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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

In optimism, we get to say this twice every year. The first time is October 1 when the new administrative year for Optimist International, its Districts and its Clubs begins. The second time, January 1, is the traditional start to the calendar year for all people around the world.

Happy New Year!

Just as the Optimist Creed tells us, now is the time to indeed press on to the greater achievements of the future.

press on to the greater achievements

We wish you, your family and your Optimist Club a happy, prosperous and fulfilling 2016. Thank you for all that you do to serve.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Optimist Club coming to Fircrest-Tacoma

A new Optimist Club building effort is underway in Fircrest, Washington. Fircrest is a small community bordered by Tacoma and University Place. In the heart of the city is a lovely park and the Fircrest Recreation Center, home to the soon-to-be Fircrest Optimist.

According to new Optimist Club builder Linda Vaught Disney, this club will have a little different focus than the average Optimist Club. It will focus on dogs. "The primary focus," explained Linda, "is to connect people for exercise as they walk their dogs in the park. Spending time with people and pets is a great way to share optimism."

From that point, she hopes that the club will do projects that make the community even more dog-friendly than it already is. Possible ideas include organizing pet food drives, hosting dog training courses for adults and children and hosting grooming and health tips presentations from local experts, among other things.

Of course, the main reason for starting a new Optimist Club is to share optimism and that will happen too. According to Linda, the potential new members are already in love with the Optimist Creed.

If you live in the Fircrest-Tacoma area, or know someone who does, please share our contact information and this post with them. Three meetings are scheduled for January 6 and 13, 2016 with the goal of organizing the club on January 20, 2016. Meetings are held at the Fircrest Community Center, 555 Contra Costa Avenue, 11:00 a.m.

For more information, call 208.861.2310 or click to email Linda here. You can also follow the calendar at Tacoma-Fircrest Optimists.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Middleton Area Optimists on parade

Kim Boguslawski, one of the Middleton Area Optimist Club's biggest cheerleaders, wrote in with news of the Middleton, Idaho Christmas Parade. "We took first place!" exclaimed Kim and it is easy to see why.

With the theme, Christmas Toyland, club members created a Christmas morning scene sure to delight big and little children alike. This was the 15th year that the Middleton Chamber of Commerce coordinated the Middleton Christmas Parade and the third entry for the Optimist Club. Earlier entries garnered third and second place finishes, but this time, according to Kim and others, the club members really pulled together in the last two weeks to make the float special.

The creation of the float highlighted the social activity that makes an Optimist Club special. Mike and Joan Walker, newer members of the club, remarked, "Glad to be a part of a great club. Way to pull it together in awesome fashion." And that, my friends, is what being an Optimist Club member is all about.

Check out the Middleton Area Optimist Club's float entry in the parade.

First Place 2015!Photos by Kim Jeanotte Hall-Boguslawski
Posted by Middleton Area Optimist Club on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Let us hear from you!

www.experienceoptimism.orgOptimist Clubs around the world are headed into what may possibly be the busiest time of year.

We know that in the PNW District, Optimist Club members are busy hosting Santa breakfasts, taking children on shopping trips, selling Christmas trees, holding food drives and treating the community to free ice skating, among other things. We'd love to see and hear your stories.

Please send your pictures to the District webmaster and the District bulletin editor so that we can share them with others. Click on the links below to email. Thanks!

Linda Vaught Disney, Webmaster

Trenna Bowman Garcia, Bulletin Editor

View the November 29, 2015 district bulletin here. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Earn $2,500 scholarship in the Optimist International Essay Contest

Students are invited to participate in the 2015-2016 Optimist International Essay Contest. The topic for the 2015-2016 school year is "Lead by Example: Reality or Fiction."

Students must be under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2015 and live in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. In order to participate, they must contact a local Optimist Club. All contests begin at the local level and winning essays are then submitted to the District level where they are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship.

Students may download an Essay entry form here; however, the guidelines and schedule is determined by the club in their community. Click here to locate an Optimist Club in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington or British Columbia.

Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District must submit their winning essay to the District Essay Chair Emma Ball by February 28, 2016. For more information please contact Emma at 360.669.3386 or download the club planning guide here. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A growth surge is on the horizon for Optimist International

Optimist International President Dave Bruns is instituting a GROWTH SURGE in our organization.  To that end, he's embarking on a Growth Surge Tour in Quebec, Ontario and Michigan, Saturday, October 24 to Wednesday, October 28, 2015.
His philosophy is to talk about the need for members and to

When Dave was an Optimist International District Governor, a requirement for a district to earn Distinguished recognition was to build seven or more clubs depending on the size of the district. Today the requirement is only one and unfortunately, not all districts accomplish that small contribution to the longevity of our mission.

Sadder still are the number of Optimist Clubs that fail to add at least one new member each year. If every Optimist Club were to end the Optimist International administrative year with one more member than it had when they began, we'd be set on a course to help us reach 100,000 members by the organization's 100th anniversary. If every club were to reach the Honor Club distinction, we'd signify the longevity of the organization well into the future.

How can your Optimist Club can be a part of the Growth Surge?

Host a  New Optimists Wanted event in your community and share optimism with potential members. Have a strong closer and be sure they join your Optimist Club today.

Always be asking your friends, families, and others to join with you to make your community a better place to live. Helping your Optimist Club work on a community service project may be a great place for a potential new member to start, but let them know that they can make a bigger impact when they join your Optimist Club and commit to a long-term pattern of service.

