.

On Friday, December 5, 2014, the club hosted its second Annual Circle of Friends Dinner. According to club champion and event chairperson Glenda Standeven, it was a sold-out event that secured friendships and commitment to service in the community all in an entertaining setting. They collected canned goods, children's gifts and other donations to be used for families in the community.

The next morning, the Optimist Club met for its monthly meeting and recognized many for their service to the club and community including Lily Ross and LucyAnne Carruthers, among others.

Continuing in its festive mode, Secretary Coralee Lord Holmes and President Peter Holmes  were invited to help make pizzas for the residents of Heritage Village. Donning reindeer antlers and coin belts, it was a festive atmosphere for all.

The Chilliwack Optimist Club invites you to see more pictures and to follow its activities on Facebook

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday wishes and a holiday gift

Optimist International President Ken Garner mailed his Christmas wishes to all Optimist Clubs via the December Leadership Hotline.

He included a desire for more Optimist Club members among his wishes and offered a present to all Optimist Clubs for bringing new friends to their groups in December: no registration fee. The $15 administration fee will be waived for all new members in December 2014.

Please watch the video to hear more from President Ken.

The Leadership Hotline also included information regarding the Reel Optimism contest, Optimist Leadership Academy nominations, Club Fitness Advisors and a new program for May called Optimists in Action.

Please click here to learn more about these exciting opportunities to be involved as an Optimist Club member.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reel Optimism returns

The Reel Optimism contest returns in 2015 with an expanded entry pool. Junior Optimists will now be competing against the adult Optimist Clubs to produce a 3-minute video about the joys of belonging to a club under the Optimist International umbrella. 

In a release on November 26, 2014, the Optimist International Foundation shared the following information:

The third annual Club video contest asks Members to finish the following sentence "Optimists bring out the best..." 
The Reel Optimism Video Contest is expanding to include adult and youth (JOOI) Clubs. In each category, there will be a 30 Second Challenge and a Club Showcase contest (3:00 minutes or less). Videos can be submitted between February 15th and April 15th. Be on the lookout for more details about the contest in our December newsletter and the winter Optimist Magazine.

Club grants will be awarded to the winners of the contest, courtesy of Optimist International Foundation, Optimist International and the Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation.
Now is the time to create a task force made up of your most creative members. Ask them to put on their writer, director and producer hats and share just what it means to bring out the best. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

100 x 100

The Optimist International Board of Directors has set a goal to reach 100,000 members by the 100th anniversary of the organization in 2019. As of today, November 22, 2014, the organization sets at approximately 71,000 members. Do you think the goal is realistic?

I do. I believe this is an achievable goal. Think of this, if every Optimist Club member would recruit one new member this year, guess what? We'd not only meet, but we would exceed our goal this year.

Of course there are always deletions that come with natural attrition, so the international leaders hope that you will do just a bit more. A member-get-a-member campaign only works if the action is repeated, year after year, after year.

What do you say PNW District Optimist Clubs? Will you do your part to help us meet and exceed the 100 by 100 goal? Say yes with action; add a new member to your Optimist Club today.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Find out about the Meridian Optimist Club Christmas drawing

The Meridian Optimist Club is hosting the 12 Guns of Christmas to benefit the Meridian Optimist Junior Rifle Club, an award-winning group of young sportsmen and women.

This is the second year for the drawing. For a $20 entry fee, you will have 12 opportunities to win a raffle gun. Please see the flyer for details and contact Bert Moore at 208.949.3763 to purchase your chance to win.

Find out more about the Meridian Optimist Junior Rifle Club here.

And don't forget, the Meridian Optimist Club Christmas tree lot opens the day after Thanksgiving, November 28, 2014, Overland and Meridian Road, Meridian, ID.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A message from the PNW District-Optimist International Foundation Representative

Contributed by Fred Wallace, PNW District Optimist International Foundation Rep (US)

Dear fellow Optimist,

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, a day to celebrate our thanks for all the things Optimism has given us, we are again reminded how special this day is and to honor the important people in our lives. On this day, we show our love and gratefulness to the Optimist Foundation in many ways. With all the support we provide to children as members of Optimist Clubs and as Friends of Youth, we are constantly reminded of the bond between ourselves and youth.

