February 29, 2016

Feels like home to me

experience optimism
I have written here before how my first Optimist Club made me feel welcome.

I have also written about how I took a break from active service and the Optimist Club welcomed me when I was ready to return.

However, I do not believe that I've talked about how visiting a district meeting can have the same feeling.

The past two weekends have found me in California, visiting the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Central Districts - Optimist International. This coming weekend, I head to Reno for the Regional Optimism Summit and then on to Idaho for a Pacific Northwest Super Zone meeting.

All that travel can make one tired; however, when one travels for optimism, one is recharged and reenergized over and over again. Sharing positive thoughts and discussing the projects that bring out the best in children sparks a sense of satisfaction. It's important to do good and to give back.

At times like this, one phenomenon stands out above all others: the feeling of family. No matter where I have traveled, Optimist Clubs feel like home to me. There is comfort in sharing values and dreams. There is comfort in meeting the extended family through district gatherings and there is comfort in opening doors, minds and hearts with our shared purposes and the overwhelming goodness of the Optimist Creed.

I invite you to join the family. Join an Optimist Club today.

Find an Optimist Club near you.
Send me a message and I will help you start a new Optimist Club in your community.

February 24, 2016

How to target a mature audience

I highlight a great number of Optimist Club projects on this blog. Typically they are geared towards bringing out the best in youth or community. However, we have to raise money to do all these good deeds and while I don't highlight that many fundraising projects, I thought this one deserved a nod.

Coordinated by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, the public is invited to enjoy a food and wine festival on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

The Sanibel Uncorked Food and Wine Festival has been taking place annually since 2010. It features wine, music, cooking demonstrations and a silent auction. While it is aimed at the community to enjoy, it also captures the attention of tourists visiting the area in the winter months. 

For further information, or to buy a ticket, please call 239-472-0836. 

This is an example of providing social activities for members and the community with an adult flair. Working with youth is important and rewarding, but nurturing the interest of a mature audience is critical in the survival of our programs. Optimist Clubs need the support and interest of caring adults in order to continue to do what we do best as friends of youth. 

February 14, 2016

Love is in the air

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When you join an Optimist Club, you experience love every day. Love comes from a sense of belonging and when you share experiences, both the good and the challenging, the bond grows stronger.

One might think that these types of experiences are  reserved for individuals - people - to share with one another. They are not usually ascribed to a person and a group or a person and an organization. However, when you think about it, it is perfectly natural to have overwhelming love for your family.

For many, an Optimist Club is like a family. Through our mutual caring for our community, we respect, care, and yes, love one another.

If you are looking for love, look no further than your local Optimist Club. Find your nearest Optimist Club here or send me a message and I'll help you start a new Optimist Club in your community.

I hope you feel hope and love today and that you #shareoptimism every day. Happy Valentine's Day.

February 7, 2016

Super Kids are the focus of the Breakfast Optimist Club

experience optimism super kidsIn Quincy, Illinois, the Breakfast Optimist Club sponsors a Soap Box Derby.

Over the past three years, it has grown from 65 to 122 participants and enlarged from a 1-day event to 2-days.

The competition takes place at the 18th Street Hill near Bob Mays Park, and that is a perfect location to generate some speed and excitement for the Super Kids Soap Box Derby Competition.

Who are the Super Kids who take part?
Special needs children from local organizations.

According to race director Ray Wilson, Quincy, Illinois will soon be known as the epicenter for the Super Kids Soap Box Derby. Although the Derby is a fundraiser for the Breakfast Optimist Club's cancer fund, the Super Kids are not charged an entry fee. Local sponsors like Hy-Vee and Home Depot, among others, make it possible to treat the children to a great event and support another great cause. "This whole project sounds enormous to many," said Wilson, "but it is not difficult when people's hearts are in the right place."

Wilson went on to explain that many of these parents have difficulty involving their sons and daughters in sporting events. The Super Kids races are very positive event for them, the children and the community.

That's what being an Optimist Club member is all about: Bringing out the best in youth, our community and ourselves.

Photo: Michael Kipley
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