November 28, 2010

Music moves us

Before he was the King of Pop and a thought provoking and misunderstood musical icon, Michael Jackson was a superb performer with his family in the Jackson 5.  For Music Sunday here at the Experience Optimism blog, I've put together a three-pack for Michael lovers: Blame it on the Boogie, We are the World (Africa), and Man in the Mirror. 

Blame it on the Boogie has become one of my favorite songs even though I wasn't familiar with it before Michael's untimely passing. It makes me think, what else didn't we know? We knew the unusual and sordid details of this man's life. Many ignored the good that he accomplished as they made him a target for ridicule and lawsuits preyed on his money and fame. Others ignored his humiliation and simply sang along when a favorite Michael Jackson song came on the radio.

Over the past week, my quotes have centered around kindness. Money and celebrity aside, I am convinced that Michael Jackson could have used a little more kindness in his life. I imagine you know someone who could use some kindness too. Please go out of your way this week to show them you care.

November 27, 2010

Service clubs sell year-round kindness

In order to do good deeds throughout the year, many Optimist Clubs hold Christmas tree sales. More and more those sales lots are challenged by other entrepreneurs who have taken to similar tactics to raise a quick buck. This year in British Columbia, one can purchase a Christmas tree from IKEA for $20 and that money goes to a youth choir that the store has chosen to recognize.

We speak often that we need our businesses to be good corporate citizens, so this is a good thing. However, it does point out that the local service club can no longer trust that if they open a Christmas tree lot on the corner that people will flock to it. Service club members need to be engaged with others in their communities so they can tell them about the Christmas tree sales and all the good that they are able to do with the money they raise. Members must invite their friends and acquaintances to buy from them and make a difference in the community.

Word of mouth marketing is essential to good sales. Tell your story and who knows - you might even gain a new member or two. Merry Christmas!

November 25, 2010

How do you say thanks?

Scott Williams, author of Big is the New Small, posted the following Thanksgiving message on his Twitter timeline, "Be thankful for what you have, who you are, what you've been through and what you will go through..."

I like the sentiment because it encompasses every phase of our life. It is positive, reflective and hopeful. Most of all, the saying reminds us that compassion and gratitude is within us, borne of our own experience. Why then, do we often fail to openly express our gratitude with others? Why do we need to be reminded that it is the right thing to do?

Thank you are words that should be said, but as mother told us, actions speak louder than words. Don't worry when you don't hear the words as often as you think you should. Try harder to say thank you even when you don't believe it is necessary.

Above all, practice kindness. Being kind demonstrates your gratitude for being both a contributor and a participant in the world. Kindness is gratitude in action.

November 20, 2010

Change the world

I like the idea of music Sunday here at Experience Optimism. I hope you do too. Earlier this week I was listening to an old playlist that I had created some time ago on YouTube titled Optimist Juke Box. I really like the songs that are on it for they inspire me to do more.

Sometimes, especially on Sunday, we need to be reflective; perhaps even more introspective. Please enjoy "Change the world" by Eric Clapton from the movie Phenomenon.

What would you do if you could change the world?

November 19, 2010

Social media makes it easy to care

Here's a great way to make a small donation that will make a difference.  It's called Skip something. Feed a child.

The concept of Skip1 is to foster and enable a community of giving around hunger and related causes. It asks you to give up something like a dinner, coffee, or snacks and instead donate the amount you would have spent to the Skip1 cause.  Their cause changes occasionally as they team up with others like the Caballona Kitchen Project and Invisible People. Through the end of November, they have a matching challenge from Karen Kingsbury who has pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations through 11/30/10.

Please check out the site and consider making a donation.

If you are a service club, consider the value of social media in driving donations for this cause. Think about how it is creating a community around caring. How can you do that at home? How are you doing this at home? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.


November 17, 2010

Engaging our Youth

Oh no, it's a post about another service organization! I hope you don't mind, but with a campaign title like "Engaging our Youth," I couldn't resist giving a shout out here to the projects that were performed around the world by Lions Clubs International in August. Please click on the Engaging our Youth link to see pictures on Flckr.
  • In Istanbul, Turkey, the Lions Club sponsored a basketball team.
  • In Lusaka, Zambia, the Lions and Leo Clubs visited disadvantaged children donating food, clothing and cleaning supplies.
  • In Timisoara, Romania, the Lions and Leos worked together on a book drive.
  • In Malaysia, the Lions and Leos conducted a joint blood drive and engaged 14 other youth organizations in the project.
  • In Ontario, York Region, Ontario, the Lions Club sponsored a Wii tournament on Canada Day.
  • In Argentina, the Candelaria and Posadas Lions Clubs helped restore supplies for a family who lost everything in fire.
  • In Michigan, USA, the Napoleon Lions and Leo Clubs painted 38 fire hydrants in their community.
It's easy to see how our service clubs make a difference by addressing needs in their local communities. No matter the brand of service, being aware and involved is the key. How have you or or your organization made a difference lately?  Please leave a comment and tell us all about it.