To all the Members who make our world a better place, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving Day, and God’s blessing in abundance.

To honor your Family or special person in your life, please consider making a donation(s) to the Optimist International Foundation (OIF) so we can continue to support all of the scholarships and other youth programs that are supported by your generous donations.

There are so many of you who do so very much with your Optimist Clubs but have never made a contribution to the OIF. If you can afford something as small as $5.00 (or more), please consider doing so this Thanksgiving Day. You really can make a difference with a small donation. I think every Youth would see this type of gift not only unique but VERY special as well.

Being a full-time volunteer is one of the highest salaried jobs... since the payment is pure love. ~Mildred B. Vermont

Click here > Make your contribution today! < Click here

As always, THANK YOU for your thoughtfulness and kindness.


Fred A. Wallace
PNW District OIF Representative

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Honor Club is an honorable goal

The holiday season is upon us. In ten days, we'll celebrate Thanksgiving and then it's downhill from there as we move quickly toward Christmas and the New Year. Optimist Clubs are busy at this time of year. They host Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas celebrations with pancakes, presents and Santa along with all the trimmings that make children and adults smile with joy.

It's important that while we move forward with our major projects, we remember that we must keep the goal of Honor Club in mind every day. Why? Because your Optimist Club's successful events are what makes Honor Club possible. People want to join with others who are doing good things in their community. They want to be part of the excitement and share the friendship offered by an Optimist Club. This is a perfect time to gain positive exposure and invite others to join us. When your club is hosting activities, keep a list of people who are interested and then follow up with them to invite them to a meeting and to learn more.

Did you know that an Optimist Honor Club is among the top 25% of all successful service clubs in the world? By completing the steps to Honor Club, Optimist Clubs are doing all that they can do to ensure their group will be serving its community far into the future. They are financially sound, conducting projects that are relevant to their community and adding new members to help carry on the programs indefinitely.

It's important to have a measurable goal. Governor Dick Disney gave each PNW District Optimist Club one goal as the 2014-2015 Optimist International administrative year began: Honor Club.

What will you do to help your Optimist Club keep the the goal in sight every day?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Jerome Optimist Club kicks off Coats for Kids drive

Rick Matkin, member of the Caldwell Optimist Club and lieutenant governor of Zone 2 - Idaho, visited the Jerome Optimist Club last week. He was there just in time to capture two significant events.

First, President Sheri Mitchell presented the Optimist of the Year award to Marsha Martin. Marsha is a newer member of the club who stepped up immediately to help as the club secretary-treasurer in 2013-2014. Congratulations Marsha!

Second, the Jerome Optimist Club kicked off its Coats for Kids program with a donation from Randy and Lori Steadham. Representing the Snake River Corvettes Club, they brought a number of coats collected by the club. With a winter advisory in effect, they will be put to immediate use. Thanks Lori, Randy and the Corvettes.
marsha martin optimist of the yearcoats for kids jerome optimist club

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why did you join an Optimist Club?

Why did you join an Optimist Club? 
m connors optimist club

Monique Connors tells us her story: 
I had never heard of the Optimist Club until the day my daughter Katie was picked as her 8th grade Student of the Month at her school.  
She was picked for being an outstanding student by the entire staff of the school and had to go before the Chehalis/Centralia Optimists and answer questions for a chance to win a $500.00 scholarship. Even though she did not win I did; I had found something in the club that knew I could stand for and could do something positive for the kids.  
In today's world, where values are changing, the Optimists work hard to preserve the very foundation America was built on. The Optimist Clubs all over the world strive to empower and bring out the best in the youth so that they can move on to the great achievements of the future.  
I was amazed and then embraced by my club and am thankful for all they have done and are yet to do.
Monique is a member of the Chehalis/Centralia Optimist Club in Washington. This year she is serving as lieutenant governor for Zone 4 which includes the entire Washington State plus a club or two in Portland.

