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Thursday, December 14, 2017

400 pancakes, please

The Coquitlam Optimist Club has been elfing around again! 

This week they were at the Porter Street Elementary School where they prepared and served pancakes and turkey sausages to four hundred students and their parents.

Hitomi Nunatani organized the event and invited the Coquitlam Optimist Club to participate.

Optimist Club members Annette Smith, Peter Smith, Earl Pollock and Hal Griffin were joined by Coquitlam Junior Curlers Darren Kent, Conner Kent, Emily Eisner and Kate Eisner, and Optimist Friends Allison Pesch and Gaynor Hagyard. 

Thanks to Hal Griffin for the story and pictures. He says, "Merry Christmas to all!"

Please click on the photos to enlarge.

Please tell us what your Optimist Club is doing this holiday season so we can share your good deeds here, on Facebook and Twitter. Click to send a story and picture. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No more Christmas trees?

In a note from Meridian Optimist Club secretary Bill Garcia received on Monday, we learned that the Meridian Optimist Club Christmas Tree sales lot was closed. Why? They sold out of Christmas trees!

In what is perhaps the earliest date I remember, the Meridian Optimist Club sold its last Christmas tree of the 2017 holiday season on Saturday, December 9.

Sales are generally more brisk when the weather cooperates, making it easier and more comfortable for shoppers to visit. The economy helps as well, when there is more disposable income to purchase a tree from a service organization and make a donation to to youth-serving projects in the community by doing so.

And it doesn't hurt that the Meridian Optimist Club Christmas Tree lot gets a number of return customers: people who have purchased an Optimist Christmas Tree for many seasons. Just listen to one of their return customers, Meteorologist Larry Gebert, as he announced the sales on air, as he does every year, for the club.

pnw optimist clubs Meridian
Click to watch the video

Bill singled out a few of the hard workers this year with a big thank you to the Farnsworth family and Justin Wagner who were there every day with sales. Well done, Meridian Optimists!

We'd love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this season. Please click here to send a picture and a story. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Albany Optimist Club celebrates service at its holiday party

albany optimist clubSome Optimist Club use their holiday parties to celebrate the accomplishments of their members through the year. That's what the Optimist Club of Albany, Oregon did at their Christmas Social December 3, 2017.

Being recognized for service to the club and community were:

  • Grady Silverthorne - in recognition of his outstanding service for the past, present, and future 
  • Jim Stom - in recognition of his outstanding leadership as President 2015/2016 and 2017/2018

albany optimist clubA very special honor was bestowed upon one member of the club, the man who writes the bulletin every other week and keeps communication flowing among the members.

Jack Towns was recognized as Mr. Optimist for 2017-2018.
Thanks and praise given to him for his dedication and

service to the Albany Optimist Club.

Among other things, at the Christmas dinner, the club members enjoyed seeing folks they don't usually see at the noon meetings, namely, the spouses. Read more at the Brush & Bucket Bulletin.

Many cheers for the season and congratulations are in order to the dedicated members of the Albany Optimist Club.

Thanks to Jack Towns for sharing the story.

We would love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this holiday season and beyond. Please click here to send us a picture and a story. Thank you.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Santa House is open in Centralia, Washington

pnw optimist clubsWe are so excited to share that the Santa House is open!

Where: Fort Borst Park, Centralia, Washington

When: December 8 -24, 2017, Hours 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day

Price: The Santa House is free, donations are accepted. The park also has a light show and it costs $3 for a tour, waived with a canned food donation.

For many years, the Santa House was a project of the Auburn Optimist Club. On the dissolution of that club, the Auburn members gave the house to the Centralia-Chehalis Optimist Club enabling them to step in and bring Santa to another city in Washington.

pnw optimist clubs

Congratulations, and thank you, to the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club for bringing this tradition to your community.

Seeing Santa and enjoying the lights and wonder of the season brings joy to mothers, fathers, grandparents, Optimists, and most especially, the children, both naughty and nice.

Take a look at the impact the Santa House has already had by looking at the hundreds of photos shared on the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club page on Facebook. Here is a sample of the smiles you'll find there.

centralia-chehalis pnw optimist clubs

Thank you to the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club for sharing the photos and story.

We would love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this season. Please click here to send us a picture or two.  Thank you!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lebanon Optimists take honors in the Twilight Parade 2017

Christmas parades are lighting up communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. In Lebanon, Oregon, with the creativity of Weezy DeVinny, the Optimist Club was front and center at the parade and in this video.

In a note from Tina DeVinny, we learned:
My mother Louise DeVinny, who is the representative for The Optimist Club in Lebanon, did a float this year. With the help of Randy Sloniecki, they created a one-of-a kind float. 
Santa's Workshop was the highlight of the parade. It was adorned with red & white lights, red poinsettia's, stuffed bears and toys, mini fireplace and little children bursting with joy.
My mother was the guy in the red suit & white beard... Shhhhhh! Hope you've been good this year, lol.
Well done, Weezy, Randy and Lebanon Optimists. They won two trophies for their Christmas spirit!

We'd love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this Christmas. Please send us a note and a picture and publish it right here and share on social networks. Thanks!

Thanks to Tina DeVinny for the story and video. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Join an Optimist Club. It may lead to a more prosperous life

Every Optimist Club has a favorite project and many of them claim that the days between
Thanksgiving and the New Year is their favorite time of the year. During the holidays, there are multiple ways that Optimist Club members connect with their target audience: children. From food drives, to parades, parties, and presents around the tree, Optimist Club members are willing to serve. The trouble is, there aren't enough Optimist Club members to do as much as we really want to do.

