March  2017

Greetings Fellow Optimists,

Spring is in the air! After a long winter, spring is always welcome. We have now completed five months of “The Year of the Honor Club!” We have plenty of time to finish our year strong. Spring also means we begin the season of oratorical contests – one of our longest running and best known programs. 

Here’s what we have accomplished thus far in our year – 15 new Clubs have been chartered and we have added around 3,700 new Members. 25 new Junior Optimist Clubs have also been formed with 537 new Members. We need to keep up the hard work – the kids win. 

We had two very successful Governor’s Midwinter Planning Conferences, one in Winston-Salem and one in St Louis. We had a majority of our Governors and Vice Presidents attend, along with many District Growth Chairs. We had ample time for numerous round table sessions with the attendees, with questions answered, and information exchanged. Optimists always learn from each other with an open exchange on every issue that is out there. Those in attendance left with a new sense of enthusiasm, excitement and dedication to what we do as Optimists – serve our youth, our communities and ourselves. There was great interest and excitement about the new Social, Service and Young Professionals Group concept - a great way to help our existing Clubs. 

Please plan to attend the 99th Annual Optimist International Convention in Albuquerque! It is a great city to visit! There will be many great Optimist training and personal development sessions. Join us for training, fun and Optimist fellowship!

We have seven months left to leave our legacy. We have one chance to do this – let us strive to leave Optimist International stronger than we began this year. 

And as Seth Godin says:
“Two ways to listen 
You can listen to what people say, sure.
But you will be far more effective if you listen to what people do.”

Let's make it happen. Together We Can!

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
Live from the Board Room

The International Board's next meeting - Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4 - will be streaming live here

The meeting will take place at the Optimist International headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

International Candidate Qualifications Committee Announces Its Nominees 

The Optimist International Candidate Qualifications Committee has announced that it has nominated the following individuals for International office for 2017-18. Included in the listing are self-nominated candidates.
President-Elect Nominee:
Rebecca Butler Mona

Vice Presidents-Elect Nominees:
Region 1 Northeast & Great Lakes – Cheryl Thames 
Region 2 Southeast – Brenda Ortelli 
Region 3 Mid-Atlantic – Stewart Mallard
Region 4 Middle America – Gerri Barnett 
Region 5 Great Plains – Edie Harris 
Region 6 Southwest – Paul Lucas 
Region 7 West Coast – T G Thomas
Region 8 St. Lawrence – Nathalie Boulet 

Board Director at Large Nominees (listed in alphabetical order):
Don Brose 
Lola Cumbo
Sandy Cyphers
Robert Floyd
Patsy Garner

Please note that the deadline for self-nominations for President-Elect, At Large Board Director-Elect, and Vice President-Elect is April 1. Qualified candidates who are properly nominated on or before April 1 will also be added to the slate of officers to be placed into nomination for online voting.Continue to check 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 May 15. 

You can also give the gift of higher education by donating to the Optimist International Foundations here. Post the Firstgiving link on your Facebook and/or Twitter pages to share with your non-Optimist Member friends.

International Week of Service

International Week of Service 2017 is scheduled for March 25-31. Participating is easy! Invite a local service organization to help with your previously scheduled service project during the last week of March or start working with an organization and plan an event together for the last week of March for next year.

For more information, visit

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 for more information. The deadline to submit your Club’s video is April 14. 

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
Upcoming Webinars

The Leadership Development Committee will present a “Resources” webinar on Wednesday, March 15 at 7:00pm (CST). The presenters will be Teri Davis and Claire Labreche. Optimist International wants your year as a Club Officer to run as efficient and smooth as possible. A number of resources are available to help you have a fantastic year! Resources include other leaders (Lt. Governors, District Chairs, etc.), and sites, and Optimist International staff. To learn about these resources, register for the “Resources” webinar here

The Lt. Governor’s Toolbox: Opportunities for Success 
Whether it was good or bad, a lot has happened during the first six months of the 2016-17 Optimist year. This webinar will be Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00pm (CST) and will provide 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

For questions, contact the Leadership Development Department at

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 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 February Global Spotlight, click here.
Social, Service and Young Professionals Group

A new initiative is underway to help our existing Club base: the Social, Service and Young Professionals Group. The Social, Service and Young Professionals Group is a “Club within a Club” concept. This group of Members would be Members of your Club, volunteer for your projects, and show on your roster. Check with your Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Vice President if you have questions. As an added bonus, Club, Zone and District are awarded new Club building credit if 15 Members are added.

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.

Jean Nadeau: Convention Keynote Speaker

Jean Nadeau is an author, international professional speaker and a radio host in Quebec, Canada. However, he is uncompromising on this: he is not an inspirational or a motivational speaker!  He is frank, brutal, tough, and sometimes, even obnoxious! But once you listen to Jean speak, you will understand he has a big heart and an even bigger gut for how you can and should re-think your personal and professional growth. He tells it like it is and gets in your face to make you face reality. Brace yourself and meet Jean Nadeau in Albuquerque on Friday, July 7 at the First Business Session. To learn more about Jean, visit his website or “Like” his Facebook page.

Upcoming Events  

International Board of Directors Meeting  
March 3-4, 2017 (St. Louis, MO) 

March 25-31, 2017

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

Optimist Junior Golf

Srixon has become the Official Golf Ball Sponsor of the Optimist Junior Golf program. Srixon is offering a fantastic deal to our Members for the Z-Star Srixon which would include the Optimist Junior Golf logo. The cost is only $30.00 plus shipping for a dozen balls.  This would be a great gift for yourself, Club Members, Junior Golfers and any adult tournaments.

Srixon is the fastest growing golf ball used on the PGA Tour! These golf balls are for players that demand tour-validated performance with the highest possible quality, a tradition Srixon is proud to continue in the fifth-generation Z-STAR Series. There are 31 Players on the PGA Tour using Srixon golf balls. Players like Hideki Matsuyama, JB Holmes, Russell Knox, Shane Lowry and Will McGirt to name a few.   

If interested in purchasing the Z-Star Srixon Golf Ball with the Optimist Junior Golf logo, contact the Optimist Junior Golf Department at (800) 500-8130 ext. 207 or email

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. 

Nine Wonders Optimist Club of El Dorado Springs, MO will get their puzzle on later this month during their community Puzzle Night! Not only will the event be full of fun and food, but it is also geared towards a good cause. Teams will register in groups of five, with all proceeds going towards community youth activities, such as their After Prom event in April. During the event, students will be offered fun and safe activities concluding prom in attempts to serve as an alternative to less safe after prom activities. Read more here

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 have a project idea to help children in your community? You only have one month left to apply for a $500 Club grant from the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation. The deadline is March 31, 2017.

For more information, click here.

Club Grant Deadline - 10 Days Left!

Don't miss out on this opportunity to receive $500 for your Club's NEW project! Optimist International Foundation is accepting applications for the 2017 Club Grant Program.  Any Adult Club served by Optimist International Foundation is eligible to apply for a $500 grant to be used for a new project of the Club. Applications must be received in the St. Louis office by March 10. Applications and more information are available online here.