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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Ben DeRemer takes to the road

ben deremer pnw optimist clubs
Governor-elect Ben DeRemer has spent the better part of two months visiting Optimist Clubs in the PNW District-Optimist International. He's shown here with Roger Davidson, President-of-Record, West Tacoma Optimist Club.

Ben has been to Idaho, Washington, and British Columbia, and will soon, if he hasn't already, return to his home state of Oregon for the final series of visits.

The purpose of the visits is to get to know the Optimist Clubs better, including people and projects. In addition, he has recently sent surveys to all club presidents and secretary-treasurers in an effort to crowd-source information that will help the district write a strategic plan.

Ben understands there are challenges facing Optimist Clubs, like all service clubs, and he has reached out to the PNW Kiwanis District for insight. He's also sharing information that he gathers with Harvard professor and author Robert D. Putnam, known for Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

When Ben takes office October 1, 2018, he will be the youngest governor to ever serve the PNW District, and perhaps, with the analysis he is performing, the most strategic. I hope all clubs will join me as we look forward with optimism to a year of growth.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Membership retention and recruitment tip #56: Offer a reward.

Membership retention and recruitment tip #56: Offer a reward. 
membership pnw optimist clubs

Sitting at a stoplight, I saw a sign on the car wash next to me that read, “Join the club.” With a smile on my face, I thought, don’t they know that it’s hard to get people to join a club? 

Then I thought, no wonder people don’t want to join a club, they are confused about what it means to join one. A car wash club is a purchase, whereas a service club means joining with other people for fellowship and volunteer opportunities.

And then as a last thought, I wondered, what does this car wash know about membership that I don’t know? 

The answer was actually pretty clear: As a member of the car wash club, you could wash your car every day for $1 per day, at multiple locations, hassle-free, with no contracts and automatic billing to make the transaction super-simple. The car wash club member was rewarded with a clean car and savings for their loyalty.

What can an Optimist Club learn from this example? People are not afraid to make to make a commitment, they just need to see the reward. It can be difficult to explain that fellowship is the reward for joining an Optimist Club. Perhaps instead we should offer something tangible like a club shirt or a free online listing for a member's business. The reward should relate to the image of the club in the community and help the new or veteran member and the Optimist Club to be recognized a positive force for good. 

Reward your members and they'll continue their investment in your club. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tee-it up for Optimist Junior Golf

For Optimist Clubs, the Spring season brings Easter egg hunts, scholarship contests, youth appreciation activities, and so much more, including junior golf. The PNW District-Optimist International is fortunate to have two separate qualifying tournaments for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, one in Canada and one in the US.

pnw optimist clubs vancouver bc junior golfThe first takes place this month, April 22, 2018, at King's Link Golf Course, Ladner, British Columbia. Coordinated with the help of the Vancouver, BC Optimist Club, it is part of the Junior Linkster Tour, and non-members are welcome to participate. Tour members registration fee is $75 and non-members fee is $85.00. For more information, contact Mike Riske.

In the US, the Hillsboro, Oregon Optimist Club organizes the qualifying tournament. It will be held May 19, Forest Hills Golf Course, Cornelius, Oregon. The registration fee is $50. More information is available from tournament director Al Young.

pnw optimist clubs hillsboro junior golf

Both tournaments welcome boys and girls in the following divisions: Boys 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18; and Girls 10-12, 13-14, 15-18. In order to be eligible, the golfer must not turn 19 on or before August 1, 2018. Any golfer who has attended college is no longer considered a junior golfer and is not eligible to participate. 

There are a limited number of golfers in each division who will advance to the international championships provided they shoot the minimum qualifying score. Financial support to attend the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships will be advised by the tournament director. 

The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships will take place July 17-August 1, 2018, PGA National Resort and Spa, Palm Beach Gardens, US. Find out all about THE OPTIMIST, with more than 600 international junior golfers competing each year. 

Photo credit: (top) Michelle Fedosoff, (bottom) Jack Thornton

Thursday, April 5, 2018

At the parade with the Hillsboro Optimist Club

This is a short post, with an even shorter video, that shows off just one of the many different things that an Optimist Club might do.

