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This website was created by Research Idaho to support new club building in the Pacific Northwest District of Optimist International.  We hope that you will find the information helpful wherever your club or district is located.  Please direct questions or comments to:

Linda Vaught








Experience Optimism Newsletter

Volume 1 ● Issue 4 ● April 28, 2008

Experience Optimism and build your community through service.

Take time to laugh. As Optimist Club members, we share the wonderful, upbeat Optimist Creed and we promise to provide hope and positive vision to those around us. But reciting our powerful creed is often the very last thing we do at our meetings. What happens before is just as important in establishing a culture of pride, accomplishment and community. Be sure to include humor as part of your culture because unlike Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet fame, most people enjoy learning more than “just the facts, ma’am.”

Make your meetings fun and effective. According to Michael Begeman, meeting guru for the powerful 3M Meeting Network, meetings are work and great meetings take a lot of work. Does that mean that you need to beat yourself up every week making preparations for your Optimist Club luncheon? Of course not; but it does suggest that when you are in charge, please come prepared. Be ready to:

  1. Identify the purpose of your meeting. Your meeting will have a more successful outcome when the participants know why they are there. It’s doubtful that your members simply meet to eat. Optimist Club meetings are networking activities where civic-minded individuals learn about needs in their communities, identify opportunities to be involved based on those needs, and then adopt and implement a course of action.
  2. Play by the rules. Your Optimist Club meeting is a launching pad for great ideas that make a difference in your community. However, behind the scenes someone is asking, does this fit with our mission? Is the expense budgeted? Who will take the lead? Will others join in? Those questions are answered when you actively involve your members in the rules of engagement. Together, you should: Learn more about any proposed activity. Brainstorm different ways to be involved. Evaluate the options. Decide and commit to a course of action. Empower the leader with the tools to see the project through.
  3. Record the right amount of information. Minutes often reflect conversations of who said what making them tedious to write and read. A better approach is to record three categories of information: decisions reached, action items that people need to follow up on, and open issues. Such minutes become a blueprint for progress rather than a gossip column for dissenting views.

Start a discussion for possibility today. Don’t be afraid to bring new ideas to your club meeting and open yourself and your community up to new experiences. Could your Optimist Club spearhead a writing campaign? Give it a try with one of these opportunities:

Samsung’s Hope for Education: “How has technology educated you on helping the environment and how or why has it changed your behavior to be more environmentally friendly?” Parents, students and teachers are asked to write and submit a one-hundred word essay on the above topic. Prizes include more than $2 million worth of technology, software, cash grants, and educational television programming. Submissions are due by August 31, 2008. Open to US schools only.

Lego Creation Nation: LEGO Systems, Inc. invites children between the ages of 6 and 13 who consider themselves curious, imaginative, and creative to apply for the second annual LEGO Creativity Awards. Designed to encourage lifelong curiosity and creativity, the LEGO Creativity Awards are an opportunity for young people to gain recognition for the imagination that will make them the "builders of tomorrow." Children are invited to submit essays showcasing their creativity at home, at school, and in their communities. The essay contest is intended to encourage children to think of creativity as more than practicing art or music; it is also about taking a new approach to everyday challenges. Hurry! Deadline is May 23. Open to US and Canada, except Quebec.

Have you participated in a good meeting lately? What set it apart from the rest? Please tell us about it.

© 2008, a project of Research Idaho

Linda Jackson, Editor