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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Save money with the Season of Giving

For the third year in a row, Optimist International is celebrating the holidays with a gift for all of its
Optimist Clubs with a program called the Season of Giving.

From December 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017, there is no induction fee for new members. That's a gift that an Optimist Club can pass on to a prospective new member, making their initial dues investment $15 less.

What a nice way to say thank you and we value your involvement in our Optimist Club. 

We often hear that paying to volunteer causes a hardship for individuals who believe they can give their time to a number of causes without spending any money.

Of course, most members will say that they are not paying for the opportunity to volunteer. Optimist Club members pay for the opportunity to come together as a group of citizens interested in programs that benefit youth and social opportunities that will lead to a better community. They like being a part of something bigger than themselves in an effort to make a difference. They like the mission of Optimist International and they especially like the Optimist Creed.

Share all of these reasons for belonging to an Optimist Club with a prospective new member today and you'll save your club's money to boot.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Promise to live the Creed 1.11

He lives at the North Pole. That in itself is enough to declare he is an optimist, but to top it all off, he spends all year-round watching out for good little girls and boys and helping the elves make toys to delight the good children on Christmas morn.

Who are we talking about?

Santa Claus, of course, a.k.a. Kris Kringle.

During a recent conversation, Kris told me that he lives by the tenets of the Optimist Creed. Here's what he said:

"Every day I wake up strong. Nothing disturbs my peace of mind.

Every day I greet Mrs. Claus with positive words. We only speak of health, happiness and prosperity.

When I see the elves, I applaud their work. I like everyone in the toy shop to feel happy.

Of course I always looks at the sunny side of everything. That's how I make my optimism come true.

When I make my list, I think only of the best, work only for the best and expect only the best. I want more children on the nice list than on the naughty one.

When the elves develop a new toy or a new manufacturing process I delight in their success.

I never think about the time that Rudolph and I took the wrong turn in the snowstorm. Instead, I press on to the greater achievements of the future. We have a lot of miles to cover one day a year!

If you've ever seen me, you know I'm always wearing a smile.

It's hard to critical when you think of Christmas year-round. I work hard on my holiday attitude and physique throughout the year.

I am too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. It's just who I am."

You can be like Santa. Just choose to live the Optimist Creed.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Find social opportunities with an Optimist Club Young Professionals Group

Attracting new members to participate in a club or organization is always a challenge and many service clubs find attracting younger members to be a special challenge. As our organization has grayed, some might say they have lost their relevance. I beg to differ. Adopting a positive attitude and serving our communities with a focus on the youth is always a relevant pursuit. However, it might be that we need a different messenger.

For that reason, among others, Optimist International is now encouraging a new group for our existing clubs: the Social, Service and Young Professionals Group.

Some organizations call this concept a satellite club because the idea is that the new group of young people will meet at a different time and location from the regular club with which it is affiliated. The focus will be social first, professional second, and service third.

It's a win-win for Optimist Clubs for they find new people to carry forward the mission and purposes of Optimist International. In addition, the District may receive new club building credit for starting a social, service and young professionals group. Most important, when you turn service and membership into a social opportunity instead of an obligation, you also serve more children and as we know, that's what Optimist Club members long to do.

Find out more by enlarging and printing the photo.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Promise to live the creed 1.10

The Optimist International Essay Contest has grown in popularity over the past few years with more and more students choosing to write an essay about an optimistic topic in an effort to win a $2,500 scholarship. This year promises to bring a great number of contestants in the Pacific Northwest with Trenna Bowman Garcia serving as the chairperson for Optimist Clubs in the PNW.

The topic for the 2016-17 school year is: "Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges."

Students under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2016 are eligible to enter. Contests start at the club level and each club determines the timeline for its local event. 

The PNW District must receive your club's winning entry by February 28, 2017. Clubs may view a planning guide here

Like all PNW District officers and chairpersons, Trenna has promised to live the Optimist Creed this year and every year. 

You can make the promise, too, by sending your photo here. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Fourth Circle of Friends Dinner is a success

chilliwack optimist clubOn December 2, 2016, the Chilliwack Optimist Club hosted its fourth annual Circle of Friends Dinner Dance and Silent Auction.

It was a sold-out festive affair that brought club and community members together to share friendship and raise money for a good cause: kids in need in the community.

This year, guests brought toys that were donated to Community Services and non-perishable items for the Salvation Army Food Bank. According to President Coralee Lord Holmes, they expect to raise $10,000 from the event this year. Since they are a small club, community support is key to their success. Like the donations received, all money is returned to support youth in the Chilliwack area.

“This event brings old and new friends together for a happy occasion and a great cause,” event chair Glenda Standeven said. “We are very grateful to everyone who attended and everyone who supported our event.”

Photos, from the top:

  • Club members deliver toys to Community Services
  • Collecting toys at the Circle of Friends Dinner
  • Preparing the buffet at the Circle of Friends Dinner
  • Rocking out with the band at the Circle of Friends Dinner Dance
Thanks to Coralee Lord Holmes for the photos. Please click on each photo to enlarge and view.

Click here to read more in the Chilliwack Times.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Promise to live the Creed 1.9

This week we want to highlight one of Optimist International's growing youth sports programs and what better way is there to do it than to recognize the veteran junior golf chairperson from the Vancouver, BC Optimist Club: Harry White.

Harry has promised to live the Optimist Creed this year, and every year. He says his favorite line of the Optimist creed is "To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own." He goes on to explain: 

"This is a particularly good fit for junior golfers as in the Optimist Junior Linkster Tour program we have ages 4 to 18 (Optimist International golf is age 9-18) and all level of player take part, with the more experienced and skilled golfers take on the role of mentor to the younger "grass roots" beginners. And, the converse has also proven to be the case, with highly skilled younger junior golfers, providing inspiration to the older players with their significant achievements at golf. Children enjoy the ancient and honourable game - and it is because it is fun.  Northwest juniors all report what a great time they had and fun!