At the holiday season, when we come in contact with so many people, it is especially important to keep the open sign front and center so that potential new members know that they are welcome to join an Optimist Club.

pnw optimist clubsIt is also important to let them know, at this most commercial time of the year, that joining an Optimist Club is as good a business decision as it is a personal commitment. Optimist Clubs support relationships because when we gather together as club members to do good in our communities, we form friendships, and we develop mutual business interests and connections.

When I first joined an Optimist Club, the business relationship was a central point of interest for all of the members. Somewhere over the last twenty years, that has been forgotten, and sometimes even discouraged.

I'm here to tell you that when we accept that our  personal lives are intertwined with our careers and the service we offer to others, it will lead to more fulfilling, peaceful, and prosperous lives.

The takeaway from this post is proudly shared as Membership Retention and Recruitment Tip #52*:
Help members connect with one another. Since the beginning of time, individuals have come together in groups for safety, socialization, knowledge, and commerce. As they conversed with one another, perhaps around the campfire, they discovered those whose knowledge or skills they respected, those from whom they could learn, and those who needed their help. When we gather together in groups today, we have the opportunity to learn these same things, but we must direct the effort for connection. Encourage members to share information about their hobbies and careers in addition to sharing their commitment to their community and business relationships will arise and friendships will grow.

*Once a month, I share a membership retention and recruitment tip on the PNW Optimist Clubs page on Facebook. That's right, this makes the 52nd month in a row. Thanks for reading!

We would love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this holiday season and throughout the year.  Please click here to send us photos and a story.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Boise Noon Optimist Club parties to benefit the Hays Shelter Home

The Boise Noon Optimist Club held its annual Christmas Party on December 3, 2017 and following tradition, it hosted a silent auction to purchase gifts for the children at Hays Shelter Home. Families and friends of Optimist Club members were on hand to to enjoy the games, food, raffle items, dessert raffle and new this year, a baker's dessert contest.

pnwoptimistClub secretary Lisa Peterson shared pictures of the top three decorated cakes all with an adorable Winnie the Pooh theme.

She also proudly proclaimed that $2,300 was raised for their goal. Now that's how to start the season off with optimism!

Thanks to Lisa Peterson for photos.

We would love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this holiday season. Please click here to send us photos and a story.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

What makes an Optimist Club special?

The Optimist Club of Chilliwack has been performing good deeds in its community since 1987. That's thirty years of paying it forward at Christmas and beyond.

Recently, I found this video online and decided to share it today as a Throwback Thursday. Recorded in July 2015 for Shaw TV, Optimist Club member Coralee Lord Holmes explains what an Optimist Club is and why she is a member.

She says, "We do magic for people." 💖

Please enjoy the video and if you live in or near Chilliwack, BC, join the Optimist Club and help make a difference.

According to Coralee, the Chilliwack Optimist Club  is special because people care enough to share their personality, ideas, and magic. Click here to get started. 

In December, we hope to share a story of optimism every day. Please click here to share a picture or video and tell us what is special about your Optimist Club.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Circles of Friends come together with the Chilliwack Optimist Club

There were 250 tickets available when Chilliwack Optimist Club member Glenda Standeven posted the 5th Annual Optimist Circles of Friends - Dessert & Dance Night on Facebook. With more than a week to go, they were sold out so they opened up places for 50 more to attend and sold out again. With that kind of enthusiasm, the Chilliwack Optimist Club once again made a difference in their community, in the lives of members and their circles of friends, and ultimately the youth they serve.

In addition to a great audience, there was a band, a silent auction, wonderful desserts and the spirit of the season, all which will help the Optimist Club move forward in the coming year.

Please enjoy the photos provided by Coralee Lord Holmes and the Optimist Club of Chilliwack on Facebook.

Well done, Optimists!

We would love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing for the holiday season this year. It's our hope that we will have at least one Optimist Club story each day this month to share. Please send us a picture and story now. Thank you. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Optimist Club meetings are good for your health

This may sound rather simple, but sometimes the best thing an Optimist Club can do is get its members together to socialize. After all, according to Jane Brody in the New York Times,  "social interaction is a critically important contributor to good health and longevity."

Don't believe Jane, or me, read up on the scientifically reviewed article "Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy."

Optimist Clubs provide a consistent opportunity for friends and colleagues to get together, share information and optimism, and when appropriate, work together to make their communities great places to live.

Some Optimist Clubs meet during mealtimes; others meet for beverages or desserts, and some just gather for about an hour or so for a meeting. In this fast and busy world we live in, where social media is popular, there are even some clubs that primarily meet online. Any of these models are okay, but if you get the chance to get together, we highly encourage it.

Remember, going to an Optimist Club meeting - and socializing with others - is good for your community and you. Just ask this crew in the picture, members of the Optimist Club of Hillsboro, Oregon. They're saying "hi!" and "Merry Christmas!" They're probably also saying, "Join an Optimist Club!" Can't you just hear them?

hillsboro optimist club

Thanks to Jack Thornton for the photo. We'd love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this holiday season. Please click here to send us a picture and story.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Breakfast with Santa and the Coquitlam Optimist Club

pnwd optimist clubsOn Saturday, December 2, 2017, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, the Coquitlam Optimist Club welcomed the holiday season with its favorite Breakfast with Santa program.

According to the club's Facebook page, curling club members also got into the action, making pancakes for the Sparks, Brownies, Beavers and Cubs, and Santa, too.

breakfast with santa

In addition to breakfast, the club also sponsored a food drive.

Thanks to the Coquitlam Optimist Club for the photos. We'd love to hear what your Optimist Club is doing this holiday season. Please click here to send us a picture and story.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Gresham Optimists hold Shop with a Cop

An annual favorite for the Gresham Optimist Club took place on Saturday, December 3, 2017 at the Gresham Fred Meyers. What was it?

Shop with a Cop! 

