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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lara Maccabee donates $9,000 to the Twin Falls Optimist Youth House

Optimist Clubs are known for giving money and support to many causes. The Twin Falls Optimist Club recently welcomed a young lady to their meeting who made a role reversal. She presented a check for $9,000 to the Optimist Club to support the Optimist Youth House. Read on to hear about Lara Maccabee's senior project in her own words: 

For my project, I ran the rim to rim to rim of the Grand Canyon and raised money for the Twin Falls Optimist Youth House. I chose to raise money for the Youth House because this cause has really touched my heart. I believe that no person should be homeless and it resonates strongly and upsets me when I think of young people of my own age who do not have the comfort of a bed and the basics of life. With this, I decided to raise money for this cause by taking on the challenge of running the Rim to Rim on the Grand Canyon. I reached out to different businesses and individuals throughout the community by sending out a letter asking for donations starting at $100, $250, $500 or any other amount that the company or individual was willing to donate. I was pleasantly surprised by the extensive amount of donations I received. I got donations ranging from $100 clear up to $1000 per sponsor.

On May 24, my family and I arrived at Jacob Lake Campground where we pitched tents and got ready for our adventure. The next day, my family and two close friends of ours, and I began our descent into the Grand Canyon We hiked 15 miles via the North Kaibab Trail to Phantom Ranch which is located at the bottom of the Canyon. The hike down was very beautiful. We were just beginning to see the sunrise above the canyon which was a spectacular sight. It was cool to look back every now and again to see how far you have come from the top as you hike deeper and deeper into the canyon. We arrived at Phantom Ranch just before noon where we stopped to have lunch and dip our feet into the river to cool off before heading out onto the Bright Angel trail. Phantom Ranch was a really unique location. When you look directly out of the canyon, you can see the layers of rock formation and different colors of rocks that formed years prior. We continued our journey on the Bright Angel Trail toward the South Rim which was 16 miles out of the canyon. The last four miles were the very challenging part of the run. The climb kept getting steeper and my legs were starting to get heavy with fatigued. It was very rewarding once we reached the top and looked down into the Canyon where we just came from hours prior. My total hiking time for day one was 10 hours and 50 minutes.
When the rest of my group came out of the canyon, we walked to our hotel room which was about a half-mile walk from the Bright Angel Trail Head. The next morning we woke up at 4:00 a.m and arrived at the Bright Angel Trail on the South Rim at 5:40 a.m. We took the same trail that we hiked the day before. We hiked 16 miles to Phantom Ranch which took us five hours. We then continued running on the Bright Angel Trail all the way to the top of the Canyon. Again, the scenery was magnificent. I loved the change in perspectives that I witnessed over the two days. From seeing the colors on the wall of the canyon change as I descended deeper and deeper into the canyon, to the change in tree color was truly an unique experience. By the end of day two, my total hiking time was 10 hours and 55 minutes giving a grand total of just under 22 hours.
This journey was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I have done. I would like to thank the Twin Falls Optimist Club for allowing me to work with them for my senior project and all the members in our community who donated in support of this amazing cause. I would now like to present my $9000 check to the Twin Falls Optimist Club in support of the Youth House.

This story was reprinted from the Twin Falls Optimist Club The Blab for12/12/2019.

What a wonderful example of how students can make a difference by helping others while challenging themselves. Thank you, Lara, for your perseverance and your wonderful donation to the Twin Falls Optimist Youth House.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Santa's making a list

Update: Santa house will be open from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Chehalis - Centralia Optimist Club has invited Santa to visit once again and he has accepted.  Santa Claus will be in residence at the Santa House in downtown Chehalis every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm through December 21. At that time he'll return to the North Pole to check his list and pack his sleigh for the big journey.

You are invited to bring the kiddos and your camera and let Santa know just what you are hoping for this Christmas. Share your Christmas with the Optimists - you know, Santa may be the biggest optimist of all.

If your Optimist Club has a Christmas story to share, please click to send it here.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Christmas shopping has begun!

The holidays bring out the Optimist Club members in full force. We all know that when Santa looks for helpers, he turns first to Optimist International!

One of the first projects to cross my Facebook feed was the Christmas shopping day held annually by the Albany Optimist Club. Shout out to all the members and friends who came together for a special day for the kiddos.

We'll be watching for more projects to share. Don't be afraid to brag! Send a note here. Thank you.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Regional competitions set for the Optimist International District-level scholarship programs

Perhaps you got the memo. Maybe not.

Some Optimist Club members in the PNW District recently received a newsletter from the governor outlining, among other things, the procedures that will be taken with the scholarship programs this year.

The image (right) is taken from the newsletter.

It first mentions the Optimist International Essay Contest reminding clubs that the deadline to submit the Optimist Club Essay Contest winner is February 28, 2020. Essays should be submitted electronically to Chairperson Monique Connors at connorsmjk@yahoo.com.

The topic for the 2019-20 school year is: "Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams you iMagine?The rules and entry form for the Essay Contest may be downloaded here.  The contest is open to youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2019 (and is not enrolled as a degree-seeking student of a post-secondary institution) in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. There is no minimum age. All contests must begin at the club level.

It next mentions the Regional Meetings and Competitions. This is directed to the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. The regional level contest will host students who have completed a club level contest and emerged as the first or second place winner. Clubs are requested to forward their winning speeches that will be moving forward to Chairperson Cathy Cena at ccena@shaw.ca.

The topic for the 2019-20 school year is “Just iMagine a World without Boundaries."   The rules and entry form for the Oratorical Contest may be downloaded here.  The contest is open to youth under the age of 19 as of October 1, 2019 (and is not enrolled as a degree-seeking student of a post-secondary institution) in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean. There is no minimum age. All participation begins at the club level.