Optimists in Vancouver, BC became involved with junior golf in 1979 when our Club was asked to organize a competition to qualify golfers to compete in the Optimist Junior World Golf Championship, held annually in San Diego, California, at the Torrey Pines GC and other San Diego area courses. Optimist volunteers in the area would provide housing and transportation to the golf courses. This was a great success and impacted the interest in junior golf in B.C. and the Northwest significantly. Tiger Woods started playing in the mid 1980's and provided another boost to Optimist Junior golf and golf in general. The Optimist Junior World Championships saw growth from 300 players to over 600 players and the challenge of Optimists to keep up grew increasingly difficult. In 1993, Optimist International decided to conduct their own 100% Optimist International Junior Championship and began play in Florida in 1994, where the competition has remained ever since. (The Junior World event in San Diego continues also but with other sponsors). Junior golfers from all over the Optimist world qualify and take part yearly in both events, with Optimist International also operating a special "Optimist Champions" event in November, annually, and other satellite events in the Spring time. I highly recommend that each Optimist Club promote the junior golf opportunities there.

The link to Optimist International Junior Golf at http://www.optimist.org/e/juniorgolf_delete/about1.cfm  has video and other information that puts out graphic evidence of children having fun and enjoying the unique Optimist junior golf program."

It's easy to see that Harry has a passion for the Optimist Junior Golf Program and the Junior Linksters. Our thanks go to him for his leadership throughout the years. When tournament dates for 2017 are solidified, they will be shown on this website. 

If you want to share how you have promised to live the Optimist Creed, please email a photo here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Donation leads to advertising for Oregon City Optimist Club

Optimist Clubs serve their communities in different ways.

Sometimes the clubs receive recognition
for their involvement and many times they don't. I think most members would say that just knowing they have made a difference is enough recognition for them.

But it is still nice to be recognized. Recognition helps attract new members to your club because people see the good that you are doing. Recognition elevates your status in your community and in addition to recruiting new members, it encourages collaboration and support with other organizations and businesses. Simply put, recognition helps your Optimist Club do more.

The Oregon City Optimist Club recently participated in a major fundraising for the high school wrestling team. Their donation funded new wrestling mats and as a bonus to doing a good deed, the club's name is now printed on two of the mats for all to see.

That sounds like a win-win situation for sure. Good job Oregon City Optimists!

Photos: Esther Hunt, Oregon City Optimist Club

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Promise to live the Creed 1.8

fran bounds optimist creed
Fran Bounds is the Lt. Governor for Zone 3 Oregon ... again.

That's right, she's such an optimist that she volunteered to repeat in her position and to help Optimist Clubs grow and serve their communities in Oregon. She also made the promise, as did all of PNW District leaders, to live the Optimist Creed.

As we head into the holiday season, we look forward to the second quarter super zone meetings beginning in Fran's area on January 28, 2017. This is your invitation to join the Oregon Super Zone Meeting.

The meeting will be in Lebanon, Oregon, hosted by the self-proclaimed most-happenin' club in town - the Lebanon Optimist Club.

The Lebanon Optimists have experienced steady growth over the past three years earning Distinguished Optimist Club status. They've had some catalysts to their growth and promise to share their secrets - and their optimism - with all attendees.

Join the Lebanon Optimists and Lt. Governor Fran Bounds on Saturday, January 28, 2017 and experience the optimism of Southern Oregon. Click here to register now. 

Have you promised to live the Optimist Creed? We'd love to hear from you! Send us a note now. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Caldwell Optimists share the wealth

Bob Kafka (far left) and Joe Shreve (far right) were representing the Caldwell Optimist Club when they visited Ridgevue High School on November 9, 2017 to present the Robotics Club a check for $945.75.

The check represented the club members' compensation for community service. Students helped the Optimist Club with its concession booth at the College of Idaho football games this season. Of course, the College of Idaho deserves kudos as well. By helping the Caldwell Optimist Club with their fundraising activities, the club was able to pay it forward to others.

The Robotics Club’s faculty sponsor, Tegan Byerly, said the funds would help the club purchase materials to design and build their robots, as well as travel to robotics competitions.

Photo: Robert Kafka

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Promise to live the Creed 1.7

linda vaught disney optimist creedWhen I joined an Optimist Club in 1987, I was introduced to the Optimist Creed and I have lived by its tenets since. I find that some days, different lines will inspire or motivate me and I am always in the pursuit of working only for the best.

It is with this tenet in mind that I announce today that I have resigned my position as the website administrator of the PNW District.

I began this website in 2007, before I had a role within the PNW District. My purpose was to help Optimist Clubs receive more publicity. It was at this time that Optimist Club members and leaders were crying that the organization needed marketing. I imagined then, and I still believe, that the secret to marketing is publicity. The secret to publicity is the ability to write your own stories and to archive them where they can be accessed by the public 24/7/365. That is why the purpose of this website was and will always be to promote the activities of Optimist Clubs primarily in the Pacific Northwest.

Several years after I started this site, I became Governor of the PNW District - Optimist International. One of the first challenges I faced, and let me tell you there were many, was access to the district's website. For the sake of history, David Morrison built the PNW District's first website at www.pnwoptimist.org. When David stepped back, Michael Gray stepped into the role. I had intended to continue to use Michael's technical skills as a computer technician until I realized I was not going to have access to actually write stories or change the information on the site he had built because it was not built on a shareable platform. Additionally, its design did not allow the progressive social media messaging that I hoped to share.

In October 2009, my first month as governor, I asked Michael to transfer the site to me so that I could update it. He refused, partly because it was housed on a server that he kept in his garage instead of being secured online on a shareable platform as I mentioned earlier. After months of aggravation and intervention by others on both Michael's and my behalf, the website domain name was finally transferred to the district in March 2010.

But something else had happened. In the meantime, as governor, I needed to communicate and our clubs needed a portal for information. The site that I had built for publicity at www.pnwdistrictoptimist.com had by default become the district's website and it has proudly served in that capacity for Governors Linda Vaught, Ed Murphy, Bill French, Larry Blackburn, Fred Wallace and Dick Disney.

