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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.

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