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Sunday, January 5, 2020

Why should you be an Optimist Club member?

I've been watching a thread on Facebook that speaks to what Optimist Clubs do. A well-meaning district leader is creating memes - she calls them flyers - to answer the question "What is an Optimist" or "What does an Optimist do?" Within two hours of asking for help, this member had created and posted ten project examples with descriptions like this:

  • "Optimists raise money to improve the lives of youth in the area. We enjoy doing fundraisers and donating proceeds to scholarships, athletics, band, clubs, and many other youth organizations."
  • "Optimists teach bicycle safety, host bicycle rodeos, and even provide thousands of bicycles to kids each year."
  • "Optimists provide support to children with cancer and other childhood health-related issues."
  • "Optimists support Junior Optimist Clubs all over the world."

Another district leader chimed into the discussion to encourage the meme-creator to reconsider her approach and to instead focus on why Optimist Club members participate in the many projects she was highlighting. He said, "I've just seen membership sold both ways. And in my experience, the person that sold the WHY inspired me. The person who sold the what tired me." He provided the link to Simon Sinek's Ted Talk "Start with Why" for emphasis.

But it was our own PNW District leader and Past Optimist International President Ron Thompson that led me to comment on this discussion. Ron wrote, "I don’t see fellowship anywhere, and I believe our coming together with the purpose of developing optimism as a philosophy of life, enjoying each other and developing lasting friendships and reciting the Optimist Creed (with a banner displayed)."

Optimist Clubs host the Optimist International Oratorical and Essay Contests, and Junior Golf Championships. They support food banks, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Sea Scouts, teach children to read, honor children for citizenship, scholarship, and kindness, recognize first responders for their duty and sacrifice, among other things.

Optimist Club members share optimism and fellowship and create friendships that last a lifetime.

I created this meme from a picture taken at the West Tacoma Optimist Club's 60th Anniversary party and shared it with the group. Not only do I think it addresses the feeling of belonging that Ron described, I think it makes a point that we are Optimist Club members. 

Our Optimist Clubs conduct many diverse projects that speak to local needs and international initiatives, and our members gain personal satisfaction from participating in those projects because along the way they also make friendships and share a philosophy of life that nurtures their soul.

Won't you be our friend? Find an Optimist Club at this link and get involved. #JoinAnOptimistClub today.

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