January 31, 2010

Be a Friend to Optimist Clubs around the world

Optimist Clubs are always looking for new friends, supporters, fans and members.  Why?  Because these are the people that help us serve more children and make our communities a better place to live.  Unfortunately, we all lead busy lives and we don't always have time to attend club meetings. 

Optimist International has created a new form of membership that is just right for those busy people: The Friend of Optimists.  Friends of Optimists have all the rights and privileges of a traditional Optimist Club member with the exception of voting within the organization.  They receive magazines and are covered by the Optimist International insurance policy when they are participating in an Optimist Club or District activity.

Your contribution of $100 will benefit the Optimist Club in your community and children around the world.  Please send me a message and I will help you become a Friend of Optimists today.  Thanks.

January 30, 2010

The "real" governor visits South Carolina Optimist Club

Optimist Clubs are not immune from politics. By politics, I mean the type where candidates are running for public office.  I always advise service organizations to remain neutral because choosing to take sides on a political issue or candidate can be polarizing not only to your members, but also to the community.  However, when the Governor of the State says he wants to visit, by all means, say yes.

That is what happened recently at the Optimist Club of Grand Strand, South Carolina.  Governor Mark Sanford made a visit on his way to the Republican gubernatorial debate.  He gave an informal presentation to the Optimist Club and asked for their help to "move South Carolina forward."

Governor Sanford also stopped by a local elementary school that had been trying to arrange a visit from him for two years.

January 29, 2010

Promote your Optimist Club online

The members of the Optimist Club of Elkhart, Indiana learned about a new shelter for women who are homeless at their meeting this week.  Next week they will learn about the Organ Donor Association and as an ongoing global project, they are collecting used mens shoes and clothing that they ship to Eden Children's Village in South Africa.

How do I know this?  Because the eTruth ("e" for Elkhart) told me all about the Optimist Club and other service clubs in their community.  This online newspaper has local, national and international stories.  Most important, their stories have color and personality and they let the average person know how to get involved in the community.  What a great service!  And what a great opportunity for service clubs to tell about what they are doing to make their city a better place to live.

Be sure to see if your city or region has a community portal and if it doesn't, why not consider developing one?  Today's digital world makes it easier than ever before to be our own publishers and promoters.  Send me a message  linda [at] newoptimistclub.com and I'll help you get started with your own blog.  Who knows where you may go from there.

January 28, 2010

Smile and be recognized


Optimist Clubs are known for honoring children for many reasons including doing the right thing.  The reason this young lady was recognized by the Optimist Club of Stevens Point, Wisconsin was for "being friendly to all she comes in contact with and wearing her smile to school everyday."

Now that makes me smile too!  Congratulations Hailey Ehr and thank you for sharing your warm personality just because it is the right thing to do.


Photo courtesy of the Stevens Point Optimist Club.

January 26, 2010

Pass the syrup please!

Who knew that Applebee's put on flapjack fundraisers for the community?  In a fundraising world where pancakes rule, this was news to me.

The Optimist Club of Rocky Mount, North Carolina took Applebee's up on their offer this past weekend.  Working with the Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee's, the community was offered a shortstack of pancakes, sausage, juice, milk and coffee for $6.00. 

Think of it:  your Optimist Club can offer a pancake breakfast without buying supplies, stirring up batter, and cleaning up afterwards.  Plus it gives a local restaurant the opportunity to share a little community service and get some advertising.

I hope the Applebee's in my neighborhood participates; I'm recommending this opportunity to a local Optimist Club today. 

January 25, 2010

Arnprior Optimist Club coordinates Winter Carnival for community

The Optimist Club of Arnprior, Ontario has just completed their 29th Annual Winter Carnival.  This is a major event for the community and a major fundraiser for the Optimist Club. 