Start a new Optimist Club and share optimism with a whole new community of volunteers. Don't do it alone: call your PNW District leadership team to help you start and finish your project in a timely manner.

Plan today to attend the West Coast Region Growth Surge meeting on March 5, 2016. Details are included in the picture; click to enlarge and print.

Let's help ourselves do more in our community by being a part of the Optimist International Growth Surge today.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The new year starts Right Here, Right Now

Optimist Club members from Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia came together in Hood River, Oregon on October 10, 2015 to celebrate the new Optimist Club year. Led by Mike Gray, Governor 2015-2016, it is easy to say that fun was had by all.

optimist club projects in PNW District
PNW Optimist Club projects on parade
There was a costume contest to demonstrate the many projects that our PNW Optimist Clubs perform each year. A sample of what you'll see when you look at the picture includes:
  • Nampa Optimist Football
  • Optimist International Junior Curling Club
  • West Tacoma Optimist Tri-Star Basketball
  • Coffee Stop by the Chehalis-Centralia  Optimist Club
  • Meridian Optimist Club Casino Nights
  • Scholarships from Mission Optimist Club and Caldwell Optimist Club
  • Coats for Kids with the Jerome and Twin Falls Optimist Clubs
  • Pronto Pups from the Oregon City Optimist Club
  • Two Easter bunnies and a suspicious young bunny 
There were hamburger and pancake flippers, junior golf tournaments, alcohol monitors and many more varied projects that our Optimist Clubs carry out each year. It was easy to see that the fundraising projects were equally as well liked as the community service projects and that is probably because of the cameraderie that we share. When we come together as an Optimist Club, we bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.

Governor Mike placed an emphasis on fun at the first quarter meeting and Boise State fans were delighted to see their team win at the tailgate party, but we also completed some business including finalizing the policy revisions for the CCDHH and Oratorical Contests, passing a new budget for the year and reviewing the end of previous year financial report and minutes.

Optimist International Vice President Linda Vaught Disney encouraged the PNW District to be a part of the GROWTH SURGE being led by International President Dave Bruns and by the end of Saturday evening the assembled group was ready to lead their Optimist Clubs and the PNW District, right here, right now. Here's looking forward to a great year!

pnw optimist district
The PNW District Optimist 2015-2016 leadership team and committee chairs

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Coming to an Optimist Club near you: The Optimist Oratorical World Championships

In 1928, Optimist International started the Optimist Oratorical Contest, the oldest of its scholarship programs. Each year since that time, young speakers have worked their way from the Optimist Club level to the Zone and District level to compete for prizes. The prizes have ranged from medals to modest scholarship awards and for many years, the top prize has been a $2,500 scholarship payable to the college or university of the winning student.

Coming in 2016, the Optimist Oratorical Contest is receiving a makeover. It will still involve the Optimist Club, Zone and District levels, but it has been enhanced to be truly international with more scholarship money - $22,500 - to claim.

Thanks to a partnership with St. Louis University, District winners will advance to a Regional level for a chance to win an additional $5,000. Winners from each of the 8 Regions will then advance to international competition where they will compete with oratorical contestants from around the world for $15,000.

Details for the competition at the Regional and International level are still being finalized; however, students can begin preparing today for their local and state or district-wide events. The theme is "How My Best Brings Out the Best in Others." 

Students must be 18 years old or younger as of October 1, 2015. Find complete rules and learn more at this link: Optimist International World Championships Oratorical Contest 2016.

All scholarship contests begin at the club level. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you.

This post first appeared on Experience Optimism, July 30, 2015.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hood River, here we come!

hood river 15 agenda pnw optimist
Click to enlarge. 
Optimist Club members and newly elected officers from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia will gather in Hood River, Oregon for the 1st Quarter PNW District meeting on October 9-10, 2015.

Following Governor Mike Gray's theme for the year, "Let the Children Play," this meeting will focus on the question, "What is your game?"

For fun and information, Governor Mike asks that you come dressed on Friday evening opening session in a costume that portrays your favorite Optimist Club program.

On Saturday, the District Board Meeting will be followed by President, S/T and Lt. Governor training and a presentation on the changes to the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. Starting at 4:00 p.m., there will be a tailgate party to celebrate the BSU Football game. Dinner is casual; come dressed in your game shirts or Hawaiian attire.

linda vaught disneyThe PNW District's own Linda Vaught Disney will be the official representative from Optimist International. As Vice President of the West Coast Region, she's prepared to share with you how a growth surge  in Optimist International will bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.

We look forward to seeing you in Hood River. Register now or at the door.

Download the program here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happy New Optimist Club Year

Each year on October 1, Optimist International starts fresh with new officers at all levels of the organization. In the Pacific Northwest District-Optimist International, we welcome Michael Gray to the office of Governor.

Michael hails from the Optimist Club of Nampa, Idaho. Michael has chosen the theme "Let the children play" to guide the District for the 2015-2016 administrative year.

Please watch his video to learn more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's not over yet

It's after 6:00 p.m. PT on the last day of the Optimist International administrative year. It's at this time each year that we take a look back at our accomplishments and then promise ourselves to press ever onward to the greater achievements of the future.

It's been a great year. As of this writing, PNW Optimist Clubs have added 71 net new members to their respective Optimist Clubs. More than 50% of the clubs are eligible to earn the respected Honor Club award. At least three clubs - maybe four - are eligible for the Distinguished Club award. That's awesome.

