April 30, 2009

Motorcycle rally benefits Optimist Club

This is the thirteenth year for the annual Hill Country Motorcycle Run in Luckenbach, Texas. Scheduled for this weekend, May 1-3, 2009, the promoters say this event is "More than just a plain old motorcycle rally." It features food, entertainment, friends, both new and old, and lots of riding through miles and miles of the friendly towns and beautiful vistas in Texas.

The Hill Country Run is a volunteer effort coordinated by the Optimist Club of Fredericksburg, Texas and all proceeds benefit Optimist Club projects including the T-Ball Program, Scholarship Program, Pioneer Memorial Library Reading Hour Program, Tri-Star Sports contests, Oratorical Contest, and Essay Contest. Visit www.hillcountryrun.com to find out more.

What a great project! It brings the community together, increases tourism and lets others contribute to the great activities sponsored by the local Optimist Club. Cheers!

April 29, 2009

Optimist Club forms food pantry

The official home page for the burough of California, Pennsylvania proudly displays the Optimist International logo. That's because the community is the beneficiary of a very active Optimist Club. Their latest activity was the creation of the community's only food pantry. According to founding Optimist Club member and former California mayor Gerald Gardner, they created the food pantry with help from the Washington County Food Bank after visiting the neighboring Ellsworth Food Pantry to learn the ropes.

The food pantry will officially be open for service on May 13. Other projects of the Optimist Club of California include care packages to troops in Iraq, a fire relief program, and the city's annual art and music festival, California Gold Rush Days. Not bad for a community of 6,000 people. Way to go Optimists!

April 28, 2009

Optimist Clubs award scholarships for essay writing

One of the greatest things adults can do is listen to children and through the Optimist Essay Contest, Optimists do just that. Optimist Clubs around the world hold essay contests and invite children through 18 years of age to participate for scholarships. The club winner is forwarded to the District where it is again judged and the winning essays move to the national competition where the top finalist receives a $6,500 scholarship. That's a pretty nice prize for 500 words or less.

This year the topic was "The Power of Youth." Take a look at some of the club entries here:

Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon
Optimist Club of Albany, Oregon

April 25, 2009

Optimist Club contributes pennies to charity

That's right...your pennies can make a difference; especially when they are combined with a lot of other pennies. The Optimist Club of Azle, Texas uses a penny drive each year to get students involved in philanthropy. From the Hoover Elementary School that raised $1288.63 all the way to the Azle High School that raised $2,174.87, the drive collected $1,726 more than last year and the most ever collected - $9,648.79.

The penny drive lasts for ten days and is supported by parents and teachers as well as students. Optimist Club president Darrell Helm said that everyone seemed to understand the importance of this year's drive being conducted despite such difficult economic times.

With great help from the community, the Optimist Club of Azle Penny Drive has raised nearly $50,000 since its inception in 2002.

How about a big high five for the Optimist Club of Azle for getting everyone involved!

April 23, 2009

Optimist Club leads Youth Summit

I was a little apprehensive about posting this link. Optimist Clubs help bring out the best in children by recognizing the good things that they do and by helping them to do more. I wasn't sure that I wanted "Optimist Clubs" and "youth violence" recognized together.

However, recognizing that a problem exists in your community and then developing solutions to respond to the problem is a true sign of leadership. The Optimist Club of Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica is doing just that. Responding to increased violence among teens, including murder, they have invited the community to participate in a Youth Summit that will engage youth and adults in all walks of life.

The event will also bring greater awareness to violence and the effect it has on their community. The Summit will also motivate others to be part of the solution. If we think about it, isn't that the true reason Optimist Clubs got their start so many years ago? While we have progressed from the motto "Friend of the Delinquent Boy" to "Friend of Youth" it is still our responsibility to be involved whenever and wherever we can make a difference.

High Five to the Optimist Club of Roseau for showing leadership.

April 14, 2009

Getting eggy with Optimist Clubs

There seems to be a connection between kids, candy and Optimist Clubs. Nothing brings the three together better than an Easter Egg Hunt. Optimist Clubs across the country participate in this annual rite of spring planning for weeks for the kiddoes to wipe the ground clean in only a couple of minutes. I've collected links to some media coverage to these egg-tastic events:

Optimist Club of Rapid City, SD
Optimist Club of Worthington, MN
Optimist Club of Havre, MT
Optimist Club of Meridian, ID

Optimist Club of Winchester, VA does things a little bit different by distributing Easter Baskets.