As the producer of the event, the Arnprior Optimist Club oversaw a wide range of children and family activities that included:
  • Public Skate and Obstacle Race
  • Air Bounce Activities
  • Puppet Shows, 
  • Musical Perfomances
  • Talent Show
  • Hockey Tournament
  • Community Hall 
  • Bake Sale and Auction
  • Free Skate and Free Swim

All activities were low and no cost for participants. 

About 10,000 people live in the city of Armprior and they were out in full force to celebrate with the Optimist Club.

McCall Optimist Club helps entertain children during Winter Carnival

McCall, Idaho, a small town about 100 miles and 2 hours north of Boise is unfortunately known for its high unemployment rate and the failed Tamarack Ski Resort; but every year in late January - early February, the streets fill with ice sculptures, snow, tourists and fun.  This year will be no different.  In fact, it may be one of the heartiest celebrations as the city turns out for the optimism that the McCall Winter Carnival brings.

During the day, children and adults enjoy Mardi Gras style parades and tours of the ice sculptures. 

In the evening, the Optimist Club of McCall takes over part of the fun.  They won't be on the streets though because their involvement is all about the children.  As the parents and adults enjoy the evening or work the evening shift, the McCall Optimist Club can be found hosting parties and dances at the high school for children of all ages.  It's a great way to keep kids safe when the carnival takes over town. 

The 2010 McCall Winter Carnival will take place January 29 to February 7. 

January 24, 2010

Ode to the family dinner

Family dinners are where we give our kids meals, manners, and the measuring of life.  The dinner table is the finishing school, the place where children are civilized. They learn not to talk with their mouth full, to say please and thank you, to keep their elbows off the table. They learn to participate in conversation and sometimes, they learn to listen to other people talk.  They see how adults reason, or don't... ~ Bonny Wolf

As I grew up, we knew that family dinner was at 5:30 p.m. and it was important that we were all there to share the events of the day.  I think my brothers and I grew up respectful and caring, with good manners and appropriate social skills.   But not everyone has the benefit of a two-parent home with rituals.  Not every child has a dinner table.

Many children eat dinner alone and even more eat in front of the television.  Some frequent fast food restaurants, standing in line for a hamburger and then gobbling it down to be on to the next appointment, game or lesson.  What is even sadder, some children have no dinner at all.

This makes me wonder, what might an Optimist Club do to change this situation?  If we are mentors, friends of youth and if we truly want to bring out the best in children, we need to find a way to educate at a family level.  Perhaps we might host family dinner nights instead of pancake breakfasts or chili cook-offs where an Optimist Club member acts as host at a table of children.  I'm not sure if this is enough, but it is a start. 

Let's bring back the great tradition of the family dinner table.  And let's work even harder to be sure that there is food enough for all tables in all homes, and for all children wherever they may be.  

January 23, 2010

What? No chocolate?

I received a Valentine's Day card in the mail yesterday along with a box of sweetheart SweeTarts.  The fact that I was given SweeTarts instead of chocolate was mildly disappointing, and the irony of receiving a card more than three weeks in advance was not lost on me. Yes, I get it.  The sender wants a card in return. 

Did the value of sending that card diminish in my eyes?  Am I being overly critical?  Perhaps, but I do want to say that is human nature.  We have been conditioned to question motives and expect the worst.  This is when the Optimist Creed comes back to me and I promise myself to think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

Along with the Valentine's Day card there was a hand-written note thanking me for donating my time to Optimist Clubs.  What the sender was really doing was providing a learning experience and by sending this message so early, he made sure that I would have the opportunity to send a similar message to others. 

My hope is that he reads this post and understands that every message can be interpreted many different ways.  To be authentic, your motives must be unabashedly clear. 

And in case you are wondering about those SweeTarts, let's just say, no candy goes to waste.  Thanks.

January 22, 2010

Optimist Clubs make great mentors

Optimist Clubs are involved in keeping kids away from drugs.  Some sponsor drug awareness programs such as DARE and others have developed programs of their own.  I recently discovered that the Auburn Optimist Club in Auburn, Nebraska has a solid collaboration with the major drug resistance program in their community.