November 15, 2010

How to make your Optimist Club joinable

The Nametag Guy, Scott Ginsberg, gave the keynote presentation at the 2010 Optimist International Convention. His topic: How to make your Optimist Club more joinable.

If you are familiar with Scott, you know that he has been wearing a nametag for 10 years. This experience has made him an authority on being approachable. Take a look at this 7-minute clip that I found on Scott's blog and experience his personality; imagine what it would take to encourage a number of Gen X and Gen Y individuals to join your Optimist Club.

The next step is up to you! Creating mutually caring, beneficial relationships is the key to service above self.

November 14, 2010

Experience Optimism with music

Perhaps Sunday should be designated music day for the Experience Optimism blog. A song that makes you move and an enthusiastic performer adds up to a whole lot of happiness in my book. Enjoy!

November 13, 2010

Teaching optimism and sharing a message

Optimist International is divided into eight regions and forty-nine districts for administrative purposes. This year, for the first time ever, the organization encouraged the districts to combine their first quarter conferences into regional events.  Seven of the eight regions did so and with only one more to go after this weekend passes, we can say that it has been more of a success in some regions than in others. Attendance has ranged in the US from 65 to 400 members. In Quebec, there were 750 members registered. Much to his credit, Danny Rodgers, President, Optimist International, has been at every event to motivate and teach Optimist Club members.

Although my region is the one that chose not to have a regional conference, I am friends with many of the district leaders on Facebook and I have seen their overwhelmingly positive reactions to the conference they attended. (I've also noticed that more than a few attended more than one conference.) Today I found a quick little notice in an Optimist Club newsletter about their impression of the event. 

According to the Opti-mill News, the official publication of the Milton, Ontario Optimist Club, five of their members attended the "Parallel District Conference in Niagara Falls." Attendees included the president and president-elect, a member of the club's board of directors and two members at large. While there, they saw presentations from Optimist International leaders previously only seen at the International Convention. "So look out," the newsletter editor says, "your members that were present came away with a lot of ideas that can be done by your club. You will hear more about these ideas in the coming months." 

I wonder what those ideas were? I wonder if that was a boilerplate statement given to all bulletin editors to use? I wonder if there was a similar experience at each event; that is, I wonder if the same message was given across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean? I wonder if those who did not attend will ever receive the message?  I hope so. 

November 12, 2010

How to put found money to work for your Optimist Club

One of the things about nonprofit associations that is both endearing and perhaps sometimes annoying is our capacity for R&D - that is, to "rip-off and duplicate." I saw this great idea today on KTVB Channel 7 in Boise, Idaho.

With a big football rivalry between Boise State University and the University of Idaho taking place this weekend there are a lot of color stories out there about the universities. In this story, Professor Terry Armstrong describes how he accidentally started a scholarship fund from found money that is now worth nearly $300,000. His goal is to reach $1M.

So what do you think? Can your Optimist Club R&D this project?

If you like this idea, please join me in sending a check for at least $11 (his first year investment) to the University of Idaho, Found Money Fund, 714 W. State Street, Suite, 230, Boise, Idaho 83702.

November 11, 2010

With grateful hearts

My friend Buzz Buswell sent a message and reminder to many of his friends today regarding why we celebrate Veterans Day. It included this poem written by Canadian physician and artillery Captain John McCrae in 1915 during his service in France. His poem and the red poppy are remembrances of the "War to end all wars."

In Flanders Fields 
by John McCrae, RCAMC

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

Thank you to our veterans. And thank you Buzz for sharing this message and especially for your service to our country and freedom. 

November 10, 2010

It's okay to promote your business through an Optimist Club

It's not very pretty, but it is effective. That's right, I'm reviewing another Optimist Club website today. I came across this one from an alert about sponsorships. According to the alert, the Optimist Club of Glenview, Illinois was offering sponsor links from their website for a mere $25 annual donation. Seems like a good deal to me. I clicked over to find that was an offer for members only, and still a good deal.

In addition to making a little money from this endeavor, it allows the Optimist Club to promote local businesses and increase networking activities. We join Optimist Clubs to serve our communities, but networking and increased business opportunities are a positive way to reward our dedicated members. Don't be afraid or too shy to promote your connections to your community on your Optimist Club website or blog.

