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Friday, December 28, 2018

An observation about the past, an appeal for the future

linda vaught succession optimist clubsDuring the last week of the year, many websites and blogs will review their most read posts and highlight how their musings may have shaped trends and beliefs. I thought it was more telling to review what drew the least attention in our corner of optimism: Create a path to leadership.

The irony is that it occurred during a time that Optimist Club leaders were, in theory, planning for the future.

So...what was happening in the PNW District on May 12, 2018? 

On that day, Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest were attending the third quarter meeting where members heard from students in the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. Members also participated in the District Board Meeting and were introduced to the new organization structure being planned by Governor-elect Ben DeRemer. Lt. governors were being elected and preparations were being made for transitioning officers and committee positions on October 1, 2018.

It just so happens that the least read submission on the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest blog was posted May 12, 2018.  The text from "Create a path to leadership" follows:
We know this to be true - some people prefer to follow, some people want to lead, and all people like to be heard. In your Optimist Club, you must create space for the different levels of interest shown by your members and be aware, interests will likely change as engagement or disengagement occurs. 
If one person is always the committee chair of the club’s biggest event, always doing things his/her way, that leaves little room for new ideas to grow. Not only does the club suffer from the lack of new ideas, but members also become disillusioned and leave. 
The same is true for club officers. If the president and secretary-treasurer continually repeat in their roles, they create a perception that others are not needed. When people are not needed, what do they do? More often than not, they leave. 
It is up to current leaders to find and recruit their replacements so that the organization at the club level and beyond does not become stale from the lack of fresh, enthusiastic, new people, dreams, and goals. 
Great leaders are always training their replacement so that, in addition to fresh energy, they can provide continuity on the initiatives already begun that will move the organization forward. An organization like Optimist International relies on the quality of leadership that begins at the club level and is nurtured at the district level. It is more important today than ever before that succession planning begin. As individuals, we may not be here forever, but with planning, the organizations we love will thrive well into the future.
While this post cautions Optimist Clubs to make way for new leadership, it also explains that the same must be done at all levels of the organization. If the same people attend the District meetings each quarter without bringing their respective club's current officers, the same people are occupying space into which others might step. Furthermore, they are continually making decisions on behalf of others and sometimes that does not take new ideas and opinions into account. Most of all, it does not emphasize the importance of succession.

If Optimist Clubs are to continue well past the organization's Centennial Year, it is time that prospective leaders be given their clear path to succession. Some will be ready, and others will not. That is why a strong foundation of past leaders must remain engaged, but resolved to let others learn and teach the path we and our heirs are to take.

Photo credit: @rawpixel

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

At Christmastime and throughout the year, we wish you peace and happiness.

We hope you find love and kindness and that you share optimism with all around you.

Most of all, we hope that you find joy and celebrate every small step you take as if it were a large victory for our lives are gifts of the heart that we have the good fortune to experience every day.

joy to the world

Thursday, December 20, 2018

What are PNW Optimist Clubs up to this season?

Santa's helpers come in all shapes and sizes and we are happy to report that many are Optimist Club volunteers.

Their projects are varied and for the 2018 season, some that we have seen include the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club Santa House, the West Tacoma Optimist Club Peanut Butter Drive, the Hillsboro Optimist Club Baby Food Donation, the Coquitlam Optimist Club Pancake Breakfast, the Roseburg Optimist Club Santa Hotline, and the Boise Noon Optimist Club Aloha Christmas Party, among others.

pnw optimist clubs holiday

We're sure there are many more that we haven't seen and invite you to send a photo so that others may share in the joy of the season. Thanks for all that you do as an Optimist Club volunteer! We hope the season has been especially memorable for you.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Optimist volunteers are Santa's helpers

Any time of year is a good time to join an Optimist Club, but the holiday season may be the most exciting. Most Optimist Clubs host a multitude of Santa-like activities, from breakfasts to food drives, parties, and more.

While your help is needed at this busy time of year, it is also needed throughout the year when clubs sponsor Scholarship Contests, recognize children at Youth Appreciation events, and encourage good sportsmanship with Optimist Junior Golf, football, soccer, or curling, among other things.

The projects are endless and with a few more helping hands, Optimist Clubs can provide more meaningful moments to bring out the best in youth and themselves.

Please click here to find an Optimist Club near you and #joinanOptimistClub today. Your future self will appreciate it!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Childhood Health & Wellness Program announced

pnw optimist clubs children wellnessOptimist International has long been searching for a flagship program, something that allows the general public to uniquely and inherently identify a certain activity with an Optimist Club and its parent organization.

For many years, it has held the Childhood Cancer Campaign as a flagship idea. However well-meaning and accomplished this campaign has been, it does not speak to the universal mission adopted by the organization that reads, "With hope and positive vision, Optimist Clubs bring out the best in youth, our community and ourselves."

We are excited to announce in January 2019 Optimist International will introduce a new program, one that we believe could very well be a true flagship idea: The Childhood Health & Wellness Campaign.

