The meeting began with with a recount of club activities. Only those from Washington reported.
- We heard that the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club was busy with its bicycle and motorcycle rides and that they were especially excited to have been given the Santa House from the disbanded Auburn Optimist Club. They'll be renovating the building for all types of Christmas activities this year.
- We heard that the West Tacoma Optimist Club was deep into Essay and Oratorical Contests, working with Covenant School and accepting the at-large entries in the northwestern part of the state. It treats more than 600 students to Tri-Star Basketball. In addition to its Boy Scout troop, they've adopted a Sea Scout Crew and are readying for two standing fundraisers, the Joeseppi's takeover in April and Pancake Breakfast in August.
- We heard about the Vancouver, WA Optimist Club's Youth Camp and their success with the Oratorical Contest and CCDHH Contest. Their Junior Optimist Club - the Mob - was touted as was their work with the Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts.
- We heard that the Share-a-Smile Optimist Club is unconventional as their purpose is to promote a positive way of life among adults. It has a pet parade in the summer, and nothing is planned with children.
- Dick Disney and Mary White reported that the Zone Oratorical Contest will be held in Vancouver, WA April 22, 2017.
- Dick also mentioned the Optimist International Convention, Albuquerque, NM, July 5-8 and encouraged anyone considering attending to make their hotel reservations.
Governor Rick Matkin discussed the changes in the Honor Club (ICD-135) program from Optimist International. The policy is set by the Optimist International Board of Directors for a five-year span. This year represents the first year with the following changes for Honor Club recognition:
- Must end the year with net +3 members
- Must hold an organized membership drive or NOW event (Governor Rick recommends a free lunch voucher card to entice new member prospects)
- Must appoint a Club Foundation Representative
- Optimist Club must make a CLUB donation to the Optimist International Foundation or Canadian Optimist Children's Foundation
- Must attend 3 District Meetings or the Convention (Not mentioned, but required and new)
The meeting segued to awards from the prior year. The West Tacoma Optimist Club was recognized for being an Honor and Distinguished Optimist Club. President (of record) Jim Ferris and secretary-treasurer John Hickman were present to receive the award. Citations were given and a promise of the special award, the Distinguished club officer watches, was given because the past governor forgot to bring them.
Fellowship and conversation was enjoyed by all at lunch, followed by more than one hour of leadership training by Lynn Viner, Leadership Development Chair and a reimbursement reminder from district secretary-treasurer Sharon Gray. Somewhere along the line, we heard that the District now has a different website in addition to the website maintained by Michael Gray.
We then celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Chehalis-Centralia Optimist Club with cake. Club president Monique Connors led the group in a fun, get-to-know-you activity before Lt. Governor Gary Smith called the meeting to a close by leading us in the Optimist Creed.
All-in-all, some might proclaim this a successful meeting, but let me tell you what we didn't hear:
- Any information about the upcoming third quarter meeting - where it is being held, registration costs, etc.
- Any information about the District-level Oratorical and CCDHH Contests. I don't know about others, but I'm wondering where the contestants will be housed, and if the second CCDHH contest has been funded.
- How children may participate in the PNW District Optimist International Junior Golf Championships and the role of individual clubs, if any.
- Any information about the location, date, or anything at all, about the District Convention.
- District financial information.
- Administrative information such as club officer elections, district and international dues, or District leadership recruitment (Catch a Rising Star) for the coming year.
- Anything about publicity and press releases, which, in August 2016, Governor Rick told us was a priority for him.
- News from around the district, what's happening in other zones and with other clubs.
- District or Optimist International special incentives.
- Where the District stands in growth.
Above all, I did not hear any encouragement to go out and add a new member, host a new project or program, or attend a District event; which brings me to the few words that Governor-elect Bruce Gilbertson shared. He asked us to ask our fellow club members:
- What will it take to get more members (you) to attend a district meeting? Is it cost, training, or something else?
- What needs to be done to assist clubs? Does your club need help?
- Are you willing to help your club and others?
That's a start. If the PNW District and Optimist International is to continue, the passion of long-time members is not enough; we must answer the attendance question not only with new members, but most important, with relevance to the changing technology, needs, and priorities of our members and the communities we serve.