You might imagine a pattern is about to emerge here. Unbeknownst to me, Michael had kept his old website and upon his becoming governor, without telling anyone, he reactivated it at www.pnwoptimist.com in August 2015.

The default district website, the one hosted here, received very little information for publication from the governor in 2015-2016. While frustrating, it was okay because we had greater stories to tell. Until now.

After submitting some ambitious goals to grow the readership of this website as the website administrator for the PNW District, as requested by Governor Rick Matkin, I found myself butting heads with some so-called leaders who apparently don't care about the skill, experience or knowledge of others. On November 19, 2016, Governor Rick, prompted by the 2015-2016 governor and secretary-treasurer, informed me that he was going to pursue the same model that was used last year for registrations, disrupting my ability to continue to grow this site as a district portal.

I expressed my desire to Governor Rick to build one website for the district - not "Linda's site" or "Michael's site" and received an offensive reply that let me know in no uncertain terms that my expertise was not welcome. You may read the entire conversation here.

I now turn to the Optimist Creed.

Someone reminded me to give so much time to the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others and to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own. Well, did you know that the year I was governor - 2009-2010 - the PNW District earned Distinguished District status with an Outstanding Governor? That's a pretty big deal considering it has only happened once in the past 16 or more years. Do you see anywhere in this website that I have tooted my own horn? No - but you will see where I have loudly acknowledged Distinguished Governor Ed Murphy and Distinguished Governor Dick Disney's achievements. I have written more than 800 stories that celebrate the good work of Optimist Clubs and Optimist International.

If someone sees my transparency as critical, I beg they take another look. I am working for the best and as an Optimist Club member, I expect the best of others.

Please know, I have shared my optimism at least once per week for over 9 years and I will continue to do so, right here, on this website. My publicity will no longer be in service to a district, but instead, it will be in service to the Optimist Clubs that make our world a better place to live. Please continue to share your stories for publication by email or phone 208.861.2310

Thank you for all that you do as an Optimist Club member and thank you for reading this story. At 900 words, it is the longest  and perhaps most difficult post that I have ever written for this site, but I felt it was necessary that I explain why I have resigned.

If you would like to tell the world why you live the Optimist Creed, please click here to send your picture.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Thanksgiving project

meridian optimists food driveThe Meridian Optimist Club has been hosting a food drive at Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.

The club asks Meridian schools to donate canned goods and non-perishable items and then Optimist Club members spend the day collecting, sorting, and packing the food for redistribution. I've heard President Kim Bowers say that it is one of her favorite projects and I can certainly understand why.

meridian optimist club canned food driveThis year, with the help of member Tom McKinstrey, the club collected an entire box van full of goods.

Club secretary/treasurer Bill Garcia commented that the pictures don't really do justice to the magnitude of the collections.

In addition to all of the supplies collected, the Meridian Optimist Club purchases turkey and milk and adds bread and potatoes, courtesy of Rick's Press Room, so that the families that receive the donations may have a nice Thankgsgiving meal.

And there are plenty of canned goods left over to supplement their future meals. This year, the Meridian Optimist Club served more than 20 families with each receiving four or five boxes stocked full.

Additionally, over 3,000 pounds of food was given to the Meridian Food Bank.
meridian idaho optimist club delivers food

Please join me in congratulating the Meridian Optimist Club on a job well done.

May you and your family enjoy the blessings of this Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Albany Optimist Club promotes patriotism

It has been a long-standing tradition in Albany, Oregon that the community celebrates Veterans Day with a parade. Nearly as long, the Optimist Club has joined in the tradition with the annual Veterans Day Pancake Breakfast.

Yes, it is a fundraiser; but more importantly, it is an opportunity for members to serve their community and show respect for the men and women who have served our country. Bringing people together to celebrate memorials is a way to display gratitude and teach respect. One of the purposes of Optimist International and thereby its clubs is to promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people. Another is to promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs.

The Albany Optimist Club is living the purposes of Optimist International and from the looks of the pictures, the members are having a lot of fun, too.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Promise to live the Creed 1.6

coralee pnw district optimist
Coralee Lord Holmes is the latest person in the PNW District to make the promise to Live the Optimist Creed.

Coralee joined the Chilliwack Optimist Club in the spring of 2014 so that makes her one of our newer members to be involved at the District Level. Together with husband Peter Holmes and fellow club member Everett Worth, she travels most every quarter to share optimism with fellow Optimists. At the District Convention 2016 in White Rock, BC, she and her team hosted the hospitality room and gave a warm welcome to all.

For the Chilliwack Optimist Club, Coralee is excited for their newest programs. The first was held just a week ago - the Youth Songwriting Contest  and in the spring, the club is considering an art contest to correspond with the themes of the Optimist International Essay and Oratorical Contests. What a great idea!

Coralee says that her favorite line of the Optimist Creed is to be to noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

With that great smile, I believe yes, Coralee Lord Holmes is living the Optimist Creed.

If you would like to share your reason for living the Optimist Creed, please send an email to Linda Vaught Disney for inclusion in the website.

Friday, November 18, 2016

It’s the “Why”

A message from PNW District - Optimist International Governor Rick Matkin

optimist international pnw districtUndoubtedly all of us have seen a club that appears more successful. They have more members, they keep more members, and they recruit more successfully. We also see other individual Optimists that just appear to be better recruiters. We wonder and frequently pass it off as they are more gregarious, easy going or extroverted. So what is the difference?

We have attended meetings and seminars that stress the need to practice our “elevator speech”. We recognize we may be offered an opportunity to talk with a prospective member or a stranger who expresses interest in one of your projects. These opportunities tend to be very brief, thus resulting in the utilization of what we have come to refer to as the “elevator speech.” Is this the answer?