The project is the Nemaha Against Drug & Alcohol Abuse (NADAA) Coalition.  Several area groups collaborate to make this coalition work. The school district is the partner in education and youth leadership is given over to the students themselves with the Youth Against Drug and Alcohol (YADA) Task Force.  Service clubs and individual volunteers work with these groups to provide different aspects of the program including education, funding, hospitality and mentoring for projects.

The Auburn Optimist Club is a mentor for YADA.  They help put on dances and carry out the Red Ribbon Awareness program.  They also help with fundraising by offering the students the opportunity to work in the club's firework stand.  The mentoring projects allow the participants to learn valuable social and business skills that they also share with their peers.

The Auburn Optimist Club received a Meritorious Service Award from the City for their service, but I bet their true delight was in turn recognizing the students for their great work.  Congratulations to all!

January 21, 2010

Our true fans are on the bus

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you." ~ Oprah Winfrey


The dream of every nonprofit is to be recognized by Oprah Winfrey on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  She reaches such a broad audience and her endorsement is gold.  People listen. 

However, not everyone can be on Oprah; or to use her own words, not everyone can ride in the limo.  We need to be happy  to be on the bus and thankful for those who are taking the ride with us for they are the people who will help us achieve our immediate goals.  They are our true fans.

I have watched as the Optimist International Facebook page has grown.  After one month, more than 600 people have joined to learn more and share stories.  We are on the bus together.  With such true fans, I know we are on the road to progress.  Together we will share our positive vision and bring out the best in children.

Be a fan of Optimist International on Facebook. 

January 20, 2010

Ambitious plan for London Optimist Club

The Optimist Club of London, Ontario is in the soccer business. The wild popularity of this sport has prompted them to move from their current facility located in an industrial park to a more visible and accessible location near the fairgrounds. The new facility willl increase their ability to host more children in the soccer program, but it couldn't be done without the collaboration of the Canadian government, the Provincial government, the City of London and the Optimist Club. Each have promised more than $1 million dollars to the project.

This is one way that Optimist Clubs contribute to the quality of life and economic vitality of a community. Good luck to the London Optimist Club and the London community. 




January 19, 2010

International Optimism Day


Did you know that yesterday was known around the world as Blue Monday?  According to newspaper reports and even psychology magazines, the third Monday in January is depressing because of the distance from Christmas, the distance from New Years and the lingering anxiety we feel over the debt we've incurred and the resolutions we won't keep. 

According to Wikipedia, Blue Monday was first identified  as part of a travel marketing campaign.  Nonetheless, I found an article from UK Telegraph that would do us all good to listen to every day.  According to a group of Brownies asked for their input on how to avoid the blues, they suggested "Imagine you are on holiday on a tropical island, dress up or borrow your mother's clothes, build snowmen, write to friends and family, and restart your new year's resolution if you've already broken it."

Simple distractions such as those supplied by the children can allow our creativity to refresh and our motivation to accelerate.  You are probably wondering, where is the Optimist Club story here?  Well, it's not Optimist International as we know it, but instead the Optimists Society of Great Britain have declared the third Monday in January to be International Optimism Day.

I like it.  Let's think about adopting it in North America. Are you with me?   

January 18, 2010

First Place!



The Liberty City Warriors, sponsored by the Liberty City Optimist Club of Florida claimed the first place trophy in the Junior Pee Wee division of the 53rd Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships.  The tournament was held on Dec. 12 in Lake Buena Vista at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

The Junior Pee Wee league is made up of children aged 9-11 weighing between 60-105 pounds.  More than sixty football teams divided into four weight/age categories competed in the annual tournament.  Approximately 360,000 children ages 5-16 participate in the program each year. 