We'd love to hear your Optimist Club story! Tell us here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Optimism is active in Alaska

fairbanks alaska optimist club
(Left to right) Cassie Pinkel, Erika & Dave 
Miller, Treasurer Gerry Richards, 
Secretary Joe Nava and President Ken Larimore
Submitted by Governor Dick Disney

On Tuesday, October 14, Pacific Northwest District Governor Dick Disney launched his promise to visit every Optimist Club in the district during this 2014-15 Optimist year. The trip began with a direct flight from Seattle to Fairbanks, Alaska on Alaska Airlines. Scheduling a trip at this time was to beat the local snow and cold weather. Cool sunshine and just a ground covering of snow with dry bare streets greeted him. Daily sunshine and mild 30 to 36 degrees was actually enjoyed during the entire visit.

(Left to right) Bonnie Williams,
Dave Williams, Steve Adams
On Wednesday a brisk mile and a half walk to the Los Amigos Restaurant was completed about 15 minutes prior to the noon Optimist Club of Fairbanks meeting. 

President Cassie Pinkel officially opened the meeting for nine of their 26 members. A formal agenda was strictly followed to cover each item and move the meeting along efficiently. A couple of official announcements included a stock market report and the number of minutes and seconds of reduced daylight for the day. Passing of the outgoing administration to the new 2014-15 team was informal, as is the local custom, completed to President Ken Larimore, Secretary Joe Nava and Treasurer Gerry Richards.

Fairbanks Optimists are very active in their community. Activities past & present include:
*snow machine safety 
fairbanks optimist club optimist creed
The meeting closed with the Optimist Creed
*high school rifle club support 
*high school graduation party support 
*Civil Air Patrol 
*high school scholarships 
*train bush communities on weapons training 
*conduct youth weapons safety 
*University of Fairbanks rifle teams support (10 time national championships) 
*built a food both for little the league 
*annual park repair with youth workers 
*Girl & Boy Scout support 
*produce their Snow Scoop bulletin

This very active club raises funds through Alaskan pull tab profits and donates about $30,000 annual to selected recipients ad organizations. They operate as one "Big Happy Family" working for their community and youth. Each Christmas there is a great club party.

One of many Miller trophies

Erika Miller provided two days of touring the area. This included two excellent museums of the Alaskan Culture, touring through town, up to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and some of the countryside for sights and views.

 To top off the visit Erika drove to their home for a noon meal prepared by her husband Dave. Great hospitality, good food and fun conversation were enjoyed. As a final "Special Surprise" Dave presented Dick with big package of freshly butchered moose steaks.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Attention PNW Optimist Clubs: Prepare for the Oratorical and CCDHH Contests early

The third quarter meeting for the PNW District - Optimist International will be held in British Columbia. This means that Optimist Clubs in the United States must accelerate their Oratorical and Communication Contests for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in order to allow time to for the winning contestants to apply for a passport.

Oratorical Chair Bill Garcia and CCDHH Chair (US) Myrna Harris have requested that all regional contests be held in early March. The exact dates will be set by the lieutenant governor in your state or province, but in order to be ready, the district recommends that Optimist Club level contests be held early accordingly. 

The Oratorical Contest takes place between January and March. The official topic for 2014-15 is "How my optimism will help me press on to 'greater achievements of the future.'" Download the entry form.

The Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing takes place between January and March. The official topic for 2014-15 is "How my optimism will help me press on to 'greater achievements of the future.'" Download the entry form.

Contact the District Chairpersons here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Notes from the First Quarter PNW District - Optimist International meeting

pnw district optimist clubs costume party

Sixty-five or more Optimist Club members came together on October 24-25 to share stories and learn new procedures for the 2014-2015 administrative year. This marked a little increase in attendance from the last district gathering. No matter the size of the group, the enthusiasm and positivity are always a highlight and this meeting was high on both. Celebrating the Halloween season, these goofy do-gooders were dressed in style.

During the the course of the weekend we learned Governor Dick Disney's goals. He plans to attend all PNW District Optimist Clubs during the year and he will encourage them all to reach the Honor Club distinction. By achieving Honor Club, each club will replace lost members, serve their community with projects and programs and be financially solvent. Honor Club is an honorable goal.

The group heard from Linda Vaught Jackson about social media and how to use the Optimist International and PNW District websites to promote their Optimist Clubs to both internal and external audiences. Inspired by a presentation she heard given by James Patrick Schmidt at the Illinois District meeting earlier in the month, she shared ideas to develop a target market and to always be promoting your Optimist Club.

Attendees also drew inspiration from Optimist International President Ken Garner as they watched his moving speech from the Optimist International Convention.

