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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

District meeting emphasizes membership retention and growth

The First Quarter District Meeting for the Pacific Northwest District is now in the history books.  Over the past weekend, Optimist Clubs from British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington gathered in Coquitlam, BC to share their passion for bringing out the best in children.  The main topic: membership.  The main focus: retention and growth.  The vehicle for accomplishing our goals: Optimist Club projects.

The weekend began with a Walk 'n Talk in the business community adjacent to the hotel property.  Armed with flyers about Coquitlam Optimist programs, visiting Optimist Club members hit the streets to invite local business persons to participate and to consider joining the Optimist Club.  It was a great way to reintroduce the Coquitlam Optimist Club to the community.

That evening, the opening session was inspirational as the Coastal Sound Music Academy Choir welcomed the Optimist district with native songs and the national anthems for Canada and the United States and Councilman Brent Edmundson offered a welcome from the city of Coquitlam. Linda Jackson, Governor explained the importance of wearing name tags to make ourselves approachable, but more important to make visitors, guests and new members feel like a part of our Optimist Clubs.  Larry Blackburn, Caldwell Optimist Club, Alan Zehntbauer, Beaverton Optimist Club and Lorraine Coots, Mason County Optimist Club each described a favorite project conducted by their respective clubs and Ed Murphy, Governor-elect introduced us to a five first timers before we adjourned to the Halloween party in the hospitality room hosted by the Abbotsford Optimist Club.

On Saturday, we approved our district budget, held a NOW Luncheon that included potential new members from Burnaby, BC and heard from our District Chairpersons for Essay, Oratorical, Internet Safety, JOOI Clubs, Leadership Development, Membership and Growth.  More information will be provided about their reports in upcoming posts.  We also met and learned from Mark Weinsoff, International Vice President for the West Region.

It was a good meeting, full of information about how members of the district leadership team are available to come to your community to help your Optimist Club grow.  There was also an emphasis on participation and it was determined that our district website would be revamped to be a better, more interactive communications tool. 

Funny, I didn't fully understand how much information was shared until I started writing this post and unfortunately I know just how much has been left out.  We will try to relay all of the information through our blogs and bulletins, but the phrase "you had to be there" still comes to mind.  I hope you were; but if not, please be sure to join us in Portland, Oregon on February 20, 2010 for our Second Quarter District Meeting so you can participate and learn firsthand.
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