July 30, 2009

Taste of Howell benefits Optimist Club

Fund raising is a big part of any nonprofit organization and with so many great causes to support it can be a difficult choice for the donor. That is why a fresh, new idea that entertains them is a great idea. Here's a new one on me: A Taste of Howell. If you are imagining food booths and concession stands, think again.

The Optimist Club and Fire Department of Howell, New Jersey were the direct beneficiary of this fund raising effort that brought together local food establishments, wine distributors and tobacco suppliers for an adults-only evening of epicurean entertainment. No one under 21 was admitted to this one-of-a-kind evening that provided food, wine, cigars and sweets, and music along with giveaways and a mini-silent auction.

Admission: $35. Impact: Priceless.

July 29, 2009

New Optimist Club is on Twitter

There is a trend today for bloggers who tweet. We're asking you who read our posts here to also follow us on Twitter. Why? Because Twitter is about give and take, sharing resources and ideas and building relationships.

I want to get to know you. I would like to know what is on your mind. Please join our discussion on Twitter. Thanks!

Optimist Club builds field of dreams

The Allouez Optimists Miracle League of Green Bay, WI have completed phase two of the handicap accessible playground at Allouez Optimist Park in the Favre Miracle Recreation Area.

The playground equipment was installed by the Allouez Fire Department. According to a club spokesperson, phase one was a $90,000 investment and phase two was a $25,000 investment. More phases are planned as fund raising efforts continue.

The Miracle League is dedicated to providing opportunities for children 4 to 19 to play baseball regardless of their abilities. The playground project is an extension of their services to make the Allouez Optimist Park universally acceptable.

What a wonderful example of the little miracles we can perform to help others participate in their own field of dreams.

July 28, 2009

Optimist Club and YMCA send students to Respect for Law Camp

The Optimist Club of Greensburg, Indiana partnered with the Decatur County YMCA this summer to send children to the Respect for Law Leadership Camp. The Camp is coordinated by the Indiana State Police Department and held at Hanover College.

The students were chosen for their leadership and participation in an afternoon drug prevention program, Afternoons Rock, held at Greensburg Elementary School. Teacher Bill Wenning and YMCA Director Devon Brown, both Optimist Club members, made sure that six students got to attend the three-day overnight camp compliments of the Optimist Club. "Sometimes it’s all about having the right connection to help an idea get wings. Devon was able to give this idea ‘wings’ from his work with the local youth," stated Wenning.

While there, the students learned about the bomb squad, K-9 unit, and participated in practicing police formations. They also took turns driving golf carts while wearing "drunk goggles," a simulation of driving drunk. For their participation, the students earned the distinction of being a youth leader that will demonstrate positive choices to their peers.

Damian Mitchell, Darrian Mitchell, Brittany Lozier and Christian Dance attended an Optimist Club meeting with a slideshow to express their appreciation.

July 26, 2009

Junior Optimist Club to benefit from in-school Club Time

Here is a positive trend that every school should embrace: Club Time in place of study hall. According to Phil Kramer, Principal at Jefferson Middle School in Dubuque, IA, a newly created class schedule will create the opportunity for more students to be involved in what was once considered extracurricular activities: student organizations.

The kinks are still being worked out and he admits that it still being determined how many times per month clubs will meet, but the concept is solid just the same. Kramer explained that Club Time is important because it allows students to socialize, identify causes and choose to work together and build leadership skills. "Our hope is that every kid will be involved in some type of club," he stated. Students that prefer to attend study hall will still have that option.

One of the groups that will be affected by the new Club Time mandate is the Jefferson Hillhawks Junior Optimist Club. Upon learning there was a new class schedule being proposed, Club President Maryann Flury and Vice President Taiana Butler proactively started campaigning for clubs to be included. This is exactly the type of leadership skills that Junior Optimist Club members learn from being involved.

I think Club Time sounds like a great way to involve even more students in positive activities and help them develop an attitude of community service. How about you?

July 25, 2009

Blues, Barbecue and Optimism

I could have chosen a picture of a musician or some fine looking barbecue, but I chose this picture to depict the Blues Festival organized by the Optimist Club in Lebanon, Ohio because it is what a festival is all about: community. Any time you can bring your community together to celebrate music, arts, or just living life to the fullest, it is a wonderful thing.

The Optimist Club of Lebanon is often asked, why host a blues festival? The organizers are quick to reply, "It brings so many aspects of Lebanon together. People who like barbecue and blues bring a great atmosphere.”

In addition to music and food, the event also offers a 5K Run, a Classic Car Show and evening events for children. But the centerpiece is the music and the good news is the music is free. It's no wonder they drew 15,000 attendees last year and are expecting at least that many again this year.

Don't miss it - August 1, 11 am to 11 pm, Broadway and Mulberry Streets, Lebanon, Ohio.

