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Monday, September 30, 2013

The end is only the beginning

Nothing is so bittersweet as the end of the Optimist International administrative year. So many memories have been made, so many projects held, and so many new relationships begun. Yet there is still so much more to do in our communities.

That's why we elect and induct new leaders, add new members, adopt new projects and pick up the very next day and start it all over again.

Many thanks to the  leaders who have served their Optimist Clubs and the PNW District so well in the 2012-2013 administrative year. Many thanks to the members, new and experienced alike, for always sharing your enthusiasm. Many thanks to the communities and children who allow Optimist Clubs to serve them.

We're part of a growing movement dedicated to sharing our optimism with each other and with the world. The first lesson: you'll be surprised to learn how far you can go from the point where you thought it was the end.

Are you ready for the next ride?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It is time to complete your paperwork

Well, it's September 29, 2013. Another Optimist Club administrative year is about to begin. But, before we start, we owe it to our club and district leaders to do all that we need to do to make this year complete.

One of the greatest accomplishments that every Optimist Club can celebrate every year is attaining the status of Honor Club. Clubs that perform at this level make a promise to club members and their communities that they intend to be around for a long time and are acting in a manner to do so. The Honor Club requirements are simple: 
award cert optimist club
You must complete this form for Club
Honor or Distinguished recognition
  • Complete at least three service projects a year
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual
  • Grow Club by net plus 1
  • Be current on District and Optimist International dues
Some Optimist Clubs will do just a little bit more. By completing the above requirements and making Optimist Club growth a priority, a small number of clubs will also attain the Distinguished Club recognition. They must complete all that is required of an Honor Club plus: 
  • Grow their Optimist Club by net 15 members, or 
  • Start a new Optimist Club
So this message is meant to encourage Optimist Club leaders to close out their leadership year in style by completing the paperwork that tells Optimist International and the district that their club has completed some or all of the above requirements. 

Log in to Optimistleaders.com now and complete the President's Pride report. Add any new members that may be waiting. Make sure your financial obligations have been paid. And finally, download this certification and notify Optimist International that your club has recognized a club member or local community individual for their optimism. 

Don't just be an Honor Club or Distinguished Club. Take pride in telling others that you have accomplished this level commitment and allow Optimist International recognize you and your Optimist Club for its service. Our communities and our Optimist Clubs deserve it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Groundbreaking for the Lebanon Optimist Club Gazebo

A note on the Lebanon Optimist Club Facebook Page read, "Optimists, remember to wear your Optimist shirts today at noon and bring an umbrella. See you there, rain or ... rain."

Wyatt King, the Facebook manager, was pretty sure that overcast skies would be the course of the day. But he was also certain that a great group of Optimist Club members would bring their own kind of sunshine for the Gazebo groundbreaking ceremony. And he was right.

Several hours after the first post, he returned with the accompanying picture and stated, "The Gazebo groundbreaking was a great success."

Lebanon Optimist Club 

He also reminded interested readers that they could still buy a brick in honor of their family, business or even a pet. Get in touch with them at the Lebanon Optimist Club Facebook page and get involved with this great community project and awesome community service club.

Read more about the Lebanon Optimist Club Gazebo project here. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Roseburg Optimists honor those who protect and serve

We wrote about it in 2008 and then again in 2011. It's now 2013; another year has passed and the Roseburg Optimist Club has again hosted what may be considered their signature event: the Annual Respect for Law Banquet. 

This year marks the 38th time that the Roseburg Optimist Club has recognized the contribution that law enforcement agencies make to the well-being of the region in Southern Oregon.

In a touching salute, Douglas County Commissioner Susan Morgan explained for The Umpqua Post what it is like for law enforcement officers and their families. She says, "While we go about our busy lives, our skilled and dedicated law enforcement officers face each day not knowing exactly what will come their way, but knowing that they will likely find themselves in situations of anger, instability, violence, abuse, broken bodies, illegal drugs and despair.

Their families say good-bye to them as they leave the house each workday, knowing that this could be the day their loved ones don’t come home."

The column goes on ending with with a nod to the Roseburg Optimist Club for taking the time to recognize the extraordinary commitment to the community made by the individuals of the City of Winston Police Department, the City of Sutherlin Police Department, the City of Roseburg Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Oregon State Police

That's what being an Optimist Club member is all about: expecting, working for, and believing in the best and recognizing others who do the same. 

Kudos to the Roseburg Optimist Club, their community, and the law enforcement agencies and officers that protect and serve. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Past Optimist International President looks to the future

In 1973, Washington resident and PNW District member Ronald E. Thompson was inducted as the President of Optimist International.

In July 2013, he attended the 95th Annual Optimist International Convention and thus made his 48th crusade to the gathering of Optimist Club leaders. At 82, he is the the second oldest of the past presidents.

A lot has changed since Ron was president. Women are now members and leaders. Programs have been added including the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships and the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. And sadly, although Optimist Clubs continue to do even more in their communities, membership is down.

