October 31, 2018

The Optimist Creed is good at any time

experience optimismThree years ago (wow, has it been that long?), I served as the Vice President of the West Region, Optimist International.

One of the things that VPs get to do is visit Optimist Clubs and Districts and to encourage them to share their optimism with others.

October 31, 2015, found me in San Diego, California where I led a breakout session on creating videos and my key point was that with our smartphones, it is so easy to do!

Yes, we can buy editing software and be professional about it, but we can also be spontaneous and authentic, just like this group of Optimist Club members in the California South District.

Please join me in reciting the Optimist Creed as you enjoy the video.

June 25, 2018

Like, share, and comment about this membership tip

membership optimist club
Once a month, I share a membership retention or recruitment tip on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pnwoptimist/

I could probably share more ideas more often, but the timing is meant to allow individuals in Optimist Clubs, wherever they are around the world, the time to give the suggestion a try. One month seems to be a good standard. 

This month, June 2018, we are on membership retention and recruitment tip #58:

Get everyone involved in promoting your Optimist Club. 

Budget time at every meeting for reflection. Ask your members to think about and share what they appreciate most about being a member. 
When we start new Optimist Clubs in new communities, we tell the potential new members about the heartwarming projects that we provide our neighborhoods and explain how rewarding it is to do them with our fellow members, people who share our same goals. Often that process reminds us how great it is to be an Optimist Club member. Doesn't it make sense to share that feeling with your fellow members? 
Create a social media post after every meeting that expresses one member’s thought or testimonial. Ask every club member to share that particular post on their Facebook timeline. 
One of my favorite testimonials comes from Judith Hillend of the Gresham Optimist Club. Speaking about the Optimist International Oratorical Contest, she said, "When you are allowed to listen to nineteen wonderful students speak to you how optimism helps them over obstacles, the outcome is overwhelming. These children of several ages spoke from their hearts about their lives, their obstacles, and their successes - obesity, family problems, hard of hearing and deafness - it brought tears to my eyes and many other Optimists in the audience. The previous list is very limited, but these kids were talking in one of the greatest obstacles in any child's life, talking to adults in a crowd. They are all winners, and those who didn't win prizes are encouraged to return next year. We will be waiting!"
Isn't that a great way to learn about the Optimist International Oratorical Contest? I think so and shared it on the PNW District Optimist Clubs website way back in 2012. It still garners hits today. 
Homegrown public service announcements will help others be aware of who is involved in your local Optimist Club, what projects it performs, and how it will make them feel to be a member. It will warm people to joining. Now all you have to do is ask. 

May 16, 2018

200 reasons to #JoinAnOptimistClub

This website shares information and ideas with its sister page Optimist Clubs in the Pacific Northwest.

One of the things both are known for is the #JoinAnOptimistClub promotion that has been ongoing since September 2014.

Since that time, www.experienceoptimism.org and www.pnwdistrictoptimist.com have shared more than 200 memes with the hashtag #JoinAnOptimistClub.

Most can be found on Facebook on the author's public page. All are meant to be shared.

The thought behind the campaign is that many times we forget to ask people to #JoinAnOptimistClub. With this fun twist, maybe we'll be more inviting and our clubs will be more approachable. Share optimism today by sharing a #JoinAnOptimistClub meme.

Click here to find an Optimist Club near you.
Please send a message if you would like to start a new Optimist Club in your community.

April 7, 2018

Your friends are always welcome

I am a member of the Share-a-Smile Optimist Club in Fircrest, Washington. We're a small group, and we are still fairly new for we began two years ago in May 2016.

Aside from sharing optimism, our primary focus is dogs, and to be honest, it is a rather selfish focus at that.

We like to get together for dog walks. It gives the animals and humans some social time and provides the extra benefit of exercise.

Optimist Clubs exist because someone is passionate about what they do. Optimist Clubs thrive when that mission is shared with others.

If you live in the Tacoma-Fircrest area, we would love for you to join us for a walk. Please send me a message here: Linda Vaught.

If you are optimistic and would like to share that passion with others, we invite you to #JoinanOptimistClub near you. Click here to find an Optimist Club.

If there is not a club in your community, no worries. We can help you start one. Click here to send a message and get going today: start a new Optimist Club.

March 26, 2018

Don't let the light go out in your Optimist Club

I write stories about Optimist Clubs. I share optimism nearly every day on this site, at www.pnwdistrictoptimist.com, or on Facebook by telling what Optimist Clubs do and how their actions impact youth and the community in which they live.

Most importantly, I highlight how they make their members feel about belonging to a group of positive-thinking do-gooders. I try to share the feeling of fellowship that is gained by working together for a common cause.

When I saw this post today from Poetry in Motion, I knew right away I was going to share it because it truly sums up why I write about Optimist Clubs. Perhaps my eyes fill with light as I write these stories. I know for certain that the stories I write about have struck me because of the light I have seen shining brightly from the storytellers.

Sadly, my positive light story is going to have a bit of a twist today; it is a downer, so to speak. While I hate to do it, I feel I must because if we don't talk about it, we can't fix it.