A typical inquiry by an interested person tends to start with, “What do Optimists do?” That is the kick off of your elevator speech opportunity. You tell that person about your community projects and possibly some facts about how it fits into your own community. That input on your part tends to prompt the question, “How do you do all of that?” That launches you into a mention of all of the successful fundraisers you may do or describe your benefactors and your appreciation of their involvement. This tends to be your opportunity to slip in the fact you could do much more if this person would be willing to join in with you or your local club and strengthen your involvement in the community. Why is this method not more successful than it is?

A person who may ask you about an Optimist project is more often than not a caring individual. They care for their community. They care for the opportunities their child may be offered. Usually the inquiry comes during a time when you are involved in a project and are witnessed by the person making the inquiry. A person who asks at this time is a caring person. Caring is done from the heart of an individual. So here is the difference.

When we answer the inquiry about the “What?” and the “How?” we are satisfying the individual’s needs for their head. It is just like you answered a business question. Things that are good for business are handled differently in the brain than are those believed to belong in the heart. A long term Optimist is a person who spends more time operating from the heart than from the brain. These are the people that make good Optimists and stay with your organization a number of years.

People who join for reasons of the head or brain tend to see how Optimists may benefit their business, their contacts in the community, or their visibility to others. These are all good reasons but tend not to be the reasons a person remains productive and invested in your club activities.

The question people who look for details about Optimist International seldom ask is the “Why?” In a way to personalize your elevator speech it is best if you make it personal from you. You are inviting them to be with you, so make it personal. That is where the “why” comes in. I was asked, “Why are you an Optimist?” My response is, “I love doing projects for the kids in my community with all of my best friends.”

After looking back at my life in my community over the past eighteen years, I recognized that most of my best friends are Optimists. Why do many of us drive sometimes across two states and occasionally a province to visit with other members at conference? Some of them are my best friends and I can be assured when I attend a conference I am spending time with another person who shares a caring for their community as much as I do mine.

You can make a connection with an individual more completely if in addition to answering the “What?” and the “How?” you also include the “Why”. You already know how to take care of the business or the head and brain questions. There are those people who join Optimists for reasons of the head, but the ones who stay with your club do so for reasons of the heart.

So continue to practice your elevator speech, but in your own words plan on making it a more personal invitation by telling them “Why” you are an Optimist.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Chilliwack Optimist Club hosts new project

The Chilliwack, BC Optimist Club hosted a new project last weekend and gave away a $1,000 prize.

What was it?
A songwriting contest for teens. 

The teens performed their original songs in front of an audience and a panel of three judges announced the winners. In addition to the $1,000 prize, the winner also gets to record their song in a professional studio and have it posted on YouTube.

Here's a link to the newspaper article about the contest: https://goo.gl/lDftsV

What a great idea! It's contemporary and fun and allows students to share their point of view and talent.

What is your Optimist Club doing to reach out to the pop culture?

Please send photos, links or stories about projects in your community to pnwoptimist@gmail.com and we'll help you celebrate the impact you make on the youth of your community.

Photo: Pictured is Sariah Loewen, submitted by the Optimist Club of Chilliwack.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coquitlam Optimists host a Free Skate Day

November 11, 2016 - We call it Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, but in Coquitlam, British Columbia, the Optimist Club calls it Free Skate Day. For a number of years, the Coquitlam Optimist Club has held a free ice skating activity for children on this day off from school. This year they also held the Annual Walk for Youth and raised more than $7,000.

Take a look at the photos shared on Facebook of the participants plus all the food they collected for the Tri-City Food Bank.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Promise to Live the Creed 1.5

Today we recognize the PNW District Bulletin Editor Becky Williams Holm. She is serving in an enhanced capacity for Governor Rick Matkin to help all PNW District Optimist Clubs with press releases. When your club conducts a project, hosts an event or celebration, adds new members, or does anything noteworthy, send some information to Becky and she'll help you get it in the paper. Click here to send a message or copy down her email.

When asked if she would make the promise to Live the Creed, Becky replied yes with the following words:
"Recently I gave a speech that started as if I was in a 12 Step group. I said, 'Hi, my name is Becky, and I'm an Optimist. No really, I am an Optimist which is ironic because the last three years of my life have sucked! My 30 year marriage ended, my eight year business failed and early this year I lost my mom. Yet through it all, I remained optimistic.'

There's not a day goes by that some part of the Creed flits through my consciousness and uplifts me, inspiring me to go on. When facing difficult days, I find renewed strength remembering the words, “Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.”

Another thing that inspires me is our Roseburg Optimist club. We are growing, taking on new challenges and meeting more needs."
Congratulations Becky, for making the Optimist Creed a part of your life and thank you for all that you do for your community and others through the Optimist Club.

If you promise to live the Optimist Creed, please send your picture to the PNW District for posting. Thank you.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Celebrating optimism

North Okanagan Optimist Club celebrates 5 years
serving its community

Many Optimist Clubs in the PNW District are celebrating milestone anniversaries. Two of the most recent are the North Okanagan Optimist Club and the Vancouver, WA Optimist Club.

Congratulations to the North Okanagan Optimist Club who turned 5 years old this month. Members are planning a big celebration on December 5, 2016. 

Vancouver, WA Optimist Club
celebrates its 70th anniversary

Congratulations to the Vancouver, WA Optimist Club for its 70th Anniversary. A party was held on November 6, 2016 and the City of Vancouver presented a proclamation declaring the day to be the Optimist Club of Vancouver Day in the City. 

Tell us about your milestone anniversaries, birthday parties and celebrations of any type. We want to help you tell the world.

Please send us a picture today. 

Photo credit: North Okanagan Optimist Club and Donald Heavirland

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Promise to live the Optimist Creed 1.4

Each year, the PNW District - Optimist International designates an outstanding Optimist Club member for service given at the District level as the recipient of the Roy Proctor Lifetime Achievement Award.

For 2015-2016, the person chosen was Robin Stanhope, a member of the Twin Falls Optimist Club. Robin has served in various positions for the District including Membership, Essay and JOI chair, among others. If you know Robin, you know she brings her love of fun and a positive attitude with her when she attends a District meeting, which is often. She misses very few opportunities to gather with her Optimist friends.