The Hillsboro Optimist Club volunteers as support and security for several different events in their hometown. They monitor the Tuesday and Saturday Markets to be certain people aren't walking away with open bottles, among other things, and they provide crowd control at many local parades.

At the most recent parade on St. Patrick's Day, they augmented their support with a Monster Truck display. Decked out in green, the video shows the trucks with the Hillsboro Optimist Club banners proudly leading the way.

Thanks to Jack Thornton for the photos.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Six months to Honor Club

March 31 marked the midpoint of the Optimist Club and Optimist International administrative year. It's a good time to track your Optimist Club's progress toward being an Honor Club.

Each year, Optimist Club presidents set out to make a difference in their club and community by producing the best programs and conducting the best projects. To do so requires people, money, creativity, and passion. To do so well also requires some administrative duties.

For as long as I can remember, and that's over thirty years now, Optimist Clubs have been working their way to Honor Club as a way to memorialize their annual achievements.

When an Optimist Club earns the Honor Club recognition, it meets all the criteria of being relevant and enduring in its community and we have hope that its work will continue on for many years to come.

Please click on the picture to enlarge and download and monitor your Optimist Club's path to success.

Here are the eight steps to Honor Club:
  • Complete three or more service projects each year 
  • Complete the Club (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
Add one more step and be a Distinguished Optimist Club:
  • Add Net + 15 in membership OR Build one or more new Clubs OR 
  • Increase by Net + 8 and build two or more JOOI Club
Please do your part to make certain that your Optimist Club is an Honor Club. There are still six months to make it happen!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Please #JoinAnOptimistClub today

Comparing the PNW District t-shot to previous years, it's easy to see that the retention level is good. Members are not leaving Optimist Clubs at an alarming rate.

However, it is also evident that new people are not rushing in to join an Optimist Club.

That is not an unusual situation. This may be a simple statement, but we fully believe that one of the reasons we don't have membership growth is that we just don't ask. We don't ask others to join our Optimist Club.

We could look at the many reasons behind this phenomenon, and perhaps we will in the near future, but for now, we want to remind you that the time is always right to ask someone to join an Optimist Club.

Doing good in your community and bringing out the best in youth and yourself is a timeless and priceless pursuit. Please #joinanOptimistClub today.

Click here to find an Optimist Club in your community. If there is not an Optimist Club near you, please send a message and we will help you get one started.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Super Zone meetings come to a close in the PNW District-Optimist International

Bringing the second quarter meetings to a close, the Washington Oregon Super Zone Meeting for the PNW District was held March 24, 2018. It was a small turnout, with most representation from the furthest distance Optimist Clubs of Roseburg, Tri-Cities, and Tacoma. Also on hand were members of the Portland-area Optimist Clubs of Vancouver, WA, Portland Northeast, Oregon City, Gresham,  and Hillsboro. Governor Bruce and Judy Gilbertson traveled from Salem, Oregon to be with us. In all, there were about 20 Optimist Club members in attendance.

Lieutenant Governors Scott Keller, Peter Sudduth, and Gary Smith expressed special concern with club presidents not returning email or phone calls making it difficult to plan and frankly, to learn the projects and health of the clubs to which they are assigned. For those who have been in their roles before them, we understand this to be a common problem. It is a sad situation, however, when only seven Optimist Clubs in the entire district appear to be holding the Optimist International Oratorical Contest. What can we do to correct this?

As always, those in attendance shared information about the club projects about which they are the most passionate and it is always good to gather inspiration from others with shared values and goals.

As stated in an earlier post, I will hope and continue to lobby for a return to a full district meeting in the second quarter. At the very close of the meeting, as he did at every Super Zone gathering, Governor Bruce shared a webinar produced by Optimist International about Optimist International structure and governance. One of the main points of the webinar is that the District is an administrative arm of Optimist International and exists to help its clubs succeed.