Following the regional meetings on the dates shown on the image, regional oratorical contest winners will move forward to the district finals to be held April 24-26, 2020 at the Red Lion Hotel in Kelso, Washington.

Students or other interested individuals may click on the #JoinAnOptimistClub link in the right-hand column of this page to find an Optimist Club near them. Optimist Club chairpersons may find out more information by contacting the chairpersons listed above.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Tell the world, "I am an optimist"

 Buy this shirt now!

Are you looking for the right gift for your optimistic friends? Do you have a negative Nelly that you'd like to see sporting a positive attitude? This t-shirt is the right gift for them!

Winston Churchill said it best when he remarked, "I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else."

Click on the link to add this simple shirt to your Christmas list today. I am an optimist.
Order now. Delivery is approximately two weeks.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Encourage new projects, invite participation

I have always believed that the secret to membership growth in an Optimist Club or any organization is participation. Working together for a common cause is altruistic, a statement and the proof that we really do that are the projects that each club produces each year and how the projects engage our members and stakeholders.

Optimist International President Adrian Elcock has a grand idea for the 2019-2020 administrative year. In a Facebook post featuring his daughter, he says that each club should strive to start at least three new projects and gives an example of an online book drive as an opportunity to engage the young and old.

This thought was perfect for the membership retention and recruitment tip of the month: 
Membership recruitment and retention tip #74: Encourage participation. Sometimes people join an organization or club as an obligation or a favor. They pay their dues, their name is placed on the roster, and that is all. When the new year rolls around, they may or may not renew their membership. It’s up to you and other club members to help retain those rookie members by encouraging them to participate in your projects. Invite them to join a committee, help plan an event, and most importantly, come to social gatherings. Participation leads to teamwork and teams revel in a common purpose that makes it hard to pull away. Encourage participation and you’ll find that your members want to stick around to be involved.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Imagine a new year of optimism

Happy New Year, Optimist!

Optimist International President Adrian Elcock asks you to imagine the future. In this video, he kicks off the year with optimism, as we would expect, and momentum, as the centennial year we've just experienced has allowed.

As we imagine our future as an organization, President Adrian promises to embrace technology, improve communication, and share optimism with members and nonmembers alike as we celebrate the work that we do and the spirit that every Optimist Club embodies.

By imagining our new future, as individuals and as an organization, we will have success today. By imagining the future, we will plan for tomorrow and envision the success we will achieve.

Please join us as we welcome the 101st president of Optimist International, Adrian Elcock, to the most inspirational leadership role offered by the organization. We wish you, and all Optimist Club members around the globe, joy in this wonderful new year.

Imagine your Optimist Club's future.  What will your Optimist Club achieve?

Good luck in all of your endeavors.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

8 days, 8 steps

Every year, I write about being an Honor Club. It's a smart goal that Optimist Clubs can embrace
throughout the year. It helps clubs provide more service and recognition in their community and provides a path to sustainability not only for an Optimist Club but also for the umbrella organization, Optimist International.

Many years ago, I attained the recognition of being the president of an Honor Club and over the years, I've watched joyfully as others have earned it too. It saddens me when I hear presidents say they aren't in it for the awards. To me, that simply means that the president is in it for themselves and not for the Optimist Club members they serve today and those who we hope will still belong tomorrow. The president that does not strive to lead an Honor Club is shorting their club and community of the basic steps to succession.

The steps are simple and straightforward. In fact, most Optimist Clubs perform most of the tasks, they just fail to cross the t's and dot the i's for the recognition that accompanies their completion.

The eight steps to Honor Club are:
  1. Complete three or more service projects each year
  2. Complete the President’s Pride Report and Club Officer-Elect Form
  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 such as a 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
Now about that "I don't need any recognition" remark; please think about the car you drive, the restaurant where you choose to eat, the hospital where your child was born, the news feed you read or watch each morning, among many other choices that you make in your daily life. They put their awards front and center at all times. Cars brag about the JD Power award, restaurants receive stars for value and service, hospitals are ranked by a national accreditation association in order to keep you safe, and even your newspaper or channel is enhanced when they have an Emmy-winning broadcaster or Pulitzer prize-winning journalist. 

Recognition matters. It gives credibility to the work they do. 

Please do your part to make certain that your Optimist Club is an Honor Club and you'll give your club the credibility it needs to recruit new members and perform the good work for many years to come. Thank you.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Are you an Optimist?

Are you an Optimist? We invite you to share your Optimist pride with other Optimist Club members in the Pacific Northwest with this unique, specially designed PNW Optimist Clubs t-shirt.

Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest touch thousands of lives each day. By sharing their positive words and actions, Optimist Club members make a difference. They especially impact children with varied programs that meet the needs in their local communities.

In the PNW, there are Optimist Clubs that, among other things, manage a transitional home for young people; deliver various sports programs including golf, football, soccer, and curling, among others; host communication contests for essay writing and public speaking; sponsor family movie nights and library programs; coordinate programs to tackle food insecurity; host talent shows, school supply drives, walking programs, seasonal activities for Christmas and Easter; and so much more.

Optimist Clubs support the purposes of Optimist International, the first of which is to promote optimism as a way of life. They do that by coming together in friendship and fellowship where they reinforce their mission to live by the words of the Optimist Creed.

With the Optimist Creed, we promise ourselves:
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

Today, we ask you to act on one more promise to yourself. Show your pride, your optimist pride with a PNW Optimist Clubs t-shirt. Buy it and wear it proudly. It makes the optimist difference and when we make the optimist difference, together, with others, we make the world a better place to live for all.