Explained in the December Optimist International Hotline:
"The Childhood Health & Wellness Program will build on the highly successful Childhood Cancer Campaign to expand our impact. Clubs and Districts will now have the opportunity to initiate projects and services to improve the quality of life for children in their communities across a broader spectrum of needs. 
Childhood Health & Wellness will include four focus areas (not limited to the examples below):
  • Healthy Lifestyles (Child Obesity, Healthy Eating, Physical Fitness, Happy Heart Advice, March of Dimes)
  • Chronic Diseases (Childhood Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia)
  • Mental Health (Depression, Bullying, Abuse)
  • Disabilities – Physical, Intellectual & Developmental (Autism, Special Olympics)"
The Foundations will begin accepting donations for the new program in January 2019 and more information will be available at that time. 
Money previously donated to the Childhood Cancer Campaign will remain in the Childhood Cancer Campaign funds.
The value of this program is that it plays on the many strengths of the autonomous Optimist Clubs around the world. Because Optimist Clubs serve local communities by identifying local needs and designing programs to fit those needs, many projects that our clubs perform already fit inside the broad spectrum of the Childhood Health & Wellness Program. By focusing on the four areas, Optimist International will enhance the contributions its Optimist Clubs make through program support, financial contributions from its Foundations, and increased awareness worldwide.

It's true; Optimist Clubs bring out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves. The Childhood Health & Wellness Program will present new opportunities to share the Optimist difference in our communities and around the world. We can't wait to hear more and we'll publish here as soon as we do!

Photo credit: Margaret Weir

Monday, November 26, 2018

A quick review of the PNW Optimist District Fall Board Meeting

The First Quarter District Meeting for the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International was held November 16-18, 2018. Renamed the Fall Board Meeting, there were fewer attendees than the meeting has seen in the past, but we believe that was due to the scheduling change that moved the meeting too close to the Thanksgiving (US) holiday.

Six first-timers were there, as was Optimist International Certified International Trainer Tracy Huxley. Together they helped bridge any perceived generation gap as Tracy reminded those assembled, "We and Them IS Us."

pnw optimist clubs first timers

During a special convention session, authorized by International President Rebecca Butler Mona, several important decisions were made for the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District.

First was an increase in dues. Beginning January 1, 2019, regular members in Optimist Clubs in the PNW District will pay $20 annually to the District coffers. College members will pay $5 annually. Any members added with an Optimist International incentive such as Homecoming, $30 Under 30, or the Recruit a Teacher Incentive are exempt from District dues.

PNW Optimist Clubs Ben DeRemerThe second decision was the adoption of an entirely new set of PNW District Policies. The policies are different than we have seen before, and according to Governor Ben DeRemer, bring the District in closer alignment with the policies and bylaws of Optimist International.

Governor Ben appeared confident and prepared with the changes he has proposed and will now enact for the PNW District. One of the changes that might cause confusion is the creation of 6 separate Assistant Governor positions. Each Assistant Governor will chair a standing committee and oversee a number of subcommittees that we would typically believe to stand alone. Please click the link below to review the standing committees on page 2 of the November newsletter. 

We hope that you will save the date for the Spring Board Meeting. It will be held April 12-14, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Suites, Bellingham, WA. This meeting will feature the District Finals for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH). A Certified International Trainer has been requested to lead the Catch-A-Rising Star program, among other things, and of course, the District Board Meeting will be held as well.

Regional meetings will be held in March to facilitate the second level of competition in the Scholarship Contests on the following dates and locations:

  • Alaska - March 2, 2019
  • Utah - March 2, 2019
  • Oregon - March 9, 2019
  • Idaho - March 16, 2019
  • Washington - March 23, 2019
  • British Columbia (mainland) - March 30, 2019
  • Vancouver Island (Victoria) - April 6, 2019
  • Yukon Territory - April 6, 2019
More information will be published as it becomes available. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Optimist Club rakes-up Boise

NeighborWorks is a nonprofit organization in Boise created to provide housing solutions for underserved populations. It accomplishes its mission by creating strategic partnerships which contribute to building stronger communities. Neighbors help neighbors through NeighborWorks Boise and they have been doing so since 1985. What does this have to do with an Optimist Club?

Since 1985, the Boise (Noon) Optimist Club has been working with the organization to Rake-up Boise and Paint the Town. The two signature programs have united service clubs, banks, churches, businesses, and others in projects that make Boise a more livable community for 33 years. The Optimist Club has been involved since its inception.

With it being autumn, you can probably guess in which project the Boise Optimist Club recently participated. It involved rakes, leaves, and a good group of smiling Optimist Club volunteers. Here are a few scenes from Rake-up Boise with the Nooners at Rake-up Boise.

Photos courtesy of Lisa Peterson.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Share optimism every day, especially on Thanksgiving Day

As Optimist Club members, we share our hope and positive thoughts with all around us.

Reciting the Optimist Creed is only one of the feel-good rituals that bind Optimist Clubs together under the umbrella of Optimist International. Programs that make a positive impact on youth, community and ourselves are other reasons that we are united.

Most of all, we come together to share optimism, and that is what we are thankful for today.