Essay Contest deadlines were shared with the reminder that all winning club essays must be turned in to Chairperson Robin Stanhope by February 28, 2014.

The CCDHH and Optimist Oratorical Contest chairpersons informed the group that the third quarter conference was scheduled to be held in British Columbia in May, 2014. To allow lead time for US contestants to apply for and receive their passports, the Regional Contests will be held early in March 2014. Clubs must therefore hold their Optimist Club contests by February 28, 2014 as well.

The cost to enter all scholarship contests is $50 per contestant advancing to the second level of competition be it zone, regional or district. This amount is paid by the sponsoring Optimist Club.

Among other activities, the district budget was approved, growth incentives were discussed and immediate past governor Fred Wallace was recognized by Governor Dick for his service.

Inspired to do even more in their communities, the group adjourned to the second quarter regional forums to be held in February and March 2015.

For more information about all district activities, promotions, programs and projects, please contact your Lt. Governor at this link or a committee chairperson at this link.

If you have any questions about using the websites, please leave Linda Vaught Jackson a note here or contact Optimist International directly.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Honor Club to the best Optimist Club of the Year

optimist club of year
Governor Dick Disney has set a goal for the district. He wants every Optimist Club to end the 2014-2015 year as an Honor Club.

Earning Honor Club status means that an Optimist Club is doing all that it can do to make sure that it is relevant to its community and that it will continue to perform service projects long after the current members are there to perform them. In business lingo, we might call it a succession plan; an operational plan that allows the business to be handed over from one generation to the next.

The requirements for Honor Club are very basic:
  • Complete at least three service projects a year (submit President's Pride Report)
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and OI dues
The Honor Club requirements have changed a little over the years. Clubs once had to end with a net five members, among other things; but now the simplified plan should propel everyone to succeed. Noting that the steps didn't seem all that challenging, members of a new Optimist Club asked International President Ken Garner what they needed to do to be the best, the #1 Optimist Club in all of Optimist International. And International President Ken responded by creating a new program for 2014-2015: Optimist Club of the Year. 

The Optimist Club of the Year award will be presented annually to the most outstanding club in each region based on the following criteria: 
  • Service Clubs sponsored by the Club: 30 points
  • Member Development Programs a year: 25 points
  • Club Growth and Increased Community Awareness Campaigns: 25 points
  • Increased Volunteer Member Base: 10 points
  • New Community Efforts: 10 points 
The regional superstars will be entered in the Overall Optimist Club of the Year contest. Find out more about how your club can enter and earn prizes that include convention registration, airline tickets, and more at this link: Optimist Club of the Year.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Who am I?

During the first quarter meeting, the PNW District revisited the Optimist International Convention by showing the moving speech made by Optimist International President Ken Garner.

Ken Garner is an Optimist. Who am I? Who are you? Find the answer when you watch this video.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Optimist Club members are superheroes

It is my learned opinion that Optimist Club members are superheroes. We stand on guard in our communities to protect and serve in so many ways. Among other things,we host programs that involve and mentor children, perform beautification projects, and hold fundraising events, just so we can give our money away to others so that they too can do more to advance themselves and the place where we call home. We may not wear a cape or hide behind a mask, but as a group, our superpowers are immense.

Typically once a year at the first quarter district meeting, Optimist Superheroes dress up and share their fun-loving spirit at a costume party. This year, that party will take place Friday, October 24, 2014 at opening ceremonies for the district quarterly in Hood River, Oregon. Don't be a party pooper - be creative and join the fun.  See you there!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Calling all Optimists to Hood River

The First Quarter Meeting is fast approaching.

Your Optimist Club president and others will benefit from attending the motivational start of the new Optimist Club administrative year. It's the best way to learn the dates for the International programs and share promotional tools for all activities that your Optimist Club does throughout the year.

If you haven't already, please register now.

We look forward to seeing you in Hood River, October 24-25, 2014.

Click here to download the program.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Optimist Club Essay Contest Timeline

pnw district optimist clubs essay contestIs your Optimist Club working on the Optimist International Essay Contest? I hope so! It's one of the great opportunities that all Optimist Clubs have to interact with students in a way that lets them earn money for college.