November 8, 2010

Promotions: In praise of youth

I started to write about this activity, but when I realized the editorial was written by our own Leadership Development Chairman from Optimist International Paul Lucas, I decided to let the article speak for itself as written in the  OAonline:

In Praise of Youth
by Paul W. Lucas

On Monday, the Odessa Optimist Club will host its 45th annual Youth Appreciation Banquet. This year’s program will be held at Barn G of the Ector County Coliseum, and will recognize almost 300 outstanding youth in our community — with expected attendance of more than 1,000 people. This event offers junior high and high schools in Ector County the opportunity to recognize our outstanding youth through a broad array of categories — such as athletics, music, academics and community service.
Youth Appreciation Week was started in 1955 by an Optimist Club in North Carolina, becoming a signature program of Optimist International in 1957. It was brought to Odessa in 1965 by an Optimist club member who had just moved from Wichita Falls.  That member was Glen Atkins — a true Odessa statesman and treasure.  While this will be the 45th annual banquet, regrettably it will be the first without Glen who passed away in May — but it serves as an example of how the legacy of people with positive vision and leadership lives on in our community.
The Odessa Youth Appreciation Banquet has grown over these 45 years through the hard work of many members, and the incredible assistance of the Odessa Chuck Wagon Gang.  The first event recognized 12 outstanding youth, but rapidly outgrew both the basement of the Lincoln Hotel and Barn A, and has been held at Barn G for the last 30 years. The Odessa banquet is recognized as the largest Youth Appreciation event of the 2,000 such events conducted by Optimist Clubs across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.  In recent years, this program was honored as the outstanding community service event out of the 65,000 conducted annually by Optimist Clubs. Due to these recognitions, this year’s banquet will feature Optimist International President Danny Rodgers.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”  The Odessa Optimist Club seeks to recognize the youth in our community who are having a positive impact, doing their best, and making our community a better place — not only today, but for the future.  While the Optimist International motto is “Bringing Out the Best in Kids,” the Odessa Optimist Club continues to expand this and seeks to “Bring Out the Best in Kids, Our Community, and our Members.”

Please join me in offering congratulations to the outstanding kids recognized at the 45th annual Odessa Optimist Youth Appreciation Banquet!

November 7, 2010

Peaceful and pretty

The sound of rain, a capella, performed by Perpetuum Jazzile. Pretty. Neat. It's one of those things that make a Sunday afternoon peaceful.  Enjoy.

November 6, 2010

Tell us about your positive outcomes

The Optimist Club Truckee, California is getting ready for Christmas...Christmas Tree Sales that is.  According to an article in the Sierra Sun, the sales are set to begin on November 27 and will conclude on December 23. Find out more about the schedule at the Truckee Optimist Club website.

The Truckee Optimist Club is a very active fundraising club. I enjoy watching their well-known Cannibal Cruise and know that they are serving the youth in their community because they tell us so on their website. Click here to see what the Truckee Optimist Club funds throughout the year.  

Does your Optimist Club website describe how the money from your fundraising efforts are used? Be sure to pass on the positive outcomes that you have on your community.

November 5, 2010

Quotes for humor

I can be pretty serious as I write on this blog. What we do as Optimist Club members, or what any service club member does in their community, is important. When the community steps in to provide support so that our government funds can be used more effectively, that's a good thing. When groups of people come together to work towards common goals, that's a good thing. When we learn to be leaders and pass on positive thoughts and progress for the generations that will follow in our paths, that's a good thing.

But sometimes, we have to be reminded of something silly. At least that's what a  friend said to me today when he encouraged me to post a quote from George Carlin on the Experience Optimism blog.  So here's to you - you know who you are - "Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things."

Smiles to all.  Enjoy your day!

November 3, 2010

Leading the way in Junior Golf

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes.  Some of them are even junior golfers. Last week the Optimist International Tournament of Champions for junior golfers was held in Orlando, Florida at Disney's Palm Golf Course, Walt Disney World Resort.

At the end of the 2-day tournament, the leaders and winners were Giovana Maymon, girls 14-18; Evan Deroche, boys 14-15; and Harrison Winger, boys 16-18.

Winger, hailing from Orlando, dominated the tournament with two eagles and ten birdies and finished with 66-68 --134, ten under par and six strokes ahead of the competition.

Find out more about Optimist International golf at this link: or follow the Optimist Junior Golf Flickr stream.

November 2, 2010

Election season brings optimism

It is Election Day in the United States of America. It would be easy to wax on about the importance of voting in a democracy. It would be simple to talk about how happy I will be to have this election season and all of it's mud-slinging behind us. But instead, I'm going to congratulate a winner of a different election.

Her name is Leigh Ann Cate. She was elected the charter president of the brand new Optimist Club of Carter, Tennessee, chartered on September 27, 2010.

Congratulations Leigh Ann. May your Optimist Club serve your community well.

November 1, 2010

Optimist Club recognizes runners

The Optimist Club of Mobile, Alabama recognizes cross country runners every week during the school cross country season. Last week they were proud to welcome athletes from the Nature Trails Challenge and the Mobile County Championships.  Click here to read the whole story and see a slideshow of the students. 


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