This year, following Governor Rick Matkin's request, Robin has promised to Live the Creed. 

You can make the promise, too. Just send your picture to the PNW District and we'll tell the world of your commitment. Thank you. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

It's time to write!

The Optimist International Essay Contest is underway and in the PNW District-Optimist International, we encourage your Optimist Club to get involved. Over the past six years, this program has been gaining popularity among young students and scholars and many are looking for Optimist Clubs to sponsor the program so they may begin their quest for the $2,500 scholarship awarded by the Optimist International Foundation on behalf of the PNW District.

As you probably know, all scholarship programs begin at the Optimist Club level. Click here for a detailed handbook about how to host the Optimist International Essay Contest in your Optimist Club. 

PNW Optimist Clubs must have their entries to District Chairperson Trenna Bowman Garcia by February 28, 2017.

The topic for the 2016-2017 Optimist International Essay Contest is "Chasing Optimism in the Face of Challenges." Students may click here for the entry form with detailed rules and guidelines for their submissions.

While all rules are the same, Optimist Clubs set their own contest entry dates and club-level awards, if any. Please find an Optimist Club near you to enter.

We look forward to seeing even more PNW Optimist Clubs involved this year because, after all, more club participants means more student participants! Good luck to all.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Promise to live the Optimist Creed 1.3

Here's a familiar face. He served as PNW District Governor 2012-2013 and is a member of the Caldwell Optimist Club where they enthusiastically call him the Rah-Rah Man.

Who is it? Larry Blackburn

Larry first joined the Optimist Club of Ontario, Oregon in 1983. That means he has been sharing optimism for thirty-three years and anyone who knows him knows that he's been optimistic much longer than that.

This year, Larry has taken on a newly merged position for the PNW District. By combining the Membership and New Club Building Committees into the Growth Chair, Larry plans to lead us to growth in the coming year.

How will he do it? With enthusiasm, of course, and by living the Optimist Creed.

You can too! Take the pledge to Live the Creed by sending your picture  now.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Was it a good meeting? Yes!

Governor Rick Matkin wants to ensure that every district meeting meets the needs of the attendees. He also hopes to encourage more people to participate. With that in mind, he surveyed the participants at the first quarter meeting. Here's the report that he completed to review the results:

First Quarter Feedback Results

In an effort to provide to you a conference capable of meeting your needs, your Governor circulated a feedback form at the close of the first quarter conference in Kennewick, Washington. The form was completed by approximately 48% of those in attendance making it well above threshold for validity of the results. Generally any survey of this type will receive between 20% and 30% of the applicable participants.

The survey used common methods to gather the feedback and was generally received and returned without grumbling. The survey was divided into six sections for scoring purposes.

The first section was very basic and scored on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being poor and 5 being very good. The venue for the conference received an overall rating of 4.6. The price of the conference was rated at a 4.6. The menu received a score of 4.5. The appropriateness or helpfulness of the training received a 4.9.

The second section was used to get a feel if the participant felt the time they gave up for the conference was used wisely. Good use of time is essential to a well-run conference. The results for use of time indicated 92% of the participants believed the time was used wisely. The remaining 8% indicated the organizers tried to put just a little too much into the segments.

The third section was to evaluate the training and trainers. The scale there was 1 to 5 with 1 being not helpful and 5 being very useful. The cumulative training score was 4.87 just almost 4.9. The trainers were evaluated for the presentation and content of their material with Lynn Viner’s presentation of “Leadership, Rungs of the Ladder”, receiving 92% of all responses were in the top rating of the table. Rick Matkin’s presentation of “Talking with Purpose” received 90% of all responses were in the top rating of the table. Material presented was viewed as helpful and the presenters viewed as knowledgeable on their subject matter.

Section four featured comments on what the participants liked best about the conference. While there were many responses, those responses were lumped into general categories. The category receiving the most positive responses was training with 38% or all participants listing it as their first comment. Additional responses were 24% of all respondents listed “Leadership, Rungs of the Ladder”, specifically as their first comment. The presence of a positive atmosphere was listed as the first comment on 14% of all surveys.

In section five, the survey sought what was the least liked part of the conference. Those comments were far fewer and featured no one category receiving more than one response. Those responses included; cold room, the chairs, too few people, the weather, and everyone’s favorite, not enough time for a nap.

Section six asked the respondents to provide advice for upcoming conferences for this year. The feedback was placed into seven categories with 28% of the participants asking for more of the same type of training. The other response receiving more than one response was a request for specific training such as officer-elect training, new club building and the return of roundtables. That category was listed by 12% of the respondents. Other noted responses were a request for a longer time span, more feedback by district chairpersons, and additional entertainment like we had at the banquet.

Every survey submitted was reviewed with care. Notes were taken to ensure no one’s comment didn’t receive the same weight as every other comment. You can be assured the Governor and the conference organizers will keep these results in mind throughout the remainder of the year and try very hard to make each and every conference meaningful and helpful to you as an Optimist of the Pacific Northwest District.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Promise to live the Optimist Creed 1.2

pnw optimist clubs live the creed
What's a governor-elect to do in his or her year-in-waiting?

According to Governor-elect Bruce Gilbertson, he's supporting Governor Rick as needed in membership, new club building, administration and more.

Most of all, he's doing the most important thing that any Optimist Club member can do. What's that?

He's making good on his promise to live the Optimist Creed. 

