September 30, 2012

Experience the "Power of One"

Today is the last day of the 2011-2012 administrative year for Optimist International. Optimist Clubs across the globe are celebrating the successes of the year, welcoming new officers and planning for the next year of projects and accomplishments. The Optimist Club of Barbados-Bridgetown celebrated the day by releasing the following video montage as a remembrance and thank you to the participants. It is also a thank you to those who give Optimist Club members the opportunity to serve.

The theme for the Caribbean District throughout the year was "The Power of One." The video features "The Power of One" performed by Donna Summer and the "Power of One" by Bomshel. Such inspiration is perfect for Music Sunday at Experience Optimism.

The video displays proudly a sampling of what Optimist Clubs do. And they do it with love.


September 26, 2012

Promo items: are they worth it?

Tchotchkes. What a funny word for the little takeaway novelties that businesses often provide in order to get you to remember them next time you are making a purchase. Swag, the more contemporary term, is equally odd. Of course the very real question that I have for you today is does it work? If you receive a key ring, fly swatter, calendar or magnet are you more likely to remember a business and contact them next time you need their services?

Magnet available at Cafe Press
I was reading an article in the American Medical Association (AMA) News that fully endorsed physicians use of tchotchkes in their marketing collateral. According to the author of the article, not only does the item remind the person who received it about the business,  if you choose an appropriate item, one that the recipient will use, it can also be seen by others. Two birds, one stone.

If it works for physicians and other businesses, it seems reasonable that giving away tchotchkes or swag would work for an Optimist Club. Perhaps a refrigerator magnet with the website address of the local Optimist Club would encourage the reader to go online and find out more. Maybe a water bottle, branded with the Optimist Club logo, will remind users about youth sports programs provided by the local club. Or my favorite tchotchke to receive might become the favorite of others. I love sticky notes - add an Optimist Club logo to a pack of sticky notes and they provide ongoing brand awareness.

I've heard of clubs that have pens and pencils that they hand out to students. Getting participants in Optimist Club events is equally important as attracting members so student items might make good giveaways too. Remember, it's all about raising awareness for the good things that Optimist Clubs do in local communities. So as fair and festival opportunities come around, think about getting an Optimist Club booth and sharing some stories and swag.

Tell your community members about what your Optimist Club does. And then ask them to join.

Find Optimist Swag here. 

Note: I am not associated with any merchandise links in this post. 

September 25, 2012

Optimists: tell your story online

With the proliferation of blogs, telling the Optimist Club story has never been easier. When individuals write first person narratives of their experience at events, programs and even meetings, their story becomes a testimonial for the service that Optimist Clubs provide in their communities.

I've been encouraging Optimist Clubs to start their own blogs for about five years. Slowly, ever so slowly, I'm starting to see the rewards of my ongoing message. Districts have adopted the platform as well as a number of clubs. Here is a list of just a few:

optimist club blog
AMS & NW District
East Missouri District
Nebraska District
Oklahoma District
Pacific Northwest District 

Boise Noon Optimist Club
Coquitlam Optimist Club
Jerome Optimist Club
McCall Optimist Club
Middleton Area Optimist Club
Old River Optimist Club
Sunset Optimist Club of Kingston 

Some might ask what is the difference between a website and blog. It's simple. A traditional website is static; the information is basic and rarely changes. On the other hand, a blog is dynamic. It is a website that is constantly being updated.

Blogs can standalone, as these do; but a blog can also fit nicely as link from your Optimist Club's traditional website. The key is that someone - you - need to take charge of updating regularly. Tell stories. Share success. We all want to hear about what your Optimist Club has done and will do, especially those potential new members who want to know what might be expected of them before they commit to join.

Sign in with Blogger now and start telling your story online. As always, I offer my help with this link.

September 24, 2012

Caribbean District plans to make a difference one child at a time

October 1 marks the beginning of a new administrative year for Optimist International and its Optimist Clubs and Districts. As the current leaders push hard to add more new members to their rosters, new leaders are finalizing their plans and motivating their teams to take office immediately. It's always nice when the two administrations are able to work together, and for the most part, they do; however, at some point the new leaders have to start sharing their message. 

