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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take time to boast about unique Optimist Club projects

The regional meetings allow us to get a taste of what is happening in the different corners of the PNW Optimist District. It's especially rewarding to hear of new ways that Optimist Clubs impact their communities.

In Mission, BC, we learned about Camp Moomba, a retreat for kids suffering from AIDS, for which all clubs will combine their efforts to achieve a grant from the Optimist International Foundation of Canada. This opportunity is unique to the Canadian clubs because due to Canadian law, the funds raised for the the Childhood Cancer Campaign in Canada must remain in Canada. I can't wait to hear more from champion Sam Mohan about their success with this program.

Another thing that happens in Canada is - you guessed it - curling. Led by Al Kersey, the clubs have created a calendar of Optimist events that they use as a fundraising tool. Annette Smith helped design the calendar making sure to include events from every club in BC. What are the funds raised for? Advertising! They advertise Optimist Clubs in the the curling publications.

In Oregon, we heard about the great collaborative effort and opportunities that might await at the Evergreen Air and Space Museum; but we also heard from our Optimist Clubs. Here is a sample of some of the new projects that our members bragged about:

  • Issaquah: Instead of holding a regular old meeting they serve food at a local shelter and food bank.
  • Vancouver, WA: They started a Baking Contest as a celebration of the city's 100th anniversary and it caught on as an annual event.
  • Roseburg: They serve more than 600 kids at their Safety Day - the event sounds like a bike safety fair on steroids!
  • Mason County: They create celebration baskets that are given to a domestic violence shelter for the just-in-case need of a child's birthday or other special occasion that may arise while the family is staying there.
  • Gresham: Beat the Heat Racing gets teenage drag racers off the streets and onto a racetrack once a week during the racing season.
  • Salem: They believe actions speak louder than words so they are working with a Middle School to enable kids to perform 20 different projects that make an impact.
  • Albany: A fundraising project! They sell advertising on a handout of the Optimist Creed and then distribute it in the community and at the rest areas.

I can't wait to hear what's up in Idaho on March 7! I hope to see you there.