April  2017

Greetings Fellow Optimists,

We are now officially in the second half of “The Year of the Honor Club!” It is hard to believe that we have had six months pass by. We cannot turn the clock back, so we press on to the greater achievements of the future. There’s an old saying that when the times get tough, the tough get going. So, now is the time to get going.

If one looks at the scoreboard, and reviews our membership numbers, they are not terrible, but they are not exceptional either! What our numbers say to me (and should to you as an Optimist) is that based on the current numbers, there are some 55,000+ youth that will not receive the Optimists' services they have in the past! We are letting down youth at a time when they need Optimists and Optimism more than ever before. 

So, what can we do? If every Club added just one Member, we could turn that deficit of service into the ability to serve almost 17,000 new youth. As Optimists, this has to be our goal.  Here are some ideas:

This list could go on, but hopefully you get the message. Just do one of these, and begin with the first on the list – the power of one! If each of us do this, we will serve more youth and communities.

We have six months left to leave our legacy – and that should be to leave Optimist International better able to serve more youth than when we began. Never give up, great things take time. And as John Maxwell says, “As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates."

Now is the time. Together We can!  Together We Will!

Jim Kondrasuk
2016-17 International President
Optimist International

Take Action in May 

The month of May is Optimists in Action Month!  During the month of May, Optimist Clubs will create a widespread spirit of unity bringing together Optimist Members and other community volunteers for a variety of local-based activities, fundraisers and special events.  Optimist Clubs can conduct any program or special event that meets the needs of their community and should contact local media outlets in hopes of receiving publicity.  Take photos and videos and share your Club’s event on social media by including the hashtag #OptimistsInAction.  Learn more at www.optimist.org/action
Submit Your Club's Reel Optimism Video by April 14

Adult and Junior Optimist Clubs, in addition to non-Optimist community groups, nonprofits and individuals, can now submit their Reel Optimism video. Entries can be made in the Optimists in Action or Make Optimism Go Viral categories and should visually illustrate the topic of “Optimism.”  The integrated contest hub will allow you to easily upload your video by posting a YouTube, or Instagram link.  Go to www.optimist.org/ReelOptimism for more information. The deadline to submit your Club’s video is April 14. 

The Election is Near

Optimist International has partnered with Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) to administer the 2017 International officer election. To assure your Club's election specific broadcast email arrives safely in your inbox on June 1, simply add the following email address as an approved sender: noreply@directvote.net 

Your Club's dues must be paid in full prior to be being allowed to vote. Elections open online at 8AM (CDT) on Thursday, June 1 and closes at 5PM (CDT) Friday, June 30.  

If you have questions, contact Tom Carver at (800) 500-8310 ext. 243 or (314) 881-1343, or email tom.carver@optimist.org 

Below are the candidates for the 2017-18 International officer election: 

2017-18 President-Elect Candidates:
Rebecca Butler Mona, IA
Fatima Plater, MI

2017-18 Board Director at Large Candidates (2 to be elected):
Don Brose, MI
Lola Cumbo, AC
Sandy Cyphers, NCE
Robert Floyd, WMO
Patsy Garner, NTX

2017-18 Vice Presidents-Elect Candidates:
Region 1 Northeast & Great Lakes – Cherryl Thames, MI 
Region 2 Southeast – Brenda Ortelli, NFL
Region 3 Mid-Atlantic – Stewart Mallard, NCW
Region 4 Middle America – Gerri Barnett, IA 
Region 5 Great Plains – Edie Harris, AMS&NW
Region 6 Southwest – Paul Lucas, NTX 
Region 7 West Coast – T G Thomas, PSW
Region 8 St. Lawrence – Nathalie Boulet, QW and Roch Daigle, QC

Continue to check www.optimist.org for updates.

Optimist International Oratorical World Championships 

The Optimist International Oratorical World Championships will be June 15-16 at Saint Louis University Center of Global Citizenship in St. Louis, Missouri. The event is designed to empower youth to become effective communicators and confident global citizens. The deadline to submit your District winner is Monday, May 15. 

Are you looking for a simple way to give the gift of higher education and help youth reach their full potential? Donate to the oratorical program here. Share the link on your social media accounts to encourage non-Optimists to donate.

