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, 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.


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