Check out the colors and styles of the PNW Optimist Clubs t-shirt at this link. Thank you.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Convention minutes and more

Something that has been missing from PNW District meetings for several years now is the ability to know what is happening in a timely manner. General members, and specifically, the presidents of the Optimist Clubs who are members of the district board of directors, have not received the minutes or the financial information of the district before the meeting. I know this because I have been a club president since 2016.

For the 2018-2019 administrative year, I served the district as its secretary. My role, as requested by the governor, was to take minutes. That was all.

In a post preceding the convention held in August, I published the minutes from the entire year along with the financial report I was given by the treasurer, the district policies, and proposed amendments to the district policies.

I will not be serving as secretary in the 2019-2020 administrative year. This may be my last opportunity to share the minutes with you. What follows are links to the minutes taken at the PNW District - Optimist International Convention, August 16-18, 2019.

Please, readers, do not misinterpret this post as a complaint.  I am publishing this information here and now because this website is a way that I share information that I believe the members of Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest need to know. Thank you for reading, sharing, and caring about the wonderful Optimist Clubs that make up the PNW District - Optimist International. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

What to do when the children head back-to-school

The last official summer holiday has taken place and we can now say that in most areas in the Pacific
Northwest District the 2019-2020 school year is underway!

Back-to-school time brings many opportunities for Optimist Clubs to interact with children. From back-to-school parties to athletics and club involvement, students of all ages are getting back into the routine. Caring adults such as Optimist Club members can make a difference by supporting their efforts. Sometimes all they need to succeed is a little extra encouragement, a friendly voice that tells them, have a great day or you're doing a great job, keep it up. Sometimes they need more like school supplies, tutoring, or safe pathways to and from school. Optimist Clubs might want to connect with their local elementary and middle schools to see if there is a way to support their students and their schools that perhaps haven't been addressed by others.

Now is the time to reach out to the teachers in middle school and high school to discuss the Optimist International Scholarship Contests. The scholarship programs have been part of Optimist International's outreach since 1928 when the Optimist International Oratorical Contest was first held. Today the organization offers three opportunities for students to earn scholarships: the Essay Contest, Oratorical World Championships and the Communications Contest for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH)students.

All scholarship contests begin at the club level. Optimist Clubs host the Essay Contest in the fall with all winning club entries submitted to the District Chairperson by February 28. The Oratorical Contest is held in the Spring in time for the finalist to attend the Zone Contest which date is set by the Lt. Governor before the third quarter District meeting.  The CCDHH takes place as advised by their District.

The official topic for the 2019-2020 Essay Contest is "Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams you iMagine?" Download the entry form.

The official topic for the 2019-20 Optimist International Oratorical World Championships is “Just iMagine a World without Boundaries.” Download the entry form.

The official topic for the 2019-20 Optimist International CCDHH is “Just iMagine a World without Boundaries.” Download the entry form.

It's also a great time of year to reach out to teachers, principals, counselors, and other school personnel to invite them to join an Optimist Club. There is a special offer from Optimist International that gives teachers one-year of membership for $30. To take advantage of this offer, the Optimist Club must enroll the new member by September 30. We hope that the program is renewed for 2019-2020, but why wait? Invite a teacher to join your Optimist Club today!

Monday, August 19, 2019

The 2019 PNW District Optimist Convention in brief

Once each year, Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District come together to celebrate their
achievements and make plans for the future at the District Convention. One of the biggest items on the weekend's to-do list is to elect a Governor-elect.

eddie solorzano governor pnw optimist
We're excited to let you know at the 2019 PNW District Optimist Convention in Victoria, BC, Eddie Solorzano was elected to serve as Governor-elect 2019-2020. He will automatically ascend to Governor on October 1, 2020.

Eddie is a member of the Meridian Optimist Club. He has served as club president and lieutenant governor. Not long after joining ten years ago, he and his spouse Darla began attending district meetings. He commented in his acceptance speech, "I've seen the District in good times and not so good times. I like good times better. I'll work to make the District the best it can be, and with your help, we'll make it happen."

Although growth is the primary function of a district governor, they also play a large role in meeting planning. This year, Governor Ben DeRemer has also taken on a primary role in administration and bureaucracy. The convention business session and board of directors meeting reflected these goals.

Two policy amendments were brought before the assembly and approved. The first aligns voting procedures with Optimist International bylaws and the second established a position on the executive committee called governor-in-training. No one took on that position at the convention although it will be revisited at the first quarter meeting in October.

Delegates also had the special honor of hearing from Optimist International President-elect Mark Weinsoff. Mark led the officers-elect training on Friday and inspired the group on Saturday with his presentations on optimism, reminding us that the first purpose of Optimist International, and the reason Optimist Clubs were first formed, was to develop optimism as a philosophy of life. Among other things, he shared ways to have more optimistic meetings using the Optimist Creed for inspiration. He also introduced the concept of mindfulness by saying, "Optimism can be broken down into three things: gratitude, mindfulness, and hope."

Glenda Standeven, President, Chilliwack Optimist Club, presented the scholarship topics for 2019-2020 and shared some ideas for getting more participation at the club-level program. Her tip was to find a champion at a school and then to nurture, celebrate, encourage them to continue to help the students and club to connect.

Members of the Victoria Optimist Club and Victoria Evening Optimist Club provided hospitality at the registration desk and especially in the hospitality room. They gave wonderful raspberry jam to all attendees and gave a number of auction items to benefit the Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation and the Optimist International Foundation. Thank you, and acting Mayor of Victoria Marianne Alto for welcoming the PNW District to the island community.

