October 30, 2011

Who you gonna call?

As much as I try to stay away from obvious choices on holidays, I couldn't resist this classic remembrance from the 1980s for a Halloween Music Sunday at Experience Optimism.

"Ghostbusters " by Ray Parker, Jr. includes our favorite cast members from the movie and Saturday Night Live. Well, I guess they are your favorites if you were around in the 80s.

It's a nod at happy, fun-filled music, movies and activities. If kids still trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, this song is bound to put in the right spirit. If your community opts for the trunk-or-treat option or perhaps your Optimist Club is holding a party, be sure to add this song to your playlist. Turn it up loud and enjoy.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

October 29, 2011

How to find the right spokesperson

Optimist Clubs often wish they could find a spokesperson to champion their club to others. Well, the Optimist Club of Birmingham, Alabama has found a good one and a good cause to share: childhood literacy.

Together with Miss Trussville, Chandler Champion, the Birmingham Optimist Club is supporting Books-A-Million and asking others to give their support at a book fair. According to Miss Trussville, portions of the sale will go directly to the Optimist Club to help with all of the programs they perform to help others and empower youth.

What a great message. Thank you Chandler.

And what a great idea for your community service group. Partner up with the young ladies chosen to represent your community as Miss CIty or State. They will get invaluable exposure and practice, and your club will garner awareness in your community for supporting great causes and helping young people achieve their goals.

October 28, 2011

Scary season fun

Headless clown?
Grim Reaper sickle?
Scary body-like shape in an empty clown suit?

Admit it - something about this picture is just creepy and it is only the beginning of the eerie fun that is planned just for the Wichita Falls, Texas community courtesy of the Sunrise Optimist Club.

The Sunrise Optimist Club has been scaring kids, teens and families for 12 years with the Annual Haunted House and Carnival.

Located at 4704 Jacksboro Highway, there are fun attractions inside and outside of the haunted house including Butcherville, Death Row and the Graveyard. Don't care to scream? Don't worry, you can stay at the carnival, play creepy games and have your face painted and enjoy Halloween just as much as a ghoul.

Find out more by liking the Sunrise Haunted House on Facebook or visiting their website.

October 26, 2011

Optimist volunteers help special needs children

The Optimist Club of Tall Timbers, 2nd District, Tall Timbers, Maryland received a well-earned honor this week when they were recognized by the St. Mary's County Disability Commission for their work with special needs children. As part of the ceremony, Commission Chair Susan Erichsen explained that the Tall Timbers Optimist Club is "dedicated to bringing out the best in kids through its local community service and outreach programs."  She described the Spring Dance, Shop With a Cop and the Fall Festival full of kid-friendly activities.

She then hit on two programs that set the Tall Timbers Optimist Club apart from the rest: Camp Inspire and donations annually to a specific local child in need. Each year, the Fall Festival proceeds are designated to these two programs.

  • Camp Inspire is the first summer day camp in Southern Maryland designed especially for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. It is coordinated by the St. Mary's Recreation & Parks District. 
  • Specific children in need are also beneficiaries of the Optimist Club's fundraising efforts. Among others, some stories of past recipients include a 4-year old with cancer whose family received help with medical bills and a young boy with Cystic Fibrosis. 

The members of the Tall Timbers Optimist Club received the honor together as they were named "Volunteers of the Year."

See more at the Optimist Club of Tall Timbers, 2nd District website.

October 24, 2011

A model for giving back

He has said yes to help more than 100 community organizations raise money and given to dozens more causes. An immigrant from Pakistan, Hamid Chaudry believes in giving back to the community that he and his family calls home and he does so through his business and his kind heart.

Please watch the video from CBS News to learn more about what it means when Mr. Chaudry says, "God bless America."

Local business owners are called upon often to donate to service clubs, sports teams, church fundraisers and schools in their community. For the most part, they want to help. Finding business owners with the ability to use their business as Mr. Chaudry does to split fundraising efforts is always a blessing. It brings business to his establishment, benefits the charity or cause, and above all, spreads the spirit of community to all.