January 17, 2010

Sing a joyful song

Optimist Clubs are well known for sharing the Optimist Creed. Whenever a group of Optimist Club members gather, they recite the Optimist Creed and promise  to live a positive life. 

My original club also sang a song, "Hail to Optimism."  I was pleasantly surprised when I found the words to the song on the January 1 edition of the Austin, Texas Optimist Club newsletter The Optinote.

Be thankful that I"m not singing this to you; I hope that you enjoy the uplifting words of the retro Optimist Club song "Hail to Optimism":


HAIL Optimism
       Inspiration blessed;
SPREAD the joy and gladness
       Over all the rest;
RALLY round our standards,
        It shall sure prevail;
OPTIMISM on forever,
        HAIL! HAIL! HAIL!

Do you have any joyful traditions, songs or sayings in your Optimist Club?  Please tell us about them here.

January 16, 2010

Talk health, happiness and prosperity

I stumbled upon a community website for Salem, Oregon where groups and organizations were asked to write about their clubs goals and purpose.  The Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon wrote that their goal was to  talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

Optimist Club members know that is the second line of our Optimist Creed.  We say it every time we meet, but has anyone ever simplified the mission of their club into one line? Think of how remarkable your club meetings would be if talking health, happiness and prosperity was your purpose for meeting.  Think about the positive actions you would have in your community if this was your purpose for serving.

Optimist Clubs take on many wonderful projects. My tip for today is to be sure you always act with the Optimist Creed in mind. 

Click here to read more about the purpose and goals of the Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon told through an interpretation of the Optimist Creed. 

January 15, 2010

The Pay it Forward youth challenge


Pay it forward is more than just a slogan in Norwich, Ontario.  In fact it is a challenge issued by the Norwich Optimist Club to students under 19 years of age to encourage them to develop and propose a community service project. 

The Norwich Optimist Club has set aside $1,500 to fund Pay it Forward grants that will be performed in the spring/summer of 2010 in the following areas:

  • Youth in our community
  • Seniors in our community
  • Transition of NDHS students into their new schools
 
A grant application and rules may be found at http://www.norwichoptimistpif.blogspot.com/.  According to Laura Barker, Chair, a successful grant application will follow the guidelines that can be found at http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/.

January 14, 2010

It's a family affair


The Morning and Noon Optimist Clubs of Monroe, Wisconsin have more in common than the mission of bringing out the best in children.  They also share a family commitment to community leadership and volunteerism as  husband and wife are serving concurrent terms as club presidents in the Monroe Optimist Clubs.

Maren Nelson is president of the Monroe Noon Optimist Club and Paul is president of the Monroe Morning Optimist Club. Together they promote many joint activities and projects for the clubs and community. 

In fact, optimism in Monroe is a family affair as many couples have one spouse in each club.  According to Monroe Optimist Club member Becky Mishka, dual memberships double the fun and improves their ability to reach out to children. 

Picture and story courtesy of Becky Mishka and the SWIS District Bulletin.

January 13, 2010

Cheers for the Caldwell Optimist Club

I was a little drawn back at a recent newspaper article that listed "Cheers and Jeers" in a community of about 80,000 people.  The jeers seemed like a small town way to vent about slow drivers and haters of the local football team.  It didn't come across as a positive approach to a new year or a way to solve the writer's angst.

However, among the cheers was the Optimist Club of Caldwell who, along with dozens of other organizations, donated to the high school throughout the year.  As I read through the article looking for the Optimist Club's appearance I wondered what it would be like to have NOT been listed in this group of supporters.  I don't know about you, but I certainly appreciate cheers over jeers!

I also thought that this community could use a little more optimism.  We need to share the Optimist Creed with others and make them feel as empowered as we do every day.  Meaningful change begins when we say and believe in the first line, "Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind."