You can too. Send us your picture and we'll add you to the growing list of PNW District Optimist Club members who promise to Live the Optimist Creed.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Childhood Cancer Campaign has a new face in the PNW District

A new PNW District chairperson has been appointed. According to Governor Rick:
The leadership team is very happy to have another fine Optimist step forward to join the team. Eddie Sol√≥rzano of the Meridian, Idaho Optimist Club has stepped forward and agreed to serve on the leadership team in the capacity of Childhood Cancer Chairperson. 
Eddie was quick to add he felt he could only do this job due to the commitment of two very successful chair predecessors. Eddie wanted to acknowledge the work previously done for Childhood Cancer by Dyan Graybeal and Robin Stanhope. These ladies have committed to get Eddie on the ground and running in spite of their overwhelming professional and personal schedules that prevent them from doing the job wholly on their own. 
It sounds like we got a whole committee for the price of one who placed his name in the mix. Thank you, Eddie, on behalf of all of the Optimists of the Pacific Northwest District.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Promise to live the Optimist Creed 1.1

On behalf of the PNW District leadership team and the TriCities Optimist Club, Lt. Governor Gary Smith extends a sincere thank you to all who attended the first quarter meeting of the 2016-2017 year.

Over the weekend we shared optimism, learned from one another and made plans for success. Most of all we made a promise to one another, and now to others, to live the Optimist Creed.

Have you made the promise to live the Creed?

Lt. Governor Gary Smith has made the promise.

Send us a picture and we'll let the world know that you too have made the promise for the 2016-2017 Optimist International administrative year and beyond.

Gary Smith is the Lt. Governor for Zone 4 Washington. View all PNW District Officers at this link.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Each year, the Optimist International President chooses a theme. It's an internal message crafted to help the members of the organization derive meaning and purpose to the year ahead. International President Jim Kondrasuk has chosen the phrase "Together We Can."

The Governor of each District does the same. He or she delivers a message that will unite the District in service. Governor Rick Matkin has explained his motto "Live the Creed."

While these slogans help motivate our clubs and members, they don't provide the goal. International President Jim has made the goal very simple: 100% Honor Clubs. In fact, he's declared 2016-2017 to be the year of the Honor Club. Watch his first video to learn more.

In order to prepare for success in the 2016-2017 Optimist year, following are the steps to Honor Club.

Please note - there are new requirements and these requirements will be in place for at least five years as determined by the Optimist International Board of Directors. 

Honor Club
  • Complete three or more service projects each year 
  • Complete the President’s Pride Report and Club Officer-Elect Form 
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual 
  • Grow Club by Net of +3 in membership
  • Appoint a Club Foundation Representative and make a non-restricted contribution to the OIF or CCOF 
  • Conduct a Membership Recruitment/Drive (i.(e) NOW) Program 
  • Club President or Club President-Elect (or two Designees) attend District Convention (or two other District meetings/conferences) 
  • Be current on District and OI Dues and Fees 

Distinguished Club
  • Meet Honor Club Criteria plus one of the following: 
  • Add Net + 15 in membership OR Build one or more new Clubs OR Increase by Net + 8 and build two or more JOOI Clubs
Start now and you'll find it is not that hard to make your Optimist Club an Honor Club. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Promise to live the Optimist Creed

On some days, it can be a challenge to put your most positive thoughts forward. That's why Optimist Club members rely on the Optimist Creed to help keep them straight.

Saying it aloud with your friends and fellow Optimist Club members can renew your promise to yourself and to others to "Live the Creed."

Have you made the promise to live the Creed? 

Governor Rick Matkin has made the promise.

Now it is your turn! Send us a picture and we'll let the world know that you too have made the promise for the 2016-2017 Optimist International administrative year and beyond!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How to find out what you don't know

Some might say that the best reason to attend an Optimist District meeting is to meet other Optimist Club members and learn about their clubs, projects and passions.

Others might say that the reason is to make new friends and meet with old ones.

And then there are some who think that coming to a District meeting is inspirational.

However, the best reason to attend is because you don't know what you don't know.

For those who have been members for a long time, they often feel that the meeting ritual is old hat and there is nothing new to learn. However, do they know about the new theme or the online resources, among other things?

Those who have been members for a short period of time may think that its just for the old-timers so that they can do the meet and greet. However, do they even know what an Honor Club is and why it is important to their club?

The point is that we have four District meetings per year. Each has a different purpose and character. Each is important to the successful maintenance and growth of your Optimist Club. If you are a club leader or member, make it a point to attend every one that you can because you don't know what you don't know. But you can learn!

Click here to register for the first District meeting of the 2016-2017 administrative year.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

It's a new year - are you ready to Live the Creed?

pnw optimist live the optimist creedAn introduction to the 2016-2017 theme and logo from Governor Rick Matkin

I have been watching and listening to guest presenters at our club meetings for literally years. Almost without exception the guest has commented on the Optimist Creed once the club has recited it in unison. Comments over the years have included, “that’s amazing”, “I love your creed”, “your creed is so special and meaningful”. One comment that has been offered more than once and has stuck with me over the years is the comment, “If only we all lived that, we would all be better people”. They are even more impressed when we present them with our symbol of gratitude for their presentation in the form of a coffee mug with the creed embossed on the back of it in gold.

It is from this casual comment of a guest or so that when offered the opportunity to present a theme I chose, “Promise yourself…to live the creed”.

As Optimists we have dedicated our lives and our free talents to the betterment of others. We have shared ourselves through mentoring, working, speaking, and doing. We make promises to everyone in our family, our workplace, our community, and our neighborhood. But how many of you actually make promises to yourself? Why would you suppose the creed starts with, “Promise Yourself”?

I believe the guest who has provided us with our theme this year actually believes a person who lives by this creed will actually become a better person. I know that I believe a person who lives by this creed will become a better person. I think of how many different ways this better person would present themselves. I know that as a previous supervisor and employer, a neighbor, and a taxpayer that I want to see a person who is so strong that nothing can disturb their peace of mind. I know I enjoy being with a person who always talks health, happiness and prosperity. I want to work with someone who works only for the best and then expects only the best. I want to be with a person who is enthusiastic about the success of others. To forget the mistakes of the past is to me the vision of Brett Favre throwing a touchdown minutes after he sets a new conference record for interceptions.

