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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Here's some of what happened at the PNW District Convention

optimist international ken garner
Ken Garner
To say that a lot happened at the 2015 PNW District Convention would be an understatement. It always is. When Optimist Club members come together at quarterly meetings to participate in the administration of the district, they also learn from one another in an inspirational way. This time, in Tacoma, Governor Dick Disney had the great fortune of welcoming International President Ken Garner and First Lady Patsy Garner to our fold and the message was clear: achieve HONOR CLUB status and your Optimist Club will thrive.

optimist international patsy garner
Patsy Garner
President Ken led the training for all incoming officers including club presidents and secretary-treasurers as well as those on the district level. Patsy and President Ken shared their wisdom and enthusiasm in several spotlight presentations and at lunch on Saturday, Patsy gave what is perhaps one of my favorite quotes. She said, "We join Optimist Clubs because we want to extend our family."

Along the same theme, President Ken ended the learning portion of the convention with a look at WHY we belong to Optimist Clubs. Using a theme that will be prevalent in the coming year, we learned that the why of belonging is often an intrinsic value. We gain something for ourselves - satisfaction, happiness and fulfillness, among other things - when we provide service to youth and community.


We were nearly rained out at the Tacoma Rainiers ballgame and barbecue, but a few hardy Optimists stuck it out until the very end and were rewarded with a dazzling fireworks display.

We were up early for the Old-timer's Breakfast and a visit to the frontier with a few indians and others that had fallen off - way off - the wagon train.

We were joined by Past International President Ron Thompson, a member of the West Tacoma Optimist Club. PIP Ron took the Callaway golf trophy away from Dick Brodie, an achievement in itself. We also gave recognition that 50 years ago, he served as Governor of our PNW District.

dick disney ron thompson pnw optimist clubs
Dick Disney and Ron Thompson
Of course, one of the reasons that we hold a convention is to conduct official business. After discussion with other leaders and Optimist Club members, Governor Dick had published some suggested revisions to the District Policies. The revisions were simple including rephrasing some articles in the document to be gender neutral, correcting grammar and names, establishing that   all dues and fees are to be paid in US dollar value as established by Optimist International and creating some reporting controls on the Oratorical and CCDHH contests in an effort to control costs.

Finally, the revisions would have also reduced the District dues from $18 to $16.

After extensive discussion, the following revisions passed:
  • Revisions to make all writing and pronouns gender neutral
  • Correction of various typographical and grammatical errors
  • Add the requirement of prior notification of minutes, budget, policies, and other business for review by the board of directors to be made available 30 days in advance
  • Add the words “Accredited Delegates” to Article IV to now read: Accredited Delegates and Election of Governor-elect
  • Change all references to regions to the term “Super Zone”
  • Change the name of the Optimist International Foundation in Canada to Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation (CCOF)
  • Confirmation and addition to the policies that following Optimist International protocol, all dues, fees and reimbursements were to be made in US dollar value. Currency conversion is to be made by the District Secretary-Treasurer and all Optimist Clubs using the rate published by Optimist International at www.optimistleaders.org.
The assembly became bogged down in agreeing that the Governor should be the point of contact for the chairpersons of the scholarship contests. As I write this, I'm confused that this was even a discussion item; however, it caused for a motion to table the introduction of the balance of the policy revision topics. 

The motion to table was not unanimous, but passed, and a subsequent motion by a first-time participant to reopen the discussion specifically at the dues decrease topic failed despite President Ken cautioning the group that it could possibly not be reintroduced again until August 2016.
pnw optimist clubs rick matkin
Rick Matkin

In other business, new officers were installed for the Optimist International administrative year beginning on October 1, 2015. 

Rick Matkin was elected as Governor-elect (Governor 2016-2017). 

Teresa Wallace was given the Roy Proctor lifetime service award. 

Governor Dick reported on Honor Club achievement. As the principle theme for the PNW District this year, nearly 33% of the PNW District Optimist Clubs are currently on track to achieve this recognition and all 45 Optimist Clubs have the potential to do so. As a reminder, the requirements are:
  • Perform 3 service projects
  • Pay all financial obligations
  • Honor an individual as an Optimist of the Year or Friend of Youth
  • Add net +1 members to the club roster
  • Complete and return the President's Pride Report
Should the PNW District achieve this HONOR, it would be the first time ever in Optimist International history. Now that's an achievement to prove we are indeed REAL FRI - ENDs of YOUTH!

The convention stands in recess.