The ability to gather its club leaders together is a primary step in sharing information, tricks, tools, and resources for club growth and achievement. This is better accomplished when priority and importance are expressed through the gathering of the whole body for recognition, education, and most of all, the inspiration that we gain from one another. Moving forward, I fervently hope, this level of relevance may be communicated to all members of Optimist Clubs in the PNW District.

Click here for photos on Facebook.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

What happens after an Optimist Club level scholarship contest?

It is Scholarship Contest season for Optimist Clubs. Students begin their quest for all scholarships by participating in the Optimist International Essay Contest, Optimist International Oratorical Contest or Communications Contest for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) at their local Optimist Club. From there, local winners move on to Zone, Regional, or District level competition. In 2018, the PNW District fee for each qualifying contestant is $50 per entry at the second level of competition paid by the sponsoring Optimist Club.
pnw optimist club scholarship programs

The Optimist Club Essay Contest winner moves directly into the District level competition when the club chairperson mails the winning essay, all required paperwork, and $50 to the District Essay Chairperson. This is for reference only as the entries were due on February 28, 2018. The winning contestant is announced at the PNW District third quarter meeting.

The Lieutenant Governor plans the second-level of the Optimist Club Oratorical Contest in each Zone. They set the date and location, typically in April, arrange for judges, and most important, communicate with the clubs to encourage their participation in the contest. The Optimist Club may send its first and second place contestants to the Zone level competition. To participate, each winning student must have the required paperwork and the $50 registration fee.

Two contestants, the first and second place speakers, in each Zone advance to the District level competition. There they will meet other contestants that have gone through similar procedures to reach this level of participation. In 2018, the PNW District competition is being held at the third quarter meeting May 11-12 at the Hampton Inn near Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, Washington.

Typically, the District covers all costs for lodging, meals, and activities for the students at the event as follows:
  • Students should arrive late-afternoon Friday. They will share a room with another contestant. 
  • District Committee Chair hosts dinner for the students and usually, there is an activity like bowling, swimming, or a movie. 
  • Rise and shine Saturday morning for breakfast. We hope the contest is in the morning - it typically is - so that participants can get past any nerves and enjoy getting to know one another. 
  • The District Committee Chair will host lunch and take students on an area activity in the afternoon. 
  • Return for the evening banquet with the Optimist Club members, other participants, and families, to learn who has won the PNW District scholarship prizes of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000. 
  • Evening break with families and new friends. Students who are traveling with parents may leave at their pleasure. Others will remain for breakfast Sunday morning at the hotel. 
  • The first-place winner should meet with the District Chairperson to learn of the next level of competition as an entry in the Optimist International Global World Championships. This portion may be done online or in person. The Regional winner earns an additional $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to compete for $15,000 more. 
The CCDHH may follow a similar path as the Optimist International Oratorical Contest; however, since participation is much lower, it has, in the past, generally been run in cooperation with a school program for deaf students. We have been advised that the CCDHH will not be held at a district meeting in 2018.

This post is for informational purposes in order to satisfy a number of inquiries that we have received. Please contact the PNW District Chairpersons for further information: Essay | Oratorical | CCDHH.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Planting seeds of optimism in Vernon, BC

Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I am always inspired by the North Okanagan Optimist Club. The members always look happy, its messages are uplifting, and the activities are purposeful. The club is located the furthest distance from the PNW District and in a way, it does its own thing; however, youth is forefront in its mission and sharing a positive mental attitude is an equal pursuit. The North Okanagan Optimist Club certainly lives up to its name.

On Saturday, March 17, 2018, North Okanagan Optimist Club members joined the "Seedy Saturday" Fair and shared their popular programs: Unplug and PLaY WEEK, Playground Boxes, and more. What's more, I bet they also invited others to join in their optimistic causes by being a member of the Optimist Club. The members are always planting seeds of optimism and watching them grow in Vernon, BC.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Have the luck o' the Irish every day

pnwdoptimist pnw optimist clubs
Once a year, all the world turns Irish. People look for four-leaf clovers and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They wear green clothes, eat green food, and speak with an Irish brogue even though they have never been to Ireland.

For one day, many people feel an affinity for a common theme, an idea that makes them happy.