Gresham Optimist Club Shop with a Cop

Each year, Gresham Optimist Club members pair some deserving kiddos up with local law enforcement officers and help them shop for Christmas gifts. Twenty officers participated in this Shop with a Cop event. The officers and club members always comment that they have to remind the children to buy something for themselves because they always buy for others first.

This year, in addition to hosting the shopping party, Fred Meyers provided snacks for the shoppers.

Gresham Optimist Club member Judith Hillend summed up the experience by saying, "The children were so delightful and police officers so generous with their time and wisdom. The kids truly got their wishes. I am so grateful to be an Optimist."

Thanks to Jean Jensen for the photo. We would love to hear your Optimist Club story of kindness. Please send a note and picture here. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Roseburg Optimist Club helps bring Christmas to Douglas County

The Roseburg Optimist Club kicked off the 2017 holiday season with a $1,000 donation to C4KDC.org - Christmas for Kids Douglas County.

Shown in the picture are Optimist Club President Debbie Reilly and Dale Pritchett, coordinator of C4KDC.org.

pnwoptimist roseburg

Serving the Douglas County area, including Reedsport, Glendale and Drain, Oregon, the C4KDC.org helps ensure that children will have a Christmas gift they my not have otherwise received. According to its website, its mission aligns well with Optimist International's purpose of serving youth and community:
Christmas for Kids of Douglas County is a non-profit organization that paired with the help of generous and caring people will reach every underprivileged child, bringing Christmas spirit to their home and those they love. We, at Christmas for Kids of Douglas County, through caring, hard work, and determination will make it our personal goal to see that every available resource is utilized to ensure a wonderful holiday season for all.

Photo and story from Peter Sudduth. We would love to hear your Optimist Club story of kindness. Please send a note and picture here. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Optimist Clubs practice kindness

Action for Happiness, an organization in Great Britain, has created a month-long calendar with suggestions for how to be kind in December. It's first thought is to share this calendar.

As Optimist Clubs are known for sharing kindness throughout the year, and especially during the Christmas season, we are looking for a daily dose of optimism to share with our readers.

Please send a picture and small note of an activity your Optimist Club is conducting or has conducted this month and we'll post it here, on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you, Optimist Club members, for all that you do to bring out the best in youth, community and yourself.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Don't be a turkey

pnw optimist clubs
While our Canadian friends celebrate another Thursday, in the US, we are stuffing ourselves with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and more, in celebration of Thanksgiving Day.

If we recall our elementary school teaching,  we will remember the first celebration of the harvest at Plymouth Rock in 1621. It brought the Pilgrims and American Indians together in gratitude and peace as they shared traditional dishes and culture.

But Thanksgivings took place before that time and have continued in nations in North America and beyond. Read more here.

In today's culture, we celebrate with food, family and friends in preparation for the season of giving that culminates on December 25.

Optimist Clubs find this season to be one of their busiest. Christmas treesBreakfasts with Santa, Christmas Parties, and food drives  are just some of the many projects that Optimist Clubs conduct throughout the season.

That's why today we are thankful for the opportunity to serve our communities.

Of course, we can always use more hands! We would love for you to join an Optimist Club near you.

Click here to find a club or send us a message and we'll help you get one started in your neighborhood.

#joinanOptimistClub pnw optimist clubs

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

30 years ago, Jack Towns was recognized as the Governor of the Distinguished PNW District

PNW Optimist ClubsFor those of us who spend waste time on Facebook, we know that TBT stands for Throwback Thursday. Traditionally, on this day, people and pages will often share an old picture of a significant, funny, or memorable event. 

Today, Past Distinguished Governor Jack Towns shared such an awesome memory that I couldn't wait until Thursday to share it here so that it will reach more than our Facebook fans. 

Check out this newspaper article shown on the right (click to enlarge) and you'll see that three members of the Albany Optimist Club were recognized for their service and achievement in optimism in 1987. 

That's right! In 1987, the Pacific Northwest District was named a Distinguished District with Jack Towns as its Governor. The Lt. Governor for his club's zone, Gordon Vogt, earned Distinguished Lt. Governor and the Albany Optimist Club was designated an Honor Club with Charles Stoakes as President. 

Please let this memory serve as encouragement for all to always strive to be your best and help your Optimist Club be its best, too.

Thanks for your many years as an Optimist Club member, Jack, Gordon and Charles.

Photo credit: Jack Towns

Friday, November 10, 2017

The newsletter: a building block of participation

PNW Optimist ClubsOnce a month, I share a membership recruitment and retention tip on Facebook.  As I look back on the suggestions, many of them are about communication, so today's tip isn't going to be much different. Our topic: newsletters!

I used to receive quite a number of Optimist Club newsletters each week. I imagine that over the years, as club newsletter duties have moved to new editors, that my email address has perhaps been dropped from their lists. Since my fancy district title these days is past governor, one might wonder why I would be interested in what their clubs are doing. I'm interested for a number of reasons:

  • I want to congratulate the club and its members on successful projects
  • I want to learn about ideas that might work well in my community with my Optimist Club
  • I might want to donate to their causes
  • I might want to participate in their activities
  • I want to share what they are doing with others

All reasons, and more, are important, but let me focus a bit on the last two.

One of my most fulfilling and important tasks with Optimist Clubs is sharing stories. I do it on this website, on Facebook and Twitter and other social platforms, and in person as I talk about what Optimist Clubs do and accomplish in the Pacific Northwest, West Coast Region, and around the world. I hope that my stories inspire others to do more, provide service in their communities, and take pride in being an Optimist Volunteer. That means, yes, I want and invite people to join an Optimist Club.

It's easier to invite someone to participate, members and non-members alike, when one knows what's happening and what's going on. That is why this month's membership retention and recruitment tip is so important. We can't rely solely on word-of-mouth. We can't rely solely on social media. We certainly can't trust that a press release will be published.