January 12, 2010

Students learn about the library in Good Reader Program

The Optimist Club of Coralville, Iowa has been teaching literacy skills to elementary schools for twenty-nine years.  They have also been teaching students to catalogue the books they read and creating competions for them to report and share their learning experiences.  The students design bookmarks, write book reports and earn the praise and support of the Optimist Club members for all of their effort. 

About 2,400 third and fourth grade students will participate in the program this year. Chairperson Mary Larew beleives that the program is important.  She explained,  “Particularly now in the days of all the Internet and the gaming, we still want to see kids enjoy reading and make it a habit. It’s something you’ll have with you all of your life, to pick up a book and enjoy it.”

Thanks to the Coralville Optimist Club for sharing the Good Reader Program with us.

January 11, 2010

Experience traditional volunteerism in an Optimist Club


What happens when a bunch of Optimist International leaders come together for the weekend?  We talk about our Optimist Club projects, we brag about our Optimist Clubs and we make plans for the future. 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in such a gathering.  For the first time ever, current and incoming officers of Optimist International were brought together in a formal setting to learn and share ideas.  I think it was a worthwhile experience for all.

Every organization, profit or nonprofit, must assure a smooth transition from one administration to the next; not always an easy task.  Good leaders are passionate about their cause and letting it go is a process.  If nothing else occurred this weekend, I believe that letting go process began.  We were made aware that others, perhaps just as passionate, were waiting in line for their turn to lead. 

With a commitment to each other, our Optimist Clubs around the world and the communities and youth that we serve, we pledged to start at least 125 new Optimist Clubs before our international convention in July.  It's a big task with great rewards for all. 

 I believe that being a part of an Optimist Club is the greatest way to experience traditional volunteerisim.  In an Optimist Club, you and your fellow club members choose a project or cause; you and your fellow members decide how to raise money, manage the project, and fulfill a need in the community where you live.  Traditional volunteerism allows the volunteer to be an entrepreneur, a civic leader, a teacher, a mentor and a friend.

My Optimist Club has allowed me to do all of that and more and for that, I am thankful.  I would love to help you have the same experience in your life.  Please contact me [linda at newoptimistclub.com] to start an Optimist Club or to experience optimism today.

January 10, 2010

Hopecam puts homebound children in school

The Great Falls Optimist Club of Great Falls, Virginia found a new way to help homebound children experience life. The project is called Hopecam.  Hopecam provides the equipment, technology and training to connect homebound children with their friends, teachers and classrooms at no cost to the child's family or school. 

According to Hopecam.com, "after medical treatment, social interaction is the best medicine a homebound child battling long-term illness can receive." 

The Great Falls Optimist Club donated $10,000 to the cause.  Ten students will benefit from their generosity.  I'm hoping even more will benefit from other Optimist Clubs learning about this great cause. 

January 9, 2010

Playground + Optimist Club: Is it a match made in in heaven?


With one look at the young lady in the picture, I think you will agree that an Optimist Club and and a playground is a match made in heaven.

The latest Optimist Club to sponsor a playground is in Cape Girardeau, Missouri where the Noon Optimist Club members have committed $100,000 to build a fully accessible playground for children of all ages and abilities. 

The playground is being dedicated to the memory of Melaina Cunningham, a 3-year-old who died last year from complications related to pneumonia.  Melaina's mom is spearheading the efforts to raise $500,000 for the project.  Included in the plans are the playground equipment, a special surface for under the equipment, and infrastructure to Cape County Park North including handicapped parking and restsrooms.  The Optimist Club pledge and commitments from the county puts the project at 50% of its goal.

According to Optimist Club member Jeff Glenn, the club has considered a project like this for some time.  Their funds will come from Friday Night Optimist Bingo at Bingo World.  Glenn says that hopefully other service clubs will kick in to make Melaina's Magical Playground a reality.

Picture courtesy of Adventure Island, an all ability playground built by volunteers in Meridian, Idaho.