This week Robin Stanhope, PNW District Chair of the Optimist International Essay Contest wrote in to share the following note:

Hello everyone, welcome to the new Optimist Year. 
I want to share information with you for the Essay Contest this year. This contest gives youth the opportunity to write about their opinions regarding themselves and the world around them. This year's topic is "Optimism Should be a Priority." The contest is open to students under the age of 19 and have not graduated from high school or the equivalent, regardless of the Contest date. United States students attending school on military installations outside the U.S. are also allowed to participate in the contest. These students are eligible to enter in their last U.S. home of record.

Please submit your winners to me for the District Competition no later than February 28, 2015. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. I have sent out information to Club Presidents, Lt governors and Club Chairs in reference to the Essay Contest. If you did not receive the information please contact me at rastanhope@gmail.com
Timeline for Essay Contest
Feb 28, 2015 Clubs and/or Regional have winners submitted to District
Apr 15, 2015 District have winners submitted to OI
Thank you,
Robin Stanhope
PNW District Essay Chair

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Real FRI - END of Y-O-U-T-H: 2014-15 in Action

PNW District OptimistWe as active "Optimist" members of the Pacific Northwest District are all enthusiastically ready to launch another year of activities designed to meet our individual community needs focusing on "Bringing Out the Best in Our YOUTH".

Annually the October beginning for our clubs and district is a time to complete an assessment by completing the Annual Club Planning Conference Report by the incoming or new President and Board of Directors. Lt. Governors will ensure that each club completes and submits them on time.

I'm looking forward to all clubs & PNW District meeting or surpassing the following goals stated earlier:
  • Expand Youth Activities by at least one new activity and increase the number of youth served. 
  • As a minimum each and every club in each of our four zones achieve at least Honor Club status. Let's be the first district to achieve 100% Honor Clubs status. We can be the first! Check the PNW District website at least weekly to keep current. 
  • Above all, HAVE FUN and MORE FUN through service to our Youth and Member Fellowship involving ALL our members. 

Please encourage at least one representative from each club to attend the First Quarter Conference in Hood River, Oregon on 24 -25 October 2014. Log on to www.pnwdistrictoptimist.org to register and make hotel reservations.

This year's 1st Quarter Conference begins with an opening session change. Everyone is encouraged to have FUN by ENTERING OUR HOLLOWEEN COSTUME CONTEST. Start now putting a winning costume!!! Enjoy and have FUN!! See you all there for business, information and fun.

~Governor Dick Disney

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The beginning is near

join an optimist club
With only two days remaining in the Optimist International administrative year, it's time for our current officers to complete the paperwork necessary to tell Optimist International that they deserve Honor or Distinguished Optimist Club recognition.

Every year, I remind our clubs that earning the recognition is not about you personally. Yes, the Optimist Club president will receive a banner patch with his or her name sewn on it and it will be placed on your club's banner for all to see. But do you know what someone sees when they see that patch?

They see that this Optimist Club has pride. They see that this Optimist Club has a record of achievement. They see that this Optimist Club is a leader in Optimist International and therefore, it must be a leader in the community. They see hope for the future in the form of an Optimist Club.

The end of the Optimist International administrative year is also the beginning. There is no better day than today to ask someone to join your Optimist Club. Remind them that their community is calling. All they need to do is answer the call to friendship and service by joining an Optimist Club.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pink shirts for optimism

PNW Optimist Clubs

Caldwell Optimist Club member Casey Crookham shared this awesome picture on his Facebook page. It's a shot of six young ladies taking a break from their hard work at the Caldwell Night Rodeo. Members of the Caldwell Optimist Club-sponsored soccer league, they were on hand to help the Optimist Club with their fundraising booth.

What could be better than smiling youths helping out with an Optimist Club program? How about smiling young ladies in great pink Optimist International shirts.

I don't know about you, but I want one. Perhaps the Caldwell Optimist Club might bring some pink Optimist International shirts to the next quarterly meeting and donate the funds raised to the Optimist International Foundation. Would you buy one? Let us know!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Register now for the First Quarter Meeting in Hood River

Hood River Inn 

As one Optimist International administrative year approaches its close, another waits in the wings to take flight. Now is the time to make your plans to attend the First Quarter District Meeting.

