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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Notes from the 2018 PNW District - Optimist International Convention

The PNW District - Optimist International Convention has come to a close. It was perhaps the most incredible show of hospitality that I have ever seen from a hosting club and community. Kudos and thanks are due the Lebanon Optimist Club and the City of Lebanon, Oregon.

Twenty-six Lebanon Optimist Club members were pre-registered for the convention and more attended specific events including the Friday activities of a train excursion and barbecue with a terrific string band held at the Academy Park, home to the fabulous gazebo commissioned by the Lebanon Optimist Club and donated to the city.

lebanon optimists clubThe activities began with the Thursday morning golf outing at Trysting Tree Golf Club with fifteen golfers, aka early arrivers to the convention. Some early arrivals attended the Lebanon Optimist Club meeting, held every Thursday at noon, while others came together to discuss the Oratorical and CCDHH processes meeting as a task force created during the third quarter board meeting. The executive committee and dinner followed.

Governor Bruce Gilbertson presided at the Opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. where we met many enthusiastic first-timers, seventeen of them from Lebanon. We also met TG Thomas, VP-elect of the West Coast Region, as he gave greetings from Optimist International as the International Representative and Jerry Deas, the governor-elect of the PNW Kiwanis District.

Gary Marks, Lebanon City Manager and Lebanon Optimist Club member, gave a very heartfelt welcome to the group, highlighting the city's economic development efforts that include Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine, a veteran's home, and the convention center, and other things, all within walking distance of the beautiful Boulder Falls Inns, our location for the weekend.

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Gary explained that he is Chairman of the United States Mint Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and a coin design artist. He told the story of how he designed an Optimist coin, using the tenet from the Optimist Creed, "To look at the sunny side of everything and give every living creature you meet a smile," as inspiration. Totally surprising all attendees, Gary gave each person a coin to take home as a souvenir of the weekend, and a way to remind us of our optimism as a token to carry in our pocket or purse.

In a brief candlelight ceremony, Robin Stanhope gave a remembrance to nine Optimist Club members who had passed since the last convention and the party adjourned for the evening.

Friday was, as always, training day for incoming officers. TG Thomas led the Optimist Club officer session in the morning and gave an introductory presentation at the member luncheon. Additional training was held in the afternoon before attending the Friday activities expertly planned and led by the Lebanon Optimist Club and highlighted by the Wild Hog String Band.

pnwdoptimistSaturday started out with an Old Timer's gathering. Apparently, the newbies took the title at its word as the old-timers were the audience for a delightful look at the history of Lebanon.

The Convention/Business Session had the attendees review four separate policy amendments. Two were suggested and passed to bring the District Policies in line with the Optimist International Bylaws. Issue 1 removed extraneous wording by acknowledging that lieutenant governors and assistant governors are part of the executive committee as are the governor, governor-elect/designate, and secretary/treasurer. Issue 2 followed the Optimist International amendment stating that those holding offices must be Optimist Club members and those advancing to the office of governor-elect must have served a full-term as Optimist Club president.

Issue 3 was suggested and approved in order to fully realize the membership incentives offered by Optimist International. For example, if an incentive offers an introductory fee of $30, as does the teachers' incentive or $30 or under 30, the District will not expect or bill the District dues which would increase the membership fee over the advertised amount.

Issue 4 had those assembled look at a $4 dues increase. Bringing both pro and con rebuttals to the podium, the dues increase proposal failed. District dues for Optimist Club members in the PNW District will continue to be $18.

Probably because he is doing such a great job in the role, Governor-elect Ben DeRemer was elected to a second term as governor-elect. For the first time ever, the PNW District will have an individual repeat in the role of the governor: Ben will serve as governor 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

pnwdoptimistWith the business of the District completed, the group moved to a luncheon where it heard an inspirational message from Chilliwack Optimist Club member, a cancer survivor, and author Glenda Standeven. Sponsor pins were given to those who had sponsored new members since the last meeting and the audience enjoyed the Centennial video produced by Optimist International before moving forward to an afternoon of Optimist Club bragging at the club project sharing session and roundtable discussions.

The Lebanon Optimist Club's hospitality continued to shine as a fantastic Governor's Banquet was held complete with a bagpiper, professional singer, and the Albany Swing Band.

Many thanks to all involved in the production of this enthusiastic gathering of the PNW District - Optimist International. It was a five-star affair. Thank you.