June 30, 2014

Online voting is closed

June 30, 2014 ... The first online elections for Optimist International officers ended about two hours ago. I'm not sure how I thought I would feel at the end of this race, but I can tell you now that I'm a little anxious and ultimately relieved.

The polling window was 30 days - the entire month of June. However, candidates in contested races began campaigning on April 1. Now in a national election, there are a number of different positions one can take that will generate supporters and detractors, but in an organization that represents service clubs, there is only so much one can say. The primary message was simply to vote and in order for that to happen, we had to ensure the email address on record with Optimist International was correct for every Optimist Club president.

In the West Coast Region, I can say that there were probably less than 40 Optimist Clubs that were unable to cast ballots. Some had no email on file and some were incorrect. We did our best to get those whose emails were incorrect corrected; however, the others were probably left out. I'm not sure how Optimist International addressed them.

For my analysis, I will say that it's been an experiment in the use of social media among Optimist Clubs. I will also say that I don't really believe that Optimist International was at a point that it should have conducted the experiment. There was a great amount of strategic communication that should have taken place before this endeavor began. Optimist Clubs should have received direct, written communication about the process far enough in advance that they could have corrected their emails and paid their outstanding financial obligations.

Most important, Optimist International should have created a printed and online bulletin that introduced the candidates for office. In the past, it has done this, but this year, it relied on the online candidates' pages created for that purpose. The pages were helpful, but available only to those who were made aware of them largely by the candidates themselves.

In conclusion, it was a good effort and I'm glad I threw my hat into the ring to participate. Like the first time for anything, there are things that can be improved. They say we'll know the results tomorrow, July 1, and I am thinking only of the best; but whatever the outcome, I sincerely appreciate those who have shown me support.

And I hope that Optimist International will look to the candidates in this historic election to advise changes in the coming years.

June 28, 2014


It's been trending on social media channels since being published on You Tube on June 26, 2014, but in case  you haven't had the opportunity to watch #LikeAGirl, please do so now.

With this video, Proctor and Gamble's Always becomes the latest brand to send a message that empowers young women by raising awareness about how the things we say may hurt.

"It's humiliating," remarks one young lady in the interview and she is right. On or off the playground, the words sting even though being a girl is a really good thing. After all, we make up 50% of the population and life can't go on without us. No matter your age, why would you want to insult your mother, sister, friend or future significant other?

According to William B. Irvine, a professor of philosophy at Wright State University, we insult each other because it's part of the social hierarchy game. As social beings, we're given to insult in order to establish dominance and we're drawn to respond in order to improve our sense of self-worth.

Irvine explains that the best way to address this game is to be a pacifist. Don't be drawn in by the insult; move on. Great advice if you are an adult, but if you are a youngster of 10 or 12 years, being told repeatedly that you act a certain way and that way is inferior has a way of imprinting upon one's psyche.

The answer is not to overlook the bad behavior of others who are trying to establish social dominance whether they be male or female. The answer is for caring adults to intercede and demonstrate that while some have different skills and abilities, we are all equal.

Sounds like a need and a plan for an Optimist Club to me.

June 27, 2014

Reasons to smile

I created a board on Pinterest that I labeled "Smiles." My thought was to tuck away things that made me smile when I looked at them, but it quickly evolved into more. As well as tongue-in-cheek humor, it features some great smiles from children, animals and adults, too. It has a few bad puns and few good jokes.

It's Pinterest, so it I'm always adding to it and what I've found is that smiles are not only optimistic, they are addictive. You can't help but give them away. I encourage you to take a look and then share your smile and your optimism with others today and every day.

June 23, 2014

Monday optimism

It's Monday morning, June 23, 2014, and yes, those online elections for Optimist International continue to be my news of the day. However, as I wandered the streets of Boise this morning looking for a quiet, yet pretty place outdoors to film this short video clip, I realized just how optimistic Monday mornings are.

Cars are buzzing about, delivery trucks are backing-in to place as they make their rounds to restaurants and businesses, and construction workers in their hard hats are taking new buildings to new heights. Most impressive are the people as they move in and out of office buildings filled with energy and great ideas.