We can, however, trust that our club newsletter will share all the information our members and stakeholders need to know, when they need to know it. All they need to do is open it, at their convenience, and read it. I urge you, Optimist, please give some attention to this crucial communication tool today.
Membership retention and recruitment tip #51: Share your club newsletter. Some clubs call it a bulletin, others call it a newsletter, and some simply call it a weekly reminder email. It doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you do it consistently. Writing what happened at your last meeting or project is news; writing what will happen at your next meeting or project is an announcement; and writing of any type is communication and everyone needs more of that! Share your club messages in a clear, concise manner on a regular basis and your membership participation will grow.
We love news and announcements about your Optimist Club. Please add Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest to your email list today.  Thank you.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Optimist International Scholarship Contests 2017-2018

pnw optimist clubs

We don't mean to nag, but we must tell you about the Optimist International Scholarship Contests in which your Optimist Club can and should participate.

There is no time too early to start planning for these activities and we think the sooner the better because, believe it or not, some teachers and students ignore the great opportunities that these programs provide. If you are an Optimist Club president, please appoint a chairperson for each of these activities, download the club planning guides and get involved.

The topic for the 2017-2018 Optimist International Essay Contest is "Can Society Function Without Respect?" Optimist Clubs set the date for student entries to be received. Participating Optimist Clubs must submit their entries to the District Chairperson by February 28, 2018.

The topic for the 2017-2018 Optimist International Oratorical Contest is "Where are My Roots of Optimism?" Optimist Clubs set the date for club-level contests. All should be planned before the zone-level contest that is scheduled by the lieutenant governor in each zone. All zone contests take place before the third quarter conference scheduled for April 27-28, 2018.

The topic for the 2017-2018 Optimist International Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) is "Where are My Roots of Optimism?" Optimist Clubs set the date for club-level contests. Depending on the level of interest from Optimist Clubs in this administrative year, this contest may be placed on hold in the Pacific Northwest District. Please check back for the status of this contest after January 1, 2018.

Students may participate in all Optimist International Scholarship Contests by following the guidelines found on the entry forms and submitting it to the Optimist Club closest to them. While not all Optimist Clubs participate in all scholarship programs, all chapters are part of the Optimist International network and may help students find a club that is hosting the activity this year.

Friday, October 27, 2017

What do you do when someone calls an Optimist Club trash? Blog about it

The first quarter meeting of the PNW District is being held October 27-28, 2017 in Kennewick,Washington and I have chosen not to attend, not because I have a conflicting appointment, but because it appears that my presence causes conflict for others.

On October 1, as I researched Facebook to see if the district's immediate past governor had made any comments about the end of the year (he hadn't), I came upon a public group that calls itself Pacific Northwest Optimist. 

On the day that I looked, forty-one profiles were included in this group. They are shown to the right and you may click on the pictures to enlarge.

As there are approximately 1,100 members in the Pacific Northwest District, I am not certain what one has to do to be included in this group. While I know most of the members, there are some I do not know, and others that do not reside in or belong to the district at all. 

Regardless of how this group came to be and what legitimate purpose it was supposed to serve, I have decided to expose it for what it is. This is a hate group against me and the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest.

What causes me to call it a hate group? The posts that appear on the page as shown below. Again, please click on the posts to enlarge.

 The thread that concerns me begins quite innocuously, as the governor comments on the district meeting that has just concluded. It is followed, however, by a series of posts from people in leadership positions at the time, and some who remain in leadership positions today.

Most troubling is the one that calls this website trash, and goes on to say it is written by trash.

I'm a big girl, and I have big shoulders, so insults hurled by mean girls are not going keep me down.

However, when individuals in administrative leadership positions of this district call the projects that our Optimist Clubs do TRASH, there is a problem and that problem must be addressed.

There are 920 published posts on this website. Many discuss Optimist Club projects and programs. Some discuss leadership issues, including membership and program development. All have been written to help Optimist Clubs be more successful and to recognize clubs and individuals on their achievements.

It appears that by publishing stories consistently for 10 years I have intimidated some who are not as successful as others. The Optimist Creed reminds us to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. Please, in the future, do not call the achievements of others trash.

It is said that evil persists when good people do nothing to stop it.

From my viewpoint, that means about thirty-five people are complicit in an ongoing negative tirade against me as they have stood by and watched others insult the good work of the Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District. I've heard apologies from some and for that, I thank you. I also realize that some may not have ever seen this thread, even if they are members of the group, and if that is you, I apologize. However, it is time that this negativity be brought to light and stopped. We cannot stand by while "leaders" insult the work that we perform and the contributions that we make as Optimist Club members.  

What can be done?

If you are a member of this group who finds such negativity appalling, please leave it behind. Go to Facebook now and click on "leave group."

If you are the governor of this district, ask that this group cease and desist. It is doing nothing positive to help the district grow in service or members. I, and others, would like to see you ask for the resignations of those involved.

If you are someone who thinks hurling insults at people behind their backs is fair play, please, I beg of you, consider joining a different organization. Calling yourself a member of an Optimist Club degrades the fine work that others are doing in the name of positive service with youth, our communities and ourselves. 

As for me, I will continue writing on this website because I'm kind of proud of the service I provide by archiving the positive achievements of Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest. In the future, I probably won't choose to stay home from a district meeting because of a group of mean girls.

I've taken a break from district service before and I came back to serve after hearing a speech by Past Optimist International President Ronnie Dunn. She said that we cannot let others stand in the way of what we can do, and what we can give, to help others reach their full potential.

When she said it, I started this blog and then went on to become Governor of the PNW District, earning Distinguished District and Outstanding Governor designations. Several years later, I became Vice President for the West Coast Region. I am certain that my service in optimism is not complete.

