December 29, 2011

Georgia Optimists launch awareness campaign

The Georgia District - Optimist International is nearing their 75th Anniversary and they are celebrating with pride - pride in their accomplishments and service; pride in their fellowship and friendships; but most all, pride in being a Georgia Optimist. They've created a video to share that special feeling with you.

As I've commented on this blog before, individuals belong to Optimist Clubs. Optimist Clubs belong to Optimist International. The district serves as an administrative arm to help Optimist International share information and leadership and help the organization grow. I'm always fascinated when individuals identify primarily with something other than an Optimist Club for the club level is where we make a difference.

The Georgia awareness campaign is focusing on individuals over clubs. Answering the question, "What's in it for me?" they highlight three individuals, among others, who say that being a Georgia Optimist gave them the opportunity to develop personal skills like public speaking, confidence and self esteem.

I give the Georgia Optimists high marks for their passion, fellowship and promotion and hope that in the future they remember their club-level roots, for without an Optimist Club, none of their achievements are possible.

December 28, 2011

Eco-friendly fundraiser

The Breakfast Optimist Club of Sacramento, California is planning for the new year with their first fundraiser and community service project all wrapped up into one.

The Sacramento Breakfast Optimist Club and Kohl’s will hold an E-Waste and Shredding Event on Saturday, January 7th, 2012 between 8 and 5 pm. at the Kohl’s Store Parking Lot: 1896 Arden Way, Sacramento, CA 95815. 

Shredding is scheduled for 10 to 2 pm. and a donation of $5/banker box is welcomed. This event is held as a fundraiser to help finance youth projects in our community.

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste in the country and frequently contains hazardous materials like lead and mercury, which can adversely affect the environment. Everything from laptops and desktops, televisions and cell phones are collected at the event. 

Following the event, equipment is property disassembled and recycled into raw materials to be reused to manufacture new items. All equipment is destroyed and recycled in an environmentally sound manner by a fully permitted recycling facility.

"Why not kick-start the year by giving your old electrical items a new lease of life and recycling them at our community event?" asked David Komar, Event Coordinator.  "Last year, residents participated in this free opportunity to safely and securely dispose of their electronics, and we are please to continue to offer this service to the community and help, protect the balance of our environment," he concluded.

For more information, please click on the flyer or visit the Optimist Club event partners Viking Shred  or Advanced Computer Recycling

December 25, 2011

Love and friendship through the seasons

It's Christmas Day, and although I am not religious I have noticed a public outcry this year to "remember the reason for the season" and "put the 'Christ' back in Christmas. To me, such sentiments so often seem intolerant of others who share different faiths and beliefs.

For me, I believe the reason if the season is to remember others, those we know and those we don't, with kindness and goodwill. Only then is it appropriate to celebrate our own personal treasures of health, family and friends.

For Music Sunday at Experience Optimism today I offer a diversion from the typical Christmas fare. In this scene from the movie "The Holiday," two women find love and friendship. I wish both for you during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Please enjoy Aretha Franklin in "You Send Me."

December 23, 2011

Boise Optimists among many who support children with cancer

The Boise Noon Optimist Club recently welcomed guests from the Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) at St. Luke's Regional Hospital, Boise, Idaho. Attending were Jessica Harding and Kelsey Breeding to discuss the child-life activities of which the Boise Noon Optimists are involved.

Jessica and Kelsey from MSTI

As part of their commitment to Optimist International's Cure Childhood Cancer Campaign, the Boise Noon Optimists helped start the Beads of Optimism program at the hospital. The beads are given to the children as a way to mark milestones in their treatment that helps cheer them at difficult times; and later, the kids and their parents use the beads as a way to tell their story. According the Kelsey, about thirty children are in active treatment for cancer at MSTI. Most are in and out of hospital care so the hospital reserves fifty beds just for them.

While many Optimist Clubs care for kids with cancer and their families on a local level, earlier this month Optimist International President Jack Creswell pledged an additional $500,000 to be raised for John Hopkins University Research Hospital in order to continue research into the eradication of childhood cancer.

Please click on the the link to find out more:
Optimist International and John Hopkins Partner in Cancer Research Initiative

December 21, 2011

Our own network of optimism

The beauty of social media is that you can be your own publisher, public relations director and marketing manager all in one. The challenge, of course, is to produce an abundance of content that people want to read or learn more about. It's a daunting task and I accept that some days I do it better than I do on other days.

However, infographics like the one I'm sharing here today tell me that creating and publishing your own content is more important than ever before.  According to Frugal Dad , six media giants control 90% of all content that is available for consumption. Whether you read, listen or watch, chances are your media is being filtered by "The Big Six:" General Electric, News Corporation, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner or CBS. All told, 232 media executives determine the media made available to 277 million Americans.

This post isn't to ask how did we as an American public let this happen.

This post isn't to teach you how to get the big guys to notice you.