But it is not time to rest yet, my friends. Dick Disney, Governor 2014-2015 is still hoping for the most Honor Clubs of any District in the organization. Please do your part by completing the President's Pride report. We have four more hours, as of this post, to make it happen and I know we can do it because in the PNW District, we are REAL FRIENDS of YOUTH. Thank you.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What's so special about Honor Club?

pnw optimist clubs honor clubI've been an Optimist Club member for almost 30 years. When I joined, there was one determination as to whether your Optimist Club had a good year: Honor Club. If your club received the Honor Club recognition, then you had done all that you could do to make your club the best it could be.

At that time, Honor Club required the same steps as we currently have:
Plus the following:
  • Complete all reports on time to include the Club Officer Elect Report (COER) and the Annual Club Planning Conference (ACPC)
  • End the year with +5 or more members
  • Recognize a club member as a Life Member of Optimist International in place of the Optimist of the Year award
Not every club made it and that's what made it so special; those that did gave just a little bit more of their time to earn the recognition that an Optimist Club deserves. More important, the care and maintenance of an Optimist Club today helps ensure it will be here next year, and many more years to come. 

As we close out the 2014-2015 administrative year, everyone can help ensure that their club is the best. There's 4 more days to recruit another member, finish reports and make your payments to the organization. I doubt there is any club that hasn't conducted way more than 3 service projects, but just in case, there is even time to do a quick and easy project in one day or less. 

All hands on deck! Let's make this Optimist Club year one to remember.

As of this writing, Optimist International is very close to having added 10,000 new members for 2014-2015. With 42 or more new members, we'll reach that mark, one the organization has not realized for some time. Let's all do our part to get us to 100,000 members by the 100th anniversary of Optimist International.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Honor Club: You've got this!

Governor Dick Disney sent a message to all PNW District Optimist Club members today. It was a note of optimism. It was a note of excellence. It was a note of encouragement.

Ten days remain in the Optimist International administrative year. There's time for every Optimist Club to meet the District's number one goal: Honor Club.

The requirements of Honor Club are:

  • Complete 3 service projects
  • Complete all financial obligations
  • Complete recognition of a community or club member as an Optimist of the Year or Friend of Youth
  • Complete the President's Pride report
  • End the year with +1 or more members than were on the roster when the year began

People often say that they aren't in an Optimist Club to receive awards. Well, that's fine; Honor Club is not an award - it is recognition that your Optimist Club is completing the minimum requirements that will keep it healthy for years to come. It is recognition that your Optimist Club cares about its community and its members as well as it cares about children. It is recognition of a year well-served.

Don't let the year end without reaching your goal. Click here to see what your Optimist Club needs to do to march its way into an Honor Club. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Welcome to the new Optimist Club of Gresham Scouters

pnw district optimist clubs gresham scouters

It's always fun to welcome new members into our Optimist Clubs. It's even more fun to welcome new members into their very own Optimist Club!

On September 13, 2015, Governor Dick Disney visited Gresham, Oregon for just that purpose: to welcome a new Optimist Club to the PNW District - Optimist International.

With the vision from Ben DeRemer, 18 new Optimist Club members came together to form the new Optimist Club of Gresham Scouters. Ben, Builder of Excellence for the new Optimist Club explained that there can be more collaboration between an Optimist Club and the scouting groups that it sponsors. He proposes that scouting alumni provide that bridge and with this new model, we'll see if the single-purpose Optimist Club serves more children in the Gresham area.

In addition to scouting endeavors with the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Explorer Post and Venture Crew, the new club plans to host the Optimist International scholarship programs and provide service and helping hands for community service through the area Optimist Clubs.

The new club is sponsored by the Gresham Optimist Club and the Portland NE Optimist Club.

Linda Vaught served as the Field Representative for Optimist International. "It's exciting to see so many young adults ready to serve their community. We're going to see great things from the new Optimist Club of Gresham Scouters," she explained.

Ready to hit the ground running, an installation of officers will take place on September 24, 2015 in place of a traditional charter banquet. Congratulatory gifts or wishes may be sent to the Gresham Optimist Club for presentation at that time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September is for Honor Club

Welcome to September. It's that time of year when children go back to school and Optimist Clubs get back to work following summer vacations.

For Optimist Club presidents, the work at hand is the final drive to HONOR CLUB.

An Optimist Honor Club truly means that your Optimist Club is doing all that it can to be around this time next year and far into the future. It signifies excellence in administration and service.

The steps to Honor Club are fairly simple. The Optimist Club must conduct at least three service projects each year and meet all of its financial obligations with Optimist International and the District. You've got this, right?

Next, your Optimist Club must recognize a community or club member as an outstanding Optimist, Friend of Youth, or other honor, and report the recognition on this form.

Your Optimist Club president must complete the President's Pride report. This report is available at Optimistleaders.org and may also be printed, completed and returned by mail by downloading the President's Pride report form here.  The President's Pride report serves as an annual report of activities so that the impact of your Optimist Club can be quantified. Together with other Optimist Clubs, the true depth of projects and impact on communities can be measured.

Finally, your Optimist Club must end the administrative year with one more member than it started with on October 1, 2014 (net +1).

The good news is almost every Optimist Club in the PNW District has a real chance of being an Optimist Club. Only two or three clubs will have to stretch to make the membership goal. For every one, it's worth it. Show your pride, demonstrate your commitment to your community and make your members proud by making your Optimist Club an Honor Club - right here, right now.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

And this happened, too

One of the attributes of belonging to an Optimist Club is that individuals can develop their leadership skills. Some people go from member to board of directors and then on to club president in a very short period of time.