January 8, 2010

From Arizona to Afghanistan with love

Arizona is where you can really experience optimism this week!  This next story highlights 82-year old Dick Turley's efforts with the Yuma Homefront Optimist Club.  Together they are reaching across the globe to help families of deployed soldiers stay in touch. 

Mr. Turley and the Optimist Club have refurbished and redistributed about 400 computers to families who have made their need known to a military liaison.  With the restored computers the families are able to communicate via email, voice and web cam with their loved ones overseas.  While the Optimist Club generally doesn't interact with the families during their calls, they did happen to catch one soldier at the internet station in Afghanistan as he spoke with his daughter for the first time in many months.  Mr. Turley recalled, "Janie came running over to me, wrapped her arms around my leg, and looked up at me with her shining eyes and says I've got my daddy back."

Another project with a global reach.  Thank you Mr. Turley and your Optimist Club.

Find out how you can donate your old computer to the Yuma Homefront Optimist Club. 

January 7, 2010

Yes, I am a fan!


The Casa Adobes Optimist Club of Arizona has 300 fans on Facebook.  That's a remarkable number of people that are interested in what this club is doing.  I admit, I'm a fan, and I'm way up here in Idaho. 

So how did they do it?  Why did I join?  I joined because of the enthusiasm of  the posts.  Their members are interacting with one another, making plans, celebrating their service, and sharing their optimism and that is what being part of an Optimist Club is all about. 

Facebook makes it easy to share with people around the world.  It's free; it's interactive and easy to understand and use. You'll connect with old friends and meet new friends when you join, but most of all, if you open your mind, you can learn about many great things in the world around you, be it an Optimist Club, a local business or a faraway destination.  What makes the experience special is that you can learn from real people and discover real emotions and connections. 

That is why I like the Casa Adobes Optimist Club fan page.  They are sharing real-life activities in their community with zest.  My compliments to them for allowing others to experience their optimism in action. 

January 6, 2010

Find time to say thank you

Each year, the Optimist Club of Knoxville, Tennessee honors students with "Service to Humanity Awards."   This year seven seniors from area high schools were singled out for their exemplary character and volunteerism.  Read the full article in the Farragut Press here.

The students performed various service activities for a number of different organizations often logging in 400 or 500 hours per year.  This sets a wonderful example for their peers and creates a lifelong model for involvement. 

Your Optimist Club can make a difference just by recognizing such outstanding youths for their service. A big thank you always goes a long way. 

January 5, 2010

Making a difference worldwide

Sometimes we get so caught up in the activities of our own Optimist Clubs that we forget that we are part of a larger organization.  That's why I think it is important your Optimist Club bulletin include a little history of Optimist International and it's structure.

The Optimist Club of Roseville, Michigan devotes a small section to when and why Optimist International was formed in the July 2009 edition of the Roseville Optimist Club Newsletter.  It begins "Times were good. World War I had been fought and won and spirits were high in America. It was an ideal time for the birth of Optimism." The newsletter also tells about the beginning of their own club in 1992. 

It is very important that our clubs know about their roots; it is that spirit of optimism that binds us together.  Those binding properties are also needed to ensure that we have the vision to look beyond ourselves to affect a greater number of people.  Our unity, our band of Optimist Clubs organized into Districts under the Optimist International umbrella are making a difference worldwide. 

January 4, 2010

Children to shine at Youth on Parade Variety Show


The Quad City Optimist Club in Rock Island, Illinois has changed one of their major fundraisers this year.  They used to hold a basketball tournament, but instead will sponsor Optimists Youth on Parade to allow area youth groups the opportunity to shine. 

Young entertainers will perform this Saturday, Jan. 9, 2:30 p.m.,  at Augustana College's Pepsico Recreation Center, 1025 30th St., Rock Island. The Metropolitan Youth Youth Drill Team, Pleasant Valley Sparkles cheerleading squad and several other dancers and musicians will perform. Admission will be free for children and a donation will be required of adults.

