April – Promise Yourself to Make This a Month of Optimist Memories
April 1st brings us one of the most memorable and fun days of the year – April Fool’s Day. Each of our countries recognizes and celebrates this day differently – so have FUN – but be kind! April also brings beautiful spring weather, and for the kiddos - the Easter bunny will make an appearance! April - a month for precious memories.

Baseball season is about to open up – and golf is in full swing. The Garners love watching PGA golf tournaments, specifically The Masters - the one we wait for all year long. Over the past six years, we shared that live experience with Past Optimist International President Mark Shriver. The long trips from Atlanta to Augusta – way before the sun rises. Wishing the day would deliver a priceless hole-in-one – in front of us! (NOTE: Patsy 3, Ken 0 - but hey, we aren’t competitive…) 

On the Augusta National Golf Course, we shared our dreams, love for the sport, life, and Optimism. We shared more aspirations on the long road trip from Augusta to Atlanta late into the evening. Mark was the ultimate mentor leader. He is greatly missed, especially during this time that he shared not only with us but with so many others. 

On April 23rd, Ken and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. It seems like yesterday we were hanging out at a District conference together - swapping ideas as Lt. Governor competitors. I can’t imagine making life’s journey without him - so many memories.  

April – is the beginning of the second half of our Optimist year. As I have zoom traveled around our globe, I’ve heard stories of WISHING: 
WISHing we could meet in person; Maybe THEN we could be comfortable;
WISHing the pandemic would go away; Maybe THEN we could get something done;
WISHing all the troubles would end, WISHing everything would go back to normal. Maybe THEN…
As I gathered my thoughts for the mid-year article, Governor John Fons of the Southern Wisconsin District shared a message with me.  I felt it powerful enough to share it with you at this time. And it continues:
This week I had the privilege of attending a Zoom meeting organized by the Madison Optimist Club. The guest speaker was the President of the Optimist Club of Belize, a country of 432,000 people south of Mexico on the Pan American isthmus.

In Belize this week, the price of one gallon of gasoline is $12.80 US. The cost of one gallon of diesel fuel is $10.71 US. Wages are down 10% from last year, and the country has been under a 10 pm to 7 am curfew due to the Covid pandemic. One gallon of milk costs $5.00 US, and the workweek is restricted to Monday through Thursday. 

Yet this man, Stephen Whyte of Belize, smiles, laughs, and proudly tells of programs initiated by his Club of 37 Members to benefit children and their communities. He spoke of launching a new Junior Optimist Club and programs to help children return to face-to-face classroom attendance. Through a program entitled Strategies for Success and a poetry contest where the winners get a tour of the US Embassy in Belize. He spoke of all this with the sound of chickens and roosters off-screen in his front yard. He is very proud of his poultry. He shared photographs of his grazing cattle. He showed pictures of students growing vegetables in gardens they have established and are tending. He radiated a sense of brave, determined, and wise people who know how to make the best of any situation through facts and figures he gathered for our benefit. The Optimists of Belize want to be great Optimists and great citizens. They believe in the Optimist Creed. 
NOTE: The Optimist Club of Belize – was built on September 30th, 2020.
The more I hear people wish things to go back to normal, the more convinced I am that we are missing opportunities to grow as individuals and as a community. The First Tenant of our Optimist creed says: 

PROMISE YOURSELF….to be SO strong that NOTHING can disturb your peace of mind. After everything we have been through these past couple of years - our determination and resolve have made us stronger, more flexible, and capable of making the most out of any situation. There is no reason to be intimidated by a change from here on out.

As we move into the second half of this Optimist year, join with Optimists worldwide - Promising yourself, deciding what’s next for you, and how you can best serve your community to create lasting memories forever.
Important Days coming up:
First Gentleman, Ken and I wish you an Amazing April, and we THANK YOU for BEING AN OPTIMIST!
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