This post is to encourage you not be discouraged when your local media representatives seem uninterested in what you, a small service club made of of community volunteers, are doing. Chances are, your small concern does not have the wherewithal to feed the money-driven industry that dominates them.

This post is to encourage you to keep writing. Post articles on your blog and website and post stories on Facebook. Post your videos on YouTube. Tweet about them. Talk about them. And please, send me a message about your project and a link to your post and I will highlight them here.

Let's create our own network of optimism. Together, we can do it!

Media Consolidation Infographic
Source: Frugal dad

December 20, 2011

Celebrate your service, yourself

The Optimist Club of Cerritos, California collected more than 7,000 pounds of food this season to distribute to, among others, families they have adopted for the season through the "Needy Families" program that they coordinate with the Soroptimist Club. Annually, 25 families are identified through the Parks and Recs Department. This year they added 2 additional families.

With the needs so profound this year, many Optimist Clubs are doing even more, or as Optimist International President Jack Creswell would say, "Optimists are giving 100% and then some."

Giving time, talent and treasure through your Optimist Club, other service club, church or community organization is an important aspect of our own personal development.

We can do so much more to make a difference when we work together. It's just as important that we celebrate together and as the holiday season offers ample opportunities to serve others, it also offers similar opportunities to nourish our families and friendships.

That is exactly what the Cerritos Optimist Club did with their Annual Christmas Party. I think you'll agree, the pictures provided by David J. DeKriek show that the celebration is just as meaningful for the adults as the children.

Please use this post as reminder to do the same. Work hard, share your strengths, and take time to celebrate each other, the greatest gifts of all.

Photos courtesy of the Cerritos Optimist Club. 

December 18, 2011

Sharing the sheep

Yes, it's an advertisement for Brooks Brothers, but I don't care. It is the cutest holiday video that I have seen this year and that makes it my pick for Music Sunday at Experience Optimism and my wish to you for the holiday season.

In a world of orchestrated flash mobs that record songs that are too long to be enjoyed (not to mention the last one emailed to me crashed my computer), I found the 47 seconds of these adorable lambs to be just right.

So go on and do it now. Dash right on through the snow and enjoy the holidays. Many cheers to you and yours as we count down to the big day now only one week away.

Thank you Brooks Brothers for sharing the sheep.

December 16, 2011

How to get more people to show up to the game

According to New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, communications today are two-way and conducted in real time and if your business is doing anything different, you risk losing the attention of those in the millennial generation.

Although this video was aimed at those who wish to connect with the millennial generation, as a communicator, you can't stop there. Sure, individuals may have different communication styles based on their  ages, but everyone wants to be included, have their voice heard, and know that what they contribute to the discussion matters.

It's called sharing and my friends, whether you are two or ninety-two, sharing never goes out of style. If your service club is perhaps noticing that fewer members seem to be involved lately, please take a look at the video and apply its message across all generations.

Even out that playing field and more people will show up to the game.

Thanks to for the tip: "How to grab millennials attention."  

December 15, 2011

Angel Tree project in Conway, Arkansas benefits more than 600 children

Six hundred and thirty-four children will open presents on Christmas morning thanks to the efforts of the Conway, Arkansas Optimist Club and area businesses who participated in the annual Angel Tree project.

According to the chairman of the project, this year the Angel Trees, decorated with names and needed gift ideas, were adopted by local businesses and employees completed the Christmas wish lists. Some businesses fulfill wishes throughout the year.

The video was taken at Hendrix Health and Wellness Center where Optimist Club and community members gathered to wrap and sort presents for distribution.

Read all about it at

December 14, 2011

Why join?

Why do you want to belong to an Optimist Club, or any service club, for that matter? This short video posted today by PhilanthropyVideo on YouTube features Neil Strauss, author of "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists."

In it, Strauss explains that asking donors to ask others to make a contribution helps reinforce their commitment to the cause. The key: ask for three reasons that they donate that are not financially motivated.

Using this same logic, you can increase the number of members in your group, or come together with others to start a new Optimist Club. The reasons we belong are the reasons that will resonate with others and help them make the commitment to join. Talk about those reasons, a lot, and you'll be happier with your decision to belong and give your time as well as encouraging to others who want to come together with others to make a difference.

December 13, 2011

Santa says, "Join an Optimist Club"

Following breakfast, Santa
and Mrs. Claus prepare to meet
some Coquitlam children
The Optimist Club of Coquitlam, British Columbia has been assisting the Coast Sound Music Academy by selling Christmas Trees at IKEA. For only $20, customers can choose their tree, receive an additional $20 coupon for IKEA, and have the great spirit of Christmas provided by the Optimist Club. Their original $20 goes straight to the Academy's music program. What a deal!

In more holiday activities, the Coquitlam Optimist Club also collected nearly 600 pounds of food for the Share Food Bank during the Annual Breakfast with Santa program. 

According to club spokesperson Annette Smith, more than 300 Sparks, Brownies, Beavers and Cubs, plus their siblings, parents, and leaders helped with the donations and were rewarded with "full tummies, candy canes, balloon art, and a sense of helping the less fortunate." 