Optimist Club presidents are automatically members of the District Board of Directors. They are encouraged to attend the District meetings and help make decisions that will help their Optimist Club thrive. Some club presidents are so busy that they let their duties fall to a member that often attends the District activities. It's easy to fall into that trap, and it is unfortunate that when that occurs, the District loses out on new and exciting ideas from fresh voices. 

At the 2015 PNW District Optimist International Convention, there was a mix of the old and new. One delightful addition was Gresham Optimist Club President Ben Deremer. In addition to being an Optimist Club member and full-time graduate student, Ben is also an Eagle Scout, just like Optimist International President Ken Garner. 

Ben served as emcee for Friday's luncheon and this happened. That's right, those are moose antlers right there on President Ken's head. Now that's fun. That's optimism. 

Luncheon address from President Ken.
Posted by PNW Optimist District on Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

And then this happened

We love to meet new Optimist Club members and are always excited to greet first-timers at a district meeting. This year, at the 2015 PNW District Optimist International Convention, we welcomed four first-timers.

Please join Governor Dick Disney as he says hello to Doug Roe; Twin Falls Optimist Club; Weezy Devinny, Lebanon Optimists;  Doug Lincoln, Twin Falls Optimist Club; and Jack Thornton, Hillsboro Optimist Club. Welcome, all!

pnw optimist clubs welcome first timers

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Here's some of what happened at the PNW District Convention

optimist international ken garner
Ken Garner
To say that a lot happened at the 2015 PNW District Convention would be an understatement. It always is. When Optimist Club members come together at quarterly meetings to participate in the administration of the district, they also learn from one another in an inspirational way. This time, in Tacoma, Governor Dick Disney had the great fortune of welcoming International President Ken Garner and First Lady Patsy Garner to our fold and the message was clear: achieve HONOR CLUB status and your Optimist Club will thrive.

optimist international patsy garner
Patsy Garner
President Ken led the training for all incoming officers including club presidents and secretary-treasurers as well as those on the district level. Patsy and President Ken shared their wisdom and enthusiasm in several spotlight presentations and at lunch on Saturday, Patsy gave what is perhaps one of my favorite quotes. She said, "We join Optimist Clubs because we want to extend our family."

Along the same theme, President Ken ended the learning portion of the convention with a look at WHY we belong to Optimist Clubs. Using a theme that will be prevalent in the coming year, we learned that the why of belonging is often an intrinsic value. We gain something for ourselves - satisfaction, happiness and fulfillness, among other things - when we provide service to youth and community.

We were nearly rained out at the Tacoma Rainiers ballgame and barbecue, but a few hardy Optimists stuck it out until the very end and were rewarded with a dazzling fireworks display.

We were up early for the Old-timer's Breakfast and a visit to the frontier with a few indians and others that had fallen off - way off - the wagon train.

We were joined by Past International President Ron Thompson, a member of the West Tacoma Optimist Club. PIP Ron took the Callaway golf trophy away from Dick Brodie, an achievement in itself. We also gave recognition that 50 years ago, he served as Governor of our PNW District.

dick disney ron thompson pnw optimist clubs
Dick Disney and Ron Thompson
Of course, one of the reasons that we hold a convention is to conduct official business. After discussion with other leaders and Optimist Club members, Governor Dick had published some suggested revisions to the District Policies. The revisions were simple including rephrasing some articles in the document to be gender neutral, correcting grammar and names, establishing that   all dues and fees are to be paid in US dollar value as established by Optimist International and creating some reporting controls on the Oratorical and CCDHH contests in an effort to control costs.

Finally, the revisions would have also reduced the District dues from $18 to $16.

After extensive discussion, the following revisions passed:
  • Revisions to make all writing and pronouns gender neutral
  • Correction of various typographical and grammatical errors
  • Add the requirement of prior notification of minutes, budget, policies, and other business for review by the board of directors to be made available 30 days in advance
  • Add the words “Accredited Delegates” to Article IV to now read: Accredited Delegates and Election of Governor-elect
  • Change all references to regions to the term “Super Zone”
  • Change the name of the Optimist International Foundation in Canada to Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation (CCOF)
  • Confirmation and addition to the policies that following Optimist International protocol, all dues, fees and reimbursements were to be made in US dollar value. Currency conversion is to be made by the District Secretary-Treasurer and all Optimist Clubs using the rate published by Optimist International at www.optimistleaders.org.
The assembly became bogged down in agreeing that the Governor should be the point of contact for the chairpersons of the scholarship contests. As I write this, I'm confused that this was even a discussion item; however, it caused for a motion to table the introduction of the balance of the policy revision topics. 

The motion to table was not unanimous, but passed, and a subsequent motion by a first-time participant to reopen the discussion specifically at the dues decrease topic failed despite President Ken cautioning the group that it could possibly not be reintroduced again until August 2016.
pnw optimist clubs rick matkin
Rick Matkin

In other business, new officers were installed for the Optimist International administrative year beginning on October 1, 2015. 

Rick Matkin was elected as Governor-elect (Governor 2016-2017). 

Teresa Wallace was given the Roy Proctor lifetime service award. 