While there were fewer attendees at this meeting than any meetings in recent memory, we are hopeful that our positive message will resonate with the incoming officers. We'll be reaching out to make ourselves available for your Optimist Club growth. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out here.

Thank you to the delegates who chose to be with the District for the Convention, and congratulations to our newly elected governor-elect Eddie Solorzano. We also send special a special thank you and sincere appreciation to Mark Weinsoff for sharing his optimism with the PNW District Optimist Clubs this year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

This guy

Mark Weinsoff PNW Optimist Clubs
This guy will #shareoptimism at the PNW District Optimist International Convention, August 15-18, 2019.

Who is he? 

This is Mark Weinsoff, future President of Optimist International (2020-2021), a current member of the Optimist International Board of Directors, and former Vice President of the West Region.

This photo was snapped at the 2019 Optimist International Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. We can't wait to hear from Mark and to learn more about that yellow, optimistic car!

We hope that you are heading to Victoria, BC this weekend. Find out more about the convention here or on Facebook.

See you soon!

Photo courtesy of Gwen Gable

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Are you attending the 2019 PNW District Optimist Convention? Are you prepared?

The PNW District - Optimist International Convention is a mere two weeks away. It will be held August 15-18, 2019 in Victoria, British Columbia at the Days Inn Uptown. I don't think that we've heard much about it from our governor, so I must apologize, it's rather difficult for us to promote it, but here is what we know:

pnw optimist clubs mark weinsoff optimist international president⭐ Optimist Club members will receive top-notch training and motivation from the Optimist International Representative Mark Weinsoff. Mark is familiar with the PNW District having served as the Optimist International Vice President for the West Region in 2009-2010. Mark's career with Optimist International has led him to various International Committee roles and an elected seat on the Optimist International Board of Directors. This year he was elected to become the Optimist International President for 2020-2021.

Additionally, Mark is a Certified International Trainer (CIT) and is passionate about teaching optimism from a scholarly point of view and then putting that knowledge into action at the Optimist Club level. Convention attendees will have the opportunity to interact with Optimist International President-elect Mark Weinsoff and take their new-found optimistic goals and ideas back to their clubs.

⭐  There are two policy amendments to be considered.  The first seeks to bring PNW District policies in line with Optimist International bylaws. The second seeks to add an elected position to the executive committee and increase the succession line to becoming a district governor.

To provide a little history on the district policies, at the November 2018 PNW District Quarterly (Fall Board Meeting), club representatives were asked to approve a rather lengthy NEW set of policies. As policies are typically reviewed and adopted at the annual convention, the attendance at the first quarter board meeting was small. The lead time on receiving the completely revised policy manual was short. The notice that there was to be a special convention met the required timeline of 20-days; however, the need for a special convention was not well conveyed resulting in less than 40 registered individuals, not all of whom were eligible to vote, making decisions without the knowledge or counsel of their Optimist Clubs. These poorly informed individuals passed the policies in total that increased district dues and gerrymandered voting processes. The revised voting processes allow some individuals the ability to vote as many as four times and reduced the number of votes that a registered club president or designee could cast on behalf of their Optimist Club at the district convention.

The first policy amendment seeks to rectify the voting procedures by following the Optimist International bylaws and thereby removing the extra votes that were allowed. It is simple and straightforward. As Districts in Optimist International are administrative arms of the organization, it is not conceivable that they are allowed to change voting procedures that have been vetted and approved by the entire organization in order to maintain fairness to all Optimist Clubs.

The second policy amendment is not a bad idea. It seeks to add the position of governor-in-training to the executive committee by having a person elected to serve in such a position in the first year, become governor-elect in the second year, and rise to the position of governor in the third year. In the fourth year, this person would remain on the executive committee as the immediate past governor resulting in a 4-year commitment.

The problem with this policy amendment, however, is it ignores Optimist International bylaws. Optimist International does not have the position of governor-in-training, therefore the individual holding that title will not be included in Optimist International correspondence for their first year of service and will ultimately rely on the governor for their information source. That could, unfortunately, result in a biased or narrow point of view which would do nothing to improve the district or the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest.

It is our belief that every year there are between 4 and 15 governors-in-training. They are called lieutenant governors. It is incumbent upon the governor to ensure these leaders are learning all they need to know so they may move up the ladder and one day become the governor of the district.

⭐  The tentative agenda calls for a golf tournament Thursday morning, August 15, 2019, and the executive committee meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, evening, August 15, 2019.

The opening session will be held Friday morning, August 16, 2019, at 8:30 a.m. There is training on Friday and Saturday with the Convention Session slated for 9:00 a.m. Saturday, August 17, 2019. A banquet will be held Saturday evening.

The Victoria Optimist Clubs encourage attendees to spend some time in Victoria to enjoy the city and its sights.

⭐  Links are provided for some materials that you may find helpful or interesting. We encourage you to read them and come prepared to make good decisions on behalf of your Optimist Club and the PNW District. Thank you.

  • Policy amendments to be considered at the 2019 PNW District Optimist Convention
                   Voting Procedures | Governor-in-Training

  • Executive Committee Minutes
                    November 2018 | December 2018 | March 2019 | April 2019

  • Board of Directors Minutes 
                    November 2018 | April 2019 

If you have not registered for the convention, please use the links provided here: CANADA | US

Saturday, July 13, 2019

"Bringing Out the Best" in Optimist International

Of Dreams and Deeds was released by Optimist International in 1966. Billed as a comprehensive history, the story of Optimist International was amended and revised and re-released several times before being published on the internet (http://www.ofdreamsanddeeds.org/default.htm) as a website chronology circa 2012.

optimist international book dave brunsFive years passed and in late 2017, in preparation for the Centennial Celebration, Past Optimist International President Dave Bruns took on the task of updating the book once again. After consideration, he and the Optimist International Board of Directors decided on a completely new
book instead.

