December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! 2015 will be the best

optimist creed

My new year's message for 2015 comes straight from the Optimist Creed. In the fifth line, Christian D. Larson challenged himself and others to think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

Really, why would anyone do anything less?

Sometimes we don't meet our goals and that's okay; but it is not okay to try to be mediocre. Our country was founded on the principle of being the best. Our forefathers shared a positive vision, hard work and high expectations and those same attributes continue to make the United States the leading country in the world.

Those attributes can make you successful, too. It's up to you to accept the challenge and make the promise to yourself: 2015 will be the best. If you think it, and work for it, it will come true.

December 24, 2014

Le Père Noël visite le Club Optimiste de Templeton

No matter the language, Santa is Santa, children are children, and Christmas is Christmas.

My friend, Andre Therrien, an Optimist Club member from Quebec, recently posted this delightful 1-minute romp through the Optimist Club of Templeton's Christmas program.

Delighting children, and thereby ourselves, is what Optimist Clubs do best.

I invite you to share the magic. Share optimism. Join an Optimist Club today. And have a very Merry Christmas.

December 20, 2014

Find your happy place

Join an Optimist Club experience optimism

My happy place is on a beach watching the waves crash to the shore while the sun warms my face and the blue sky inspires my dreams. It's calming to my senses and makes me smile.

However, I don't live by the beach so most often, like most, I look for other venues that can serve as my happy place. One of those places is an Optimist Club.

Over the years, I've visited a lot of Optimist Clubs and I have my favorites. Clubs that are steeped in tradition remind me of the legacy that service clubs have given our communities. Clubs that are more social remind me of the fellowship that binds our communities together so that we can work towards common goals.

But it is the blending of the two that makes me happiest. I find that in the Middleton Area Optimist Club. Much like the origin of Optimist Clubs, way back in Buffalo, New York in 1911, this young club relies on their club members as a social group and the tradition afforded by associating with Optimist International brings purpose to their friendship. That purpose is to serve their community and thereby help themselves.

That's why an Optimist Club of any flavor is a happy place. We serve others so that we might help ourselves and that is what makes the world a happier place as well.

Find your happy place at an Optimist Club and join today. If there is not an Optimist Club in your community, please let me know and I will help you get one started.

December 18, 2014

Positive WOMM* for the Gresham Optimist Club Shop with a Cop program

The Gresham Optimist Club hosts two days each year where children get the opportunity to Shop with a Cop. The idea behind the program is to give kiddos a positive experience with a law enforcement officer. At the same time, the children pick up a gift for themselves and shop for others so that they have the experience of giving as well as receiving.

It's a wonderful program! In fact, so wonderful that community members take notice.

Appearing in my Facebook news today was the following link. Stephanie Jaye Adams snapped a picture of an officer and a child and then told the world about it. She said, "Yesterday I stopped by the Heights Target and saw about fifty police officers--each had a small child by the hand and they were shopping for Christmas. These men and women were so patient and gentle. I saw love there.Listen, people. Tell the good stories, too. When you see it done right, tell that story, too."

What great advice! Be sure to tell your Optimist Club story on Facebook and beyond. And share it with us so we can amplify the great works that your Optimist Club does in your community. Thank you.

*Word of mouth marketing

December 14, 2014

Give the gift of yourself

Join an Optimist Club today
It's always exciting to receive a gift. A brightly wrapped package, especially at Christmas, brings a special joy to the recipient and an equal, if not more, sense of satisfaction to the giver. It is sad that gift giving is sometimes the only shared moments between adults and children.

Optimist Clubs work hard every day to change that dynamic as members look for ways to interact with youth in meaningful ways. They partner with child-serving organizations in their local communities including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Boys and Girls Clubs, among others; and they create programs needed on a local level like sports programs, literacy programs, and so much more. 

Every Optimist Club has the ability to involve children in international programs such as the Optimist International Oratorical and Essay Contests, and the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. 

The beauty of each of these programs is they allow children and adults to come together, and to work together, in a positive way. Through Optimist Club programs, children receive the greatest gift of all: the attention of a caring adult. 

Don't you want to be that kind of adult? Yes? Then you should join an Optimist Club today. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or contact me and I'll help you get a new Optimist Club started in your community. 

December 11, 2014

Young members bring more service to youth

We hear too many stories about how people, especially young, millennial generation individuals, are not joining service clubs. I'm happy to report that is not the case in the Optimist Clubs of Jamaica.

This picture, contributed by the Optimist Club of Mammee Bay in St. Ann, Jamaica shows a youthful surge in membership. All were inducted at their recent installation banquet where they also heard from  Debbian Livingstone-Edwards, legal and policy officer at the Office of the Children's Advocate. Ms. Livingstone-Edwards explained the importance of positive role models in the development of youth.

"As parents and guardians and teachers and community leaders we cannot sew peas and expect to reap corn. Our children are likely to reproduce the values we teach them by our own interaction, conduct and philosophies," she explained.

The Optimist Club of Mammee Bay has identified a school in the community that it will work more closely with in the coming year as it continues to serve the youth. 

Photo courtesy of the Optimist Club of Mammee Bay. 

December 7, 2014

Shop with a Cop brings kids and cops together

fort smallwood annapolis Optimist Club
The Fort Smallwood Optimist Club, Annapolis Optimist Club and Cherry Hill Optimist Club came together on December 5, 2014 to hold the 11th Annual Shop with a Cop program. The clubs paired police officers with 82 children and set them loose in Walmart to do some Christmas shopping.

fort smallwood optimist clubThe officers were there to provide moral support for the children's shopping spree. Afterwards, they had lunch at the Outback Steakhouse and tackled some Christmas wrapping for the presents they bought for others.

Shop with a Cop programs are popular because they give children an opportunity to interact with police officers in a positive manner, building trust and letting them know that police officers can be their friends.

As Optimist Clubs provide youth-serving projects for communities, they are a natural catalyst to bring the two groups together. They provide the administration and funding support to make the program successful.

fort smallwood optimist club shopfort smallwood shop with a cop optimist

Fort Smallwood Optimist Club
Fort Smallwood Optimist Club
Shop with a Cop 2014

Photos courtesy of the Fort Smallwood Optimist Club. Check out the full collection on Facebook.

December 5, 2014


Optimist Club of St. Charles MO

Many Optimist Clubs have taken to holding meetings at different times of the day in order to meet the schedules of their busy members. Clubs that typically meet in the morning or at noon will host an evening gathering and attract not only members, but also their spouses and perhaps a guest or two. 

I recently had the pleasure of dropping in on the Optimist Club of St. Charles, MO at their evening event, or as they call it: O2GO. 

I have to say, I love the branding. Just like a take-out order at a restaurant, it's optimism to go, road-ready and member approved! 

Evening meetings can take a traditional format or follow the model of this one and be purely a social gathering for building friendships around the mission of optimism. When you are open and welcoming to new people and ideas, your Optimist Club will be successful.  Have a few members that you haven't seen recently? Try O2GO and see if they won't try to make it to see their friends. 


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