We appreciate all of those who serve as Optimist Club member volunteers in an effort to make our world a better place to live. We appreciate the hope that you share with others. We appreciate the optimism that you practice. We appreciate you. Thank you, and have a happy Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

An incentive to recruit more teachers

pnw optimist clubs membership offer
Does $30 sound like a good price point to encourage someone to try out an Optimist Club?

Optimist International thinks so and that is why it has announced that the Recruit A Teacher for $30 remains in effect for the administrative year October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019.

Just like the $30 for under 30 program, the Recruit a Teacher incentive allows a new member to join for a flat rate. There are no processing fees and in the PNW District, there are no additional district dues. Teachers, administrators, counselors, coaches, and others who work in the school system, may join for only $30 for the first year of membership.

Adding teachers or school personnel to an Optimist Club's roster is a boost to a local club's programming options. It gives a direct contact for the Scholarship Programs and informs the club of appropriate times, locations, and other teachers with whom to connect to expand the reach of the Optimist Club. Additionally, it might just provide the needed insight to start a Junior Optimist Club and help your club serve even more children.

Please click on the image to get the details for the Recruit a Teacher program then head on over to your closest school and start recruiting. Now. Thank you.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

An incentive to recruit young professionals

pnw optimist clubs 30
Every Optimist Club should plan for growth. Adding new members to our clubs is how we accomplish our mission of bringing out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves. New members bring ideas, energy, and even more new members. All together, they generate the funding that is needed to operate our programs and share optimism with the world.

The Optimist International Membership Committee has created a membership recruitment calendar that it recommends be used to target individuals each month. This month, for November, the suggestion is to recruit young professionals.

Furthermore, it recommends using the popular "30 and under for $30" program.

What is it?

The $30 under 30 program lets Optimist Clubs add members who are 30 years of age or younger to their club roster for only $30 for the first year. There are no administration fees and no district dues to be paid for the new members who are added under this program. Please click to enlarge the photo to learn more.

The incentive allows young adult members to experience the positive force of an Optimist Club without a financial impact. Our hope is they renew at the end of the first year, and for many years to follow.

Please add this resource to your Optimist Club's membership recruitment plan and help Optimist International make a difference in your community for another 100 years.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

It's time to come home

We typically share a membership recruitment and retention tip on Facebook on the second Saturday of the month. This tip has such a great offer from Optimist International that we couldn't wait. We had to share today!

Membership retention and recruitment tip #63: Welcome past members with open arms. 

homecoming optimist club memberTimes change and so do the commitments and interests of those who once belonged to your Optimist Club. It’s important to always keep the door open for your past members to return. 

Unless they asked to be removed, keep them on a special event mailing list and touch base with them occasionally to see how they are doing. Ask past members to help with projects that were interesting to them and to attend social activities with the group. 

In time, some may ask to rejoin. Don’t be pushy, but don’t be afraid to ask them to return. You never know when the time is right for them to say, “Yes!” 

Right now, through September 30, 2019, it’s even easier with the special Homecoming offer from Optimist International. Past members can rejoin ANY Optimist Club for only $30.00. Now that's a membership recruitment and retention tip worth sharing with all. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Scholarship Contests, oh my!

It's true!

Perhaps the easiest projects for an Optimist Club to hold are the communications programs for which Optimist International is known. What are they?

The Scholarship Contests

There are three contests that start at the Optimist Club level that lead students to $2,500 scholarship awards and one can lead to as much as $22,500!

All are outlined in handy club-level planning guides accessible through the links below.

The topic for the 2018-2019 Optimist International Essay Contest is "When All the World’s Problems are Solved, is Optimism Still Necessary?"
Download the entry form.

The topic for the 2018-2019 Optimist International Oratorical World Championships is “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?” 
Download the entry form.

The topic for the 2018-2019 Optimist International Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH)  is “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?”
Download the entry form.

There is also a program for younger students preparing to enter the Oratorical World Championships called Kids Speak Out. Optimist Clubs may choose the topic for this contest.

New Rules

There are new rules in place regarding the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. The biggest change is that students who have won second or third place scholarships at the District level are now eligible to return to competition. Only students who have placed first at a District level competition are ineligible to participate.
Read all the rules changes here.

In the Pacific Northwest District the following guidelines must be observed:

  • Optimist Clubs must submit their winning essay to the District Chairperson by February 28, 2018
  • There will be no zone contests for the Oratorical or CCDHH. Regional contests will be held for the Oratorical Contest and the CCDHH at the same time.  The dates of the regional contests are Oregon - March 9, 2019; Idaho - March 16, 2019; Washington and Alaska - March 23, 2019; British Columbia - March 30, 2019. 
  • Two contestants from each state in the Oratorical and CCDHH contests will advance to the District competition on April 12, 2019. 
Questions regarding the competitions should be addressed to the lieutenant governor in each zone. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Marching with optimism

optimist international michigan marching band
Photo from 1973, Michigan v Illinois, Ann Arbor, MI. 
Many Optimist Club members and their respective Optimist Clubs are thinking about the Centennial. As Optimist International celebrates its first 100 years of service, everyone wants to get in on the party.