Look out, world! Look out, mean girls! I will be back.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

You make a difference

pnw optimist clubs
We serve our communities as members of an Optimist Club without expecting to be thanked. It's always a pleasant surprise when a youngster looks up and says, "Thank you!"

That extra spark brightens the mood and the project of the day as it brings smiles to the faces of many.

It's extra proof that what we do makes a difference. To inspire gratitude as we share optimism is a gift. That's why you should join an Optimist Club today.

Click here to find the Optimist Club nearest to you.

If you don't see one, we'd love to help you get one started in your community. Just drop us a note at the link.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Optimist Clubs are encouraged to host the Optimist International Essay Contest

pnw optimist clubs
We're solidly into the 2017-2018 school year and eleven days into the new Optimist Club administrative year. What does that mean? It means that every Optimist Club should be thinking about the Optimist International Essay Contest.

The annual contest begins at the Optimist Club level. Students under the age of 18 as of October 1, 2017 are invited to submit a 700 to 800 word essay on the topic: "Can Society Function Without Respect?"

Click on this link to find an Optimist Club near you. 

Optimist Club presidents should delegate a member of their club to be the Club Essay Chairperson. A complete planning guide is available here. 

In the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and the province of British Columbia, winning club entries should be forwarded to the PNW District Optimist International Essay Contest Chairperson Monique Connors by February 28, 2018. Contact Monique here or at 360.878.3886. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's the truth

pnw optimist clubs district
As we start a new administrative year for Optimist International, it is a good time to restate the goals of this website and its sister website at experienceoptimism.com

The pnwdistrictoptimist.com and experienceoptimism.com websites exist to help publicize the good work of Optimist Clubs and Optimist Club members in the Pacific Northwest and around the world; illustrate and advise best practices in program and membership development; and to expand the reach of Optimist International, its mission, vision, and purposes through the creation of new Optimist Clubs.

As is often advised in its stories, the authors try to utilize optimism in their approach; however, when we work only for the best, we must sometimes point out or highlight negative environments in order to improve upon them. When this occurs, it is meant to provoke discussion of ideas and not to criticize individuals. We belong to this organization in order to improve lives; not to to tear them down. We expect the same from others.

Recently The New York Times Magazine ran a full page about truth. It said:
The truth is hard.
The truth is hidden.
The truth must be pursued.
The truth is hard to hear.
The truth is rarely simple.
The truth isn’t so obvious.
The truth can’t be glossed over.
The truth has no agenda.
The truth can’t be manufactured.
The truth doesn’t take sides.
The truth isn’t red or blue.
The truth is hard to accept.
The truth pulls no punches.
The truth is powerful.
The truth is under attack.
The truth is worth defending.
The truth requires taking a stand.
The truth is more important now than ever.

We are living in a politically charged and divisive world fueled by those who are quick to call something with which they disagree as fake or trash. 

We humbly ask that our readers seek the bigger picture and begin to work together to bring out the best in youth, community, and ourselves. 

In other words, readers, if the truth hurts, don't lay blame on the person who pointed out the truth; work together to fix it. Be #optimiststrong - make a difference. Make this world a better place in which to live.

If you would like to discuss this post or this website, provide a story, or just say hi, please click here. Thank you. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Happy New Year, Optimists!

Happy New Year!
pnw optimist clubs

Optimist Club members get to say that popular, celebratory phrase twice every year.

We say it on January 1 along with the rest of the world as we wish a Happy New Year, peace and prosperity to all.

Then on October 1, we say it again as we wish a Happy New Year to all of our Optimist Club friends, colleagues, and participants in our Optimist Club programs.

For the latter group, we also wish them health, happiness and prosperity along with all the other tenets of the Optimist Creed.

We make a promise this day to be the best Optimist Club members we can be and to lead our clubs to success, for with hope and positive vision, Optimist Club members bring out the best in youth, community and ourselves.

Happy New Year, Optimists! Start today to make your Optimist Club the best it can be: Be an Honor Club. Be #OptimistStrong

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Do it again, with hope

pnwdoptimist pnwoptimist district
It's that time of year when we look forward to a new Optimist Club and District administration. It's time to finish the paperwork that declares your Optimist Club to be an Honor Club, install new officers, and begin again on October 1.

But wait, that means there are still six days in this year! What is the motivation to finish strong?

The motivation for every Optimist Club member should be intrinsic. We know deep inside that a strong Optimist Club is good for our community, the children and ourselves. We feel it every time we host a Halloween or Christmas party, sponsor a sports team, put on a scholarship contest, or share fellowship with our colleagues at an Optimist Club meeting, among other things.

We know that we make a difference by being part of an Optimist Club and that little intrinsic motivation that we feel is called hope. We share hope for the future and we celebrate our hope as we meet our challenges and goals with others as a member of an Optimist Club. That is why every year, as we finish the Optimist International administrative year, we look forward to the next with even more optimism. We know that the next one will be the very best ever.

Finish strong, my Optimist Club friends, so that you may start the new year even stronger.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What is an Optimist Strong Conference?

Optimist Club and District leaders recently received their latest edition of the Leadership Hotline for September. It showed our current Optimist International President, Jim Kondrasuk, encouraging all members to do all they can to help their Optimist Club achieve Honor Club, a must for all Optimist Clubs to be successful far into the future.

It also showed the Optimist International President-designate, Nick Prillaman, promoting an Optimist Strong Conference. Now, I have no idea what an Optimist Strong Conference is, but according to the message, your lieutenant governor does and can share all the information with you. 

This post is being shared as a caution. 

In 2016-2017, Optimist Clubs in the PNW District received very little communication from the District leaders. If we are to move forward in 2017-2018, that must change. We can't be left on the sidelines to wonder what Optimist International is promoting. The District is essential in the trickle-down communication method that is used by the parent organization.