According to Optimist Club member Rod Behr, the activity is a way to highlight Optimist International's motto Friend of Youth.  To learn more, please contact Rod Behr at (563) 359-5169. 

Shown here are the Pleasant Valley Sparkles, the Spartan Cheerleading squad that earned national attention for adding special needs students to their varsity cheerleading line. 

January 2, 2010

Be relevant and grow

Over the past few weeks, I was alerted to a Christmas story that I chose not to publish.  In fact, I deleted the article again today thinking it's not the positive message that I want to send.  I also thought to myself  it's the new year already; no more Christmas stories. However, giving it a little more thought, I decided this story needs to be told.

Evidently the Optimist Club of Asheville, North Carolina has a huge Santa Pal Program that has been serving Bunscomb County for seventy-three years. Somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 children receive presents from this program annually.

The problem?  Last year, the club came up $25,000 short on donations.  Until recently, they received donations from 11 different organizations, but no more.  With shifts in funding, more and more organizations are using the money in-house and conducting similar programs on their own.  The collaborating organizations also have less money to work with and more people that need their services.  Cuts have been made all around, but not with the Santa Pal Program.  The Santa Pal Program continued to add to their list despite declining resources.  With 8 days left to meet their $50,000 goal this year they remained $45,000 short. 

I don't know if they made it because I am more interested in the perception they gave the community in their plight:
  • They didn't listen to the cautions of their collaborators and took on large, what might be considered frivolous, debt.   When funders stop funding you, there is a reason. 
  • They proceeded in an "if you build it, they will come" manner hoping the media attention would send donations their way.  This may have worked, but why would the Optimist Club want to resort to begging?
  • They tainted their future fundraising and membership recruiting opportunities.  People rarely want to join causes where the primary program is not successful or in jeopardy. People want to raise money to spend now and plan for the future, not to pay for what has happened in the past.
The moral to this story is that in order to be perceived as relevant, you have to be in tune with your community.  Perhaps donating many Christmas gifts to many children was once the biggest need in Asheville, but it is possible that now others have taken on the task making the enormity of the Santa Pal Program  redundant.  

Do you have a program like this in your Optimist Club?  Don't be embarrassed; we all have a project that we are emotionally tied to and we want to see carried on at all costs, but those emotional ties are limiting us.   The key to growth is to be relevant by today's standards.  In order to be relevant and effective, we have to ask questions of members and of the residents, businesspersons and government officials in our communities so that we all know where we fit and how we serve. 

Optimist International has created a community needs assessment and survey where your club can assess what is needed and then develop a response.  When you develop that response, please don't bite off more than you can chew.   Make sure your Optimist Club is known for the good deeds performed in the community and not only for their fundraising efforts.

Santapal.org is accepting donations and plans to continue the program in 2010 and beyond.

January 1, 2010

An online sharing community for Optimist Clubs

Thank you so much for reading this blog.  As the new year begins, it's time to revisit why it is being published.  What drives me to write something new here nearly every day?


This blog started as an example of how easy it was to create a blog. A link at NewOptimistClub.com  led the reader here and gave instructions on how one could create a blog of their own.  It included just a few stories of new clubs in the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International. 

In February 2009, I decided to use this platform to tell stories from around the world so others could experience optimism in action.  My original commitment was to write about one newsworthy project or inspirational Optimist Club at least once a week and then to use social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook to broadcast that story to the world.  I've since dedicated myself to telling one story every day and I am proud to say that there are now more than 215 Optimist Club stories archived right here.

What's in store for 2010? 
There are a lot more Optimist Club stories to tell.  I will try to keep them fresh and add in learning opportunities for you to help your Optimist Club grow, but to make this work, we also need to hear from you!   Please post comments, discuss projects, and mail in your stories for publication.  Help me make this blog a learning and sharing community for Optimist Clubs around the world.  Please tell your friends and share the http://www.experienceoptimism.org/ link today.
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