We shared this photo on Facebook (post embedded below) today as a Throwback Thursday memory, and wow, has it created some interest, including International President Rebecca Butler Mona who said, "Love this! Definitely worth seeing if it could be done again... anyone know how this was arranged in 1973? #Optimist100 #PromiseYourself"

So we're asking colleagues, friends, and alumni near and far, does your alma mater want to show some Optimist pride? Let us know what it might take to get a college band marching with optimism.

We'd sure love to share a new marching band photo for the Centennial Celebration!

Photo credit: Of Dreams and Deeds

Monday, October 15, 2018

Register today for the First Quarter 2018-2019 PNW Optimist District Meeting

pnw district optimist registration
The first quarter district meeting for the PNW District will be held November 16-18, 2018 at the Clover Island Inn in Kennewick, Washington. We're excited to let you know the registration is now live.

Governor Ben DeRemer welcomes all Optimist Club members and officers to be there as a renewed strategic plan for the PNW District is put to work.  Governor Ben hopes to provide extra support to Optimist Clubs with special attention from an enlarged cadre of lieutenant governors and an increased number of zones. Register today for the meeting so you may learn how your Optimist Club will benefit from the extra attention.

Joining the PNW District at this first meeting will be Tracy Huxley, Certified Optimist International Trainer, and TG Thomas, West Region Vice President-Optimist International. Both will share education and training tips including how the organization will celebrate its first 100 years.

We'll publish the full agenda when it becomes available. For now, here are the links to the minutes from the PNW District Convention:
Executive Committee | District Board Meeting

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Please register online now. 

Or click here to print and mail your registration form: https://goo.gl/sXnbKH.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Pin one on for new members

Immediate Past Governor Bruce Gilbertson visited the Lebanon Optimist Club today to recognize Michelle Steinhebel for sharing optimism with other members of her community. Michelle has recruited five new members who are now part of the Lebanon Optimist Club and the PNW District- Optimist International.

Recognizing Optimist Clubs and their members is one of the perks of being a district leader and you can tell from Bruce's smile that he is enjoying the moment.

Michelle is currently serving as Vice President of the Lebanon Optimist Club. Thanks, Michelle, for bringing others to our positive way of life.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Happy Optimist New Year!

Starting your Optimist Club's year off on the right foot means you are thinking of growth, service, and optimism. In Optimist International's Centennial Year, International President Rebecca Butler Mona suggests adding a celebration to your club's plans.

Listen to President Rebecca's first video message here.

Read more about the Centennial Celebration opportunities here.

Plan to join the PNW District - Optimist International at the First Quarter District meeting November 16-17, 2018 in Kennewick, Washington. Registration will open soon.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Promise yourself in 2018-2019

And with a blink of the eye, a new Optimist Club administrative year has begun.

pnwoptimist Sometimes I wonder if the days are getting shorter because September 30 seems to arrive before we've had the chance as an Optimist Club to do all that we want to do. However, the good news is that on October 1, we wake up and do it all over again. Why do we do that? Why do we start our calendar of projects all over again? Because:

  • We make a difference in our communities as we do projects that are needed to make our neighborhoods welcoming places to call home. 
  • We make a difference with youth as we coordinate activities with a special emphasis on those that impact children in a positive way. 
  • We make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us as we live the way the Optimist Creed inspires us to do. 

Being an Optimist Club member is a way to share optimism with others. For 100 years, Optimist Club members have been looking for the best, working for the best and expecting only the best. As Optimist International's Centennial year begins, we invite you, here in the Pacific Northwest District and around the world to promise yourself to celebrate with us as we invest in the future of Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to Governor Bruce Gilbertson for his leadership in 2017-2018.

Best wishes to Governor Ben DeRemer for what we imagine will be a fantastic year to come.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Announce your Outstanding Optimist (please)

Has your Optimist Club named someone as an Outstanding Optimist this year?

An Outstanding Optimist is a member of your club or your community that has gone above and beyond in service to others or has provided hope or funding for your club or community to accomplish its goals.

The purposes of recognizing an Outstanding Optimist are quite simple. In addition to giving a well-earned pat on the back to a deserving individual, your Optimist Club may use the opportunity to advance the goals of Optimist International by publishing the award in your local newspaper and on social media. Sharing the optimistic news builds awareness and affinity for your Optimist Club and its causes.

To put it more succinctly, it gets your name out there and as you know, Optimist Clubs need more name recognition.

Plus, awarding someone for doing good in the club or community is a requirement for Honor Club.

Please report your award winner to Optimist International with this form by September 30. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Report your Optimist Club Pride (please)

At the end of every administrative year, Optimist International asks its Optimist Clubs to report on the activities with which they have been involved throughout the year. The report, available to complete online at www.optimistleaders.org, is called the Club Pride Report.

It may also be downloaded as a PDF form here: Club Pride Report.

The Club Pride Report helps clubs identify the steps they have taken to reach Distinguished or Honor Club and it allows the parent organization to combine the activities of its clubs into data that can be shared with others. How do you think we know that each member touches the lives of 35 children each year? Numbers like that are collected along with the number of projects and types of projects that each Optimist Club performs annually to make their community and our world a better place to live.

