More About This Website

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





Optimist Clubs can make a difference in just one day

785210-1171767-thumbnail.jpgOne of the greatest things about being an Optimist is sharing community service with your friends and families.  Here are some ideas to get you started on quick, easy, low or no-cost projects:

Backpack Awareness Day - When the kids return to school, they carry everything with them but the kitchen sink!  Join occupational therapists around the world on September 17 as they host Backpack Awareness Day and encourage students to pack it light and wear it right!  Schedule an appointment with your favorite school to share the attached tips. 

Art Contest - Kids love to draw!  Highlight a special occasion or a community landmark with an art contest.  Tips:  Keep the topic age-appropriate.  Make the rules (size, deadlines, medium, ages, etc.) understandable.  Hold a special event to honor the participants.  Ask your local banks to display the artwork in their lobbies for all to enjoy.

Super Citizens - In conjunction with your school district, create an award to recognize students for their outstanding character.  Base the award on the tenets of the Optimist Creed and help promote a positive outlook throughout their lives. 

Throw a Party - Recognize a group of do-gooders in your community by throwing a party in their honor.  Invite the Mayor and Council, local businesses, friends, families and colleagues and say thank you to them in style.  It's a great networking opportunity!  You might even pick up a few members along the way!

Halloween Safety Game - Share the Halloween Safety Game with an elementary school or two and make certificates for the kids who get all the answers right.  Don't forget to provide some treats!

Turkey Walk - Promote a healthy lifestyle before you sit down to the biggest meal of the year by holding a fun walk to benefit your Optimist Club food drive.  Work with your city's parks and recreation department to design an approved three mile course.  Suggest the entry fee be a turkey or a selection of non-perishable items.  Your community and club will enjoy a new twist to the traditional holiday food drive. 

Celebrate Scholarship with a Team Approach - What a great occasion to celebrate!  With the cost of college tuition soaring and the financial markets declining, it takes a lot of support for a high school graduate to continue on.  Celebrate both the recipient and the donor with an end of school party.  See how the  St. Paul, Minnesota Optimist Club does it here.

Free Shred Day - Protect your community from identity theft by teaming up with an area bank or chamber of commerce to offer free shredding of sensitive papers.  Look in your Yellow Pages for document shredding companies (they'll probably do it for free!), set a date and location, tell the media and you're set!  Tax season might be a great time to provide this service.  785210-1401434-thumbnail.jpg

Celebrate your Dad - In honor of Father's Day, hold a contest for students to write an essay about  their dad.   Collect "manly" items from your local merchants  - from aftershave to power tools - and create gift baskets for the winning dads.  In this fun twist, it's the Fathers of the winning students who are awarded the prize!

You're invited to a Baby Shower - Support your local women's shelter by holding a baby shower in their name.  Ask your invitees to bring gifts for the shelter like diapers, baby wipes, formula, and baby clothes.  Throw in some suggestions for mom too! 

Share the Optimist Creed - Our favorite words of inspiration can inspire others.  Take one day every month to visit a transitional rehabilitation center, assisted living or skilled nursing facility and share the words of the Optimist Creed.  You might hand out copies of creed to every resident or give a brief testimony how the Creed has touched your life. 

easterbunny.jpgEaster Egg Hunt - What other activity allows you to plan for weeks just to be over in a matter of minutes?  This project is popular because it attracts a great number of smiling kids with a promise of finding a prize, be it candy, gifts, or just a colorful, hard-boiled egg.  It's also totally scaleable to your budget because the kids enjoy the search as much as the prize.  Be creative in your delivery and they'll come back for the fun of it every year!

Job Shadow - Groundhog Day is a great day to take a student to work for a day of learning.  Companies, associations and youth organizations like Junior Achievement use this method to give an in-depth look to persons considering different careers.  Visit to learn how your club can get involved.

Give Blood - Did you know saving the life of a premature baby takes two to four units of red blood cells?  A liver transplant requires red cells, platelets and twenty units of plasma.  Just think of the difference your Optimist Club can make by hosting a blood drive every sixty days. Call 1.800.givelife in the US or 1.888.2donate in Canada to learn more.

785210-1401430-thumbnail.jpgGet Active -  You can promote an active lifestyle among your club members.  Active people are happy people  and happy people are Optimists!  Use this month-long calendar to promote wellness in a fun and easy manner. 

Good Neighbor Calls - Set up a program that connects your Optimist members with people who live alone.   A quick call once a day, week, or time of their choosing connects these people with the outside world.  It can be comforting to family and friends who live in other cities or states to know that someone is available to look in on their loved ones if needed. 

Deliver Books - Not all communities have a bookmobile, and not everyone can access one, even in the communities that do.  Work with your local library to make book deliveries to shut-in seniors, individuals with special needs, and others unable to venture out because of weather or circumstance.

Pajama Party - Approach your local library or preschool about holding an after-hours pajama party to share popcorn and stories with their patrons.  They provide the space, you provide the chaperoned activities, and the kids provide the laughter.  Be creative and feature: girls night out, boys night out, a night at the museum, an African safari, or where in the world is...?  And remember, the PJs aren't optional, they are required.  

Meals on Wheels - This program for senior and disabled persons can always use help.  Adopt a route and the members of murphynoc.gifyour club will share the job -each volunteer might deliver only once a month! The big bonus is you will have the opportunity to meet some pretty neat folks who don't have the ability to get out.  This will also give you the chance to share your Optimist Club stories with a whole new audience!