I have found strength in these words, especially in my business world. So often in larger bureaucratic organizations, competition is so fierce for promotion and status that the ongoing practice of back stabbing has become common place and almost an expected ritual amongst colleagues. How much better would the work place be if each person were just as enthusiastic about the success of others as they were about their own? The upside of that is, if you find someone doing so well, tag along, learn, watch and listen. If they are doing well they know something you may not yet have learned. All too often those celebrating the success of others soon find themselves celebrating their own successes.

Let me take the choice of theme and the reintroduction of shirts into our annual celebration here and explain them further. When I was recently in St. Louis attending training for Governors Elect, I took the opportunity to ask one of the organizational officers if Optimist International had an official color. The response was no there is no official color so to speak. I was perplexed since I had always seen the banners in purple and gold and many of the award vests and achievement patches. Still the answer was no.

My response to that was a decision to make this year’s shirts and logo purple and gold. If you encourage others as well as yourself to live the creed then be proud and stand out as being the banner bearing our creed. Our banners are purple and now you, too, may stand out in a crowd to live the creed and show others how it is done.

Why live the creed? It will make you a better person. People will see your commitment and those successes brought about by your abilities to live the creed. People enjoy being with others who are successful, happy, optimistic. Those people may become so happy being with you they may want to join in with the source of your creed and join an Optimist Club. You become a living and breathing symbol of the success experienced by one that has chosen to live the Optimistic way of life and “…to live the creed”.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Thank you for being an Honor Club

pnw optimist district
Another Optimist International administrative year is about to come to a close. Only hours remain to make your Optimist Club an Honor Club. Please do so.

Finish and submit your President's Pride Report. Certify that you have recognized a member of your club or community as an outstanding optimist. Pay your dues, if you haven't already. And finally, add one more new member. Do that last one even if you are already above the required quota.

You see, each year begins fresh on October 1. The only way to recognize the superior work that you have given to your community is to make the Honor Club goal by September 30.

Today is the day that all of that hard work comes to a close. We thank you for your service to your club and community and most of all, we thank you for making the right steps to ensure your Optimist Club will be around many years from now still serving the youth of your community.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Is it the end or the beginning?

The end of the Optimist International administrative year also brings us to the beginning of another.

Can you believe, here in the PNW District, the first quarterly meeting is less than 3 weeks away? 

What happens at the first quarter meeting? 
  • The District Board of Directors is installed. That Board consists of all Optimist Club presidents in the District. 
  • The District budget is approved. Who does that? The District Board of Directors. 
  • The District goals are explained and the District Board of Directors helps put the finishing touches on the yearly work plan (some call it the strategic plan). 
  • Leaders and others receive training that will help them in their Optimist Club administrative duties as well as their professional lives. 
  • District committee chairs tell us the deadlines for the Optimist International Essay, Oratorical and CCDHH contests.
  • Fellowship is shared. Nothing is more fun than learning from your peers about the different projects they perform in their Optimist Clubs and discussing similar obstacles that every Optimist Club faces today. Together we craft solutions to take to our local communities and make our Optimist Clubs stronger. 
Staying with tradition, there will be a costume party again this year. Here are the details from 2016-2017 Governor Rick Matkin: 
I know many of you are "Costume Crazy". Because of that I recognize first quarter conference would not be first quarter conference without having to come up with a costume. Our meeting is so far from Halloween this year that another theme had to be used. How about our theme? "Live the Creed". So here is how the costume theme is set up. 
The Optimist Creed has a combined 21 words or phrases that are either "traits" of a good Optimist, or are "actions" of a good Optimist. As an example; within the first line our Creed is "so strong". Being so strong is a trait of a good Optimist. That would be one of those 21 possible examples. 
You are to choose one of your personal favorites of those 21 traits or actions and develop a costume that exemplifies that trait or action. If your costume is exceptionally great, you may be called upon to tell the group why that one is your favorite or means so much to you. The judges will determine if you are one of the lucky ones. 
See, I told you it was easy. 
We will be looking forward to a great deal of creativity. 
But wait, there's more!
This is your chance to start the new Optimist year off participating in one of the very first projects of the year. The judges of the costume contest will be required to give additional points and consideration to a contestant that works their "Dime a Day" pin into their costume somehow. 
What's a "Dime a Day" pin you may ask? It is a very attractive pin given to you by the OI Foundation and Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation for having donated $36 to the Foundation or one dime per day for this Optimist year. 
Where do I get one? For those of you participating in Canada, you contact Peter Smith. For those in the United States, you contact Rocky Jackson.
Make your reservations now to attend by calling the Clover Island Inn, Kennewick, WA at 509.586.0541. Use the code CGOPTI for the PNW District Optimist room rates and then click here to register and let Governor Rick know that you'll be there.

Photo credit: Andrew Hurley

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Never settle for less

The PNW District woke up this morning in 28th place of all Optimist International Districts.   We can do better than that!

It takes your help to make our District and your Optimist Club as strong as it can be. The minimum effort is called Honor Club and it's not too late to make it. Here are the Honor Club requirements for 2015-2016:
  • Complete at least three service projects a year (submit President's Pride Report)
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Award Certification Document
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and OI dues

For those Optimist Clubs that want to do a little bit more, the Distinguished Club recognition includes:
  • Meet Honor Club requirements
  • Charter a new Optimist Club OR
  • Add net 15 new members to your Optimist Club

As of today, September 27, 2016, the Optimist Clubs that are in line to be Honor this year are:
  1. SFU, BC +2
  2. Vancouver, BC +3
  3. Vancouver North Shore, BC +1
  4. Meridian, ID +4
  5. McCall, ID +2
  6. Nampa, ID +1
  7. Albany, OR +4
  8. Hillsboro, OR +1
  9. Lebanon, OR (Distinguished) +15
  10. Portland Northeast, OR +2
  11. Portland Peninsula, OR +6 
  12. Roseburg, OR +6
  13. West Tacoma, WA (Distinguished) +1 and new Optimist Club credit
  14. Issaquah, WA +1

There are others out there that are only one or two members away. They are:
  1. Coquitlam, BC -1
  2. Mission, BC - 1
  3. Victoria, BC - 2
  4. Middleton Area, ID -2
  5. Caldwell, ID - 2
  6. Jerome, ID -2
  7. Beaverton, OR -1
  8. Chehalis-Centralia, WA -1
  9. Vancouver, WA - 2
Don't let this opportunity slip away from you to show your community and your members that you are an Optimist Honor Club.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Show your Pride - President's Pride, that is

honor club optimist international

We've already reminded you that it is crunch time - the last few days to accomplish your goals for the 2015-2016 Optimist International administrative year. We hope for most of you that the main goal is to be an Honor Club.