This is a call to all club presidents to complete the Club Pride Report at your earliest convenience. If you are not a club president, get ahold of your club officers and remind them that this is important. We would like to see it completed by September 30 each year. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

We must take action

TG Thomas
It's been one month since the PNW District Optimist Clubs came together at the 2018 District Convention. Hosted by the Lebanon Optimist Club, it was a splendid event. The Lebanon Optimists shared information about their community and their club and their Optimist pride was easy to see. 

Glenda StandevenDuring the weekend, we had the opportunity to hear from TG Thomas, the official representative from Optimist International and incoming vice president of the West Region. TG led the officers-elect training and gave a presentation about membership growth, relating the need to volunteer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. As Maslow indicated, once the basic needs of personal well-being and security are met, individuals seek to belong and rise to find a sense of accomplishment and prestige among their peers. Only then do they move on to self-actualization where they try to achieve their full potential through creative activities, among other things. Imagine the last two stages: can't both be achieved by belonging to an Optimist Club? 

In a very inspirational presentation, we also heard from a fellow Optimist Club member and incoming president of the Chilliwack Optimist Club, Glenda Standeven. Glenda is a cancer survivor who has used her experience to author the book, "I am Choosing to Smile." She shared her story about learning her diagnosis, having her leg and hip amputated, and adjusting to her new lifestyle. Her key message was that we make choices every day about how we are to live. For her, choosing to smile is a mantra and the way she encourages herself to take action every day. 

To illustrate her point, Glenda lit the candle that can be seen on the podium in the picture to the right. Channeling "The Secret," she asked the audience to will the candle to extinguish. As persons with a positive mindset, the audience tried with all their might to fulfill Glenda's wish, but alas, they could not. Then Glenda said, "As optimists, we can hope. As realists, we realize we have to take action to make our goals happen."

Yes, indeed. To achieve our goals for ourselves, for our communities, for the youth, and for our Optimist Clubs, we must take action today. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Optimism looks good on you

Optimist International is celebrating its 100th anniversary. From the July 2018 International Convention to the International Convention in 2019, Optimist Clubs and their members are invited to do the same.

One easy way to show your pride is to share the 100th Anniversary logo and slogan, "Bringing out the best into the next century" via your Facebook profile picture.

Give it a try! Optimism looks good on you.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

What's an Honor Club?

Optimist International measures the success of its Optimist Clubs based on one achievement:
Honor Club.

The Honor Club award means that an Optimist Club is managing itself in a way that will help it succeed far into the future.

Earning Honor Club helps your Optimist Club create its legacy and ensures that Optimist International can move forward into the second century of service. 

Earning Honor Club means hope for the future.

The Honor Club criteria are set forth by the Optimist International Board of Directors in Policy ICD-135.  They are:
  1. Complete three or more service projects each year 
  2. Complete the Club Pride Report and Club Officer-Elect Report 
  3. Recognize a Club member or local community individual 
  4. Grow Club by Net of +3 in membership
  5. Appoint a Club Foundation Representative and make a non-restricted contribution to the OIF or CCOF 
  6. Conduct a Membership Recruitment/Drive (i.e. NOW) Program 
  7. Club President or Club President-Elect (or two Designees) attend District Convention (or two other District meetings/conferences) 
  8. Be current on District and OI Dues and Fees
Optimist Clubs that demonstrate a further commitment to growth are called Distinguished Optimist Clubs

Earning Distinguished Optimist Club helps Optimist International create its legacy.

The Distinguished Club criteria are set forth by the Optimist International Board of Directors in Policy ICD-135. In addition to earning an Honor Club recognition, they must also:
  1. Meet Honor Club requirements
  2. Add Net + 15 in membership OR Build one or more new Clubs OR Increase by Net + 8 and build two or more JOOI Clubs
With 30 days remaining in the Optimist International administrative year, it's time to focus on making the first century of optimism the best it can be. Won't you finish the year strong and start the celebration of 100 years of Optimism as an Honor or Distinguished Optimist Club?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Guarantee satisfaction in your Optimist Club

Is it time for a membership retention and recruitment tip again? Of course, it is. With this idea, this once-a-month suggestion has completed five years of publication. I hope you like it!

Membership retention and recruitment tip #60: Give a money back guarantee.

I recently bought a pair of slippers online. I wanted the slippers and had been looking everywhere for them. Sadly, when they arrived, they did not feel good on my feet. They were tight and a tad short and the top didn’t come as far down on my foot as I would like and...you get the picture. Even though they were something I had wanted for months, I hadn’t tried them on and when I did, they did not work, so I had to return them. Fortunately, the business made the return process simple. 

Club memberships should work the same way. People are curious about what service clubs do and often they are interested in being associated with the people who belong to such organizations, but they are sometimes hesitant to join because they don’t want to spend money on something that isn’t a good fit for them at the time. That’s where a money back guarantee comes into play. 

Ask potential members to give your club a try and if they are not satisfied in 90 days, let them know you’ll refund their investment, no questions asked. Then make it a priority to help the new recruit become a fully involved member so that they want to stay.