That feeling is like being part of an Optimist Club. As an Optimist Club member, one has an affinity for positive thoughts and they seek to do good things, especially in their community. Optimist Club members work together to make the world a better place to live. They help children and adults alike in the pursuit of this mission: to bring out the best in youth, community, and ourselves.

Every day is a lucky day when you are a member of an Optimist Club. You can do it! Make your day lucky: #joinanOptimistClub.

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you.

If there is not an Optimist Club in your community, we would love to help you start one. Click here to start a new Optimist Club today. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Albany Optimist Club fulfills $10,000 promise

pnwdoptimist albany oregonTwo years ago, the Albany Optimist Club made a commitment to the ABC House. The members
pledged $10,000 to the nonprofit organization that provides child abuse intervention in Benton and Linn Counties with the money earmarked for new facilities construction.

On February 27, 2018, the Albany Optimist Club fulfilled its commitment with the final $3,000 installment. On hand to receive the donation was Jennifer Gilmore-Robinson and she shared pictures of the progress that is being made on the building.

According to club bulletin editor Jack Towns, in a surprise move, the Optimist Club also donated an additional $500 "for good measure" and purchased a $500 table for the organization's upcoming fundraising program.

We extend a big thank you to the Albany Optimist Club for serving the youth and community with this gift.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Find strength and wisdom in numbers

pnw optimist clubs dividedOptimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest District of Optimist International are going through a seemingly endless series of "super zone" meetings in place of a district meeting for the second quarter of the 2017-2018 administrative year. It seems endless for the first was February 17 and the last will be March 24.

According to my Facebook stream, most other districts have already held one-day affairs where they celebrated the accomplishments of their respective Optimist Clubs for the 2016-2017 administrative year. It is a sad circumstance that the PNW District has little to celebrate; however, that is no excuse for not gathering the troops together for a "super dose" of motivation. This is my soapbox, so to speak, for encouraging an end to the practice of second quarter super zone meetings.

The super zone meeting is a plan promoted by some governors to bring District-level information and education to the local level. Not a bad thought, but isn't that the purpose, or shouldn't it be, of every zone meeting coordinated by the corresponding lieutenant governor?

Some cite the possibility of poor weather conditions as a reason to hold the local meetings. They say that way, fewer members will have to to have to travel far distances to attend; plus, there is the possible bonus that with the meeting being close, more will want to participate. I don't know whether that has proved successful. From the meetings I've been to over the years, I would say not so much.

The Optimist Clubs in the PNW District will come together as a whole for the third quarter meeting on May 12. That will mark only the second time that the District's Board of Directors will have met since the first quarter meeting in October. What's happened since that time? Have the club presidents been kept informed of the goals of the District and how their Optimist Clubs are part of the plan of success? Have the club presidents provided counsel to the governor and been given the opportunity to provide fiduciary oversight to the District as is their responsibility as members of the Board of Directors?

Here is the big question: are all working to leave their clubs and the district better than they were when they took office? Time will tell, I guess.

Over the past two years, the third quarter meetings have accomplished little more than serving as a platform for the Optimist International Oratorical Contest and Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. As inspirational as the students may be, there has been no training or education and the District Board Meeting has been reduced to the election of the lieutenant governors for the coming administrative year. That has provided little incentive to help the clubs grow right here, right now.

If the District is to return to a growth model, the administration must return to a growth message. The best way to deliver that message, concisely and consistently, is to return to education first and leave the social by-product as the second important reason for coming together.

Of course, the point of my message, is we need to come together as a District in the second quarter to celebrate the achievements of the previous year and to inspire achievement in the current administration. This is the time to provide last-minute encouragement and advise the process for entering the District-level Optimist International Scholarship Programs, among other things. It is the time to grow stronger with one another as clubs plan for the calendar year ahead.

A famous American once said that a house divided cannot stand. The same is true for the PNW District. As much as a super zone meeting may encourage localism, it discourages unity. When each group learns something different from the other, there is the risk that each will go its own way and soon, it may not need the others at all.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Students, teachers, guns

A tragedy at a Florida high school on February 14, 2018, has put students, teachers, and guns front and center in our news feeds. In my opinion, only two of those things should be on our minds: students and teachers. In a perfect world, guns would not threaten our children or our communities.