Because of their foresight and dedication, one of the great things to emerge from the Optimist International 101st International Convention was Dave's labor of love: Bringing out the Best - The First Century of Optimist International.
dave bruns linda vaught

Dave began his research and throughout the journey shared tidbits of history on Facebook. We learned that Branch Rickey, credited as an influencer to integrate major league baseball, was an Optimist. We learned that the Optimist dinghy was indeed designed by an Optimist Club member, Clark Mills, and given its name because of the program of the Clearwater Optimist Club. We learned that the octagon logo was used to define the organization because of the original eight Optimist Clubs that founded the organization on June 19, 1919.

There is so much more to learn and celebrate about Optimist International and the book brings out the best in our organization by sharing its colorful history.

Those attending the 101st convention in Louisville, Kentucky had the honor of receiving an autographed copy as Dave signed away hundreds of books until the stock on hand depleted.

It is now available online at Amazon, for a limited time for only $20: Bringing Out the Best.

Now for the rest of the story

Dave Bruns, author, Optimist Club member, and Past International President, among other distinguished titles, has promised 100% of the revenue from the sale of the book will go to the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.

The longest continuously running program of Optimist International, the oratorical contest began in 1928. In the 2015-2016 administrative year, it was enhanced to be a global program with an online component and larger scholarship awards, making the contest more relevant to today's teens. Help it grow bigger and better by making Bringing Out the Best part of your personal library.

Many thanks to Dave Bruns for Bringing Out the Best and his generous dedication.

In the photo: Dave Bruns signs Bringing Out the Best for Linda Vaught Disney.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The founding of Optimist International is dedicated in Louisville

PIP Optimist InternationalWhat happened at the 101st Optimist International Convention?

Attendees shared their ideas, purpose, and goals to lead the world into the next century by bringing out the best in youth, community, and ourselves. They enjoyed learning from one another about best practices for their Optimist Club and they especially enjoyed the fellowship that accompanies a large gathering of Optimist Club members from around the world.

Attendees affirmed all of the business that came before the delegation finding the bylaws amendments to be in good order. Specifically important to the Pacific Northwest District, the calculation for voting at Club, District, and International meetings was clarified as follows (Bylaws Article IV, Section 2., A.):
A. Number of Votes. In an annual election, each Club in good standing shall be entitled to one vote for each 10 voting members or majority fraction thereof (6 or more) based on the voting numerical membership enrolled by the Club in the office of Optimist International as of 30 April immediately preceding the election. Each Club in good standing shall be entitled to a minimum of one vote. A Club organized after 30 April, and prior to the first day on which the election is held, shall be entitled to cast its vote on the basis of the numerical charter membership enrolled by the Club in the office of Optimist International. All voting shall be based on the total number of votes cast by accredited Clubs.
birth of Optimist International Attendees were motivated to action by International President Rebecca Butler Mona and International President Designate Adrian Elcock. Combining their slogans, delegates returned to their home clubs with the mission to "Promise yourself to iMagine the future."

founding of Optimist International LouisvilleBefore all of the above happened, however, attendees were invited to celebrate the placement of a historical marker recognizing the birth of Optimist International. Commissioned and funded by the Past International Presidents of Optimist International, the marker stands near the site of the first convention at the front of the Kentucky Convention Center. As we leave behind a bit of history, we celebrate our mission and promise to continue to serve our communities for another 100 years, and hopefully,  more.

In the photos, please see Past International President Ron Thompson and West Tacoma Optimist Club member speaking at the dedication and the front and back of the historical plaque.

Check back, we will share more news of the convention in the coming days.

Photos courtesy of Dave Bruns.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Happy Birthday Optimist International

The party started last year on July 1 as Optimist Club members around the world began the Centennial Celebration of Optimist International. The party continues this coming week in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the original convention when Optimist International was founded on June 19, 1919.

Eleven Optimist Clubs came together to form what is now known as Optimist International. Approximately 2,300 Optimist Clubs make up the organization today. All clubs are divided into regions and districts for administrative purposes. The Optimist Clubs in British Columbia, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington make up the Pacific Northwest District.

Representing a number of different Optimist Clubs, 18 individuals will travel to Louisville for the 101st International Convention. Among the delegates representing clubs in the PNW District will be a Past International President, Ron Thompson of the West Tacoma Optimist Club, 4 Past International Vice Presidents, 5 Past Distinguished Governors, and a number of enthusiastic members.

Some say that the main reason to attend an international convention is to meet with friends from various Optimist Clubs around the world. Others say it is to find motivation from sharing ideas surrounding our common goals of bringing out the best in youth, community, and ourselves. Both are correct; plus, we must address the business of the organization including governance, training, and recognition of those who serve and special recognition for those who have made significant accomplishments or contributions.

It truly is an inspirational time to experience and share on return. All delegates look forward to sharing what we learn at the PNW District Convention, August 15-18, 2019, Victoria, BC. More information will be shared about the district event when it becomes available.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Oregon City Optimist Club honors police for supporting youth

One of the purposes of an Optimist Club and Optimist International is to inspire respect for the law. With that goal in mind, Optimist International developed a program called - you guessed it -   Respect for Law.

The developers of the Respect for Law program envisioned Optimist Clubs as being a middleman, a group that connected children with first responders in order to give them a positive interaction with a police officer. Some programs were quite involved, including trips to a prison with a scared straight theme for children at risk of becoming repeat offenders. Other programs took a milder approach, taking students on field trips to the city, county, or state government buildings where the children would interact with police officers and lawmakers. Some would merely hold a breakfast or lunch where the officers and students would eat together and perhaps play a game.