Being involved in a cause helps one develop loyalty. Loyalty leads to commitment and commitment leads to passion. All are desirable traits for member retention and all make it easier to attract more people to the cause. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Hope and a positive vision to bring out the best

Bringing out the best is a popular catchphrase that reminds every Optimist Club member of the fifth line of the Optimist Creed where we promise to think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Bringing out the best in ourselves, our communities, and the youth we serve has been part of our way of life since the organization was formally organized in 1919. Bringing out the best is what Optimist Club members do every day because when we work to bring out the best in others and ourselves, we foster hope and share a positive vision.

Please enjoy this look at 100 years of optimism as Optimist Clubs around the world launch the 100th Anniversary Celebration.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Notes from the 2018 PNW District - Optimist International Convention

The PNW District - Optimist International Convention has come to a close. It was perhaps the most incredible show of hospitality that I have ever seen from a hosting club and community. Kudos and thanks are due the Lebanon Optimist Club and the City of Lebanon, Oregon.

Twenty-six Lebanon Optimist Club members were pre-registered for the convention and more attended specific events including the Friday activities of a train excursion and barbecue with a terrific string band held at the Academy Park, home to the fabulous gazebo commissioned by the Lebanon Optimist Club and donated to the city.

lebanon optimists clubThe activities began with the Thursday morning golf outing at Trysting Tree Golf Club with fifteen golfers, aka early arrivers to the convention. Some early arrivals attended the Lebanon Optimist Club meeting, held every Thursday at noon, while others came together to discuss the Oratorical and CCDHH processes meeting as a task force created during the third quarter board meeting. The executive committee and dinner followed.

Governor Bruce Gilbertson presided at the Opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. where we met many enthusiastic first-timers, seventeen of them from Lebanon. We also met TG Thomas, VP-elect of the West Coast Region, as he gave greetings from Optimist International as the International Representative and Jerry Deas, the governor-elect of the PNW Kiwanis District.

Gary Marks, Lebanon City Manager and Lebanon Optimist Club member, gave a very heartfelt welcome to the group, highlighting the city's economic development efforts that include Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine, a veteran's home, and the convention center, and other things, all within walking distance of the beautiful Boulder Falls Inns, our location for the weekend.

Gary explained that he is Chairman of the United States Mint Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and a coin design artist. He told the story of how he designed an Optimist coin, using the tenet from the Optimist Creed, "To look at the sunny side of everything and give every living creature you meet a smile," as inspiration. Totally surprising all attendees, Gary gave each person a coin to take home as a souvenir of the weekend, and a way to remind us of our optimism as a token to carry in our pocket or purse.

In a brief candlelight ceremony, Robin Stanhope gave a remembrance to nine Optimist Club members who had passed since the last convention and the party adjourned for the evening.

Friday was, as always, training day for incoming officers. TG Thomas led the Optimist Club officer session in the morning and gave an introductory presentation at the member luncheon. Additional training was held in the afternoon before attending the Friday activities expertly planned and led by the Lebanon Optimist Club and highlighted by the Wild Hog String Band.

pnwdoptimistSaturday started out with an Old Timer's gathering. Apparently, the newbies took the title at its word as the old-timers were the audience for a delightful look at the history of Lebanon.

The Convention/Business Session had the attendees review four separate policy amendments. Two were suggested and passed to bring the District Policies in line with the Optimist International Bylaws. Issue 1 removed extraneous wording by acknowledging that lieutenant governors and assistant governors are part of the executive committee as are the governor, governor-elect/designate, and secretary/treasurer. Issue 2 followed the Optimist International amendment stating that those holding offices must be Optimist Club members and those advancing to the office of governor-elect must have served a full-term as Optimist Club president.

Issue 3 was suggested and approved in order to fully realize the membership incentives offered by Optimist International. For example, if an incentive offers an introductory fee of $30, as does the teachers' incentive or $30 or under 30, the District will not expect or bill the District dues which would increase the membership fee over the advertised amount.

Issue 4 had those assembled look at a $4 dues increase. Bringing both pro and con rebuttals to the podium, the dues increase proposal failed. District dues for Optimist Club members in the PNW District will continue to be $18.

Probably because he is doing such a great job in the role, Governor-elect Ben DeRemer was elected to a second term as governor-elect. For the first time ever, the PNW District will have an individual repeat in the role of the governor: Ben will serve as governor 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

pnwdoptimistWith the business of the District completed, the group moved to a luncheon where it heard an inspirational message from Chilliwack Optimist Club member, a cancer survivor, and author Glenda Standeven. Sponsor pins were given to those who had sponsored new members since the last meeting and the audience enjoyed the Centennial video produced by Optimist International before moving forward to an afternoon of Optimist Club bragging at the club project sharing session and roundtable discussions.

The Lebanon Optimist Club's hospitality continued to shine as a fantastic Governor's Banquet was held complete with a bagpiper, professional singer, and the Albany Swing Band.