This year the First Quarter District Meeting will take place on October 24-25, 2014 in Hood River, Oregon.

Make your hotel reservations before October 1:
1108 East Marina Way
Hood River, OR 97031
Reservations: 800.828.7873 or 541.386.2200
Hotel pricing cutoff date is October 1, 2014. 
Rooms $99, $109 and $119 plus tax.

Governor Designate Dick Disney and District S/T Emma Ball would appreciate your early registration by October 3. Please follow this link to register now. 

The first quarter meeting is a must for all Optimist Club presidents and club scholarship contest chairpersons. At this meeting, we approve the budget and work plan for the year and learn the dates and requirements of the essay, oratorical and CCDHH contests, among other things. 

It's always fun to gather our group together for the betterment of our communities and children. Don't be late to the mouseketeer party. Register online now. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Plan for the future with hope and positive vision

The McCall Optimist Club takes the summer off. After all, what's a club to do when it meets in a resort location but enjoy the busy-ness and commerce that accompanies all the visitors to their community. But when September hits, the club is back at work making sure that their resort is also their home.

Every week, we receive a weekly email reminding members to attend. This quick little message is both informative and inspirational. Most of all, it encourages members to get up early on Tuesday morning and be ready to learn about their community.

This week's message said a little more. It said that the board will be meeting and they want all members to attend and help plan the installation dinner and budget, line-up speakers, and plan a membership drive.

Now those are some positive administrative duties indeed. The McCall Optimist Club is planning for the future. Is your Optimist Club doing the same?

You have to plan for the succession and growth of your Optimist Club. It does not happen by accident.  It takes hope and positive vision, and a little planning, to bring out the best in not just children, but in all of us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where will you be in 10 years?

When I write for this blog, I try to focus on the positive aspects of belonging to an Optimist Club. For this post, I must step away from that local focus. I need to share with you some membership statistics for the PNW District from the past five years. Fair warning: they aren't pretty.

Please take a look at the raw numbers of net member gain/loss that the PNW District has experienced over the past five years. In only one year, 2009-2010, have we celebrated with more members at the end of the year than we had at the beginning of the year.

According to statistics prepared by Optimist International, the PNW District is losing an average of 123 members per year. At that rate, in approximately 10 years, it will be out of business.

We hear that all service clubs are on a downward spiral. At the Optimist International Convention, we heard, being the optimists that we are, the good news is that Optimist International is losing members at a lower rate than its counterparts.

We must reverse this trend. 

International President-elect Dave Bruns has made a challenge to all: Let's reach 100,000 members by our 100th anniversary.

We can meet this goal if every Optimist Club member does only one thing: recruit one new member by 2018. You can do that, right?

However, the challenge remains that we will also lose members to natural attrition and for other reasons every year. So I want to ask you to do a little more.

Recruit one new member every year. 

That's really not that tough once you get in a mindset to share the goodness of your involvement with an Optimist Club with others.

Share how it feels to belong and make a difference. Share your story. Ask someone to join your Optimist Club so that their lives will feel complete in the service to others. They will also find the friendship and fellowship of others who share similar beliefs and goals.

We all want to make the world a better place to live. Let's do it through membership and participation in an Optimist Club.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Be an Honor Club

Membership maintenance remains fairly level in the PNW District. In raw numbers, that means Optimist Clubs in this district have added 150 new members and deleted only 195 members. That also means that almost every club has the ability to become an Honor Club this year.

I'm not sure that I remember a time before when this was possible. In order to be recognized by Optimist International for exceptional service to your community with excellent administrative practices, your club must do the following by September 30:
honor club optimist international

Honor Club
(Club will receive a banner patch, year bar with Club President’s name and year; thereafter a year bar with Club President’s name)
  • Complete at least three service projects a year (submit President's Pride Report)
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and OI dues
Distinguished Club
(Club will receive a watch for club President and secretary and/or treasurer, a banner patch with the Club President’s name; thereafter a year bar with club President’s name and watch)
  • Meet Honor Club Criteria plus:
  • Net of 15 OR Charter a New Club
When an Optimist Club earns the Honor Club recognition, it tells its members and its community that it is doing everything it can do be a vital part of the community today and far into the future. 

Help your Optimist Club achieve this distinction by asking someone to join your Optimist Club today.