The next time your service club is looking for a donation, please consider that there might be a possibility to help your business community give back and get a little in return. Bring them customers and they'll always be there to support your cause. I promise.

October 23, 2011

Faith in optimism

Elton John and Shawn Mullins share a duet of Border Song in this week's choice for Music Sunday at Experience Optimism. Two different styles that complement each other so well.

The spiritual melody signifies faith even though the words speak of deception. Both speak of longing and belonging, but most of all the song reminds us, "Let us live in peace."


For myself, I've found faith in optimism. Looking for the positive. Working for the best. Expecting that we can always do just a little more to help those around us. Imagining that what we do matters because it does.

October 21, 2011

A commercial venture in child care

The Optimist Club of Houston, Missouri has started a licensed day daycare facility for children 2 to 12 years old.

Just in its first month of operation, the facility is located in the Community Center and required a special use permit by the city council to get up and running.

The hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, September to June with a special summer session being planned.

While Optimist Clubs are often involved in meeting specific needs in their communities, this may be the first straightforward example of a commercial enterprise that I have seen established by a club.

By starting a daycare facility, they are staying true to the mission of all Optimist Clubs to bring out the best in children. By licensing their facility, they are keeping in-line with the state regulations for keeping kids safe. By charging a fee, they are ensuring that the child care facility can remain open and viable as they work to develop even more projects with their volunteer benefactors, the Optimist Club of Houston.

I applaud the entrepreneurship.

October 18, 2011

A year of smiles

The Optimist Club of Eagle, Idaho held a membership drive this evening and as part of the presentation, members shared various moments of the year with a video presentation. Now entering the third year of operation, members spoke of why they had joined and what made the Optimist Club special to them: the kids that they are able to serve.

Take a look. You'll want to get involved too.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Thanks to Myrna Harris for sharing the slideshow.

Find out more about the Eagle Optimist Club.

October 16, 2011


Have you ever heard a story or song that sounds just a little different than the way you are used to hearing it? Does it bring up memories or perhaps a story of the way things were? Do you become nostalgic for a different day or time in your life?

Stories are great; they bring meaning to what we see and hear in the present day, but they should never be taken as reality for a story is the teller's interpretation of an event or experience. When you hear the story it then becomes your interpretation of an event or experience. When you tell that story, it becomes the listener's interpretation, and on and on. 

It's not gossip. It's not inauthentic. It's life and art and music and everything moving forward through time and being experienced over and over again. So this song, originally recorded in the 60s, can be rearranged and performed on stage in the 90s, recorded and uploaded to YouTube in the 00s and then heard by me and shared with you today in 2011. We are all in different places than the first time we heard the song and free to like or dislike it in the moment and to have our interpretation change again the next time we encounter it. I think that's kind of cool.

For Music Sunday at Experience Optimism, please listen to classical guitarist Michael Chapdelaine performing "California Dreaming" in his award-winning fingerstyle guitar interpretation. I challenge you, the next time you hear the song, in an elevator or as you are driving to work, think about how it makes you feel and who it makes you think about in the moment and draw strength from that new interpretation for that is what is real. 

October 13, 2011

Jumping for JOOI is first step

Students at Vision Charter School prepare to "Let's Jump!"

On Wednesday, October 12, 508 students started their day doing jumping jacks at Vision Charter School in Caldwell/Middleton, Idaho.

Prompted by the newly formed Junior Optimist Club, the school was part of the worldwide effort to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing jumping jacks at the same time. They joined such high profile jumpers as Michelle Obama who led from the White House lawn.

Word isn't in yet if they were successful in breaking the record, reports must be filed and verified, but one thing is for sure, it was a great experience for the Vision Charter School Junior Optimist Club.

The club is just being formed, recruiting members and lining up community service projects to perform. The founding students saw this effort as a way to bring attention to physical fitness and have fun with people all around the world at the same time. They called their effort "Jump for JOOI," in tribute to the name for the youth membership of Optimist International: Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI). 

