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Sunday, May 31, 2020

We are not being our best

Yesterday, May 30, 2020, in major cities around the United States, riots, and mayhem broke out from peaceful protests that were designed to recognize George Floyd, a black man who was brutally restrained by a police officer in Minneapolis, MN, and died. The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter; and the occurrence brings questions to mind about what it means to be black in America.

I'm not going to espouse my beliefs any more than to say it hurts my heart when I see and hear of such brutality and racism. When Trayvon Martin was murdered eight years ago, I wrote about how we can no longer tolerate intolerance. We have to speak out for and expect only the best behaviors from ourselves, our friends and families, and even those we don't know.

The sorrow that comes from the egregious tragedies that befall my fellow human beings is only deepened by the terrible chaos that followed yesterday's peaceful ceremonies. The world is not acting at its best. 

My message today is so simplistic, I am almost embarrassed to share it, but please know I am not making light of the horrific state of affairs. I absolutely believe that in order to change the world, we have to share a message of hope and influence a climate of goodness. That starts by being our best selves and always putting our best selves forward. Most importantly, we have to expect others to do the same and when they do not, we must hold them accountable for their actions.

pnw optimist clubs promise yourself best

Accountability begins with speaking out when someone is acting against what is good for society. Not every issue is about life and death; however, small decisions shape one's world view. If someone begins making sketchy decisions at any stage in their life, those decisions left unchecked may lead to a worsening of behavior in the future. 

We are not all ethicists, but we can all live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

Now I will return to my original words, spoken first by Christian D. Larson: Promise yourself to think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. 

Remember to always be on the best behavior as dictated by the society in which you live. Thank you.

*The charges were increased to second-degree murder and manslaughter on June 3, 2020. Three additional officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

An optimism challenge in Mission, BC

As a way of re-imagining service, the Mission Optimist Club reached out to children in its community in May with the Youth Optimism Challenge. For each of the weeks, it challenged children, ages 5-18, to complete a social media task. Parents were needed to help post online for the kiddos who didn't meet Facebook's age requirement.

The challenges lasted one week only and at the end of each week, lucky winners were able to choose a board game of their choice.

The challenges allowed children to be contemplative and creative and the prizes were family-oriented to help get through the COVID-19 quarantine challenge that has isolated all.

The first challenge asked: Post a photo holding a homemade sign to say what you look forward to doing when the quarantine is over.

Challenge number two asked: Express what brings you joy through these tough times.

Challenge number three asked: List five things for which you are grateful.

Challenge number four asked: Show us your awesome window display.

With this project, the Mission Optimist Club demonstrated how well it could adapt to challenging times by embracing technology. Most of all, it encouraged optimism beginning at home with our youngest members of society.

The questions asked of youth might easily be asked of all ages. Why not ask yourself questions one, two, three, and four today?

Well done, Mission Optimist Club!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Be a superhero. Be an Optimist volunteer

linda vaught pnw optimist clubs
There are a number of people being called superheroes today and they aren't the celebrities that we have grown accustomed to idolizing.

Instead, we are hearing of the countless hours of care that health care professionals are giving on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle. We are also hearing about the delivery persons, grocery store clerks, and others decreed to be essential workers who are showing up every day while others remain at home helping to prevent the spread of the disease.

Today, May 17, 2020, our cities, counties, and states are beginning to open up for the resumption of services. Individuals will slowly return to work and the economy will rebound as more money begins to circulate. Something that has never changed, whether we are experiencing lockdown or freedom, our communities need helpers. Children need helpers. Disadvantaged and marginalized individuals need helpers. The world needs helpers. Those helpers are called volunteers.

Volunteers come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. They have different passions and interests. One thing is true about all volunteers: they look on the bright side. They see hope and want to share that vision with others.

We call such positive volunteers optimists. Isn't it wonderful that there is an organization that promotes optimism as a way of life? An organization that encourages people to bring out the best in themselves, in youth, and in their community? What is it, you ask?

It is Optimist International and we would love to have you join us and become an Optimist Volunteer.

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you. We hope to see you soon!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Convention on your couch with the Optimist International Virtual Convention

We don't have a lot of information yet, but we have plenty of optimism that our first Optimist International Virtual Convention will be a success!

In a message to all Optimist International members today, President Adrian Elcock announced that registration is now open for the virtually re-imagined 2020 Optimist International Convention. Registration is $25 US for the first 500 registrants; $35 US thereafter.

The convention will be interactive, with business and learning sessions, and even online fellowship to share with Optimist Club member friends from near and far. With no plane tickets to buy or hotel rooms to reserve, we're hoping for a virtually full house with many first-timers learning more about what it means to be a part of the Optimist International family.