Click here to go to Optimist Leaders. You must log-in to complete the President's Pride report. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Way to go and grow, Lebanon Optimists

We never see them at a district activity and that makes us sad, but that doesn't keep the Lebanon Optimist Club from growing. According to member Wyatt King, the secret to his club's success is a positive attitude - the meetings are always upbeat and fun.

If its Facebook page is any indication, happiness is a full-time pursuit for members. The page is peppered with ideas to increase your personal happiness and activities to help members and others engage not only with the Optimist Club, but also with the community. There are links to help the Boys and Girls Club, ideas from other service clubs and organizations, upcoming events like the Holidays in the Park and so much more.

Of course, the PNW District loves to read all about their achievements and especially congratulate the Lebanon Optimists on making their club an icon of happiness for the community.

Keep up the great work! According to the Optimist International Scoreboard, the Lebanon Optimists are at twenty-three new members (net +18) this year and still growing strong.

Your Optimist Club can grow too. Just give the positive, upbeat attitude at all times a try.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What happened at the district convention?

The PNW District - Optimist International convention kicked off on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at Seven Feathers Casino Resort in Canyonville, Oregon. During the opening ceremonies we learned there were two candidates for the position of governor-elect: Michael Gray, Nampa Optimist Club and Rick Matkin, Caldwell Optimist Club. Cheers and good wishes met the candidates as a real election was on!

About 65 Optimists enjoyed the hospitality of the Roseburg Optimist Club. We learned that its president, Olga Keith, was at a photo shoot and couldn't join us for every activity, but when she was there, she was lovely and funny with a Russian accent and vodka. (Was she really at a photo shoot? You had to be there to find out!)

Convention chair Becky Holm and Peter Sudduth, among others, treated the cadre of Optimists to a fun weekend full of golf, wine, a little gambling, and fellowship. The hospitality room was shut down only once by hotel security. (Is this true? You had to be there to find out!)

Optimist International Representative Mike Allen was charming on his second visit to the PNW District and he was made an honorary PNW Optimist Club member. (Was he really? You had to be there to find out!)

Mike also led the officers-elect training and inspired all to do more by adding new members on our return to our local clubs. He became just a little tickled at a few kids say the darndest things stories and before long, we were all in stitches. Again, you needed to be there, if for nothing more than the laughs!

Scott Keller, member, Portland Northeast Optimist Club, facilitated a group discussion about how to make your club meeting more relevant by getting to know your fellow members. Using a survey format, attendees interviewed one another and then, in small groups, they created and shared a work plan for meetings and projects that focused on specific information gleaned from the surveys. Scott has promised to make the survey available online and we will provide a link here when received.

Finally business was at hand and Governor Fred Wallace led the district in the governor-elect election process and we learned that Michael Gray will be the governor in 2015-2016.

The Governors Banquet brought more fun an frivolity as Governor-designate Dick Disney led the choir.

Donning mouse ears, we learned to sing to the Mickey Mouse tune, "FRI-END of Y-O-U-T-H." Give it a try! It's our motto for the coming year.

In honor of her service to the district, the Roy Proctor Award was bestowed upon Mary White, member,Vancouver, WA Optimist Club.

Following a series of resolutions, where we learned that Rose Brodie, Terry Farnsworth and Dyan Graybeal were the people who let the dogs out and that Past Governor and Golfer Dick Brodie's balls were officially retired, we adjourned, determined and inspired to bring more friends to optimism.

As of the close of the PNW District Convention, the District stood only 48 members below the beginning of the year. If every club were to add just one more member, the PNW District might just grow its way back to Distinguished. Even if you couldn't join us at the convention, you can join us in this goal. Let's do it, Optimists.

For an official look at the business of the weekend, click here for the minutes of the executive committee meeting followed by the minutes of the board of directors meeting. 

Thanks to Rick Matkin for helping with pictures!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The PNW District Convention always kicks off the weekend with a past governors dinner. For the first time, what happens in the past governors dinner doesn't stay at the past governors dinner. We decided to share it with you.

We'll be updating with more district convention news this week. Please check back for more posts from the weekend of fun and inspiration.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Optimist Mike Allen to visit the PNW District

michael allenWhen the PNW District Convention kicks off on Thursday, August 14, 2014, Mike Allen will be there as the official representative of Optimist International President Ron Huxley.