One way that the leaders will inspire their team is by developing a new logo that signifies their theme for the year. The logo, including a tagline, is not meant to distract from Optimist International's mission. It is designed to enhance it by bringing a local touch to the message.

Over the weekend, I began to see the logo developed by the Caribbean District. Lynden Buchanan, Governor 2012-2013 will ask the team to make a difference by focusing their attention on "One child at a time."

I'm impressed with the message and the design, but Governor Lynden has even more to share about teamwork and individual responsibility within one's team. He used a story about a feared but respected hunter, the wolf,  to make his point. You can watch The Wisdom of the Wolves to learn more, but I think "The Wolf Credo" by Del Goetz, contained in the video, says it all:
Respect the elders
Teach the young
Cooperate with pack.

Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between.

Share your affections
Voice your feelings
Leave your mark.

The Caribbean District of Optimist International is off to an inspirational start. I'm looking forward to the mark it leaves for all.

September 23, 2012

A conditioned response

A neighbor would always sing "You are My Sunshine" to me when I was a child and I would always cry. Silly, I know, but it still brings the same conditioned response. That's why when I saw "Trouble With the Curve," today I cried even during the happy parts.

The first clip, performed by Carly Simon is the traditional style that should bring smiles to most.

The second clip, performed by Ray Charles, is jazzy, as it should be, and a perfect addition to a Clint Eastwood film. Once the conditioned response is over, I think it is great and am happy to share it here on Music Sunday at Experience Optimism.

The story of the movie is family and baseball. It's a reminder that it is easy to push those that we love away. It's rewarding when we don't. And baseball, that all American pastime, is good at any age. I recommend the film and the songs.




September 18, 2012

Do good and grow

Service clubs spend a lot of time wondering, pontificating and stressing about how to get new members. Well, wonder no more. A recent post on a Kiwanis blog hit the nail on the head and I'm going to share the secret with you.

At Alan's Alley on Tumblr, Alan Arbuckle writes, "People join because they like what a club does in the local community."

He then goes on to say, "New members join because they like the atmosphere and the members. They want to be involved in meaningful projects that make them feel good about their experience. Young adults want to have hands-on projects. They want to be accepted as equals; to know their ideas are valid."

It's a pretty simple concept; the key to membership growth in your service club is to provide the services or projects that your local community needs and wants. Inherently, people like to be associated with good. Most want to make a difference, or at least not stand in the way of those who do.Those are the individuals that will join your cause if you just ask.

So if there is a second secret to share, it is, just ask. Do good and ask others to join you and your club will grow. I promise.

September 13, 2012

The happiness table

Coca-Cola has made me smile since I was a small child. As my mom's favorite drink, I grew up on its fizzy goodness. Sometimes we enjoyed Coke at the dinner table, but one thing was certain, with or without Coke, my family came together for the evening meal every day. We made our own family history as we shared the smiles, stories, and laughter of the day.

This may be an advertisement for Coke, but truly, it's an advertisement for something every person should try to achieve. No matter who you call family, bring them together with you for a meal on a regular basis. You'll be inspired by the love that evolves.

Click here to see the Coca-Cola Happiness Table on YouTube.


September 5, 2012

Digital natives and the Optimist Club

According to @Blackboard and @Jess3, the contemporary student is an active learner. As digital natives, they are constantly connected to the internet and seek information on the fly, from ever-growing and accessible sources around the world. So while they may be seen as inattentive to the world around them, in fact, we might consider youths to be even more aware, culturally, socially, and technologically as they learn on their handheld electronic devices.

 
The Voice of the Active Learner by Blackboard and JESS3 from JESS3 on Vimeo.

As our Optimist Clubs seek to attract students to participate in programs and competitions, they must be aware of the new normal. Technology is not a luxury, it is a necessity, and one that the students of today will only improve upon in the future. It's time for our programs to offer a digital and sharable component.


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