This message is just the beginning. The agenda for the event will be released soon, but in brief, join us Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28. There will be scheduled activities for three hours per day.

BONUS: Your registration will allow you to revisit all education activities for one-year from the broadcast. Now that's an optimistic offer that you can't refuse. Register today. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

PNW Optimist Clubs announce the 2019-2020 Oratorical Champion

On Saturday, April 25, 2020, the PNW District - Optimist International held the District level competition for the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.

To comply with stay safe at home orders due to COVID-19, the contest was held online via the Zoom video platform with Chairperson Cathy Cena as host for the event. The audience was limited to the contestants, judges, parents, and Optimist Club members from the sponsoring Optimist Clubs.

Eight students participated in the contest:

Representing the Meridian Optimist Club were Mae Webster and Rose Webster.

Representing the Roseburg Optimist Club was Marin Grey.

Representing the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Optimist Club was Amy Ren. 

Representing the Vancouver North Shore Optimist Club was Anya Trivedi. 

Representing the Gresham and Gresham Scouters Optimist Clubs was Willy Ybachynskyi. 

Representing the West Tacoma Optimist Club were Mary Boyde Funches and Madison Stephens. 

All students spoke on the same topic, "iMagine a World Without Boundaries," leading the listeners to imagine the many different experiences and ideas eloquently expressed by all of the speakers.

The first-place award went to Amy Ren. She received a $2,500 scholarship and will advance to the Optimist International Oratorical World Finals to be held in St. Louis and online in July. 

The second-place award was claimed by Mary Boyde Funches. She received a $1,500 scholarship.

The third-place award was claimed by Madison Stephens. She received a $1,000 scholarship. 

All students were amazing and we send congratulations to our winners and compliments to all.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Strategy is relevant

During this time of COVID-19 disruption, I've had the good fortune to stay connected with many Optimist Club members from different clubs and regions. We've shared worries and most importantly, we've shared positive thoughts and plans for the future. We've also shared thoughts for what I've heard called our NOW normal.

Led by the Optimist International office, President Adrian Elcock, and its international committees, the organization is conducting online elections for its 2020-2021 leaders and is in the planning stages for conducting the Optimist International Convention virtually. Yes, I think we are adapting to our NOW normal. I promise to share more here about the virtual convention, among other things, as information becomes available.

This website was created to share information that we, as Optimist Club members and Optimist Clubs, might not be getting from other sources. Over the past thirteen years, we've experienced ups and downs in communication. Right now, during this time of disruption, I've sometimes felt over-connected and perhaps you have too. Certainly, hearing the news media, the US President, other world leaders, and state/province, and local leaders and politicians might be seen as a full-time job. Reading the memes, both positive and negative, can fill up our social media streams making it tough to connect with those with whom we most want to speak. Even the messages created by Optimist International and Optimist Clubs can be staggering as we stretch our minds to ask, why does this matter to me?

Hence, I decided my membership recruitment and retention message for this month must touch on strategy.

Membership recruitment and retention tip #81: [COVID-19 social distancing edition #2] 

Stay connected in a meaningful way. Last month, our advice was to stay connected in this time of physical distancing. We encouraged you to connect with your members via social media platforms like Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, among others, and even the old-fashioned telephone. By reaching out, we let others know that even during a crisis, we can weather the storm together. With another month ticked off the calendar, we want to say that while it is important to reach out, it is even more important to reach out in a meaningful way. 
membership pnw optimist clubs
Once the connection is confirmed, you must add some strategy to your communications plan. Decide what the message is that you want to say - it may be informative, entertaining, or a call to action - and then create a text, graphic, or video to deliver the message. 

But don’t stop there. Use data to determine where the message should be posted and how your members will be most likely to receive it. Be selective in the content of the message and the delivery system. With all the media that is bombarding us at this time, it’s easy to overlook something important because the last time we heard from a particular source it was frivolous or worse. 

The content of your messages must be consistently relevant or they won’t be worth your member’s time.

Do you need help? 

If you need help creating relevant content for your Optimist Club members, I would love to help. We have a tried and true social media editorial calendar that will engage your members and help your Optimist Club excel. 

Reach out to Linda Vaught here. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

Delays in reporting

The coronavirus has caused disruptions in Optimist International and its Optimist Clubs. The Optimist International Convention is now slated to be online at the end of June and reporting has been set back to allow for the possibility that meetings may resume again during the summer or sometime soon. 

One of the most important reporting documents is the Club Officer Election Report (COER). It has always been due May 20; but, not this year.

The new reporting date is September 1. We would like to encourage you to report sooner if possible. As soon as your elections are held, go online to the Optimist Leaders portion of the website and complete the COER report.

Thank you.

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