Ron recently made a presentation to the West Tacoma Optimist Club, his home club, regarding the business conducted at the most recent convention. He explained that membership in the international organization is now at approximately 80,000 individuals and made a plea that new and younger members were needed.

He also explained some steps that were taken by convention attendees that might attract busy young members to get involved. Among those changes was an initiative for online voting. Beginning in 2014, Optimist Clubs will vote online for international officers prior to the convention.

Also beginning this year, Optimist International will host a series of summits at sixteen different locations. The idea is to host quality affordable and accessible Optimist Club training at more locations than ever before.  And of course, for the Optimist Club members in the Western Region, we'll be delighted to know that the Optimist International Convention will also be affordable and accessible. It will be held in Las Vegas, July 10-12, 2014.

And yes, Past International President Ron Thompson plans to be there for the 49th time.

Photo courtesy of the West Tacoma Optimist Club. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Optimist football - it can touch your heart

Football is a passion for some of the Optimist Clubs in Idaho including Boise, Nampa, Mountain Home, Emmett and Horseshoe Bend. It's that last club that recently shared some Optimist football history with me.

Deb Miller, a charter member of the Horseshoe Bend Optimist Club shared this picture of four generations of her family being involved in Optimist Football as players and coaches.  Shown are the members and coaches of the flag football team. She explained that her son, John Wolsleben is the head coach and his father, John, and Grandpa, Ben are the assistant coaches. The second player from the right is John's little brother Jerrod and not shown in the picture, is John's daughter Ashlyn, an Optimist Football cheerleader.

Horseshoe Bend Optimist Club Football
According to Deb, this story of Optimist mentoring touches her heart. I'm sure you'll agree, as I do, that it touches yours too. 

Thanks for sharing, Deb!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7, a busy day for PNW Optimist Clubs

Optimist Clubs around the Pacific Northwest District are busy this weekend. Some of the activities reported to the district website include motorcycles, tailgates and free pizza! All sound like fun.

The Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club is hosting its Annual Motorcycle Ride. It's a fund raiser for the Lewis County Eighth Grade Students Scholarship. The ride includes a breakfast and barbecue, along with all types of fun amenities for the bikes and riders including a 50/50 raffle and silent auction.

On the other side of the district in Idaho, the Twin Falls Optimist Club will host its Third Annual Wings and Things Ultimate Tailgate Challenge. They have planned a party atmosphere and with a Boise State Football game today, the club is sure to succeed.


This fun fund raiser has helped build a track at a local high school and much more. Most important, it helps club members rally for a good cause and the fun activity sparks interest in all projects that the Twin Falls Optimist Club performs for its community. Not necessarily in conjunction with the event, the Twin Falls Optimist Club announced this week that they had created a foundation and could now accept charitable donations as the Twin Falls Optimist Foundation.


In Middleton, Idaho, the Middleton Area Optimist Club has planned a community pizza party. Its celebration comes on the 3rd anniversary of its charter with Optimist International. According to club member Tyson Sparrow, its a great way to say thank you to the community for their support. The timing is in conjunction with the Free Movies in the Park event. There will be bounce houses for kids, free pizza while it lasts and then the movie will follow at dusk. The Optimist Club has gained strength from partnering with the Middleton Rural Fire District and the Greater Middleton Parks and Recreation District. Events like this one are sparking interest and the club has added 12 new members this year.

All of these activities symbolize the commitment that Optimist Clubs have for their community. All are excellent examples of what it takes to interact with the people around you to make your Optimist Club a vital component of the community's well being.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Caldwell Optimists invite you to Stand Up for America

Are you ready to get up off the sidelines and stand up for America against bullying, drugs and alcohol, gangs, violence and discrimination? In Idaho, the Caldwell Optimist Club is and it has partnered with inspirational Derrick Boles to participate in the first Stand Up Idaho Community Challenge Ride on September 28, 2013, 8:30 a.m. at the Idaho Center, Nampa, Idaho.

In December 2012, Boles launched the Stand Up America initiative by completing a 1,892 mile Elliptigo bike ride. The Elliptigo bike, true to the leader's mission, places the rider in a stand-up position. From this launch, he then began sharing his mission of generating community empowerment to find solutions to social ills.

Caldwell Mayor Garrett Nancolas and Nampa Mayor Tom Dale will participate in the Idaho challenge ride, along with law enforcement officers and many community groups including the Caldwell Optimist Club. According to Boles, the event is a fundraiser for National PAL and the Idaho Middle Level Association. Community organizations can share in the benefit. By registering online at www.stand-upamerica.com and entering the code "Caldwell Optimist," the Optimist Club will receive 50% of the proceeds.

What are you doing on September 28? Why not join the Optimists for a community bike ride and Stand up for Idaho and America.

  Read more with the Stand Up Idaho brochure.