Governor Dick reported on Honor Club achievement. As the principle theme for the PNW District this year, nearly 33% of the PNW District Optimist Clubs are currently on track to achieve this recognition and all 45 Optimist Clubs have the potential to do so. As a reminder, the requirements are:
  • Perform 3 service projects
  • Pay all financial obligations
  • Honor an individual as an Optimist of the Year or Friend of Youth
  • Add net +1 members to the club roster
  • Complete and return the President's Pride Report
Should the PNW District achieve this HONOR, it would be the first time ever in Optimist International history. Now that's an achievement to prove we are indeed REAL FRI - ENDs of YOUTH!

The convention stands in recess. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

First impressions from the PNW District - Optimist International Convention

PNW Optimist Club members who were able to join us at the district convention heard from two inspirational speakers, Patsy Garner and International President Ken Garner. I think the Optimist Club of Chilliwack summed up the experience best. On its Facebook page it wrote, "Take any opportunities you have to hear this man speak. He is a great speaker and one hell of a motivator. We were so fortunate to spend three days with him. I learned so much to take back to our club!"

It will be impossible to share the complete experience here, but in the next few days, we will strive to write about the district business and future plans, including our drive to 100% Honor Clubs, right here, right now. 

For the moment, thanks to all who attended the 2015 PNW District Optimist Internatonal Convention. And many special thanks to our extra special guests, Patsy and Ken Garner. 

Take any opportunities you have to hear this man speak. He is a great speaker and one hell of a motivator! We were so fortunate to spend three days with him. I learned so much to take back to our club!
Posted by Optimist Club of Chilliwack on Sunday, August 16, 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Convention Business Preview 2015

When PNW Optimist Clubs gather at the District Convention, August 13-15, 2015, delegates will be asked to review the District Policies.

The document was fully revised in between the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 administrative years. The revisions recommended at this time are to correct punctuation and grammar, among other things, and to make the document gender-neutral. Additionally, Governor Dick Disney asks for the following changes:
  • Reduce the District dues by $2.00 to $16.00 US
  • Establish fair and equal guidelines for funding the Oratorical and CCDHH Contests.
  • Following Optimist International financial policies, require all monies collected or reimbursed by the District to be converted to the US dollar exchange rate as published at www.optimistleaders.org. 
  • Establish a publication and notification deadline for future revisions to the District Policies.

In order to vote at the District Convention, a delegate must be a Club President or the Club President's appointee. This designation must be provided in writing, by email or in person, to the District Secretary-Treasurer in order to receive voting credentials. 

If you have any questions or comments about the proposed revisions, please email Governor Dick

We hope to have full representation from the PNW Optimist Clubs in order to make the changes necessary to keep the District and our clubs vital, strong and growing. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meet the President at the PNW District Convention

optimist international ken garnerEach year, Optimist International sends representatives to Optimist District Conventions throughout the organization. This year, the PNW District is especially honored to have as the official guest Optimist International President Ken Garner. Ken will be joined by his wife Patsy.

Ken is a member of the Optimist Club of Fort Worth-Breakfast East, Texas. He has served as  Governor of a Distinguished District, Optimist International Vice President and a member of the Optimist International Board of Directors. Professionally, Ken is an executive director in Ernst & Young LLP's Tax practice with more than 21 years of public accounting experience.

Don't let that CPA title fool you! Ken is a dynamic and motivational speaker. He and Patsy are Certified International Trainers for Optimist International and both will be assisting with education and outreach throughout the weekend convention.

Come and meet the President of Optimist International at the PNW District Convention, August 13-15, 2015 in Tacoma, WA. Find out more and register at this link. It will be a great weekend of fellowship and inspiration.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Optimist International announces themes for 2015-2016 Scholarship Contests

pnw dististrict optimist club scholarship contestsThemes for the Optimist International Scholarship Contests have been announced for 2015-2016.

Optimist Clubs are encouraged to share the theme and contest rules with schools and teachers early, as school is getting started, in order to get the greatest participation. All contests must begin at the Optimist Club level.

More information about the new Optimist International Oratorical Contest where students may win up to $22,500 will be discussed at the PNW District Convention.

Also new this year for the Oratorical and Essay contests, students must be under the age of 18 as of September 30 October 1 of the Optimist International administrative year. The Optimist International administrative year runs from October 1 to September 30.

The Optimist International Essay Contest takes place between September and February.  The official topic for 2015-16 is "Lead by Example: Reality or Fiction." Download the entry form. 

The Optimist International Oratorical Contest takes place between January and May. The official topic for 2015-16 is "How My Best Brings Out the Best in Others." Download the entry form. 

The Optimist International Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing takes place between January and May. The official topic for 2016-16 is "How My Best Brings Out the Best in Others."  Download the entry form.

Updated July 30, 2015. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Right here, right now!

right here right now optimistTwenty-four PNW District Optimist Club members gathered with more than 1,000 others in New Orleans, LA for the 97th Annual Optimist International Convention, July 9-11, 2015.  They came from all points of the district, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and were inspired by the urgent call to action to bring Optimist Clubs to our communities, right here, right now.

Ratified by a resolution submitted by Santa Barbara Northside Optimist Club, International President Ken Garner and International President Designate Dave Bruns were joined in introducing a new branding statement for the organization: Optimist Clubs bring out the best in youth, our communities and ourselves.

In addition to the great turnout of members, the PNW District was well represented by West Coast leaders as well. The PNW District is home to a trio of Optimist International Vice Presidents: 2014-2015 - Ed Murphy; 2015-2016 - Linda Vaught; and 2016-2017 - Bill French.

