June 17, 2015

Kids say the darndest things

Kids say the darndest things. Or maybe they say the most brilliant statements that can be made. I found this post on the Optimist Club of Greater Vienna's Facebook page today and just had to share. According to the post, a contestant in the Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH) said, "Confidence with optimism is better than just confidence."

It's rather difficult to argue with that kind of logic!

If you would like to experience optimism through the eyes of children and young adults, I invite you to join an Optimist Club. Each year, Optimist Clubs host Essay, Oratorical and CCDHH contests for students to compete and earn scholarship money. It's a bonus for members to hear their voices, ideas and dreams.

At the club level, winning amounts are determined by the individual club. From each club, a contestant moves forward to zone and district competition. At that level, each first place winner earns a $2,500 scholarship.

Coming in 2016, Optimist International has partnered with St. Louis University to host an expanded Optimist International Oratorical Contest. Each first place district winner will move forward to a regional competition where they may win $10,000. The first place winners of the eight regions will then move forward to compete for an additional $15,000.

Details of the new competition levels are still being completed and we are excited for the expansion; however, every level of competition in an Optimist International scholarship contest gives the participant poise, confidence and hope. We encourage every teacher to involve their classes in this opportunity, but students, don't wait. You can enter with or without formal classroom involvement. Find out more about the Optimist International Scholarship Contests.  New topics for the coming school year are generally announced in late July.

Another in the irregular series, "What Do Optimists Do?" Optimists give kids a voice--and it is worth listening to! At...
Posted by Optimist Club of Greater Vienna on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

If you would like to experience optimism through the eyes of children and young adults, I invite you to join an Optimist Club. Each year, Optimist Clubs host Essay, Oratorical and CCDHH contests for students to compete and earn scholarship money.

At the club level, winning amounts are determined by the individual club. From each club, a contestant moves forward to zone and district competition. At that level, each first place winner earns a $2,500 scholarship.

Coming in 2016, Optimist International has partnered with St. Louis University to host an expanded Optimist International Oratorical Contest. Each first place district winner will move forward to a regional competition where they may win $10,000. The first place winners of the eight regions will then move forward to compete for an additional $15,000.

Details of the new competition levels are still being completed and we are excited for the expansion; however, every level of competition in an Optimist International scholarship contest gives the participant poise, confidence and hope. We encourage every teacher to involve their classes in this opportunity, but students, don't wait. You can enter with or without formal classroom involvement. Find out more about the Optimist International Scholarship Contests.  New topics for the coming school year are generally announced in late July.

May 18, 2015

Our youth will bloom where they are planted

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the final, or district-level, competition for the Communications Contest for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students (CCDHH) and the Optimist Oratorical Contest for the Pacific Northwest District - Optimist International.

This is perhaps one of the most inspirational meetings of the year for we get to hear from the best and brightest young people hailing from British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington as they share their thoughts on a common theme. This year, that theme is "How my optimism will help me press on to the greater achievements of the future."

Optimist Club members know that theme comes directly from the Optimist Creed. The young speakers, however, met the topic with their very own observations made from their experiences in their lives. We heard an impassioned cry to draw awareness to teen suicide and we heard how differently-abled persons learn to live and thrive in a world that doesn't necessarily understand them.

Ben Fullerton, a speaker with cerebral palsy, confined to a wheelchair and utilizing a computer to speak for him told the assembly, "I'm optimistic. I don't want your sympathy, but I would like you to understand my reality."

His thought, among others that I heard, made me realize, perhaps adults don't really understand what goes on in any teenager's mind. We think we do because we've been that age ourselves, but the culture and environment is different from when we were that age. I'm inspired by their perserverence. Most of all, I'm inspired by their optimism. Children really can and do bloom where they are planted. 

As an Optimist Club member, that makes me happy. We're here to serve children; but we are also here to help our peers be the best version of themselves as well. If this pursuit sounds interesting to you, I invite you to join an Optimist Club. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or contact me and I will help you start a new Optimist Club in your community. Share optimism today. 

May 9, 2015

Smiling, it's my favorite thing to do

There's something inherently relatable about the little yellow creatures called minions that emerged from the movie "Despicable Me." They are cute, affable, sometimes clumsy and always hard-working.

As followers of a more powerful force, we know that they are trying their best just to get by and while doing so, they mumble in an inexplicable language that somehow the viewer understands.

Face it: minions make us smile.

Do you know what else makes you smile? An Optimist Club. I know that you knew I was going to say that, but that doesn't make it any less true.

Much like the minions who come together and scurry about to accomplish their goals, an Optimist Club does the same. Club members share a common vision, to bring out the best in youth, community and themselves; and they develop and implement projects and programs that will help them make their vision come true. It's an inspiring way to live.

Sharing optimism and making people smile is a pursuit that I encourage all to take. Join an Optimist Club today. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or contact me and I will help you start a new Optimist Club in your community.
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