Yes, Christmas is for sharing, but did you know that you can join an Optimist Club and have that feeling all year-round? Santa says, "Find a club near you and join today." 

December 11, 2011

Party Rock is in the house!

I love the Kia hamsters. Or more important, I love the Kia hamster dance. It's called the Melbourne Shuffle (Remember the Running Man?) and it really is pretty easy to do if you have a little space, a lot of stamina and don't mind looking rather dorky as you learn to stomp shuffle it out.

But I think you'll agree that what makes the Kia hamsters rock is this totally awesome song, "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO. It's one of those songs that just begs to be played at halftime at a football game or reminds you of college, clubbing, and staying out way too late dancing or whatever you did after hours.

The videos are perfect for Music Sunday at Experience Optimism. Be sure to leave a comment and let me know which video you dance to.

In case you haven't had enough Party Rock yet, here's a lyrics-only version. Keep dancing. It's good for your heart.

December 8, 2011

50 years of Christmas tree sales for the Deerfield Optimists

Click for more pictures.
Another day brings us to another Optimist Club charitaable Christmas Tree lot.

This time we visit the Optimist Club of Deerfield, Illinois where they have been using the proceeds from tree sales to offset expenses for projects in their community for 50 years.

In fact, the Deerfield Optimists make it a point to reach out to the community with a project at least once per month with projects like Mudfest, the Halloween Hoopla and Optimist International Oratorical and Essay Contests and the Illinois District Just Say No to Drugs Poster Contest.

Please help them make even more happen in the community in 2012 by buying your tree at the Deerfield Optimist charitable Christmas Tree Sale at 836 Jewett Park Drive or get even more involved by joining them. Contact President Mary Lou Heinrichs today.

December 7, 2011

Christmas trees for childhood literacy

This year marks the 57th year that the Optimist Club of Austin, Texas has offered charitable Christmas Trees for sale. This year they are located at the corner of San Gabriel and North Lamar and they offer five different types of trees, Noble Fir, Fraser Fir, Grand Fir, Scotch Pine and Natural Douglas Firs.

I think that kind of history and selection makes them an expert in their community. And of course the Austin Optimist Club is also the expert on bringing out the best in children for proceeds from the tree sales fund projects throughout the year like the Junior Golf Program, Optimist International programs, and local community organizations including, among other things, the Texan/Texanne Scholarships.

The Austin Optimist Club is also involved in childhood literacy programs and they encourage their patrons to bring a new or gently used book to the tree lot to donate to bookspring, a community effort to help children develop the love of reading.

Heading home from the Austin Optimist
 Club Christmas Tree lot. 
Optimist Club members do so many wonderful things throughout the year. Please take this opportunity to support them by purchasing a charitable Christmas Tree.

December 6, 2011

Holiday cheer that lasts all year

This season, like many before, the St. Andrews Optimist Club of South Carolina is in the Christmas Tree business. According to the video, they conduct this annual fundraiser so that they can provide projects throughout the year for children in the community.

Projects highlighted in the video are: Families Helping Families, Ray Tanner Home Run, Optimist Oratorical Contest, Be All You Can Be, and the Children's Garden. Find out more by watching the video, visiting the St. Andrews Optimist Club website and by stopping by to purchase a charitable Christmas Tree.

Located just past Harbison on St. Andrews Road, the St. Andrews Optimist Club charitable Christmas Tree Sale is going on now. Hurry in for holiday cheer with an Optimist promise that the cheer will last all through the year.

December 5, 2011

How to sell goodwill

Henry Graham, Sr. says that the secret to selling charitable Christmas Trees is snow and since the Optimist Club of Clayton, Missouri has bee hosting this fundraising activity for 64 years, I'm inclined to believe that he knows what he's talking about.

However, tucked inside this story from is what I believe is the true secret: goodwill. The Clayton Optimist Club connects with their patrons by snapping a photo of them one year and then giving it to them the following year as a "remember when" gift. What a cool idea.

The Clayton Optimist Club charitable Christmas Tree lot is at the corner of Forsyth and Carondelet Plaza, Clayton, MO. Stop by soon to have your picture taken and know that your purchase will help children year-round. That's pretty cool too.

Click to play video. Clayton Opimist Club on 

December 4, 2011

Enjoy the season

Nothing represents December better than scenes from New York City. It might be because so many holiday movie classics use the city as their backdrop. It might be because the major studio networks broadcast from New York City, often featuring guests on the street along with the decorations of the season. It might be that the holiday season starts in New York with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Or it might be the simple romantic notion that finding love in a big city is as simple as looking out the window at the beauty that surrounds you.

Whatever your reason, I hope you enjoy the Music Sunday video for Experience Optimism, "December in New York" performed by Cavan Te whose vocal stylings will remind you of Harry Connick, Jr. or Michael Buble. Find out more about the video at PRWeb.

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