August  2017

Greetings Fellow Optimists,

We have just completed our 99th Annual Convention in beautiful Albuquerque! It was a great convention. We elected new officers for the 2018-19 year – special congratulations to Becky Butler Mona as our new President-Elect, and to the other Officers and Directors who were elected! A great team for the 2018-19 year is taking shape. We also conducted the business that needed to be done; met new, and renewed old Optimist friendships to continually expand the Optimist Circle of Friendship! Ideas were shared, and as always, we learned from other Optimists. And finally, we had lots and lots of fun! I had the special privilege of having my daughter, Captain Kate Hodges be with me for the Convention. Proud father indeed!

Three items that make me very Optimist proud: 

  • The Optimist International Board always joins the Junior Optimist Board for their closing dinner, and we have the opportunity to meet their new officers – what an outstanding group of young Optimists! Our future is in their hands, and based on what was observed, we have nothing to fear!
  • I had the privilege of being present for the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships and again, what an event with such talent! We can proudly say we award over $550,000 in scholarships annually.
  • The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships kicked off late July and I had the pleasure to be there and witness firsthand the talented golfers coming through the program. It is the largest youth golf tournament in the world with our Districts plus 22 other nations! 

We are now in the final two months of the “Year of the Honor Club!”  We want our legacy to leave Optimist International in a position to serve more youth next year, not fewer. As of right now, we are not on target to do that. In fact, we will serve some 60,000 fewer youth. The good news is we can change that. Remember THE POWER OF ONE! If each Club adds just one new Member, we move from a point of serving 60,000 fewer youth to serving an additional 12,000.

We have three ways for all of us to do that:
  • Reaching Honor Club status
  • Power of One - recruit your own successor!
  • A special incentive for the 4th quarter – if your Club becomes an Honor Club AND adds five new Members in the 4th quarter, your Club will be presented a complementary registration to the 100th Convention in Ottawa.  

Here’s a short poem about the Power of One!
One tree can start a forest;
One smile can begin a friendship;
One hand can lift a soul;
One word can frame the goal;
One candle can wipe out darkness;
One laugh can conquer doom;
One hope can raise your spirits;
One touch can show you care;
One life can make the difference,
be that one today.

Sixty days to leave our legacy! Sixty days to ensure more, not fewer youth are served. Sixty days to build momentum that will carry on to the 2017-18 team. Together We Can! Together We WILL!

Jim Kondrasuk
2016-17 International President
Optimist International

Junior Optimist International

The 2017 Summer edition of The Torch is now available hereThe 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.

Optimist International Junior Golf

The Optimist International Junior Golf Championships completed its third phase today. It is one of the largest and best-known junior golf tournaments in the world.  

To view the results of the Championships, click here
Optimist International Oratorical World Championships 

The 2nd Annual Optimist International Oratorical World Championships took place in June at Saint Louis University Center of Global Citizenship in St. Louis, Missouri. Thank you to all Optimists who made the event successful! 

Congratulations to the first place winner, Meena Venkataramanan from the West Coast Region! To view Meena's winning speech, click here

For more information about the oratorical program, click here

Fee Structure for College Clubs

The Optimist International Board of Directors approved changes to the fee structure for college Clubs at its meeting last March. Dues for college Members in college Clubs are now $10 per year. The student will receive an Optimist T-shirt rather than a pin for becoming involved with an existing or new Optimist Club on campus. The Board also approved a $100 annual affiliation fee.  Sponsor Clubs of a college Club are strongly encouraged to consider underwriting the cost of the fee. College Clubs will be billed for their dues once a year in October based on the membership as of October 1.  The Club will also be billed over the course of the year for any members added after October 1 at the rate of $10 per Member. For questions, contact

Recruit a Teacher - Renewed!

The "Recruit a Teacher for $30" incentive has been renewed from August 1 until September 30, 2017!  Optimist International is waiving the $15.00 membership fee and offering a year's dues for only $30 for teachers!

Contact for more information.
Help Make Education Affordable

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.
99th International Convention

Optimist International would like to thank each and every Optimist Member that attended the Albuquerque Convention.  The event celebrated the successes of many Optimist Members, provided training for and welcomed new leaders for the 2017-18 year, and ended with a night full of fun at the President's Banquet and Ball. Convention videos of the Opening Ceremony and Business Sessions can be found  here . Photos will be posted shortly.

Upcoming Webinar

How to Run a Club
Wednesday, August 16 at 7PM (CDT)
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make an effective Club run?  Have you considered wanting to be in charge of your local Club?  Maybe somebody told you that they thought you would make a good Club President and you are wondering what they know that you don’t?  Here is your chance to find out what it takes to make a Club work.

To register for the webinar, click here!

For questions, contact the Leadership Development Department at

Congratulations to the 2017 Reel Optimism Winners!

Using the creativity of Club Members and community resources, adult Clubs, Junior Optimist Clubs and the general public were asked to create a video that illustrated the topic, "Optimism." To view the winning videos or read more about the contest, click here
Official Optimist International Suppliers

United States and the Caribbean:

Ansell's Awards and Specialties

3rd Quarter $500 Drawing Winners

There were 2,409 new Optimist Members added during the 3rd quarter and we would like to thank each of them for joining our organization, along with the Optimist Member who sponsored them. Each new Member serves an estimated 30 additional children in their community. These new Members will help 72,270 more children than their Optimist Clubs would have had they not been asked to join.


Congratulations to our 3rd quarter $500 winners!

1st time sponsor drawing:

Beth Butts - Optimist Club of Terre Haute-BFT, Indiana South District

Tommie Smith - Optimist Club of Waco- Northwest, Texas - South Texas District

Repeat sponsor drawing:

Mario Pouliot - Optimist Club of Le Gardeur, Quebec, Quebec Central District

Club Pride Report

Has your Club completed successful programs and activities this year?  Make sure to note them on the Club Pride Report for 2016-17. Submitting a Club Pride Report is a requirement for Honor Club to show the projects that your Club has conducted this year. The report is available on the Optimist Leaders website. Go to, log in and click on "Reports" on the right side of the screen.  On the next screen, select the Club Pride Report. Hard copies can be printed from the Forms page of the Optimist website,, and faxed or mailed to Optimist International.  The form is due online by September 30, but hard copies sent or faxed to Optimist International headquarters will be accepted after September 30. If you have any questions, please contact the Programs Department at (800) 500-8130 or via e-mail at

Club Officer Elect Report 

Does your Club have a leadership team in place now for the 2017-18 Optimist year? An August mailing will be sent to all Club President-Elects who have completed the Club Officer Elect Report. A current Club officer will need to login to the Optimist Leaders website and click "Reports" on the right-hand side of the screen. Then click on "Club Officer Elect Report" and you will be able to select the names of the Club Members who will be filling leadership roles during the upcoming Optimist year. If you have questions or need assistance, contact Charlotte in the Member Services Department at

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
Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation

Does your Club strive to reach Honor Club status? The only way that this can happen is if your Club nominates a Club Foundation Representative and donates to the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation. Last year alone, the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation remitted a total of $95,400 in scholarships to young Canadians, in addition to offering Club Grants for community projects and providing receipts for tax purposes to donors of the Outsourcing projects. Help the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation help Canadian Optimist Clubs by making a Club donation. For more information about our programs, visit our website:

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 Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club sponsors its Junior Optimist Angler Society for kids. Each week the Club and volunteers take 20 kids fishing to learn how, to show them new techniques, and to just have fun. The kids are grouped depending on age and experience. Fishing is done both from the shore and on boats. Read more here