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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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