The question might be raised, as an Optimist Club, what can we do about it? A number of answers come to mind such as hunter safety - informing young people to respect firearms and respect for law programs - encouraging good relationships between students and authority figures, among other things.

One of the things that Optimist Clubs do best is fulfilling needs where there are no other answers or programs in a local community. In order to know what is needed in the school system, however, one has to be connected to the school system. Optimist International wants to help Optimist Clubs make those vital connections.

For the entire administrative year of 2017-2018, teachers and school personnel may join an OptimistClub for the introductory and value price of $30. There is no registration fee; the cost is only $30 for one-year.

Why not extend this offer to the school principals in the school district where your Optimist Club meets? Ask the principals to recommend a teacher from each grade to participate, comp their membership fee, and get them involved so that you may learn how to serve their schools and students better.

Recruit a teacher and we will all benefit, especially the children.

Click to enlarge the photo to learn more about the Recruit a Teacher program.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Optimist International Oratorical contest asks, "Where are my roots of optimism?"

pnwdoptimist pnw optimist clubs
One of the most beloved Optimist International programs is taking place at Optimist Clubs around the world. What is it?

The Optimist International Oratorical Contest. 

This contest began in 1928 and has been performed continuously since then. The contest is designed for young people to gain experience in public speaking and provides them with an opportunity to compete for college scholarships. Up to $22,500 can be achieved by the winner at the World Championships level.

The topic for the 2017-2018 contest is "Where are my roots of optimism?" Click here to download the contest application form with rules.

All students must begin at the Optimist Club level. Winners from the Club level advance to Zone, Regional and District competition, with the first, second, and third place finishers receiving $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000 respectively.

In the Pacific Northwest District - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia - Optimist Clubs are encouraged to complete their club-level contests in March and zone-level contests in April in preparation for the Third Quarter District Meeting and PNW District Optimist International Oratorical finals in Vancouver, Washington May 11-12, 2018.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Optimism is love

In the words of Helen Keller, optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

According to Mary Lou Retton, optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.

Perhaps it is simpler than that.

Optimism is hope, light, and love. Optimism is the future.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Membership challenges? Here is an offer for your Optimist Club

It is no secret that membership in service clubs is declining. Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest are no different; however, they typically have their ups and downs. One-year membership will be up, and the next it will be down, just like a roller coaster. I'm writing this note as an alert. For some reason, membership in the PNW District appears to be in a freefall. That roller coaster is on a big plunge!

The PNW District was a Distinguished District in 2014-2015 ending the administrative year with 80 more Optimist Club members than it had when it started.

Things have taken a dive from there. In 2015-2016, the PNW District ended the year with 59 fewer members and in 2016-2017, it ended with 97 fewer members. Today, in the fifth month of the 2017-2018 administrative year, the PNW District is down 53 members. At this pace, it could reach a loss of 100 members by September 30, 2018.

pnwdoptimist membershipSo how do we redirect the roller coaster?
Which curve will lead us to the uphill climb?

The answer is simple: JUST ASK! We must ask people to join our Optimist Clubs otherwise, they look on and sometimes cheer on those who work to make the community a great place to live. Many say that asking is the hard part and that is why we want to introduce you to a great membership recruitment tool: NOW.

NOW is the acronym for New Optimists Welcome. The concept is simple - Your Optimist Club invites a group of prospective new members to a single event, explains what the Optimist Club is and what it does in the community, and then asks those assembled to join. When one person says yes, the group dynamics inspires others to join as well.