In Optimist International, districts serve as an administrative arm of Optimist International. That means they provide leadership, assistance, and above all, communication from the top down. The district helps clubs apply incentives and encouragement that emanates from Optimist International in order to help the club, district, and organization grow in membership and service.

The district must be careful not to pursue issues that take away from the ability for Optimist Clubs to grow and serve their local communities. If  district leaders will only follow the model given by Optimist International, and add some regional camaraderie and local enthusiasm, we will grow as a district and the organization will benefit as equally as those communities we serve. That begins with communication.

So tell us, please, what is an Optimist Strong Conference? And what do I have to do to participate?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Finish your Optimist Club Pride Report online by September 30

If you've been an Optimist Club president or secretary/treasurer before, you probably know it as the President's Pride report; but this important report now has a new name, one that is reflective of the collective achievements of every Optimist Club member.

What is it? The Club Pride Report.

The Optimist Club Pride Report serves as a quick annual review of the activities of each Optimist Club and it is a requirement for the designation of Honor Club.

It is easy to complete and can be done online at optimistleaders.org . Log in and click on "Reports" on the right side of the screen. On the next screen, select the Club Pride Report. This report is due online by September 30.

You may also submit hard copies of the form via fax or mail. Click here to download a copy of the Club Pride Report. While this may seem an easier option for some, the report may not show as completed until well after September 30 as mailed forms are accepted later in order for staff to enter them by hand. 

Please finish this step towards Honor Club and then check off that the rest are complete too. 

As a reminder, the steps to Honor Club are:
  • Complete three or more service projects each year 
  • Complete the President’s Club Pride Report and Club Officer-Elect Form 
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual 
  • Grow Club by Net of +3 in membership
  • Appoint a Club Foundation Representative and make a non-restricted contribution to the OIF or CCOF 
  • Conduct a Membership Recruitment/Drive (i.e. NOW) Program 
  • Club President or Club President-Elect (or two Designees) attend District Convention (or two other District meetings/conferences) 
  • Be current on District and OI Dues and Fees
Thanks for being an Honor Club!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Ride with the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club

One of the annual activities of the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club is its annual motorcycle fundraiser. Designed to get people out and active in their community, it covers over 90 miles before ending with a silent auction and raffle.

The 7th Annual End of Summer Motorcycle Ride will take place on September 9, 2017. Please click below on "see more" to find out how you can join the fun.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Here is how to receive a free registration to the 100th Optimist International Convention

Optimist International and President Jim Kondrasuk are encouraging Optimist Clubs to become Honor Clubs. In addition to  declaring the 2016-2017 administrative year to be "The Year of the Honor Club," they are adding an extra incentive in the fourth quarter of the year.

The incentive will reward every Optimist Club a free registration to the 100th Optimist International Convention in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

To earn this reward, an Optimist Club must be an Honor Club or better and add 5 new members between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017.

Doing so will make your club stronger!

It's rather obvious that more members will allow your club extra hands to do more projects in your community. Being an Honor Club proves that your club is practicing excellent administrative practices as well.

Here are the requirements for Honor Club:
  • Complete three or more service projects each year 
  • Complete the President’s Pride Report and Club Officer-Elect Form 
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual 
  • Grow Club by Net of +3 in membership
  • Appoint a Club Foundation Representative and make a non-restricted contribution to the OIF or CCOF 
  • Conduct a Membership Recruitment/Drive such as a NOW Program 
  • Club President or Club President-Elect (or two Designees) attend District Convention (or two other District meetings/conferences) 
  • Be current on District and OI Dues and Fees
Can your Optimist Club be an Honor Club. Of course it can! And we can't wait to see your representative in Ottawa.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Play boxes come to Vernon, BC

The North Okanagan Optimist Club in Vernon, British Columbia has developed a year-round approach to its popular Unplug and Play program. In addition to its annual city-wide awareness campaign held in late April each year, it has also developed Unplug and Play boxes. The boxes, filled with balls, hula hoops, and other children's toys, have been placed around town. They ask for help from neighborhood volunteers to padlock the boxes at night and keep the club aware if new supplies are needed.

What an awesome way to raise awareness for the Optimist Club and its mission: Bringing out the best in youth, community and you.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Boise's Coach Harsin played Optimist Football

Coach Harsin PNW Optimist Clubs pnwdoptimist
When Optimist Club members attend district meetings and conventions, they learn more about the communities they visit. During the 2017 PNW District Convention, attendees got to learn just a little bit more about Boise, the Boise Noon Optimist Club, the Boise Noon Optimist Football Program and its relationship with the Boise State Broncos.

Specifically, it is a very personal relationship for Head Coach of the Broncos, Bryan Harsin. During a luncheon program, Coach Harsin shared that he started his football career at nine-years of age with the Boise Noon Optimist Club Football Program. 

What drew him to football? Harsin said that as a child, he liked football because he got to hit people. While that may seem overly aggressive, it is a positive way to channel young people's energy, build sportsmanship, teamwork, and strategy. As a coach, he teaches his players personal development along with their athletic ability. 

Optimist Clubs have a positive impact in their communities and on the young people they serve. The Optimist Youth Sports Complex in Boise and Coach Harsin are two examples of many from just one Optimist Club. Imagine what an Optimist Club might achieve in your community and get involved! Get your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers together start an Optimist Club today. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The 2017 PNW District Optimist Convention review

Susan Fix Optimist InternationalThe PNW District - Optimist International Convention was held August 10-12, 2017 in Boise, Idaho. Approximately sixty-five Optimist Club leaders from British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington gathered for training of incoming officers and shared fellowship at a number of social activities organized by the Meridian and Boise Noon Optimist Clubs.