Honor Club is the minimum that any Optimist Club should strive for each year. It ensures that your members are being served by fiscally sound record-keeping and that your community is being served with projects it needs.

The requirements for Honor Club in the 2015-2016 administrative year are:
  • Complete at least three service projects a year (submit President's Pride Report)
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Award Certification Document
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and OI dues
For those Optimist Clubs that want to do a little bit more, the Distinguished Club recognition includes:
  • Meet Honor Club requirements
  • Charter a new Optimist Club OR
  • Add net 15 new members to your Optimist Club
The purpose of this post is to remind your club to submit its President's Pride Report. 

The President's Pride Report may be found at www.optimistleaders.org and submitted online by the club president. Alternatively, you may download a President's Pride form here and submit it via fax or mail. Be sure to have it done by September 30, 2016!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Calling all 2016-2017 Optimist Club Officers

 Register now at this link. 
Are you about to be installed as the President of your Optimist Club? If that answer is yes -
Congratulations! As of October 1, 2016, you will also be a member of the PNW District-Optimist International Board of Directors.

The District Board of Directors provides counsel to the District Executive Committee to ensure that the clubs are receiving the support they need to thrive and grow in membership and service in their communities. If you don't participate, the District doesn't know what is important to you and it might use your dues money in ways that you wouldn't choose.

That's why you must be at the first quarterly district meeting. Help the District leaders make wise choices to benefit your Optimist Club. Register now at this link. 

Other Optimist Club officers, general members and their guests are welcome and encouraged to attend all meetings with their club president. They'll be inspired by meeting other Optimist Club members from the PNW District including clubs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia and they'll learn new skills from the District Leadership Development team. There are ideas shared for personal, professional and club growth.

Rick Matkin, Governor 2016-2017, can't wait to see you and to share optimism October 14-15, 2016 at the Clover Island Inn, Kennewick, Washington. Click here for more information.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

A note from Governor Michael

Greetings Pacific NW Optimists,
What is the purpose of Optimist Clubs? We’re bringing out the best in our youth. Who actually does this job? Each and every one of us has the amazing privilege of doing this as members. 
There is a formula for the number of kids served by each member. Is this accurate? Well, in a general, statistical way, it is. In reality, projects are at the core of what our organization does. 
When we add a member, it may divide the hours among more members and make it easier. But, if we’re really lucky, a new member can add amazing facets to the project that previous members had never thought of. A new member might even come up with an incredible new idea for a project. 
Who are these new members? Many of the incentives are aimed at younger people (College and 30 under 30). Another incentive entices people who are already working with kids, like Teaching Staff. 
So, with just a few days left, I’m offering a membership prize. We have a night in the Best Western at Hood River to offer. Whoever gets the most members, from 09/12/2016 to 09/30/2016 wins the prize. In case of a tie, youthful members and Teachers get bonus points. 
Thank you,
Michael Gray
PNW Governor, 2015-16

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lebanon Optimist Club celebrates the completion of the Academy Gazebo

Today is a relaxing day for the engineer of the Academy Gazebo in Lebanon, Oregon. According to Shawn Turrentine, it will be the first day that one of his first thoughts is not the completion of the Lebanon Optimist Club project because after four years .... drum roll, please ... the Gazebo is completed!

More than 300 community members gathered with the Lebanon Optimist Club and Mayor Paul Aziz for the dedication ceremony on September 13, 2016. There was free cake and lemonade and a classic rock concert from Fate 55. Most of all there was optimism brought to you by the 116 members of the Lebanon Optimist Club.

Governor-elect Bruce Gilbertson, Lt. Governor-elect Fran Bounds, Immediate Past Governor Dick Disney and West Coast Region Vice President Linda Vaught Disney joined the festivies.

Click to watch as the ribbon is cut and the community cheers.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Make llama happy - be an Honor Club

optimist honor club

It's that time of year: crunch time!

Between now and September 30 all Optimist Clubs should be working hard to ensure that they finish as an Honor Club or better.

The Optimist Honor Club is a time-tested method of proving the viability of your Optimist Club today and into the future.

For the 2015-2016 administrative year, the requirements for Honor Club are:
  • Complete at least three service projects a year (submit President's Pride Report)
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Award Certification Document
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and OI dues
For those Optimist Clubs that want to do a little bit more, the Distinguished Club recognition includes:
  • Meet Honor Club requirements
  • Charter a new Optimist Club OR
  • Add net 15 new members to your Optimist Club
I've heard it said that less than 25% of all Optimist Clubs are Honor Clubs. If  Optimist International is to reach 100,000 members by its 100th anniversary, we must do better than that. Each  Optimist Club and each Optimist Club member must take it upon themselves to complete the minimum requirements. 

Following the trend, 25% of the Optimist Clubs in the PNW District are on track for Honor Club through membership growth at this time. They are:
  1. SFU, BC +2
  2. Vancouver, BC +1
  3. Vancouver-North Shore, BC +1
  4. Meridian, ID +1
  5. McCall, ID +2
  6. Nampa, ID +1
  7. Albany, OR +4
  8. Lebanon, OR (Distinguished) +15
  9. Portland-Northeast, OR +2
  10. Portland-Peninsula, OR +6
  11. Roseburg, OR +6
  12. Issaquah, WA +1
So let's do it. Let's make the llama happy. Make your Optimist Club an HONOR CLUB. 

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