September 20, 2013

Past Optimist International President looks to the future

Reprinted with permission from PNW Optimist Clubs. 


In 1973, Washington resident and PNW District member Ronald E. Thompson was inducted as the President of Optimist International.

In July 2013, he attended the 95th Annual Optimist International Convention and thus made his 48th crusade to the gathering of Optimist Club leaders. At 82, he is the the second oldest of the past presidents.

A lot has changed since Ron was president. Women are now members and leaders. Programs have been added including the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships and the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. And sadly, although Optimist Clubs continue to do even more in their communities, membership is down.

Ron recently made a presentation to the West Tacoma Optimist Club, his home club, regarding the business conducted at the most recent convention. He explained that membership in the international organization is now at approximately 80,000 individuals and made a plea that new and younger members were needed.

He also explained some steps that were taken by convention attendees that might attract busy young members to get involved. Among those changes was an initiative for online voting. Beginning in 2014, Optimist Clubs will vote online for international officers prior to the convention.

Also beginning this year, Optimist International will host a series of summits at sixteen different locations. The idea is to host quality affordable and accessible Optimist Club training at more locations than ever before.  And of course, for the Optimist Club members in the Western Region, we'll be delighted to know that the Optimist International Convention will also be affordable and accessible. It will be held in Las Vegas, July 10-12, 2014.

And yes, Past International President Ron Thompson plans to be there for the 49th time.

Photo courtesy of the West Tacoma Optimist Club. 
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