Social, Service and Young Professionals Group

Also known as "Club within a Club," the Social, Service, and Young Professionals Group is another way for your Club to expand your outreach and strength in your community. Social, Service and Young Professionals Group must have a minimum of 15 individuals who have not been Optimist Members or Friends in the past four months. For more information, click here. 

Teachers Incentive

Give a local educator more than an apple - give the gift of Optimism! The "Recruit a Teacher" incentive is back. April 1-June 30, Optimist Clubs are encouraged to recruit teachers from their local schools. Optimist International is waiving the $15.00 membership fee and offering a year's dues for only $30! For more information, click here.

Don't Miss Your Chance to Win $500!

Encouraging your Club Members to actively sponsor new Members is critical to the health of your Optimist Club. Unfortunately, 80% of Optimist Members have NEVER sponsored a new Member. In order to increase individual sponsorships, Optimist International will be giving away three $500 prizes for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarter. The goal of these raffles is to increase Member sponsorships, especially among those Members who have never sponsored a new Member. For questions, contact membership@optimist.org
Upcoming Webinars

The Lt. Governor’s Toolbox: Opportunities for Success 
Wednesday, April 12 at 7PM (CDT)
Whether it was good or bad, a lot has happened during the first six months of the 2016-17 Optimist year. This webinar will provide some tools for Lieutenant Governors to use during the remainder of their time in office to help Clubs in their area become successful. It will also provide guidance for navigating some of the pitfalls that may have happened during the first half of the year. To register for the webinar, click here

Field Representative Training
Thursday, May 4 at 7PM (CDT)
The landscape for new Club development is always changing.  The same holds true for the evolving duties and responsibilities of the International Field Representative. This webinar will describe changes in the program, as well as a new way for completing and submitting paperwork to Optimist International.  All field representatives and those who would like to become a field representative are encouraged to participate.  To register for the webinar, click here

Structure of Optimist International
Tuesday, May 23 at 7PM (CDT)
The Structure of Optimist International webinar will describe how our organization is designed with various levels. The Club (the “Member” of the organization) is at the top of the organization. A description of each level and how each level relates to other levels will be included. To register, click here

For questions, contact the Leadership Development Department at leadership@optimist.org

Free Membership for Graduating Seniors

In order to help students remain Optimists, Optimist International is offering all Junior Optimists graduating from high school a free membership for any adult or college Optimist Club. Your Club will not be billed a $15.00 processing fee OR international dues for a full calendar year. This is a great opportunity for all Optimist Clubs. Please encourage any graduating Junior Optimists to take advantage of this opportunity by joining either their local Club, or a Club where they will be attending college. If your Club has a graduating Junior Optimist senior who wishes to take advantage of this offer, contact membership@optimist.org or call 800-500-8130 ext. 226.

Global Spotlight

The Optimist International Global Spotlight was created to provide another means of communication between Optimist International and the Optimist Club Presidents outside of the United States and Canada.  The newsletter is sent monthly.

To view the March Global Spotlight, click here.
Junior Optimist International

The 2017 Fall edition of The Torch is now available here. The Torch is the official newsletter of Junior Optimist International.

For more information about Junior Optimist International or if you have questions about starting a Junior Optimist Club, click here.

Register for Convention Online

Online registration for the 99th Annual Optimist International Convention in Albuquerque is now open! Share Optimism with fellow Optimists from around the world July 6-8.

For all convention information, including online registration, click here.

To view the convention agenda, click here.

New! Sign Up in Advance for Officer-Elect Training

For convention, attendees can sign up in advance for the following officer-elect training sessions:

Thursday, July 6 at 8AM-12PM
  • District Chair Designate Training: Club Fitness Advisors, Leadership Development, Membership, New Club Building
Thursday, July 6 @ 1-5PM
  • Club President-Elect & Lt. Governor-Elect Training
  • Club Secretary-Treasurer Designate Training
  • District Secretary-Treasurer Designate Training
Sign up in advance when registering for convention. Visit optimist.org/convention to register for convention. If you have already registered and did not sign up for the training sessions, contact Haidera Wilhite at haidera.wilhite@optimist.org.