Mike hails from Aurora, Nebraska where he owns and operates the Aurora Dental Clinic.

To be chosen as a president's representative, you can be sure that Mike is also an outstanding Optimist. His most recent success was serving as the chair of the 2014 Optimist International Convention Committee, a volunteer position that he has held before and will hold again in 2015 when the organization heads to New Orleans.

Mike will be assisting with leadership training for incoming club and district officers and providing inspiration for the group. He also hopes to see and meet you at the convention.

Are you registered? No problem! On-site registrations are welcome and encouraged.

We'll see you soon at the Seven Feathers Resort, 146 Chief Miwaleta Lane, Canyonville, OR 97417.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Take a journey to optimism

Share optimism
If you live in Idaho or British Columbia, or perhaps anywhere in-between, you might be asking, why should I attend the district convention? It's a really long drive to Southern Oregon!

Yes, it is. It will take many PNW Optimist Club members between nine and eleven hours to reach their destination. If members of the North Okanagan Optimist Club should choose to come, their drive will be more than twelve hours. That's a full day, no matter how you look at it, of travel time.

Many years ago, the PNW District would attract well over 200 people to its meetings and when the destination was Whistler, BC, the Idaho clubs would rent a bus to get them there. Sadly, this doesn't happen anymore and I'm going to point to three reasons why:

  1. Declining membership means that there are fewer people to do the work at home when we need to travel to represent our club's interests at district meetings. I've talked about this before in a post about multi-tasking. In that post, I explained that I couldn't attend a district meeting in May 2012 because I had two other Optimist Club projects that were more pressing for me to attend. The bottom line is that we have to ask more people to join our Optimist Clubs so that we can reduce the stress that we put on ourselves as we try to do the work of many. 
  2. Although club presidents comprise the district board of directors, rarely are they asked to participate in discussion to shape and begin activities that will make the district, and thereby their Optimist Club, stronger. As governor in 2009, I presented the budget and I asked for input from the club presidents who were in the audience. Instead, what I received was negative feedback from past governors who said you can't do it like that because it's always been done another way. It was stressful. In some instances, I gave in and in others, I didn't; but in the end, I felt that I had at least asked the club presidents to help decide where the money would be spent so that it impacted the Optimist Clubs directly and not district volunteer leaders. Club presidents, you must show up so that you can take back this critical reason for belonging to an organized group - so that it can serve your needs, and in this instance, your needs are the needs of your Optimist Club.
  3. It's not as much fun when there are fewer people to see and learn from. Over the years, both the district and Optimist International have taken on the task of trying to provide fun activities in what might be perceived as vacation destinations. Good try, but it's not working. For me, I attend an Optimist event in order to network with others about being part of the Optimist International family. I might take in some local color and I might even extend my stay by a day or two; but in the end, my experience is successful when I see and learn from others about optimism. There's a saying, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." When it comes to Optimist Club, District and International activities, keep optimism the main thing, please. 
So why should you attend the upcoming PNW District Convention in Canyonville, Oregon, or any other district gathering? You must attend so that we can reverse the above trends! Please see item number 2 - if you are a club president, it is up to you to attend and change the course of events. You have to share your voice:  
  • If you don't think that there should be four district meetings per year - show up and say so!
  • If you think that the meeting should be held in a more central location for all - show up and say so!
  • If you want to provide input on the budget, which in turn determines what projects get priority in the administrative year - show up and say so!
  • If you think that governance and training would be better addressed in separate meetings - show up and say so!
  • If you think the scholarship contests might be better addressed by the district - show up and say so! 
  • If you think that your district dues are too high or low - show up and say so!
  • If you think the district could address anything, from programming to membership and anywhere in between, better or differently - show up and say so! 
This is your challenge for the future of our great organization and your Optimist Club. You must accept the responsibility of attending district meetings so that the organization can better serve your Optimist Club's needs. 

In ten days, some Optimist Club members will hit the road. They will make decisions. They will learn from one another. They will have fun. 

If you are not there, you'll miss out on the great hospitality of the Roseburg Optimist Club and the opportunity to share your voice and make a difference for your Optimist Club. It's not too late to take the journey to optimism - please register now

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