Follow Rebecca's year as International President on her official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Welcome to our December Leadership Hotline, highlighting recent and upcoming activities for Optimist leaders and Club Members! We wish you Happy Holidays!
Junior Optimist International

The Junior Optimist International Board of Directors share some project ideas for your Club this holiday season!

For more information on Junior Optimist Clubs, visit!
Amanda and Alex Mona share holiday plans from the SALT (Serving And Leading Together) Junior Optimist Club of West Des Moines, Iowa!

Please send your Club projects and photos to for future publications!
Oratorical World Championships - Contest Rule Change

The Optimist International Board of Directors has been listening to concerns from Districts about the new rule implemented this year that mandates each District winner compete in person at the designated locations for Oratorical World Championships. After much discussion at the Board meeting on November 30, 2018, the Optimist International Board of Directors decided to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee for Oratorical World Championships and Scholarships to recommend enhancements going forward with a report to the Board in March 2019. In the meantime, to allow Districts more time for transition and to allow for the Ad Hoc Committee's report, the Board passed the following: Effective  October 1, 2021 , all District winners will compete at the Oratorical World Championships in person at the designated locations.  
Childhood Health and Wellness

In response to requests from Optimist Clubs and recognizing the broad range of childhood health-related issues, Optimist International and our Foundations are excited to announce the Childhood Health & Wellness Program.

The Childhood Health & Wellness Program will build on the highly successful Childhood Cancer Campaign to expand our impact. Clubs and Districts will now have the opportunity to initiate projects and services to improve the quality of life for children in their communities across a broader spectrum of needs.

Childhood Health & Wellness will include four focus areas (not limited to the examples below):

  • Healthy Lifestyles (Child Obesity, Healthy Eating, Physical Fitness, Happy Heart Advice, March of Dimes)
  • Chronic Diseases (Childhood Cancer, Juvenile Diabetes, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Sickle Cell Anemia)
  • Mental Health (Depression, Bullying, Abuse)
  • Disabilities – Physical, Intellectual & Developmental (Autism, Special Olympics)

As of January 1, 2019, the Optimist International Foundation will accept contributions for Childhood Health & Wellness with the intent of creating a grant program. Contributions previously made to the Childhood Cancer Campaign (CCC) will be used to support Childhood Cancer.

The Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation (CCOF) had previously introduced a Childhood Health and Wellness initiative called "Spread Relief". Canadian Clubs must apply through the Canadian Foundation, please visit

There is an exciting opportunity to start supporting the Childhood Health & Wellness Program to serve more children in our communities!
Upcoming Webinars
Sharing is Caring
Monday, December 10, 2018 at 7PM (CT)
Grow your social media reach AND help other Optimists Clubs by liking, commenting and sharing! This half hour session will highlight best practices for social media use and how to get more for your club.  To register, click here .

Engaging Our Youth
Monday, January 14, 2019 at 7PM (CT)
There are so many opportunities in Optimism to engage our children and young people and yet our bright future stars and leaders are not feeling the love, the hope, the vision. Let’s get our children to Speak Out, to lead clubs in their schools, to be children helping children and simply feel good as Optimists. This webinar explores ways in which we can celebrate our junior Optimists as they bring out the best in their communities and themselves. To register, please click here .

For questions about webinars, contact the Leadership Development Department at
Membership Recruitment

Each year, your Optimist Club is likely to lose at least one Member due to factors outside your control. There will always be Members who move, get sick, or must resign for other reasons. While you may not be able to control this, you can control finding their replacement!

In Greek mythology, the Hydra is a fearsome creature due to its unique powers. If one of its heads is cut off, two more heads grow in its place. Rather than allowing itself to be weakened in times of adversity, the Hydra uses it as an opportunity to become even stronger.

Your Optimist Club should be more like the Hydra! If you know one Member needs to leave your Club, make a calculated effort to find at least one, if not two, new Members to replace them! This insures that your Optimist Club will grow stronger with time, rather than weaker. The stronger we keep our Clubs, the more children we are able to serve!