Over the years, the Respect for Law program has become more of a recognition event, especially in the Pacific Northwest District. Among the Optimist Clubs that have Respect for Law programs are the Roseburg Optimist Club, the Gresham Optimist Club, and the Oregon City Optimist Club. All are major events for the respective clubs.

Please enjoy the photos shared by the Oregon City Optimist Club from its Respect for Law Meeting held June 11, 2019, and note, if you will, the line that says, "Thank you, Officer Plummer, for supporting the kids the way you do."

Yes, the Oregon City Optimist Club and Police Department are real friends of youth.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Own it!

On the second Saturday of every month, I share a membership tip on the PNW Optimist Club Facebook page. I don't always share it here, but this month is different. It strikes me as something we don't do often enough. Read on.
Membership retention and recruitment tip #70: Own it! 
We often say that we belong to a group like an Optimist Club or other service organization because it helps children, serves a population in need, or provides a community service like park clean-up or coordinating an activity.  
Let’s be honest. We do those things because it makes us feel good to be involved.  
Increase member retention by encouraging your friends to own their commitment. Be sure to thank them for their contributions, especially when they say, “I belong to an Optimist Club because it makes me feel good.” That’s the best contribution of all.
optimist international

Monday, May 27, 2019

A new project for the Middleton Area Optimist Club

The Middleton Area Optimist Club has partnered with the Greater Middleton Parks and Recreation once again to bring a new activity to the growing community. The grand opening will take place on June 8, 2019, of the Middleton Optimist Club Disc Golf Course in Foote Park, Middleton, Idaho.

The Middleton Optimist Club Disc Golf Course was a passion for several members to develop a recreational opportunity for the community. It will launch with the first annual Disc Golf Tournament on opening day. Registration will take place at 11:00 a.m. and the tournament will begin with a shotgun start at 12:00 p.m.

Cost to participate is $20 per team. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. For more information, please contact the Middleton Area Optimist Club at its Facebook event page.

middleton idaho optimist

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

COERs are due soon!

Happy May Day!

The first day of May is a good day to remind all Optimist Clubs that they should be planning for succession. Who will lead the team come October 1?

As has been the practice for decades, Optimist Clubs are expected to hold their club officer elections in the spring of each year and to report their new officers to Optimist International by May 20.  This practice is called completing the COER - the club officer election report. It may be done online by logging in as a club officer to www.optimistleaders.org. Once a COER is completed, the officers-elect begin receiving special information from the District and Optimist International.

If your club holds their elections at a different time, please complete the COER as soon as possible using the method described above.

All officers-elect should plan to attend the PNW Optimist District Convention. Specialized training for their positions will be held at that time, but most importantly, newly elected officers will have the opportunity to meet others who are starting their positions at the same time, share stories and goals, and form a bond in community service. Now that's what being an Optimist is all about.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Qualify for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in Cornelius, Oregon

optimist junior golf pnw optimist clubsThe Hillsboro Optimist Club is proud to once again host the PNW District - Optimist International Junior Golf Championships Qualifying tournament for the US.

Chairman Al Young has provided the following information for junior golfers to enter at large or for Optimist Clubs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to enroll players to participate.

The tournament will be held May 18, 2019, at Forest Hills Golf Course in Cornelius, Oregon. Registration fee is $50 and range balls are provided. A light lunch is included and will be served before tee-off at noon.

The age divisions offered in the tournament are:
Boys: 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18
Girls: 10-12, 13-14, 15-18
Players may register online at this link: PNW District Junior Golf Qualifier.

Junior golfers that win or qualify at this event may move forward to the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Boasting an international field, this tournament will take place at Trump National Doral Miami, July 16-31, 2019.

Through the money raised with the tournament, the District endeavors to provide financial support for winners to attend the international championship. The amount available may vary and there is no guarantee that support will be available beyond those that qualify in the 16-18 division.

For full information, contact tournament director Al Young by email or call 503-648-5213.

The PNW Optimist District has recently expanded to include Utah. This year, and perhaps in following years as well, the Junior Golf Qualifying Tournament for Utah players will remain in Utah. Find out more about the Optimist International Junior Golf qualifying tournament in Utah here.

Photo by Jack Thornton. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The 2019 PNW Optimist Oratorical Contest results and more

On April 12-14, 2019, the PNW District - Optimist International met for its Spring Board Meeting in Bellingham, Washington. Previously called the Third Quarter Meeting, this gathering featured the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and announced the winner of the Optimist International  Essay Contest. The Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) was held in British Columbia on April 15, 2019.

pnw optimist clubs oratorical
Rosemary Vayalikunnel
The scholarship contests typically draw a big crowd especially when one considers the students and their parents who participate in the event. Despite a lower turnout than usual, the students were warmly welcomed and did not fail to impress the gathering Optimist Club members with their talents.

All students spoke on the topic: “Is There a Fine Line Between Optimism and Reality?”

Earning the first place award and a $2,500 scholarship in the Optimist International Oratorical Contest for the PNW District was Rosemary Vayalikunnel. Rosemary represented the Vancouver North Shore Optimist Club. She will go on to the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships in St. Louis, MO July 18-20, 2019.

Earning the second place award and a $1,500 scholarship was Madison Stephens. Madison represented the West Tacoma Optimist Club.

The third place award went to Andrew Welch representing the West Tacoma Optimist Club. He earned a $1,000 scholarship.
pnw optimist clubs oratorical contest
Madison Stephens and Andrew Welch

The Optimist International Essay Contest was completed on February 28, 2019. The winner of the $2,500 scholarship award was announced as Alex Snow. Alex represented the Hillsboro Optimist Club

For the first time, the Board of Directors meeting included online participants as presidents from six Optimist Clubs joined from their home locations. This is an option that the District will continue to explore in order to make the meetings more accessible to Optimist Club leaders.