Susan Fix, Optimist International Representative and Vice President of the Great Plains Region, led club officer-elect training and help prepare incoming club presidents and secretary/treasurers for their upcoming roles. She emphasized Honor Club as a way to success.

Susan also presented a session on how to have fun meetings. Of course business needs to be conducted, but that doesn't mean club members can't have fun in the process. Her tips focused on being kind, remembering those who weren't there, celebrating those who are, and influencing positive attitudes and expectations.

Governor Rick Matkin held a brusque board meeting.  Three decisions were made affirming policy amendments that were introduced as a package with a "do pass" recommendation from the executive committee. As different as this approach was from prior board meetings, a small amount of discussion was held and a summary of the results are:
  1. Lieutenant Governors are expected to make one visit to each club in their zone during the year.
  2. Voting strength for clubs has been changed to one vote per each ten members or majority fraction thereof and one delegate registered, certified eligible, and present for the convention may cast all votes on behalf of the club.
  3. The Board of Directors, which consists of the executive committee and all Optimist Club presidents in the District, may be installed at the annual convention or at the first opportunity following the beginning of the administrative year. 
In additional business, Governor-elect Bruce Gilbertson requested that the PNW District CCDHH Contest be placed in a one-year hiatus. This was amended to "if participants outside of British Columbia are not secured by December 2017."

In response to concerns raised regarding the poor accessibility of online resources, a resolution was passed to create a committee to review and recommend changes to the District's websites by October 1, 2017.

We heard there were four or five new club building ideas on the drawing board, including one in Spokane that Jim Boyd, Director of Strategic Growth, Optimist International, will be attending for the second time; however, those in attendance were not invited to participate.

The Board of Directors meeting ended following the election of the Governor-elect. Candidates Teresa Wallace and Ben DeRemer, both of the Gresham Optimist Club, made speeches outlining their vision and experience. In the first time that vote totals were ever disclosed, Ben was elected in a close race, 39 to 31.

After an afternoon of free time, approximately five hours later, the Governor's Banquet was held. Highlights included:
  • Sponsor pins for recruiting new members were awarded.
  • Committee chairs who had lived up to their personal goals submitted to the Governor at the beginning of the year were given a gift from the Governor.
  • Rose Brodie was named the Roy Proctor Lifetime Achievement recipient.
  • Susan Fix gave a motivational and interactive address with tips to encourage attendees to live a happy and kind life.
  • Awarding of silent auction items. Approximately $755 was raised with the disbursements as follows: Optimist International Foundation - $105; Childhood Cancer Campaign - $45; Children's Optimist Foundation of Canada - $30; and the Pacific Northwest District treasury - $565. 
With the dinner coming to a close, the officers for 2017-2018 were installed by Susan Fix.
In the picture, from the left, are:
pnw optimist executive committee
Susan Fix, Vice President
Ben DeRemer, Governor-elect
Gary Smith, Lt. Governor
Bruce Gilbertson, Governor-designate
Tyler Carr, Lt. Governor
Doug Row, Lt. Governor
Joe Shreve, Lt. Governor
Peter Sudduth, Lt. Governor
Mary White, District Secretary/Treasurer
Not shown, Scott Keller, Lt. Governor

Speaking very briefly, Governor-designate Bruce said that he did not want to be a Distinguished Governor. He wants to be the Governor of a Distinguished District. He invited everyone to come to the next meeting in Kennewick, Washington October 27-28, 2017 and learn more.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ben DeRemer elected as Governor 2018-2019 of the PNW Optimist Clubs

pnwdoptimist PNW District Optimist Clubs
Ben DeRemer of the Gresham, Oregon Optimist Club has been chosen as Governor-elect of the PNW District - Optimist International. He will become Governor of the PNW District on October 1, 2018.

Ben has previously served as the President of the Gresham Scouters and Gresham Optimist Clubs and both clubs earned Honor and Distinguished awards during his term. He has been a Lieutenant Governor of Oregon Zone #3 and a District Committee Chair overseeing Activities and Awards. A member since 2012, he has already earned the Builder of Excellence Award from Optimist International for starting a new Optimist Club.

In July 2017, Ben was invited to attend the Optimist International Leadership Academy. While there, attendees were encouraged to step-up into leadership roles in their respective districts with the goal of becoming a governor sooner than later. Ben has done just that and we congratulate him on his enthusiasm and accomplishments.

Each year, at their annual conventions, Districts in the Optimist International organization choose the person who will lead them one year from now. This person spends their first year as a governor-elect where they observe, analyze, help and plan. On their promotion to Governor, they bring their strategic plan forward to help the District they serve, and thereby Optimist International, grow in membership and service to youth, communities and ourselves.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Teachers are encouraged to join an Optimist Club

Your children are ready to return to school (well, maybe not so much) and Optimist International is ready too. To help prepare the youth for a major in optimism, we encourage every Optimist Club to invite one teacher - or more - to join. 

From August 1 through September 30, 2017, teachers and all school personnel may join an Optimist Club for only $30. 

According to Optimist International, everyone wins when teachers become members of an Optimist Club because:
  • A strong connection with local schools is extremely beneficial for your Optimist Club. More teachers on your roster strengthens this connection.
  • They can open doors for attracting more students to our youth projects - including Oratorical, Essay, Sports and other programs.
  • Teachers are able to provide first hand insight into the needs of the children of your community.
  • Provides the foundation for new Junior Optimist Clubs.
  • Your Optimist Club will serve more children!
Find out more at this link: https://goo.gl/4ErNRm

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Leaders are not created equal

This is the time of year that Districts in Optimist International begin looking for new leaders. That's
not to say that they aren't always looking; it is only an acknowledgement that during the District Conventions held in August and September of each year, the search gets serious because the governors-elect are chosen at this time.