The Allouez Optimist Club of Green Bay, WI assists kids with special needs by hosting an Easter Egg Hunt with beeping eggs so that visually impaired children can enjoy the fun.

Just like our kids, Optimist Club Easter Egg Hunts come in all shapes and sizes, but the common ingredient, aside from the candy, is fun.

April 12, 2009

Optimist Club works with local media for members

The Optimist Club of Meridian, MS is looking for a few good women and men to help them further their mission of providing services for children. With the help of TV Station WTOK-News Center 11, they aired their search and invited others to participate in in their NOW activity.

Watch the Optimist recruitment video here. Find out how your club can host a NOW activity here.

NOW stands for New Optimists Wanted.

April 9, 2009

Proclaim Optimist Club Day in your hometown

Here is another great way to celebrate a milestone anniversary for your Optimist Club. Thanks to the Optimist Club of Morganton, North Carolina for the tip. The first link takes you to the post on the PNW District Optimist blog. The second link takes you to the article in the Morganton newspaper. Enjoy!

PNW Optimists: Proclaim Optimist Club Day in your hometown

The News Herald: Sunday is Optimist Day in Morganton

April 8, 2009

Optimist Club 50th anniversary idea

Here is a great idea that gives you something to think about doing today.

The Optimist Club of Freehold, New Jersey is celebrating their 50th Anniversary. In honor of this glorious occasion, they are looking for fifty people to share their stories of how Optimism has touched or influenced their lives. They are especially seeking past oratorical and essay contest winners, safety fair participants and scholarship recipients. I can't wait to see the results!

The action item for your Optimist Club to think about doing today: keep records and invite your past participants back to the club to talk about their experiences. Allow them to tell you about where they have gone and what they have done. After all, these are potential members for your Optimist Club. They know how Optimist Clubs make a difference in the lives of others and when they are ready to join a service organization, they will most likely think of giving back to the organization that helped them.

Good record-keeping helps you regularly celebrate your Optimist Club and the success of your friends, beneficiaries and colleagues.

April 6, 2009

Optimist Club to fulfill a twenty-five year goal

Some projects are bigger than others. Some projects can be done in a day and some take years to accomplish. But the beauty of an Optimist Club is that it provides a foundation on which to build. Optimist Clubs and their projects are totally scalable: you can start small, make a difference with the little things that you do, and keep a big vision or dream alive for when it can be completed.

The Optimist Club of Hornbeck, LA is about to achieve one of those grand visions. Twenty-five years ago, the Hornbeck Optimist Club was formed and they immediately began a baseball program, leasing land for $1/per year from a timber company. They built the beginning of the town's recreation program on that site and every time the the land changed hands they prayed that they could continue with their program. Four years ago, the city approached the land owners and finalized a deal to acquire the land. The city kept the lease intact for the Optimist Club and then began to help them realize their dream of a park and playground for the area. On April 4, the City of Hornbeck and the Hornbeck Optimist Club broke ground on the improvement project.

Approximately $117,000 will go towards walking trails and baseball field improvements. The Hornbeck Optimist Club will provide the playground fulfilling a dream of providing ongoing service to youth. Great job all!

April 4, 2009

UW-Wisconsin Optimist Club travels to Belize

Here is a project that puts the International in Optimist International. Eight college students from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Optimist Club traveled to Belize to take clothing, toys, personal hygiene products and other supplies to a local orphanage.

Check out the pictures and read about it the student newspaper Royal Purple.

What a great project for a college club to perform! High Five to the students and their sponsoring club, the Whitewater Community Optimist Club.

April 2, 2009

Optimist Club Oratorical Contest

Our Optimist Clubs do so many great things in their local communities, but one activity that binds us together is the Optimist Oratorical Contest. It has been around since 1928 making it the longest running program for Optimist International. The Optimist Oratorical Contest asks students under the age of 16 to speak on a predetermined subject and they have the opportunity to receive college scholarships for their efforts. The Optimist Oratorical Contest helps students develop poise and self confidence as they learn to effectively present what they think about and what is on their minds.

Here is a sample of what an Optimist Club Oratorical Contest looks like.

Optimist Club of Vancouver Oratorical Contest (3-28-09)

The Optimist Club of Vancouver, WA has been broadcasting club and zone contests for several years. High Five to the Vancouver Optimist Club. And congrats to the students for an awesome job!
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