Many thanks to all involved in the production of this enthusiastic gathering of the PNW District - Optimist International. It was a five-star affair. Thank you.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The West Tacoma Optimist Club offers pancakes once every year

Pancake breakfasts continue to be a popular fundraising effort for service clubs around the world and that holds true in the Tacoma, Washington area. For over 25 years, the West Tacoma Optimist Club has offered up pancakes on the first Saturday in August as a way to raise support for its club, both in revenues and participation. The annual event includes a silent auction and book sale.

While attendance may not be the same as when started so many years ago, the enthusiasm is just as great and while the club members catch up with many loyal community member attendees, they also have fun, sharing stories with one another and hatching up new ideas for programs in the coming new year. This short video is just a sample of the fellowship that the West Tacoma Optimist Club members offer to those who might wish to join their ranks. If you are interested in being an Optimist volunteer in Tacoma or elsewhere, please find a club at this link, visit it, and join!

Friday, July 27, 2018

TG Thomas will represent Optimist International at 2018 PNW District Convention

pnw optimist clubs
TG Thomas, or Dr. Tom as he is widely known, is a proud member of an Optimist Club. How do I know? His Facebook profile picture, shared at the right, says so.

Dr. Tom is also the Vice President-designate for the West Coast Region, Optimist International. He will visit the PNW District as the International Representative in Lebanon, Oregon, August 9-11, 2018.

Dr. Tom is an accomplished Optimist Club and District leader. He led the Pacific Southwest District to be a Distinguished District in 2012-2013 and earned the recognition of Outstanding Governor of the Region, a recognition determined by overall growth.

In addition to being an advocate for growth, Dr. Tom is health conscious and has sparked initiatives in his home district to help improve the children's health and reduce childhood obesity. He will share some of his ideas as part of the leadership training and motivation that will be provided at the convention.

Please be sure and register, if you haven't already. Reduced prices are available until August 3, 2018. Hurry! We can't wait to meet you!

Monday, July 23, 2018

See you in Lebanon for the 2018 PNW District - Optimist International Convention

Read about the Lebanon Optimist Club in The Optimist.
(click to enlarge)
Currently, with 93 members, the Lebanon Optimist Club is nearing the 100-mark on its membership roster. It takes enthusiasm and purpose to meet the expectations of that many people in a small community. In my mind, that means the Lebanon Optimist Club has tricks it can share with other Optimist Clubs about member recruitment and retention. You and other members of your Optimist Club can learn from the Lebanon Optimists first-hand by attending this year's PNW District - Optimist International Convention.

It is taking place August 9-11, 2018 at the Premier Boulder Falls Best Western, 505 Mullins Drive, and Lebanon Convention Center, 605 Mullins Drive, Lebanon, Oregon.

Meeting members of the Lebanon Optimist Club is just the beginning of the exciting weekend that is planned. The Lebanon Optimists are taking their hosting duties seriously and according to District Secretary/Treasurer Mary White and Convention Co-Chair Weezie Devinny, the excitement begins Thursday morning with a golf outing for the early arrivals.

The opening session, Thursday evening, will feature a performance from Lebanon's Dance School for entertainment and a professional singer performing the Star Spangled Banner and Oh Canada. (Rumor has it the singer is Weezie's twin brother!) Presentation of the flags will be conducted by the Dalas Cadets.

Following a day of training for club and district officers-elect, the Lebanon Optimists will take the group on an adventure to Sweet Home via the Santiam Excursion Trains.  After the 1.5-hour trip, at about 6:00 p.m., attendees will gather at Optimist Gazebo in Academy Square for a barbecue and entertainment by the Wild Hog String Band. Community members will likely join the group for the evening entertainment as this is a public facility.

Saturday features the district board of directors meeting and election of the governor-elect 2018-2019. There will also be roundtable discussions and time for club project sharing in the afternoon. At 5:30 p.m., all Optimist Club members, and their guests will move to the social hour and Governor's Banquet where more entertainment awaits featuring a silent auction before dinner and the LHS Jazz Band after dinner so you can end the evening with a dance or two with your Optimist friends.

Kudos to the Lebanon Optimist Club, Weezie DeVinny and Heather McDaniel for the work they've done to make the PNW Optimist Clubs welcome in their community. We're looking forward to meeting the Lebanon Optimists and seeing you there!

If you haven't yet registered, please click here to download the registration form.
Please click here to view the program on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chilliwack Optimist Club hosts Fred Wellsby Junior Divot Golf Tournament

Hosted by the Chilliwack Optimist Club, the Fred Wellsby Junior Divot Golf Tour takes place annually in July. It is a five-round tournament culminating in the Champions Invitational as the final event.

This year, sixteen junior golfers, all ages 16 and under made it to the final round played at the Chilliwack Golf Club July 12, 2018.

Earning the Champion of Champions title was 12-year old Ryan Burns of Abbotsford, BC. Ryan ended the day with a two over par 74 that included birdies on holes five and six.

The top female golfer was Sarah Armstrong who closed out the day with a 96. The Chilliwack junior golfer is 11-years old.

Photos courtesy of the Chilliwack Optimist Club. To see more photos from the event, please visit the Chilliwack Optimist Club on Facebook.

