May  2017

Greetings Fellow Optimists,

We are well into the second half of the “Year of the Honor Club!” Good things are happening. We have added just shy of 5000 new Members! In addition, 20 new communities have an Optimist Club.  This means that many of our Members are working hard to further what we do as Optimists. As we move further into the second half, we need to begin our sprint toward the finish line. We want to serve more youth when our year is complete than when we began!

Our overall focus this year is still the achievement of Honor Club status. And please remember, it is not about an award at all. Honor Club really signifies that a Club is doing what it really should be doing: serving more youth, its community, its Members, and having fun along the way. Do not forget the “power of one!” Each of us needs to find our own successor – we must keep adding Members so the youth and community will not lose the services we provide. The basic criteria for Honor Club are time tested and proven.

This is a great time to focus on the “Recruit a Teacher” incentive! Schools will be closing for the summer soon. Recruit a teacher now to better connect with the youth we serve! We have a great opportunity for graduating Junior Optimist Members: they receive a one-year complimentary membership in an Optimist or College Club, and the $15 registration fee is waived. Bring the graduated Junior Optimist Members into your Club. We need younger members with new ideas and this a great tool that can give positive results immediately!

We will soon be heading to the Albuquerque International Convention – a great time to visit with old friends, and make new ones! It will be fun, friendship, leadership training, and great presentations. Our Leadership Development Committee has put together an awesome agenda or workshops and training. If you have not made your reservations or registered yet – now is the time!
As we continue to move ahead, remember that we as an organization have to be open to new ideas and new ways to do things. New members help with that. But as the world changes, it is important to rethink the phrase “We’ve always done it that way.” It is no longer valid, and we cannot think outside the box because there is no box!  As Seth Godin says:
Two Kinds of Mistakes
There is the mistake of overdoing the defense of the status quo, the error of investing too much time and energy in keep things as they are.
And then there is the mistake made while inventing the future, the error of small experiments gone bad.
We are almost never hurt by the second kind of mistake and yet we persist in making the first kind, again, and again.
Have a great summer – hope to see you in Albuquerque.

Together We Can!  Together We Will!

Jim Kondrasuk
2016-17 International President
Optimist International

Take Action in May 

May means Optimists in Action Month! This month, 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

Now that the finalists have been determined, it's time to vote for videos in the Reel Optimism video contest! Please encourage all Members and Clubs in your District to visit from May 12-31 to submit their votes.  Adult Members, Junior Optimist Members and the general public will be able to cast a vote for their favorite video in each category.  Winning videos will be shown and announced at the International Convention in Albuquerque and will receive a Club grant courtesy of Optimist International, the Optimist International Foundation and the Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation. VIEW, SHARE and VOTE now!

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: 

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 

Visit to read about the below 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

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. 

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.

Resources to Add Members to Your Club

Optimist International has a number of resources to help you build a stronger Club or help your Club reach Honor status. Here are some of the tools we are providing to help Clubs:
  • Three $500 drawings each quarter for sponsoring new Members: Two of the drawings are specific for our Members who have never sponsored a NEW Member. 
  • Teachers Incentive Renewed: Add educators as Members for only $30 for a whole calendar year. The incentive is available until June 30. Click here for full details.
  • $30 under 30: $30 under 30 is still active to help add younger Members to your Club for only $30!
  • Social, Service, and Young Professionals Groups: 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.
  • Road Sign/Creed Banner Incentive: Any Optimist Club that achieves 10 Members adds in the month of May is eligible for their choice of an Optimist road sign or a retractable Optimist Creed banner!
  • Friends of OptimistsIndividuals 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.
  • 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.
Upcoming Webinars

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

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 April Global Spotlight, click here.
Junior Optimist International

Since October 1, 2016, 39 new Junior Optimist Clubs have been built and 764 new Junior Optimists have joined the organization. Congratulations to the new Clubs, sponsoring  Clubs, and all Optimists involved!

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

Register for Convention Online

The May 1 Early Bird registration date has passed and thank you to all of you that have registered.  Please note, District and Club Officers-Elect can still register at the Early Bird Registration rate.  To receive the Early Bird rate, download, complete and return the registration form noting “Early Bird rate along with the officer position” on the top of the form. Registration forms to print can be found here.

Do you still need to make a hotel reservation, looking for travel discounts and an updated convention schedule?  For this information and more, visit the convention page of the website at

Optional Tour details will soon be posted!

Show Off Your Club Project

During the 2017 International Convention in Albuquerque, Clubs have the choice of participating in the “Show Off Your Club Project” workshop and Bragger’s Hall area of the House of Optimism exhibit hall to display their Club projects.  

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, click here for the sign up form and send to Dana Thomas at by Monday, May 15.  

Keep in mind, the House of Optimism will be open to the public and displaying our Clubs' projects will play a very important role in the growth of our organization.  It will be the biggest NOW event ever!

Click here for an exhibit hall sign up form and return to Dana Thomas by Friday, May 26 at

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 to register for convention. If you have already registered and did not sign up for the training sessions, contact

For question regarding officer-elect training, contact

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

2017 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team

The following young adults have been selected for the 2017 Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team:

Academic Award Winners
  • Davis Hingtgen, Orlando, Florida
  • Anina Ku, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
  • Victor Lim, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Nicole Suppelsa, Rolling Hills Estates, California
Community Service Award Winner
  • Tyler Rover: Wesley Chapel, Florida
The All-Scholastic Team is named after Hugh Cranford, who served as Executive Director of Optimist International from 1967 to 1986. He was instrumental in starting the Optimist Junior Golf program and in 1978 led the efforts to co-sponsor the Optimist Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego, the forerunner to today's Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. Cranford passed away in August 2014. 

To learn more about the Hugh Cranford All-Scholastic Team or Optimist Junior Golf, click here.

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 Palmetto Optimist Club located in Sumter, South Carolina completed their 2nd edition of this unique event which combines health & physical fitness and "Respect for Law" program. "Battle Buddies" was created by Nettie Bryant, the Club's Director of Physical Fitness and a former member of the United States Air Force. The idea she presented allowed members of law enforcement and emergency personnel to 'assist' the kids in overcoming the obstacles on the course and with a a message instilled in the kids minds that law enforcement will help them in overcoming life's obstacles that cross their paths.  Nettie organized the law enforcement and emergency volunteers. 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

Announcing the NEW! Optimist International Foundation Website

The Optimist International Foundation is proud to unveil the new and improved website. The site’s goal is to be informative and interactive. The key improvements to the new website include:
  • A more user-friendly format; allowing greater access to Optimist International Foundation information
  • Improved design for easier navigation
  • Telling the Optimist International Foundation story effectively
  • How together we impact kids far and wide
  • Links to important partners such as Optimist International and Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation, plus social media sites
The site is a work in progress and it will need fine-tuning in the upcoming weeks/months to insure we are delivering resourceful information to Members and supporters.

Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation

It’s Spring at the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation! Oratorical, Essay and Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing seasons are in full bloom. We are delighted to contribute to this growth of talent by completely financing the winning scholarships. That said, scholarships don’t grow on trees. Make an online donation to the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation here. Cultivate your Foundation for a flourishing youth!