One discussion point during the Board of Directors meeting was alternative meeting ideas. Watch for a survey to be emailed to all PNW District Optimist Club members to help assess solutions to help increase attendance at all Optimist Club gatherings.

In other business, the Zone alignment for 2019-2020 was announced and the Lt. Governors were confirmed as follows:

Rounding out the leadership team:
Governor - Ben DeRemer
Assistant Governor Governance - Gary Smith
Assistant Governor Finance - Rene Schiller
Assistant Governor Growth - Joey Fisher
Assistant Governor Youth Programs - Aaron Codiga
Assistant Governor Marketing - Andre Giacolone
Assistant Governor Meetings - TBD
Treasurer - Damon Gerton
Secretary - Linda Vaught Disney

Thank you and best wishes to all who have committed to serving the PNW District Optimist Clubs in the 2019-2020 administrative year.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

It's time for Optimist Junior Golf in British Columbia

optimist junior golf championships mjt tourMorgan Creek Golf Course, 3500 Morgan Creek Way, Surrey, British Columbia, is the location for the first PNW Optimist District Qualifying Tournament (CAN) for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships 2019.

The tournament will take place April 13-14, 2019 for boys 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18 and girls 10-12, 13-14, 15-18. The cost for the two-day qualifier is $189 CA.

In addition to the opportunity to qualify to advance to the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, junior golfers at this event will enjoy:
  • Two rounds of golf
  • Fabulous TaylorMade tee gift for every player 
  • PLYR Long Drive Competition
  • PLYR Closest-to-the-Pin Competition
  • Booster Juice Come Back Award
  • Awards for top finishers in each division
  • Quality prizes for top finishers in each division
  • Lots of Draw Prizes for the full field
  • Refreshments 
  • Pizza from Boston Pizza
The MJT (Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour) also offers the Ford Hole in One Contest. See the rules here. 

This will be the first Optimist Junior Golf Qualifying Tournament (CAN) since the passing of Harry White. In addition to being the PNW District Junior Golf Chair in Canada, Harry was the founder and coordinator of the Junior Linkster Tour and a great Optimist responsible for bringing junior golf and other Optimist programs to his community for many years. 

To find out more about this tournament or how the Vancouver Optimist Club members are carrying on his legacy, please contact Bruce Main.

Please click here to find out more and register for the PNW Optimist District Qualifying Tournament (CAN).

Photo credit: Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Early mornings are for Optimists and other times are too

Did you know that the Oregon City Optimist Club meets at 6:30 a.m. every Tuesday morning? The West Tacoma Optimist Club and Hillsboro Optimist Club meet at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Meridian Optimist Club meets at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and the Beaverton Optimist Club meets at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.

I think that some of our most successful Optimist Clubs are early-risers and they honor their commitment to their communities to serve by showing up for the programs and fellowship that make their service complete.

Perhaps that is a piece missing from our membership puzzle. Many have forgotten how important the regular meeting is to the success of their club and the Optimist International organization. Lives are busier, commuting times are longer, the ability to make excuses is more readily acceptable. We used to say that busy people make the best Optimist Club members because they know how to budget their time. I think Optimist Club members make time for the much-needed break that a club meeting brings. It restores their positive feelings and helps them to share optimism with others.

Please watch the Optimist Story from Mike Novak, Governor, Indiana South District - Optimist International and learn why the 6:00 a.m. Optimist Club meeting became a regular activity in his life and then please find an Optimist Club near you and put its meeting on your calendar as a weekly event.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mission Optimist Club highlights children's talents

File this under my bad. I knew that the Mission Optimist Club had talent shows occasionally and that's where I went wrong.

Please allow me to correct the record and congratulate the Mission Optimist Club on 20 years of hosting the Mission's Got Talent contest.

The most recent contest was held Saturday, February 23, 2019. The winners were highlighted in a full-page spread in the Mission City RecordShown here are:

Top row, left to right, Senior Category

  • Third place - Taeryn Berg - Tairen sang and played an original song, "Mess"
  • Second place - Jarom Fischer - Jarom sang "A Million Dreams"
  • First place - Taylor Crowdis - Taylor sang "Everybody Knows"

Bottom row, left to right, Junior Category

  • Third place - Serenity Gibson and Samara Dejong Nemeth - Serenity and Samara sang "This is Me"
  • Second place - Brooklyn Ford-Hack - Brooklyn sang "Never Enough"
  • First place - Andy Kyte - Andy performed "Good Old Medley" 
Our best wishes go out to all of the contestants and an extra special "BRAVO" for the winners. 

We're proud to have the Mission Optimist Club as part of the Pacific Northwest District, doing its thing, serving its community, and helping kids be great since 1985*.

*Helping kids be great since 1985 is the Mission Optimist Club's motto.

Friday, February 22, 2019

A reminder about the PNW Optimist District Oratorical Contest schedule

Time is running out. A popular activity for all Optimist Clubs is approaching its deadline. The Pacific Northwest District (PNW) Regional competitions for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest will take place in March in preparation for the PNW Optimist District finals on April 12, 2019, Bellingham, WA.

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

All contestants must begin their competition at the Optimist Club level. Participating Optimist Clubs will then move their top two contestants to the PNW Regional competition. The top two contestants from each PNW Region will then move forward to the District event where they will compete for a $2,500 scholarship. 

The top contestant at the District competition will advance to the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships at St. Louis University, July 18-20, 2019, where they will compete for an additional $20,000 in scholarship prizes.