For more information on the tournament, please contact Glenda Standeven.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Yes, I Can

captain i can pnw optimist clubs
Governor Bruce and Judy Gilbertson traveled to Ottawa, Ontario for the 100th Optimist International Convention July 8-10, 2018.

This annual event welcomed Optimist Club members and Optimist District leaders from 23 countries around the world. This year, they were joined by Captain I Can.

With a Jamaican accent, the Robot Superhero was there to encourage the assembly to never give up, to accomplish their goals, achieve their purpose, and to help others reach their goals as well.

The goal of every Optimist International District is always to reach Distinguished. In order for the PNW District to do that this year, we need every Optimist Club member to say, "Yes, I can. Together, we can!"

Join the Captain, the Governor, and your fellow Optimist Club members by promising to make your Optimist Club an Honor Club and thereby ensuring the PNW District's return to Distinguished District status.

Your individual goal is to sponsor one new member to your Optimist Club. Can you do it?

Photo courtesy of Judy Gilbertson.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Topics revealed for 2018-2019 Optimist International Scholarship Contests

The Optimist International Convention is taking place today through Tuesday, July 8-10, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

During the convention, the topics for the Scholarship Contests for the coming year are revealed. They are:

Optimist International Essay Contest - "When All the World's Problems are Solved, is Optimism Still Necessary?"

Optimist International Oratorical Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing - "Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?"

When available, complete contest rules will be posted at http://www.optimist.org/member/scholarships1.cfm.

Please use this notice as a heads-up so that your Optimist Club can make connections with your local schools in August.

All scholarship contests begin at the Optimist Club level. If you are a potential student contestant, teacher, counselor, or parent, please find an Optimist Club near you at this link.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Join the Lebanon Optimists at the 2018 PNW District Optimist Convention

The Lebanon Optimist Club is excited to welcome the PNW District - Optimist International to their hometown for the 2018 PNW District Optimist Convention. Acting as co-chairs for the event, Weezy Devinny and Heather McDaniel promise a great time with music, entertainment, and of course, the education and inspiration that all Optimist Club members and leaders need to finish this administrative year strong and get started on the 100th year of optimism in a jubilant fashion.

The convention will be held at the Best Western Premier Boulder Falls Inn, 505 Mullins Drive, Lebanon, Oregon. Please register by July 18 to receive the nightly room rate of $119.

You may click the registration form on the right to enlarge and print. Registration before August 3 is $120 US or $155 CA. There are also options for one-day registrations.

Please check back here occasionally, or on Facebook, because more information will be provided soon regarding the activities of the weekend.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Optimist International announces top youth speaker

The third annual Optimist International Oratorical World Championships were held June 28-29, 2018 at St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO and a winner has been declared.

Congratulations to Caleb Smith!

Representing the South Carolina District, Southeast Region, Caleb placed first among 9 regions and 54 contestants at the world championship event. As did all contestants, he also faced competition and triumphed in Optimist Club, Zone and/or Regional, and District-level competitions in order to reach the ultimate speak-off.

Coming in second place was Dominique Ruedaflores of the Pacific Southeast District, West Coast Region. In third place was Christopher Burrell, Kansas District, Midwestern Region.

The contest may be viewed on YouTube, Optimist International World Oratorical Championships. For the finals, please scroll to 2:20:13.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Optimist International Oratorical World Championships to be held June 28-29, 2018

asha mior pnwoptimist This week, the PNW District - Optimist International Oratorical Champion, Asha Mior, is headed to St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri to compete live in the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.

This is the third year of the enhanced competition for the Optimist Club Oratorical Contest. Thanks to a partnership with St. Louis University, there is an extra opportunity for earning scholarships, $5,000 to each regional winner plus an additional $15,000 to the tournament champion. 

This is the first year that the PNW District will compete in-person. The World Championships was first designed as an opportunity to compete remotely, from around the world, but has adapted to a joint live and remote opportunity. Some contestants will compete from their local base while others will compete in-person before the St. Louis audience. The judges watch all contestants via the remote method. 

You are invited to watch remotely as well at http://www.optimist.org/stream.

The West Coast Region will compete Thursday, June 28, 2018, 4:00 p.m. CST. (That's central time, remember.) Please click to enlarge the complete schedule below. 

optimist international oratorical 2018

We send best wishes for success to Asha!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Dick Brodie earns Lifetime Achievement Award

dick brodie pnw optimist clubsHe's an avid golfer and past Distinguished Governor of the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International. At home,  he's a dedicated Optimist, a charter member of the Mission, BC Optimist Club.

Recently the community took notice and said thank you to Dick Brodie for his volunteer service as he was given the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award by the District of Mission.

Among some of the highlights of his volunteer career are sports coaching for lacrosse, soccer, and badminton. He's organized charity golf tournaments for more than 18 years and of course, been an Optimist Club member for longer than that.

It's easy to see that Dick cares for others as he encourages them to be involved in their community. He says, "The best part about volunteering is the people that you meet. Go out, find something that you love doing, and then help as many people as possible."

We congratulate Dick Brodie on his recognition and send hearty compliments on his service to youth and community.

Thanks to Rose Brodie for sending the flyer to us to share.

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