For question regarding officer-elect training, contact leadership@optimist.org

Show Off Your Club Project

A one-hour “Show off Your Club Project” workshop will take place Friday, July 7 at convention. Optimist Clubs will have the opportunity to display their project and be available to answer questions and give ideas about their project. Workshop attendees will vote on the best project and the winning Club will receive one free registration to the 2018 International Convention in Ottawa! If your Club would like to participate, contact Dana Thomas at dana.thomas@optimist.org by Monday, May 15. 

Friend of Optimists

Individuals can show their support of Optimist International by becoming Friends of Optimists. A Friend of Optimists may be someone who does not have an Optimist Club in their area, or they may not have time to dedicate to a local Optimist Club. Optimist Clubs can also bestow a Friend of Optimists membership on a community member who has shown great support for the Club. To learn more, check out the Friend of Optimists Brochure and read the Frequently Asked Questions. To apply for membership online, click here.

$30 Under 30

Optimist International continues to offer a one year, introductory membership to civic-minded individuals. Any new traditional Member inclusive of 18-30 years of age who joins an Optimist Club will receive this special dues offer. For one year, young adults can enjoy the benefits of an Optimist Club with less of a financial impact! For more information, please click  here .

Optimist Junior Golf

Click here for the results from the Junior Tour Event at Waterchase Golf Club in Ft. Worth, Texas this past March.

Boys 16-18 age division: Champion - Will Fore (73-76)
2nd place - Ronald Fischang (74-77)
3rd place - Nick Vella (75-77)

Boys 14-15 age division:
Champion - Evan Paquette (70-68)

Boys 11-13 age division:
Champion - Manual Barbachano (78-73)
2nd place -  Hunter Millsap (74-83)
3rd place  - Jack Mitas (77-83)

Girls 14-18 age division:
Champion - Sally Sohn (74-75)
2nd place - Madison Slayton (88-81)
3rd place - Malisone Chanthapanya (86-88)

Girls 11-13 age division:
Champion - Reagan Zibilski (79-81)
2nd place - Madison Rylie Rodriques (88-91)
3rd place - Amanda Saunders (106-108)

Evan Paquette from Grapevine, Texas had a "Hole in One" on Hole 16 at 132 yards at the Junior Tour Event. Evan had a great weekend shooting a (70-68).  

Thank you to our volunteers: Patsy Garner, Ken Garner, Debbie Sutton Koennecke, Mike Koennecke, Ron Traver and Stewart McKenzie.

Benchmark Club Projects

Every month, Optimist International will feature a Club project in the Leadership Hotline and on the Optimist International website. The Benchmark Club Projects will highlight a successful project, along with information about the host Optimist Club. 

The Alpena Optimist Club hosted a day of games, crafts, and giveaways during their Spring Break Family and Fun Day event. The event took place at Alpena High School where about 400-500 students came out to engage in many different activities. Some of the activities offered were dodgeball, yoga, swimming and building projects, such as space rockets. In the midst of all of the fun, students were also able to check out impactful exhibits, such as the federal, state and local agencies display areas highlighting possible career paths. The Club exemplified community service with this fun-filled event, which was made possible by their funding and outside donations. Read more here

Upcoming Events  

Optimist International Oratorical World Championships
June 15-16, 2017 (St. Louis, MO)

Junior Optimist International Convention
July 3-5, 2017 (Albuquerque, NM) 

Junior Optimist International Convention
July 3-5, 2017 (Albuquerque, NM) 

99th Optimist International Convention  
July 6-8, 2017 (Albuquerque, NM)
Official Optimist International Suppliers

United States and the Caribbean:

Ansell's Awards and Specialties

Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation

Scholarships awarded to the Canadian District’s winners of the Optimist International oratorical, essay and CCDHH contests are funded by the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation. Each year, your Foundation disburses $10,000 for scholarships to the Canadian Districts. In 2015-16, the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation also supported the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships by giving $10,000. All this could only be achieved thanks to your donations.

Help tomorrow’s leaders develop to their fullest potential by making an online donation to the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation.

Update Member Information

To ensure each Optimist Member is receiving important information from Optimist International, encourage each Member to update their contact information with a leader in your Club. This includes addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Each leader (Club President, Secretary, or Treasurer) has a log-in for Optimist Leaders to update the Members’ information. For log-in instructions, click here.
Contact the International Board of Directors 

If you have comments, concerns or suggestions for the International Board of Directors, please send to board@optimist.org