The 2018-19 International Membership Committee is encouraging all Optimist Clubs to participate in “targeted recruitment” each month of this Optimist year. While all Members are valuable; this calendar   will hopefully encourage Clubs to look for new Members in areas that they may not have thought of.

December is for family members! Optimist Clubs frequently forget to look for Members right under their own roofs! December was chosen since many families gather together for the holidays. Share the gift of Optimism with your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc.

Create your legacy of Optimism!
New Club Building

There has been a strong start for new club development this year. A dozen new clubs organized in October, a few more in November and there are several more during the month of December. New Clubs are one of the lynchpins for continued development of Optimist International as a premier service organization.  

While there are times the holiday season creates a slowdown in new Club building, this is the perfect time of year to create the framework for development in the second and third quarter. Governors, Lieutenant Governors and Club Presidents should confer with each other to develop a growth plan for the next six months.  December is a perfect time for making some phone calls or electronic inquiries to areas targeted for development for a community needs assessment . This will allow new projects to hit the ground running in January. The Growth Department at Optimist International remains committed to helping facilitate new club development and stands ready to assist. Reach out via or to

An International Development Ad Hoc Committee is working on a strategic initiative for future development and needs your help. The committee is asking for you to provide some guidance about where Optimist International could expand beyond North America and the Caribbean. If you have any leads, could you provide the name of the country or countries where you have friends, acquaintances, or business associates. The committee is not asking for contact information but just the name of the country.  This will enable the committee to learn where the most people known to Optimists live and could lead to designating a country as a focus for international development.  All you have to do is send an email to the International Development Ad Hoc Committee at listing the name of the country or countries where you have connections and thank you for your help.

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 November Global Spotlight, click   here .
Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Scholarship

The 2019 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic will be two special awards recognizing the academic and community service accomplishments of five junior golfers. Golfers can apply for one or both awards. Golfers selected receive an exemption into the 2019 Optimist Championship, tournament entry (includes golf, hotel accommodations and meals) and a $1,000.00 scholarship. Click here for deadline dates and how to apply. For more information about the Optimist Junior Golf program, click here .
Our Centennial - Let's Celebrate

Each Optimist has a story to tell - it could be how you got involved, why you are still an Optimist, or an inspirational moment you had at an Optimist event. We want to hear your story! Submit an Optimist Story here . Video and written stories will be shared throughout the year on social media.
Centennial merchandise may be purchased at our official suppliers.
Official Optimist International Suppliers

United States and the Caribbean:
Ansell's Awards and Specialties
Contact the International Board of Directors 

If you have comments, concerns or suggestions for the International Board of Directors, please send to
Optimist International Foundation

Year End Gifts

Dear Fellow Optimists,

2018 has been a special year for Optimist International Foundation. We have seen solid growth in our unrestricted gifts that has allowed us to enhance our partnership with Optimist International. Among the many areas of support we are very proud to expand are the World Oratorical Championship. OIF now funds the top three winners of the Championship for contestants from the U.S., Caribbean and World Regions. Plus, we have continued to enhance the Disaster Relief Fund and grow our partnership with Johns Hopkins Pediatric Cancer Hospital. 

But the calendar year is still counting down. As you consider year end donations, we are hopeful you will consider OIF in your plans. You will be helping kids and communities in your backyard and around the world. Thank you in advance for consideration of a year end gift to OIF.  

Nominations for Board
The Optimist International Foundation is seeking nominations for an upcoming opening on the Foundation Board of Directors. The four-year term for the Board Member will begin October 1, 2019. If interested, contact Craig Boring, OIF Executive Director, at . Deadline to submit nomination paperwork is December 31, 2018 .

The open Board position is for a Member at large. Members interested in nominating themselves or others may visit the Foundation website to submit an application. Please review the candidate qualifications before submitting a nomination. 

For more information, call (800) 500-8130 or .
Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Be generous during the holiday season: A receipt for income tax purposes will be delivered for any donation over $20 to the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation. Calculate your charitable donation tax credit here.

To all the Dime a day and more donors who have contributed before December 31, 2018, we will draw 10 basic registrations to the Louisville International Convention or you own District Convention.

From your Foundation, have a wonderful holiday season!