Led by Governor Dick Disney, the PNW District was recognized as one of 17 districts that currently have net membership growth, helping the organization inch ever closer to its goal of 100,000 members by the 100th anniversary.

Convention attendees are energized and will bring their enthusiasm and new ideas to their home clubs and to the PNW District Convention, August 13-15, 2015 and President Ken, First Lady Patsy and Governor Dick are looking forward to seeing you there.

pnw optimist district
PNW Optimist District Dinner at 97th Annual
Optimist International Convention

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What do Baseball, Pioneers and Optimists have in common?

The latest issue of Governor Dick Disney's March to Honor Club message hit emailboxes today. If you haven't already, please click here to read "It's Hot to Be an Honor Club."

Some highlights from his message include 15 Optimist Clubs who are on track to receive Honor Club status including the Lebanon Optimists who are leading the way with +20 net new members to date. The Lebanon Optimists were striving to reach 80 members this year and they did it. Let's see if they can make it to 90 very soon - challenge on!

In Idaho, the Middleton Area Optimist Club continues to lead the pack with +10 net new members. Growing club membership has proved to be the greatest challenge to making Honor Club, but in recent years, the amount of new members needed has dropped to net +1. That's doable for every club and part of being a sustainable organization that will serve its community today and far into the future. That's why the upcoming PNW District Convention will focus on Honor Club, membership growth sharing optimism far and wide, but most of all with your community, members and you.

Optimist International President Ken Garner and first lady Patsy will join the PNW District for the convention weekend, August 13-15, 2015 and both will be involved with the education sessions for incoming officers, current officers, and current members. You especially won't want to miss the final session with President Ken, "Start with why," where we will look at why we belong to an Optimist Club and this crazy organization that we call Optimist International.

Other convention highlights, besides training opportunities, are the opportunities for fellowship with other Optimist Club members from around the PNW District. At this meeting, we'll have premium opportunities from golf with Past International President Ron Thompson, to Baseball & BBQ with the Tacoma Rainiers and the ever-popular Old-Timers Breakfast featuring real PNW old-timers at Pioneer Days.

Fun and fellowship go hand-in-hand with Optimist Club membership. Register today for the PNW District Optimist Convention, call 253-383-0146 to make your hotel reservations at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites and share your optimism today.

Monday, June 29, 2015

PNW Optimist Clubs advance junior golfers to the OIJGC

The PNW District Optimist International Junior Golf Championships (US) was held on June 19, 2015.

According to Chairperson Chris Hill, four junior golfers have qualified and registered to advance to the OPTIMIST at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, July 16-31, 2015.

Those advancing are:

Samuel Pyon, boys 14-15
Matt Marrese, boys 16-18

Natalie Gregory, girls 10-12
Lanie Sticka, girls 13-14

The golf tournament was coordinated by the Hillsboro Optimist Club.

the optimist junior golf pnw optimist clubs

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

PNW District Optimist Convention!

It may seem early, but it is not!

The La Quinta Inn& Suites in Tacoma, WA is anxiously awaiting your reservation to the PNW District Convention.  Call them now at 253.383.0146 and mention the PNW Optimists to receive the best rates for August 13-15, 2015.  
Why should you attend the PNW District Convention?  Here is a quick Top 10 list of reasons:

10. Learn how to complete all the paperwork to make your Optimist Club an Honor Club.
9. Discover new ideas from other Optimist Club members to implement in your community in order to provide more service to youth.
8. Make new friends from all around the Pacific Northwest.
7. Discuss challenges that face all Optimist Clubs and turn those weaknesses into strengths.
6. Educate incoming club officers so they may lead your Optimist Club to be the best.
5. Share optimism.
4. Meet Patsy and Ken Garner, Optimist International President and be inspired by their stories and training.
3. Have fun at the Rainiers Baseball Game and BBQ.
2. Dress like you are ready to "Go West, young man (or woman)" at the Frontier Days Old-timer breakfast.
1. Prove that you and your Optimist Club are Real Friends of Youth by energizing your optimism at the PNW District Optimist Convention.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Salem Optimists honor Youth of the Year

Several years ago, the Salem Optimist Club began recognizing students of the month. Each month during the school year, they would ask different schools to help determine youth who were doing exceptional things including scholarship, community service, artistic flair, entrepreneurship,
technology achievements and more.

This month, they brought the 2014-2015 school year to a close by recognizing the Youth of the Year. According the club's post on Facebook, West Salem High School's Keelana Meyer was chosen because:
The student pictured here has a story of triumph and courage. Very little was shared, but it was clear that she has overcome obstacles that most of us would avoid.

Keelana Meyer has attended nine different schools because her life has been so fraught with change, yet she will graduate with a 3.7 GPA. This is a woman to watch. We were honored to meet her.
Keelana is shown here with Mike Barbour of the Salem Optimist Club.  We congratulate her for her achievements!

Click here to see more students recognized by the Salem Optimist Club. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Optimist International elections are taking place online now

For the second time, Optimist Clubs are invited to vote online for the next wave of Optimist International leaders. Normally an activity that takes place at convention, in 2014 all Optimist Clubs were included in online voting, giving an opportunity for all to have their voices heard through technology. To be eligible to vote, Optimist Clubs must be current in international dues.