According to Erin Lair, school advisor to the club, the high school club plans to be active in the school and community. In addition to their ongoing recruiting efforts, their next project is a backpack program for students on free and reduced lunch. The Junior Optimists will fill backpacks with easy-to-prepare foods and students who are food insecure can discretely pick them up to help get through the weekend.

One the strengths of the JOOI program is it fully self directed by the students. They see the need and develop ways to make a difference in their community.

The Junior Optimist Club is sponsored by the Middleton Area Optimist Club. It is only the second JOOI Club in Idaho.

October 11, 2011

Teens create optimistic t-shirts

T-shirt competition in Kirkland, WA.
New Optimist Clubs often provide new projects in a community. Adults come together to meet a need that they have seen bonding in a special way for a cause they hold dear. Once that cause is identified, the organization comes together quickly and the work begins.

The Optimist Club of Lake Washington in Kirkland, Washington is on such a path. As their major cause, they have chosen wellness, especially health and wellness for children in coordination with the Apple Core project Bastyr University.

That has put them in touch with a number of organizations that need caring adults including Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and the Kirkland Teen Union Building (KTUB) where they have just completed their second project.

The project looks like a lot of fun: an optimistic t-shirt design competition. Each week, the club would meet with the teens to help them with their ideas and over the weekend, a winner was chosen. The first place entry says, "Don't worry." An optimistic thought indeed!

See more entries on the Lake Washington Optimist Club Facebook page.

October 9, 2011

Have faith in your own abilities

Just put your heart into it and you can accomplish great things.

Great, of course, is a matter of perception. So when this video popped up, in a week where activists are Occupying Wall Street, Nobel Peace Prize winners were announced and the world lost an icon of technology, I thought, what a great reminder; we should always take time to dance. Such a small thing - dancing. But did you  know that dancing puts our bodies in touch with our minds and frees our souls. Dancing is a joyful expression of life.

No matter the the challenges in our lives, we must find joy in the small things for sometimes it's the small things that require the greatest faith in our own abilities. 

Please enjoy this week's choice for Music Sunday at Experience Optimism: Alma Salsera Reynaldo y Claudia.

Now go on, get out there and show yourself and the world what amazing things you can do when your heart and mind are one.

October 7, 2011

Fellowship before 1955

While they share the mission of bringing out the best in children, all Optimist Clubs have their own unique cultures. Attending a club meeting in Boise or Meridian, ID will feel familiar, but not quite the same as a club meeting in St. Louis, MO or Granite City, IL.

Those differences have much to do with the individuals who make up the club. Face it, we all have our own idiosyncrasies. Some are more formal and organized and others are more flexible and carefree. Clubs are no different so a group made up of predominately 50-something bankers and businessmen are expected to act differently than a group of predominately 30-something ladies. And as service clubs have a median age of 62, you can imagine that the retired set will act differently from those still in the workforce. 

One thing is for sure, no matter what Optimist Club meeting you might attend, they will have at least one inside joke that would take you months if not years to fully acclimate to. I think that is what is going on in this picture. 

I've seen it before and wondered what they were doing. The Optimist Club banners clearly indicate there is an Optimist Club meeting in action, but I wonder if it is a weekly meeting or special gathering? And are the gentlemen in the center table the only ones afforded gas masks and will they share?

Optimist Clubs do great things for children and our communities and those special you-had-to-be-there moments are a bonus that comes from fellowship. 

Thanks to potoman.tumbler for bringing the curiosity to my attention again. Create your own special moments by attending an Optimist Club meeting soon. 

October 6, 2011

Think positive: live to be 100

Dorothy Custer says if you want to live to be 100 years old you must:
  • Think positive.
  • Exercise every morning.
Born in 1911, this remarkable lady from Twin Falls, Idaho declares the credit card to be the worst invention of the last 100 years and the microwave oven to be the best. She plays the harmonica and much to her credit, she holds her own quite well with Jay Leno.