It is a sad but true statement that membership in Optimist Clubs is declining. That means the leadership pool is also smaller and often it comes down to individuals who have hung on the longest are finally being given an opportunity to lead.

Let me repeat: those who wouldn't have been considered when there was competition are rising to positions for which they are neither prepared or qualified. And we wonder why membership in our Optimist Clubs is declining?

This post is a call to all past and potential leaders. We must not be apathetic or resigned to the path of least resistance. We must not be complacent, resting on past achievements.

We must be proactive.

Successful past governors must step forward to lead again, bringing with them the knowledge and experience that is needed to help the organization and our Optimist Clubs grow. Optimist volunteers may be our greatest asset; however, skilled leadership, focused on growth, is the skill that will take the organization forward long after its 100th anniversary.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A new logo for Optimist International

It is not really a secret, but then again, it is not really being talked about all that much either. On October 1, 2017, Optimist International will officially begin using a new logo. Revealed during the 98th Annual Convention in the summer of 2016, Optimist Clubs, Districts and Optimist International have had a year to use old inventories of stationary and brochures in preparation for the new logo release.

optimist international logo

This year, at the 99th Annual Convention, attendees saw the new logo wherever they looked - from the Sunport Airport upon arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico (nice touch!), to the convention center banners, on the convention stage, and on most handout materials.

You might agree that the logo looks familiar. It is very much like the watch that Distinguished Optimist Club presidents receive at the end of a successful year.

In addition to the horizontal version seen here, there is also a stacked version where the logo appears above the Optimist International name. Please feel free to save the logo for use with your Optimist Club. We understand that the logos and branding guidelines will soon be available at the Optimist International website under marketing tools.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

International Convention recognition

One of the highlights of the Optimist International Convention is to recognize those who will lead the organization's districts in the coming year.

For 2017-2018, the PNW District is proud to introduce and celebrate Governor-elect Bruce Gilbertson.

Bruce is shown here with President-designate Nick Prillaman (left) and the entire West Coast team (right).

Monday, July 10, 2017

Optimist International leadership looks to the future

The 99th Annual Optimist International Convention was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico July 6-8, 2017. During the event, an International President-elect was announced, the International President-designate was introduced, and the Immediate Past International President was celebrated as the current International President presided over the business and social events.

optimist international presidents
(L to R) Nick Prillaman, Jim Kondrasuk, Dave Bruns, Rebecca Butler Mona

President Jim Kondrasuk reminded the assembly that there are approximately 90 days left in the administrative year which is enough time for all clubs to achieve the Honor Club recognition. Find out more about Honor Club at this link. Under his chairmanship, the results of the bylaws amendments were:
  • Issue 1 - Dues and Fees - simplifies language, emphasizes policy, and changes the tier 1, 2, and 3 countries to developing and non-developing countries. PASS
  • Issue 2 - Reserve Membership - eliminates the category of membership called Reserve Membership. PASS
  • Issue 3 - Friend of Optimist - places the Friend of Optimist member as a category of membership and then exempts the category from club board of directors' actions. PASS
  • Issue 4 - District Secretary/Treasurer - removes the restriction adopted at the 2016 Optimist International Convention that an individual may not serve as District Secretary/Treasurer for more than three consecutive years. FAIL
  • Issue 5 - presented with 100% consensus of the delegation - Indemnification of officers - requires written proof that an individual or agent is acting on behalf of Optimist International and/or an Optimist Club. PASS 
Immediate Past International President Dave Bruns was recognized by the Board of Directors for his service, but not before he had the opportunity to recognize eighteen District Governors who earned the Distinguished Governor recognition in 2015-2016. Vice Presidents Mark Clausson and Mark Harris were also recognized for highest percentage regional growth and new club building.

Nick Prillaman, International President-designate, took the stage and presented his introductory speech. Telling a story that went from his childhood to today, he proclaimed that Optimists are heroes, something that we will certainly learn more about in the 2017-2018 administrative year that begins October 1, 2017. 

Finally, the assembly looked to the future as it was announced that Rebecca Butler Mona was selected as President-elect. She will become Optimist International President on October 1, 2018.

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Butler-Mona via Facebook.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Optimist International Convention takes place this week

The 99th Annual Optimist International Convention will launch this week, July 6-8, 2017, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. About 1,000 Optimist Club members will attend and lend their voices to the governance of the organization.

On the schedule are learning sessions for club and district officers, committee chairs, and general members and the business sessions which honor past leaders and introduce future leaders. Additionally, all attendees will meet with other Optimist Club members for the camaraderie and inspiration of sharing our mutual cause of optimism.

Four amendments to the Optimist International bylaws will be considered:

  • Issue 1 - Dues and Fees - simplifies language, emphasizes policy, and changes the tier 1, 2, and 3 countries to developing and non-developing countries.
  • Issue 2 - Reserve Membership - eliminates the category of membership called Reserve Membership.
  • Issue 3 - Friend of Optimist - places the Friend of Optimist member as a category of membership and then exempts the category from club board of directors' actions.
  • Issue 4 - District Secretary/Treasurer - removes the restriction adopted at the 2016 Optimist International Convention that an individual may not serve as District Secretary/Treasurer for more than three consecutive years. 
Some events will be streamed live from the convention including the Optimist International Board of Directors meeting, July 5, 2017; the Opening Ceremonies, July 6, 2017, and the Business Sessions, July 7 and 8, 2017.

Watch online at this link.

See the full convention program at this link. 

Twenty PNW District Optimist Club members are pre-registered to attend including Ben DeRemer who has been selected as part of the Leadership Academy.  Be sure to talk to them about their experience and find out what they've learned that will help Optimist Clubs be more successful in our local communities and region.