The voting information was sent on June 1, 2015 to all current Optimist Club presidents with a good email registered with Optimist International. Those on the ballot are:

International President 2016-2017

Jim Kondrasuk
Nick Prillaman

Optimist International Board of Directors
Rebecca Butler Mona
Adrian Elcock
Gil Ortiz

Eight individuals are running for Vice Presidents 2016-2017 unopposed in each region.

Please click here to learn more about the election process at Optimist International.

Please click on the links above to be taken to each candidates biography page on the Optimist International website.

Club presidents may recover their voting credentials by logging into www.optimistleaders.org. Should you have any problems, contact Optimist International.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

District meeting emphasizes Honor Club today, tomorrow and always

One week ago, over one hundred Optimist Club members and guests gathered for the PNW District 3rd Quarter Meeting in Kennewick, Washington. While there, Governor Dick Disney provided motivation for them to return to their home clubs and complete the District goal of 100% Honor Clubs.

But other things happened as well. First, we heard from some of the top young public speakers in the West Coast Region. All spoke on the topic "How my optimism will help me press on to 'greater achievements of the future.'"

Seven students participated in the Communications Contest for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In the oral competition, Katya Nesdoly received the first place award of $2,500 scholarship. In the signing competition, Miguel Peregrino was awarded first place. He also received a $2,500 scholarship.

Seven students also competed in the Optimist Oratorical Contest. The PNW District awarded first place and a $2,500 scholarship to Lochlan Frederick; second place and a $1,500 scholarship to Lamisa Hasan; and third place and a $1,000 scholarship to Saara Meghi.

Steve Skodak, Executive Director, Optimist International made an official visit to the district for the third quarter meeting. It was a perfect tie-in for understanding how our donations to the Optimist International Foundation and Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation provide support to Optimist Clubs by funding scholarships, among other things. Steve also made a presentation  "Know your Prospects" and explained an excellent generational approach membership retention and recruitment for our Optimist Clubs to follow.

In district business, Governor-elect Michael Gray notified the assembly that the zone alignments would stay the same in 2015-2016 and lieutenant governors were elected as follows:
Zone 1, British Columbia - Al Kersey
Zone 2, Idaho - Dolores "Doe" Schamp
Zone 3, Oregon - Ben Deremer
Zone 4, Washington - Monique Connors

Reports were given by current lieutenant governors and committee chairs and all were in agreement
that the PNW District is celebrating a fantastic Honor Club year. According to Governor Dick and West Coast Region Vice President Ed Murphy, the PNW District, as of this meeting, is only one member away from being at even for membership growth. It is a perfect setting to begin the final fourth quarter drive to Honor Club.

Governor Dick announced the PNW District - Optimist International Convention will be held August 13-15, 2015 at the La Quinta Inn & Suites, Tacoma, Washington. We are honored to have as the international guests Optimist International President Ken Garner and his spouse Patsy. Registration was approved at $115 by August 6, 2015 and $130 after that date and at the door.
Registration is now open.
Download the "at a glance" program. 

Refreshed and energized, Optimist Club members headed home to do more good things in their communities and to earn Honor Club recognition so that they may continue to serve for many years into the future.

Follow the PNW Optimist District on Facebook. #pnwoptimistclubs

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mission Optimists choose the Mother of the Year

mission optimist club
Each year for Mother's Day, the Mission Optimist Club chooses the Mother of the Year. 

This year the honor goes to Michelle Hillier.

Hillier was selected after her daughter, Aryanna, a student at Mission Central school, wrote a short essay on why her mother deserves the award. More than 500 elementary school students participated in the challenge.

Shown in the picture is Optimist Club member Dick Brodie, Michelle Hillier and Aryanna. Dick presented Hillier with a gift basket and flowers. The club also donated $1,000 to the PAC at Mission Central for being the winning school.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What's your number?

Is your Optimist Club making a significant contribution in your community? Chances are your club provides excellent projects and resources at different times and locations, but my question to you today how do you define significant?

For the Lebanon Optimist Club, a significant contribution comes from 80 members working for the community and at 67 members strong, it is well on its way. The countdown is on! Will the Lebanon Optimists make it to 80 by September 30?

What about your Optimist Club? What's your number? How many members does it take to make a significant contribution in your community?

With our meetings starting to average over 30+ members (40 today!) it's easy to see why your Lebanon Optimists are the...
Posted by Lebanon Optimists on Thursday, May 7, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Make an impact through your Optimist Club's Friends

This year, Governor Dick Disney has asked Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District to achieve one goal: Honor Club.

To be an Honor Club means that an Optimist Club is doing all that it can to serve its community today and in the future because Honor Club focuses on the four key issues for succession planning:

  1. Community Service
  2. Financial Stability
  3. Membership 
  4. Community Awareness

friend of pnw optimist clubCommunity service can take a variety of forms from the popular scholarship programs offered through Optimist International to local events like youth sports programs, literacy programs, Easter egg hunts, fishing derbies, beautification programs and so much more. The programs or projects that a club conducts is limited only by the members' creativity and enthusiasm. 

Financial stability is demonstrated through timely dues payments to Optimist International and the District where the Optimist Club resides. Dues are necessary because they unite clubs from around the world with a single purpose and provide club resources through an international office. 

Membership must be retained and new members must be recruited to help today's youth achieve tomorrow's dreams. We must replenish ourselves to avoid natural attrition. 

Community awareness takes many forms, but mainly, in a civic-social-service club, it comes from word of mouth marketing. You share your experience of being involved and others want to know more so they can be involved too. 