This is how to experience optimism from everyday, ordinary living. Enjoy.

October 5, 2011

Innovation takes a pause

"Have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition." - Steve Jobs


In 2005, Steve Jobs gave the commencement address at Stanford University. In it, he tells three stories that defined his life. It is an inspirational message every day, but especially so today on hearing of the great innovators death.

Rest in peace,Steve Jobs, 1955-2011.

Please read more at http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/10/jobs/.

October 4, 2011

Optimists team up with police in Twin Falls, Idaho

The Optimist Club of Twin Falls, Idaho has teamed up with the Twin Falls Police Department to carry out the Every 15 Minutes program in the Twin Falls High Schools.

The program is aimed to help students learn the dangers of driving under the influence. Every fifteen minutes, the police take a student from class and keep them apart from their friends and family for 24 hours in an effort for everyone to experience loss. 

The Twin Falls Optimist Club is helping raise money for the project by selling hand-picked apples straight from the orchard. They can be purchased from an Optimist Club member or at stands being set up around town the weekend of October 8-9.

Please listen to the podcast from 106.7 The Canyon to learn more about the program and how the Optimist Club looks for programs that touch the most kids lives and then make sure they happen in their community. 

October 3, 2011

Optimist is fun!

Do you have a passion for golf? Then you need to know about how the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship impacts children. With 30+ countries represented by 600 or more young people, the Optimist has been challenging junior golfers for 15 years.  But don't count on me to tell you about it; find out from the golfers.  Spoiler alert: The Optimist is fun!

Every Optimist Club can sponsor a junior golf tournament. It's great practice for the golfers and all part of the fun to begin at the local level, send golfers to the district tournament and let them win their way to the PGA National Resort and Spa for the Optimist Junior Golf Championships. The tournament is held at the end of July every year. While most players earn their way to the tournament, at-large entries are also accepted.

 Find out more at Optimist International Junior Golf.

October 2, 2011

Get moving!

It's been my number one song for a while, so it must be time to share it. "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 gets my blood pumping, moves me out of my chair and gets me to dance around the room. If headbanging is more your style, then bounce your head right along with the beat. You really can't resist it.

Sometimes we need to get our blood pumping to raise our spirits; so turn up the sound and experience the optimism of Music Sunday with me. Please.

I would also like to encourage you to keep moving this week and all through the month. According to a number of sources, there are good reasons to. Please click on the links to learn more.


alabama alberta anguilla arizona arkansas arts B.W.I. barbados british columbia california canada day cayman islands ccdhh celebrations change charitable Christmas Trees childhood cancer campaign childhood literacy childhood wellness campaign children citizenship college colorado communication community building community development community service do the right thing donation doodle 4 google drug abuse easter education enchantment engagement essay contest experience optimism Facebook faith fellowship festival fishing fitness florida food drive football friend of youth friendship fundraiser fundraising generation gap georgia good government grand cayman gratitude Halloween happiness hawaii health and welfare healthy club checklist holiday hope idaho illinois indiana inspiration internet safety iowa iron eyes jamaica jay leno join an optimist club jooi joy junior golf kansas keep america beautiful kentucky leadership louisiana maine manitoba marketing maryland membership mentor michigan minnesota mississippi missouri Montana motivation music sunday n carolina n dakota nebraska new jersey new mexico new optimist club new york ohio oklahoma ontario opportunity optimism optimist club optimist clubs optimist creed optimist international optimist international convention optimist international foundation optimistic story of the day oratorical contest oregon outreach partnerships patriotism pennsylvania playground pnw district promotion public relations quebec quotes recognition recycling respect respect for law s carolina scholarship school supplies schools service clubs share optimism social media south carolina South Dakota st. maarten stories success talent show teachers Ted tennessee testimonials texas traditions twitter virginia volunteers w. virginina washington website wisconsin young adult youth appreciation youth safety youth sports