Please contact PNW Oratorical Chair Becky Holm with any questions about the Optimist International and PNW District Oratorical Contest.

Please contact Governor Ben Deremer for details of the PNW Regional meeting schedule.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Share 100 years of pride with #ReelOptimism

For 100 years, Optimist Clubs have been performing remarkable programs in their communities designed to bring out the best in youth and themselves. 

Optimist Clubs are known for scholarship contests to improve communication skills, sports programs that develop sportsmanship and teamwork skills, and recognition programs for students of all abilities. 

Perhaps most important, Optimist Clubs help individuals develop their leadership skills. When one joins an Optimist Club, they have the opportunity to lead a project, market a program, speak publicly on topics that make a difference to them and others, and in time, serve as the president of their Optimist Club.

All of these activities create a sense of pride and belonging and many want to share that feeling of optimism with others. That's one of the reasons Optimist International has created the #ReelOptimism Video Contest. An Optimist Club can share its achievements and be possibly be rewarded by entering the contest.

Here are the details:

2019 Reel Optimism Video Contest

The sixth annual Reel Optimism video contest will allow adult Optimist Clubs and Junior Optimist Clubs to submit videos with the chance to win a $1,500 Club Grant. Using the creativity of Club Members, partners, and community resources. Clubs are asked to create a short video that illustrates the topic: "100 Years of Optimism"

Contest Categories:
  • "100 Years of Optimism - Adult" - a video(3:00 minutes or less) that visually illustrates the topic of the Optimist Creed. Submissions by adult Clubs only.
  • "100 Years of Optimism - Youth" - a video(3:00 minutes or less) that visually illustrates the topic of the Optimist Creed. Submissions by Junior Optimist Clubs only.

Club grants will be awarded in each of the categories with funding courtesy of Optimist International, the Optimist International Foundation and the Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation!

Contest Dates:
February 16 - April 20, 2019
Members and Clubs submit videos following the submission guidelines.

May 11, 2019
Finalists in each category will be announced and voting will be opened to the public.

May 31, 2019
Public voting ends.

June 1, 2019
The videos receiving the most votes in each category will be announced. All Reel Optimism video submissions will be shown at the 2019 Optimist International Convention in Louisville. Winning Clubs and individuals will be invited on stage to receive their awards.

Entries will be judged and nominated as finalists based on:
  • Club, Organization, or group name included in the video
  • Explanation and utilization of theme
  • Use of visuals and effects
  • Creativity
Keep updated on the contest by visiting https://optimist.org/member/reeloptimism.cfm.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Are your members proud to belong?

Thursday, February 7, 2019, was the third annual #OptimistDay. According to Optimist International, the day originated in 2013 when Optimist Club member Sylvain Levesque introduced a motion to the National Assembly of Quebec to recognize the first Thursday of February as Optimist Day. Perhaps that set the date for the first Thursday of every year, but it took several more years for Optimist International to pick up the cause.

Before it did, other Optimist Clubs and Optimist Districts were involved in their own "Proud to be an Optimist" activities.

The one that first caught my eye was promoted by the Caribbean District. On March 27, 2013, the PNW District announced, in conjunction with them, that Larry Blackburn, PNW District Governor 2012-2013 was proud to be an Optimist. The round red logo, created by the Caribbean District and shown in the photo, was used by many Optimist Club members for many years.

This year, in 2019, my Facebook stream showed many Optimist Club members displaying their Optimist pride by wearing clothes embellished with the Optimist International logo. Clubs from Ghana, Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean, among other places around the globe, demonstrated unity in their mission and pride in the fellowship that belonging to the group instills.

Due to the outpouring of pride demonstrated by some Optimist Club members, it was inevitable that the membership recruitment and retention tip for February 2019 had to follow the same theme. Read on to see how pride in membership may lead to membership growth.

Membership retention and recruitment tip #66: Make it easy for members to show they are proud to belong to your group.

Members of Optimist Clubs are always happy to wear their team shirts when working on a club project, but how many actually wear their shirt when they go to work or go out for dinner? From first-hand observation, I know that a significantly fewer number wear their Optimist Club apparel when outside of the club domain. For many years, club members were encouraged to wear their logo pins, and some clubs even gave friendly fines to members who did not, but not only has the practice of fining diminished, the popularity of wearing a pin has, too. 

Donning the club colors is only part of the battle. The real truth is your members have to be proud to belong. Pride comes from association with a group that is ethical, successful in meeting its goals, drama-free, and making a difference. When that happens, when an Optimist Club delivers that feeling, its members are more than happy to wear their club clothes wherever they go. The bonus is when they feel that pride, they will talk about the club in a positive way so that others will want to join the cause. 

Be sure that your Optimist Club makes you feel proud to belong. Share that feeling and you'll retain the members you have and be well on the way to adding new ones to the mix. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

It's e-file time for US Optimist Clubs

Once per year, we remind Optimist Clubs in the United States of their filing responsibilities with the IRS. Today is the day!

The form 990-N (e-Postcard) is due on or before February 15. To file, please have ready:
  • Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • Tax year 
  • Legal name and mailing address
  • Any other names the organization uses
  • Name and address of a principal officer
  • Web site address if the organization has one
  • Confirmation that the organization’s annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less
  • If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)
E-file is an option for tax-exempt organizations not required to file a long form which includes nearly all Optimist Clubs except those managing large sums of money (over $50,000) or property.

The filing is free and is required in order to maintain tax-exempt status as an Optimist Club.

Clubs that have independent charitable trusts or foundations may have different filing requirements and we ask that you please contact your tax advisor for more information if your club falls into that category. Thank you. 

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