Optimist International has released a program that takes the last two steps in hand and makes it possible for your Optimist Club to grow and be recognized for its impact in your community. The Community Impact Bundle makes it affordable to add new Friends of Optimists by giving recognition to movers and shakers in your community. The recipients of the Friend of Optimist membership will learn about your Optimist Club and with positive public relations, they will mention it to others.

For only $300, your Optimist Club can purchase six Friends of Optimists and bestow the recognition upon deserving people in your community. Think of the mayor, a minister, teacher, fireman, or police officer, among others, who would be honored to be your Friend. Your club has until September 30, 2015 to purchase the bundle and until December 31, 2015 to activate new Friends of Optimists in your club.

Take another step to Honor Club with the Community Impact Bundle. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Optimist Club election time

pnw optimist club electionOptimist International has announced its slate of candidates for the 2015 election cycle. Nominated for International President 2016-2017 are Jim Kondrasuk and Nick Prillaman. Optimist Clubs will cast their votes one of these gentlemen during the month of June.

This announcement should serve as notice that it is time for Optimist Clubs to begin their election process. While reporting officers is no longer a requirement for Honor Club, it is still a good rule of thumb to hold elections and record the new officers by May 20 of each year. 

Why May 20? By reporting early, the District and Optimist International can begin to communicate with the president-elect to invite him or her to the conventions, participate in training, and to begin to inspire growth and collaboration from year to year. Changing officers should be like passing a baton in a relay race: seamless and forward-moving. 

Do this today - form a nominations committee. Follow up by holding the election of officers and then report the outcome by logging into www.Optimistleaders.org on or before May 20, 2015. Thank you. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Optimist International Convention early bird registration date drawing near

Here is a message from Evelyn French, PNW District Optimist International Convention Ambassador:

Join Optimists from around the world at the International Convention in New Orleans July 9-11, 2015.

Register online or download the form at www.optimist.org/convention.  Save money by registering by May 1, the "early-bird" deadline.

There is something for everyone at the convention - training for all offices and committees, workshops on a wide variety of subjects, inspirational and motivational speakers, great entertainment and delicious food and drink!!
Let's have a good representation from the PNWD.  There will be a District dinner (place and time to be announced at 3rd quarter in Kennewick).

Questions?  Contact Evelyn French, PNWD Convention Ambassador, at frenchw503@aol.com.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chilliwack Optimist Club is full of Reel Optimism

The Optimist International Foundation and Optimist International are encouraging Optimist Clubs to share their sense of purpose with the Reel Optimism Video Contest. This contest asks clubs to submit a video based on a common theme in order to win a cash prize ranging from $250 to $1000.

In 2015, the adult and youth clubs could choose to record a 30 second challenge video or a 3 minute showcase video on the topic "Optimists bring out the best..."

The Optimist Club of Chilliwack responded to the 30 second challenge with the following video.

The Optimist Club of Chilliwack are "REEL" optimists.
Posted by PNW Optimist District on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The entry deadline was April 15, 2015. Finalists will be announced on May 1, 2015 and voting will be opened to the public through May 15, 2015. Winners will be notified by June 1, 2015 and shown during the Optimist International Convention where they will receive their club grant awards.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why do we have an Optimist International Foundation?

Steve Skodak, CFRE
Steve Skodak, Executive Director, Optimist International Foundation will join the PNW District in
Kennewick, WA for the 3rd Quarter District Meeting. According to Governor Dick Disney, this meeting is an opportune time for all to appreciate what the Foundations do for us - Help Optimists Help Children.

The Optimist International Foundations award $150,000 in new scholarships annually. However, the amount that is disbursed every year can often exceed that amount as students enroll in college or university and request their scholarship be directed to their education. Since 2008, $1,616,479 has gone to student education at places such as Harvard, Stanford and Yale as well as many smaller private universities and state colleges, large and small.

Every year, District Foundation Representatives are appointed to help the Foundations (Optimist International Foundation in the US and Children's Optimist Foundation in Canada) meet its funding needs. The scholarship support is only part of the picture. The Foundations also provide funding to support other Optimist International programs, especially membership and marketing initiatives.

Newer to the list of services are initiatives to provide grants directly to Optimist Clubs for program purposes. There are club grant awards through both foundations and the Reel Optimism Contest that displays the enthusiasm and great work of our clubs.

You can learn more about how  your individual and club donation can help Optimist International do even more. Plan to meet Steve May 15-16, 2015 in Kennewick. Register now.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Washington to be represented in the CCDHH

This year, the Optimist Club of Vancouver, WA held its first Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Thanks to the coordination efforts of English teacher Tyler DeShaw at the Washington School for the Deaf, three students competed to represent their state at the district finals in Kennewick, WA on May 15-16, 2015.

The three contestants spoke on the theme "How My Optimism Will Help Me Press on to Greater Achievements of the Future" in front of a school assembly of 128 students. All confessed to being nervous about speaking to the crowded auditorium and according to club representatives, all were very good. Staying with the requirement against self identification for contestants, the winners will be announced during the third quarter meeting.

Mr. DeShaw shared his optimism with the assembly through a PowerPoint presentation that provided interesting articles during the interludes between contestants. Adding a very special touch, he opened with a signed version of the Optimist Creed with each line presented by a different person.
It's not too late for your Optimist Club to host a CCDHH contest. Please contact committee chairs Myrna Harris or Ken Ryan to learn more.

Register now to attend so that you can hear from these inspirational students.


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