July 17, 2014

Dystopian optimism

Continuing with the belief that the Optimist International media library needs to be increased, at the international convention, Optimist International asked vice president-designates to produce a video on behalf of their regions. They shared the videos with one another and they are now slowly reaching others.

The first one shown here was produced by Jan Oord Graves of the Southwest District. Using the tune from "What does the Fox Say?" 11-year-old Valeria Jauregui sings "What our Creed says!" while projects and fellowship of our club members are shown on the screen like a photo album.


With a different approach, Ed Murphy of the West Coast Region takes us on a dystopian journey before bringing us back to optimism. His message, "Reverse it", reminds us that Optimist International is only a force for good because of the personal involvement of each member. Without that personal involvement, it might fade away.

When I first watched Ed's video, I planned to write an article about leading with optimism. Even for emphasis, telling the world that the organization is doomed is probably not the best approach for an optimist or an Optimist Club member. I realize that he was going for shock value and I applaud the creativity, but it would be quite easy for a viewer to click away and not hear the positive message that reverses the negative thinking. I told him that I would probably not publish the video on my blog.

After receiving Jan's video, I decided to take the risk and publish Ed's video at the same time. The videos show the different approaches that Optimist International volunteer leaders use when reaching out to others. One emphasizes the status quo. The other shakes us up and asks where are we going and how will we get there.

Both send valuable messages and are a timely lead-in to a conversation that the Optimist International Board of Directors asked its member clubs to consider. Optimist International has asked, for the purposes of growth and financial sustainability, can we continue with the status quo? This is a topic for another post, but think about it, friends. Where are we headed? How will we get there? Are we being responsible stewards of the Optimist International legacy or do we need to make some major structural changes now for the future?

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