Mondays are often ridiculed for they take us away from our weekend leisure activities; however, I believe they should be praised. Monday might be the most optimistic day of the week for it offers hope for the full week of achievement ahead.

And today I hope that your Optimist Club will participate, if it hasn't already, in the first online elections for Optimist International officers. I am a candidate for Vice President of the West Coast Region. I sincerely appreciate your support. Thank you.

June 22, 2014

Positive Policing recognized in Santa Barbara

Optimist International's motto is "Friend of Youth." The motto is one of the most celebrated reasons for belonging to an Optimist Club, preceded only by the Optimist Creed and the fellowship of sharing community service with others.

Many Optimist Clubs form special bonds with the law enforcement officers of the community and partner with them on projects like bike safety events, anti-bullying presentations, and drug and alcohol prevention programs, among other things. Many take time to give special recognition during a Respect for Law Program that recognizes the police officers for their service.

The Optimist Club of Santa Barbara recently went above the service angle to recognize the officers in their community for "positive policing." According to club president Chuck Champlin,  Officers Jon Reyes and Kyle Lowry, and Sgt. Ed Olsen performed acts during 2013 that made them stand out among their peers for their positive actions. Read the full story here. 

Santa Barbara Optimist Club awards Positive Policing Award
As Optimist Clubs strive to share positive actions and attitudes with others, the recognition is a perfect way to share that vision with others. Congratulations to all.

Photo credit: Lara Cooper, Noozhawk

June 17, 2014

What are you doing today?

I like this graphic that I found this morning at the Optimist Club of Jasper, Georgia's website. It asks, "What are you doing today?" and then gives a myriad of opportunities for involvement in its Optimist Club.

In one quick glance, local residents will know that if they join the Optimist Club they will be involved in projects aimed at youth in their local community; they'll work with other adults to carry on these projects; and they have the backing of an international service organization where people in other clubs around the world are doing similar service projects.

Of course, the Optimist Club of Jasper should include its name and contact information on their graphic so that when others, people like me, decide to pull it out and highlight it, there will be a way to get in touch with them. But honestly, as the headline on the club's blog, it really gets right to the point.

What are you doing today? Why not do something with the Optimist Club. The opportunities are endless.

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you. 

June 12, 2014

Can less really equal more?

I have always been a proponent of weekly meetings for service clubs. The primary reasons for weekly meetings, in my mind, are that it establishes a routine and if someone misses one meeting, they can quickly be brought up-to-date the next week. But let's face it, commitments and communication processes have changed since service clubs were established in the early part of the 20th Century. More activities vie for our time and interest and as we have become more adept at multitasking, we know that we can be committed to a cause just from an email.

Perhaps it is time to rethink the weekly meeting calendar.

According to Rotary International, it ran a pilot program from 2007 to 2013 to see if fewer meetings made Rotary Clubs more or less successful. Their results? Less equals more.

The study showed that biweekly meetings were linked to a higher rate of membership growth. Additionally, the 200 clubs involved in the pilot program increased their fundraising and community service capabilities at a higher rate than their counterparts that met on a weekly basis.

I've already shared this statistic with the Middleton Area Optimist Club, my home club, and it is considering adopting this new schedule in October for the new administrative year. One member commented, "Our projects will bring us together on the off-weeks!"

Well, maybe not every week, but I think the projects round out the value of belonging to the group and it is a step that will keep the club fresh, vital and active.

June 7, 2014

Let's change the world together

One of the best things about belonging to an Optimist Club is the team spirit that comes with belonging to a group of like-minded individuals. I believe every Optimist Club member would agree that we work together in our local communities to make the world a more positive place to live and raise our families.

From hosting chalk art contests and movies in the park to sponsoring scholarship contests and after-school parties, among other things, we work with children and adults to provide activities specific to the community where the Optimist Club resides. 

Our projects may vary from Optimist Club to Optimist Club, but the purposes of Optimist International remain the same:
  • To develop optimism as a philosophy of life, utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed;
  • To promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs;
  • To inspire respect for the law;
  • To promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people;
  • To aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world
Yes, Optimist Clubs and their members are here to change the world. Join us, won't you? 


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