 Here are the steps to hosting a successful NOW program:
  • Set the location, date and time of the event - allow ample time for invitations, but not too long for enthusiasm to wane. Three to four weeks in advance seems about right. 
  • Identify potential new members
  • Send a letter to each prospective new member inviting them to the event
  • Follow-up by phone and email to remind invitees to attend
  • At the event, serve a meal, appetizers, desserts, drinks, or the like to allow time for networking
  • Begin the presentation on time and keep the event to one to one and half hours in length
  • Show and tell about the Optimist Club's programs in short, no more than three-minute stories
  • Have a closer wrap up the stories, explain the dues and fees, share a personal testimony, and ASK for the sale
  • Have applications already at the tables, within reach, with Optimist Club members available to help the potential new member complete them NOW
  • Raise hands and voices when someone joins so that others catch the wave of excitement and join as well
  • Follow-up after the event with those who don't join at the event to extend the New Optimist Welcome pitch
  • Click here for the NOW brochure from Optimist International.
Now we have an offer for you! 

This post was prompted by a note from Glenda Standeven. Glenda is a published author, inspirational speaker, and past Distinguished Optimist Club President of the Chilliwack Optimist Club. She has offered to visit Optimist Clubs in British Columbia between mid-April to June 30 and serve as the closer at their NOW events. We send many thanks to Glenda for making this offer and encourage you to contact her at 604.792.6638 or at her website

So that clubs in the US have access to some outside inspiration, Linda Vaught, past International Vice President and past Outstanding Governor of the Distinguished PNW District has offered to serve as the closer at NOW events in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho. You may reach her at 208.861.2310 or by email to arrange a date. 

We must all work together to bring the PNW District membership to a positive level. Adding members strengthens your Optimist Club and enables it to do even more to serve youth and community. Help others improve themselves by encouraging them to be an Optimist volunteer. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Optimist Club reminder: file Form 990 by February 15

The month of February brings to mind many things: #OptimistDay, Groundhog Day, SuperBowl, Valentine's Day, and e-File Day, among others.

Wait a minute -what's that last one?

February 15 is e-file day for all US Optimist Clubs. The form 990 is due on or before February 15.

It is fairly simple to e-file. All you need is the following:

  • Employer identification number (EIN), also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • Tax year 
  • Legal name and mailing address
  • Any other names the organization uses
  • Name and address of a principal officer
  • Web site address if the organization has one
  • Confirmation that the organization’s annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less
  • If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating (going out of business)

E-file is an option for tax-exempt organizations not required to file a long form which includes nearly all Optimist Clubs except those managing large sums of money (over $50,000) or property.

Complete instructions and log-in filing information can be found here. Form990-N Electronic Filing System e-Postcard

It is free to file and required in order to maintain tax-exempt status as an Optimist Club.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

#OptimistDay 2018

pnw optimist clubs pnwdoptimist

Today has been declared #OptimistDay by Optimist International and Optimist Club members around the world are celebrating by showing their Optimist pride, wearing their Optimist colors and clothes, and doing what they do best - sharing their optimistic attitude with others. 

For me, I thought it was a great time to share what it means to be an Optimist. Being an Optimist Club member is about carrying compassion in your heart, service in your hands and positive thoughts in your mind. 

Of course, when you share those positive thoughts, service, and compassion with others, you help build more optimism to make our world a better place to live. 

Please join an Optimist Club and help us move this world forward with hope, with optimism. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Wyatt King shares optimism with the Lebanon community

pnw optimist clubs
Wyatt King is a member of the Lebanon, Oregon Optimist Club and because of him, five others are members, too.

He's shown here with his five-member sponsor pin, a  thank you from Optimist International for sharing optimism with others.

I suspect that Wyatt's enthusiasm has encouraged others to be part of the Optimism movement in Lebanon. As the social media director for the Lebanon Optimists, he posts about what happens at club meetings, in real time on Facebook and on the club website, and shares information about how the Optimist Club and its members can be a part of making the community a welcoming, business-friendly, and growing place to live.

The Lebanon Optimist Club and he are looking forward to welcoming the PNW District Optimist Clubs to the District Convention, August 9 - 11, 2018. Save the date and we will publish more information when available.

Thanks for sharing optimism, Wyatt!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Optimist International Awards & Recognition for 2016-2017

As president, Jim Kondrasuk declared the 2016-2017 Optimist International administrative year to be the Year of the Honor Club. In the Pacific Northwest District, three Optimist Clubs completed the challenge.