Saturday, March 24, 2018, I attended a Super Zone Meeting for the Optimist Clubs in Washington and Oregon, PNW District - Optimist International. It was sparsely attended, which was disappointing, and the agenda was rather thin. But that's okay, I thought, if nothing else, I'm going to gain enthusiasm from my fellow attendees about the projects that we do in our communities.

Sure enough, we heard lists of projects with fundraisers and Respect for Law programs taking the forefront and the Childhood Cancer Campaign and other Optimist International programs taking a less prominent position, among a few other community-specific programs. What we didn't hear from any of the Optimist Club participants was passion. No one lit-up or got excited talking about the projects they do. They simply said, we do this, this and this, and moved on.

Instead of the usual optimism and contagious energy, concerns about participation and communication dominated the discussion. Even the club fundraisers had challenges that the storytellers shared.  And sadly, nothing was suggested to help the participants and Optimist Club members solve their clubs' problems. Unlike the positive environment we expect when we attend an Optimist District or Optimist Club activity, it was not upbeat and quite frankly, it did not include information that would help the clubs succeed.

I've expressed in my blog posts before that not everyone is an inspirational or informed leader. The PNW District has suffered through two years of such poor leadership and we had high hopes that this year would be the one to turn us around. Challenges still remain. In defense of the current governor, he pulled out information from Optimist International that explains the purpose of the District - to be an administrative arm of Optimist International and to help clubs succeed. However, from the agenda I just witnessed, he seems to be taking his cues of what help looks like from the previous administration.

I'm disappointed that the light has been dimmed in so many Optimist Club members' eyes. I hope and pray that this will be turned around soon by bringing back the leaders that share their energy and passion for the organization. They are out there and like me, they are just waiting to be asked.

For an enthusiastic presentation on what it means to be an Optimist Club member, please contact Linda Vaught here.

March 8, 2018

#pressforprogress, not for bull

I do not fully agree with the #metoo movement nor do I fully understand what's up with the Time's Up group.

However, I believe anything that brings inequality to the forefront is necessary and recognize that some activities are more sensibly organized and better funded than others.

Using celebrities to chant they have been given ten million dollars to act in a movie instead of the twenty million dollars given to their male counterpart is certainly a first world issue slightly above my pay grade.

Using those same female celebrities to recount ways they have been sexually intimidated, sometimes twenty or more years ago, seems rather disingenuous to me as well. They knew what was happening and chose, or were forced, to go another way. For those who didn't move on and stayed in their inferior position, they recognized the choice they were making.

As a woman, I have been sexually preyed upon, I have been belittled, I have been overlooked for promotion, and I have been denied the bump in salary that I deserved. I meet all the criteria for crying #metoo; but many years ago, I made a conscious choice to rise above finger-pointing and name-calling and to continue to try harder.

That is why I am quite pleased with the International Women's Day 2018 theme: #pressforprogress.

We must #pressforprogress in the way that best suits our style.

During the Academy Awards Ceremony, someone said that the celebrities were mentors and role models and by them taking a stand, the world would take notice. Perhaps. I merely hope that their struggles to overcome million dollar inequities can positively impact all women including those who are unpaid and enslaved in situations that are not as glamorous as those who are being heard the most.

Ida B. Wells was a journalist, feminist, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She said, "The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them."

In one sentence, she captured my belief and my mission for International Women's Day 2018. I will #pressforprogress by not only speaking of the popular women's movements that are trending today but also, by not being afraid to call bullshit when appropriate as well.

February 12, 2018

Why not join us? We're Optimists

On the second Saturday of each month, we share a membership recruitment and retention tip on the PNW Optimist Clubs Facebook page. 

Most tips remind the reader to communicate better with their internal and external audiences, members and stakeholders. Some, like today, inform of best ways to sell the intangible product: membership. Take a read, please, and share with your Optimist Club for greater success. 

Membership retention and recruitment tip #54: Be less salesy. 

Perhaps you have seen this happen at a club meeting - the speaker has just completed her presentation and the chairperson stands up to thank them and before they are through, they are waving a membership application in the speaker’s face asking them to join. 

We often say that in order to recruit, we just need to ask, but there are some preparatory comments that will help you seem less aggressive when asking someone to join your club. 

Consider asking if the prospective member has belonged to a club previously, what they did or didn’t like about their experience, and what they might hope to gain by joining your group. 

These questions, among others, will start a relationship, gain their trust, and show that you and your organization cares about its members.

We invite you to join an Optimist Club. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you and get involved!

January 5, 2018

Share optimism with the Optimist Creed

The year of 2017 has left us and now, as we move forward in 2018, we must always promise ourselves to do so with optimism.

To help maintain your positive thoughts this year, we propose a daily reading of the Optimist Creed. To help others maintain their positive thoughts, we encourage you to share optimism by sharing the Optimist Creed.

Please click to download a copy and then share with your friends and colleagues both online and offline. Please keep the optimist movement going throughout the year! Thank you.

optimist creed experience optimism


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