Check out the 2008 Photo Gallery from the Dayton Daily News.

July 24, 2009

New Optimist Club meets at Grumpy's

Life is about the small things that make you smile. When I discovered that the brand new Optimist Club of Marana, Arizona was meeting at a place called Grumpy's; well, I just had to smile. I also had to share that little tidbit with you.

Marana lies northwest of Tucson. The new club joins sixteen other Optimist Clubs in the Tucson area in fulfilling the mission of bringing out the best in children. Although the clubs are made up of many business owners, the organizers emphasized that this is not a business networking group. The mix is a good cross section of employers, employees and residents. Mayor Ed Honea and Councilwoman Patti Comerford are members of the new club.

Newly elected club president John Coppin shared his vision, "We want to make sure every child doesn't ever have to worry about feeling alone in this world."

Congratulations on organizing. We wish you much success as you provide friendships, smiles and service to your community.

The Marana Optimist Club meets at 7 a.m. the second Wednesday and at 8 a.m. the fourth Saturday of each month at Grumpy's Jr. Bar & Grill, 8235 N. Silverbell Road.

July 19, 2009

Optimist Club collects Tools for School

Already? That's what I thought when I saw that the Optimist Club of Fort Payne, Alabama was already preparing to send students back to school with the annual Tools for School supply drive. But it is that time of year and with school beginning in only one month, the Optimists are looking for school supplies or any other things that a student might need.

Each year, more than forty students are helped directly through the Childcare Resource Network. With a nod to the unemployment rate, club president Brian Baine explained that this year they also plan to have supplies available at the Fort Payne Career Center for parents who may have recently lost their job.

The drive officially kicks off on July 23 and runs through August 10. Supplies may be dropped off in DeKalb County at Wal-Mart, Foodland, the Career Center, Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce and Timesaver on DeSoto Parkway.
School supply drives are an easy and meaningful project for any Optimist Club to perform. If you are not sure where or how to donate, contact a school or school district in your local community and offer to adopt a class or spearhead a program. They will give you tips on what's needed, where it's needed, and how to be successful.

July 18, 2009

Imagine the energy of a college Optimist Club

The University of California, Santa Barbara proudly hosts an Optimist Club. It's made up of students, alumni, faculty and staff. What I find most interesting about this club and what I hope to share with you today is a glimpse into their energy.

First, take a look at the banner. It is simple and vibrant with bright yellow and red colors. The block letters declare that the focus is on being an Optimist and the fresh, young happy face lets you know the club is about kids. The @ UCSB reminds us that the members are probably young and have grown up in a technology driven world.

For the next look, you have to visit the members section of their website. Go ahead - click it - it's worth it! Have you ever seen a president more excited about leading her cause? While you are there, click on the other members photos and find out more about them. For this generation, transparency is the new black.

Finally, while you are still on their website, take a look at what they are about, what they have accomplished and who they partner with to carry out their mission.

Optimist Clubs began forming on college campuses a little over ten years ago. With this much energy to share, I am sure happy that they are a part of the extended Optimist family.

July 17, 2009

It's worth the look: Ankenny Optimist 5K Walk/Run

Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That means this twenty-picture photo gallery must be worth 20,000 words. Please click on the link to take you to the Des Moines Register Online where I promise you will enjoy the Ankenny Optimist Club 5k 1 Mile Walk/Run. This is the fourth year for the event. Young, old, male, female, able-bodied and those in wheelchairs enjoyed the day. Ankenny Optimist Club photo gallery.

Calling all youth-serving organizations in Tigard, Oregon

Fundraising! Every club does it, but some clubs help others with their fundraising efforts as well. The Optimist Club of Tigard, Oregon is one of those kind of clubs. Every year, they invite other community serving causes to join in the Annual Florence Yoder Friend of Youth Memorial Walkathon. The Optimist Club provides the venue and administration for the event. Everyone provides the enthusiasm, energy and sponsors to their unique causes.

According to event coordinator Carla Mito, the Tigard High School Snowboarders, Equestrians and the Cross Country Team have committed to participate. Mito hopes other youth organizations will take advantage of the opportunity. The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 1. Want to know how it's done? Contact Mito at carla.mito [at] gmail.com.

July 16, 2009

The Sanibel~Captiva Optimist Club’s 30th Annual 4th of July Road Rally

I've seen show and shines, poker runs and road rallies before, but something about the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club's activity just hit my fancy. It might be the location - Florida - with the beach colors in the background. But more likely, it was the happy road racers in the red convertible. You can tell they are having fun being part of their Optimist Club. Optimist Club members perform a lot of projects that make their communities a better place to live. Enjoying themselves is a pleasant and appreciated bonus. Please click on the link for a full description of the event.

The Sanibel~Captiva Optimist Club’s 30th Annual 4th of July Road Rally

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