PNW District Optimist Clubs earning the Honor Club recognition in 2016-2017 were:

  • Caldwell, Idaho
  • Nampa, Idaho
  • Hillsboro, Oregon

You may read the complete 2016-2017 Awards & Recognition hotline here.

Congratulations to the home clubs of the 2016-2017 district governor, district secretary/treasurer, and regional vice president for their achievement.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Serve your community with an Optimist Club

“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
pnw optimist clubs national day of serviceToday is January 15, 2018, the National Day of Service and the day we recognize the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. As a nonviolent activist, Dr. King moved the civil rights movement forward in America; however, it seems to me that his words and wisdom were not widely accessed until gathered upon the wave of social media. Tweet after tweet, and Facebook post upon Facebook post,  and articles, followed by more articles plus posts, like this one, share a sentence or two designed to make us all better people.

I chose the top quote for a reason because I am encouraging membership in an Optimist Club. Service clubs, such as Optimist Clubs, are not as prevalent as they were in the 1960s, during Dr. King's time. Service clubs have been replaced by government programs and church outreach, among other things; however, the service club model is not dead. Far from it.

In nations that are building infrastructure and influencing self-determination, the service club model still flourishes. Optimist Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, and others, help individuals find common purpose and share common values. Some first world countries serve as mentors to the third world countries that are finding their way. Life is truly about finding one's mission and sharing optimism, sharing the love.

It's not really that hard to imagine that our local communities need optimism and love too, is it?

That's why we invite you to be involved with an Optimist Club. Join an Optimist Club and make a difference in your life as you give service to your community on the National Day of Service and throughout the year.

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or send me a note Linda Vaught and I'll help you start a new Optimist Club in your community.

Photo: Optimist International

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Resolved: Talk about membership in a positive way

Did your Optimist Club make a New Year's resolution?

Did you, as an Optimist Club member, make a New Year's resolution?

I recommend taking time right now to resolve to share optimism by talking about membership in a positive way. Please read on to discover this month's retention and recruitment tip.

Recruitment and retention tip #53: Resolve to talk positively about membership.

As this tip is being posted in January, it’s easy to talk about resolutions; however, resolutions may be made at any time and in order to follow-through, one must be frequently reminded that they have resolved to do something. The same is true for membership in any club or association.

Because we know that we want to add members to our Optimist Club, we should talk about what it does and how good it makes us feel so that others will become interested in joining the cause. Our positive conversations improve membership recruitment and instill the pride that we need to retain those members we already have.

Don’t forget to celebrate #OptimistDay, every year, the first Thursday in February. Oh, to heck with that! Celebrate by being proud to be an Optimist every day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This Optimist Creed pop-up banner can be yours!

pnw optimist clubs optimist creed
Who doesn't need a pop-up Optimist Creed banner?

Every Optimist Club needs at least one, and that is why Optimist International's second quarter membership incentive will provide one to you for recruiting seven new Members into any adult Optimist Club between now and March 30. 

Get busy and add three new members in January, three new members in February and three new members in March and your Optimist Club will score not only a new banner, it will also be well on its way to earning Honor Club recognition. 

Optimist Clubs may also receive a banner for chartering a new Junior Optimist Club in the same time frame. 

We say, why not do both? If your Optimist Club does not need an Optimist Creed banner, you may choose instead an Optimist International road sign or Optimist International Purposes banner. 

Happy recruiting!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

If you want your Optimist Club to grow, you have to talk about membership

Most posts on this website are about membership in an Optimist Club, from the projects they perform to the friendships that are made and the impact that is felt by our communities and within ourselves.

Some posts are about growing our clubs and thereby our clubs' services and some posts are about communicating with the team to facilitate that growth.

This post is about both: membership growth and communication.

You see, in June 2017, I sponsored my 25th member into an existing Optimist Club since moving to the PNW District-Optimist International. That number does not include persons I have recruited who joined new Optimist Clubs and for some reason, my sponsor record from the Illinois District-Optimist International is not included.

