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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Hindsight is 2020. Choose Optimism in 2021


In less than 24 hours, 2020 hindsight will have a new meaning. It used to be that when we said hindsight is 20:20 we were speaking of being clear, with all things known. Now and forever, 2020 hindsight will be known for its disruption and the sheer unknowing that COVID-19 unleashed during this most unprecedented year. 

While vaccines have been developed and approved with what seems lightning speed, we still face the uncertainty of their effectiveness, safety, and availability leading us to hope for the best in the new year.  Frontline health care workers and seniors were the first to be inoculated and soon, perhaps, the vaccine rollout will cover all. Perhaps life will eventually return to something bearing a reasonable semblance to what we used to call normal.

As we press on to the greater achievements of the future, as good Optimists are willed to do, I believe we must also look back on the past year with gratitude. We've learned that technology is truly our friend, patience is truly a virtue, and love is truly what makes life worth living. 

Looking forward to the new year, we must think only of the best and expect only the best because now, more than ever, we must #ChooseOptimism. 

Happy New Year to all the Optimists out there. Help us share messages of resilience and happiness as we rally all of those around us to success in 2021. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Optimist International Scholarship Contests in the Pacific Northwest District

The Scholarship Contests are perhaps the most beloved of all Optimist Club activities, next to, of course, the fellowship that we feel as part of a group of positive-thinking advocates for youth and community. Each year since 1928, Optimist International has held the Oratorical Contest at the Optimist Club and District Level. It also promotes the Essay Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as opportunities for students to improve their communication skills. 

The Optimist International Essay Contest is the first in the series of competitions. The topic for the 2020-2021 school year is "Reaching your Dreams by Choosing Optimism." 

The Club planning guide may be found at this link. 
The student entry form may be found at this link.

The Optimist International Essay Contest is currently taking place and Optimist Clubs have until February 28, 2021, to submit their winning entry to the PNW District. Each club may submit one entry to compete at the District level for the $2,500 scholarship prize. A check for $50.00 US must accompany the winning entry and mailing instructions will be provided before February 1 by Chair Monique Connors

The Optimist International Oratorical World Championships is a multi-level event that begins at a local Optimist Club. The top two contestants from each club move forward to the Zone-level competition. The top speaker in each Zone then moves forward to the District-level competition where the contestants compete for $1,000, $1,500, and $2,500 scholarships. The first-place speaker then moves on to the World Contest where they may achieve an additional $20,000 scholarship award. 

The topic for the 2020-2021 school year is "Healing the World with Optimism."

The Club planning guide for Oratorical Contests may be found at this link.
The student entry for the Oratorical Contest may be found at this link. 

Cathy Cena is the PNW District Chair for the Optimist International Oratorical competition. She will be reaching out to clubs with more information for participating soon. Please note that the sponsoring Optimist Club contributes $50.00 US for each contestant that advances to the Zone competition. The District competition will take place in the spring near or at the time of the third quarter meeting for the PNW District. If COVID-19 rules remain in effect, the contest will be held virtually. 

The Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) may be held at the discretion of the Executive Board based on the number of clubs likely to participate and the ability to fundraise for the scholarship for deaf students who speak, among other things. Should the competition go forward, the topic for the 2020-2021 school year is "Healing the World with Optimism." 

The Club planning guide for the CCDHH may be found at this link.
The student entry form for the CCDHH may be found at this link. 

As with the other scholarship contests, the sponsoring Optimist Club contributes $50.00 US for each student that competes at the next level following the Club event. The District Chair will communicate additional guidelines if the CCDHH contest is to be held this year. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

OptiForum provides ideas for keeping Optimist Clubs active virtually

 On December 14, 2020, nearly 500 Optimist Club members came together to learn how to survive the pandemic with optimism. Led by Optimist International President Mark Weinsoff, the OptiForum discussed ways to stay safe, inspire and motivate one another, and provide service to our youth and community. 

By remaining active during such trying times, Optimist Club members truly bring out the best in themselves and in others. 

Click here to watch a replay of the presentation on YouTube. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020

How to Conquer the Pandemic with Optimism

Optimist International understands that some Optimist Clubs have struggled to remain connected to members and their communities through the pandemic. On December 14, 2020, it will host an OptiForum to discuss how some Optimist Clubs have thrived through the challenging time. It requires ingenuity, a little technology, and a lot of hope and resilience. We're Optimists. We got this. 

Please join on Zoom, Facebook, or YouTube for How to Conquer the Pandemic with OptimismClick here to register now. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Remember to say thank you throughout the year

The holiday season is a time when we remember to say thank you. In a membership association, like an Optimist Club, it's important to say thank you to your members - all of them - throughout the year. The membership recruitment and retention tip for December reminds club leaders to show their gratitude to all.

Membership recruitment and retention tip #87:

Say thank you. Your club says thanks to its sponsors and speakers and even the committee chairs who perform their duties on its annual programs, but does it say thank you to individual members throughout the year? Regularly letting members know that you appreciate their participation shows respect and increases their loyalty to the group as well as to the cause. Consider writing a gratitude column in the monthly newsletter and you’ll be rewarded with greater readership and happy, committed members.

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