Feed-a-Pet - The Meals on Wheels program has discovered that many recipients share their food with their four-legged friends.  To make certain everyone receives proper nutrition, Pet Smart stores have started a collection service for pet food that can be distributed along with the meal.  Your Optimist Club could become a collector, distributor, or an extra spokesman for this neighborly service.  Be the first in your community to hold a pet food drive!

Dog Days of Summer - When the temperatures rise, it may be too warm for your senior neighbors or others with health challenges to walk their pets.  Offer to walk their dogs when the temperature soars.  You'll get a warm, fuzzy thank you from one of your four-legged friends. 

Earth Day - How environmentally conscious are you?  More than thirty years ago, an American Indian was depicted on a commercial, encouraging us not to litter.  It worked and we have subconsciously added recycling and stashing the trash to our regular activities.  Help keep awareness for protecting our Earth high by creating an activity to coincide with Optimist Earth Day

785210-1401428-thumbnail.jpgJoin the Race for the Cure - For more than 20 years, communities around the world have hosted events to help stamp out breast cancer.  Show that your Optimist members are engaged in healthcare issues by entering a team in the race nearest your Optimist Club.  Make sure your pink shirt has the Optimist logo proudly displayed.  Check with the race organizers and see if you can hand out copies of the Optimist Creed to the participants and onlookers.  Be sure your club's contact information is on the flyer!

Stash the Trash - Choose a location, bring your bags and start picking up unsightly messes along your local streets, parks or anywhere in the community that needs sprucing up.  Wear the same color shirt so those that pass by know that you are working together.  It only takes one group to spark the excitement in others.  Soon homeowners, business owners, other groups and your city will pitch in to show their community pride!

Book Drive - Collect children's books and distribute them to students via the library or elementary schools.  You would be amazed to learn of the number of kids that don't have books of their own.  Be sure to let them know the books are theirs to keep!

785210-1401357-thumbnail.jpgOptimist Story Time - Everyone loves a story!  In conjunction with your Library, choose one day a month to read aloud to kids.  Feeling brave?  Tell a tall tale of your own or get the kids to help you make one up.

Optimist Living History - Celebrate the history of your community by letting the founders of your club, or some other old-timers*, tell their story at a dedicated time and location.  Starbucks, Moxie Java, or your own local coffee shop would welcome you to their store once a month for a community outreach program.  *In Optimist Clubs, old-timers are a revered group!

Paint the Town - Join an existing group to repaint a house or do some sprucing up for a less able 785210-1401403-thumbnail.jpgfamily.  Generally, the Paint the Town sponsor organization provides the supplies, all you supply is the labor.

Mid-year School Supply Drive - Any parent can tell you, it's expensive to send your kids back to school.  But what happens when the supplies are broken, lost or used up?  Check in with your teachers to see if there are students that might need help in replacing their supplies.  Make a list, collect supplies and deliver them to the teachers or schools to discreetly pass forward. 

School Appreciation Day - During the school year, choose one school every month to visit and bestow the title "Optimist School of the Month."  Make the criteria simple, and follow it every time, stating the reason this particular school was chosen for the honor.  For example, North Junior High School is the Optimist School of the Month because they had a 98% attendance rate during January.  Give a framed copy of the Optimist Creed to the school to proudly display and hand out copies to the students and teachers.  

Food Drive - Choose a time of the year that is forgotten in your community.  We always donate at Christmas, but hunger doesn't follow the calendar.  Check with your local food pantry to see if there is time when the shelves run bare.  Seek out neighborhood groups to ask their residents to donate by setting canned goods on their doorstep and all your club need do is pick up the supplies and deliver them to the food pantry.

785210-1401424-thumbnail.jpgBTS BBQ - Celebrate as the kids go back to school with a school-wide or community-wide (depending on the size of your community) barbecue.   Seek donations of school supplies and get them started in style!

Fourth of July - Celebrate the birthday of the United States with a party at City Hall.  Enlist other service clubs, churches and schools to help bake enough cakes to feed the masses.  Invite the public and let them eat cake for free in honor of our country.  Don't forget to wear your Optimist shirts and display your contact information. 

Holiday Valet - Arrange a day with your local grocery store, department store, Target, KMart, Kohl's or others, during the busy holiday season to assist shoppers to their cars with their packages.  Don't forget to wear something that identifies the members of your group as Optimists!

Be a Holiday Docent - Museums see a large increase in attendance between Christmas and New Years Day.  Volunteer as a group to help the regular volunteers and staff entertain these throngs of young people. 

Tour of Lights - Does your community "light-up" for the holidays?  Take kids or seniors (or both) on a tour of residential holiday lighting displays.  Potential partners might be the local Council on Aging, Senior Center or a Daycare Center.  Both have vans or buses and might be enthusiastic partners, providing not only the transportation, but also a place to gather before and after the tour.  Be sure to send a chatty Optimist along as the tour guide!

bee.jpg"Bee" something - Early Americans coined the term "bee" for any community gathering with a purpose - a quilting bee (make the quilts), husking bee (husk the corn), apple bee (pick the apples).  By the 1900's, students were coming together for spelling bees and later, geography bees.  Add a dollop of nostalgia to your next project and get the buzz going by declaring it an Optimist Bee!