Anyway, sponsoring 25 new members into existing Optimist Clubs is a pretty fair contribution to our organization and that is why Optimist International awards a member sponsor pin at this level. It's an accomplishment that should be shared with others, both as a thank you and an encouragement.

When I was PNW District Governor in 2009-2010, Membership Chair Lorraine Coots emphasized how important it is for us to recognize those who recruit others to membership. She said, "Put them up front because someone in the back row may say 'I can do that' and at the next meeting, we'll see them in front being recognized too."

pnw optimist clubsI wasn't recognized at the convention in August 2017 for my contribution. I did not attend the first quarter meeting in October 2017, so I was not recognized there either. But randomly, I received a Christmas card from a lady in Oregon (I live in Washington) who had attended the first quarter meeting. Inside the card was the 25-member sponsor pin, a thank you letter from Optimist International, and a note from the sender that read, "Found this in things I had from Kennewick - don't know how? Congratulations - well done!"

Many thanks to Judi Van Cleave for taking the care that apparently the Immediate Past District Governor did not wish to take.

As I say in most of my posts, this is not about me or my feelings. It is about communication. As an organization, we must celebrate the behavior that we want others to emulate and acknowledge behavior that we want to discourage.  What happens when members are recognized for recruiting other members? Our Optimist Club grows. Optimist International grows. What happens when people go unrecognized for their service? More often than not, they move on to where they are appreciated.

If we want members to recruit new members, we must talk about it and any chance to do so furthers the mission. This is a reminder to talk about membership growth within your Optimist Club and your District. Use every tool available to spread the goodness of optimism and remember, sometimes that begins with a thank you.

If you would like to join an Optimist Club or start a new Optimist Club in your community, I would love to help you connect. Please send a note and we'll get started.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

I am an #OptimistDay is February 1, 2018

pnw optimist clubs #optimistdayDon't be fooled! We know - we hope - that you celebrate being an Optimist Club member every day.

However, for the second year, Optimist International is encouraging all of its clubs and their respective members to show their pride on one, unified day and that day in 2018 is February 1.

The purpose of #OptimistDay, according to Optimist International, is to promote the mission and values of optimism to the public by wearing Optimist gear.

I think it is much simpler than that. It is about showing our pride by wearing our colors, shirts, hats, pins and other accessories. That helps Optimist Clubs and Optimist International gain awareness so that our colleagues ask, "Tell me more."

That is when it is your opportunity and responsibility to let others know what your Optimist Club does to bring out the best in youth, community and ourselves. It is more than wearing an octagon on our chest or sleeve. Being an Optimist Club member is about carrying compassion in our heart, service in our hands, and positive thoughts in our mind. Being part of the Optimist movement means we  #shareoptimism with others, with the world.

Please join Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest and around the world in celebrating #OptimistDay February 1, 2018. Wear your Optimist gear and take pictures. Then, share your pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms with the hashtag #OptimistDay.

Don't forget to send us one too to this link: PNW Optimist Clubs celebrate #OptimistDay. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Be good. Do good. See good.

What's the top resolution that an optimist should make as 2018, the new year, begins?

She or he should resolve to look for the good in everything. 

Who am I kidding? Everyone should make that resolution, and then we would all be optimists.

Every day we hear and see news reports of hardship, strife, violence, war, and terror. We hear of disrespect from and at the top levels of our governments. Flowing through our Facebook timeline, the websites we visit, and even on network television, we see stories that make us ask is this real or fake news?

It takes a good dose of skepticism to sort through the headlines that find their way into our view. It takes optimism to know the world is better than is being portrayed.

The world is full of good people, good projects, and good ideas that when brought to the forefront will make it a better place to live. As a member of an Optimist Club, I vow to do that every day. I promise to think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.

When we share optimism with others, we fill space with positive thoughts and help others see beauty in the world.  We block out the negativity. We proactively look for the good. 

I invite you to do that with me and hope that you will invite others to join you too. 

Be good. Do good. See good. Share optimism. Be an optimist.

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018.