October 18, 2014

Share a memory, share a laugh, share optimism

A week has passed since I shared my thoughts about being home in the St. Louis area. This week I've moved on to my college town - Peoria, Illinois.

Yes, I'm a Bradley University alumni and it's been at least fifteen years since I visited the campus. Quite by accident, I've arrived just in time for Homecoming. The school is abuzz and colors are proudly being worn by students, professors, parents and alumni alike.

The campus has developed so much since my last visit with a new entrance, exhibition arena and recreation building, among other things. Now there is a tennis complex right across the street from campus! I was a varsity player and we had to drive to practice so that is a positive change. Actually, everything I see is a very positive change for students, the school and the community. It's great to see growth and economic development that enriches the quality of life.

One thing that remains the same is the heritage that Lydia Moss Bradley established in 1897. Bradley and Westlake Halls stand as proud remembrance to its founder. I remember walking through campus with friends, on my way to classes in those very buildings and it makes me smile to see students still doing the same.

While I'm in Peoria, I will also attend the Illinois District - Optimist International quarterly meeting. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends, in an old town that means so much to me. I know that I will share some memories and a laugh or two and that makes me smile as well.

Won't you join an Optimist Club and share a laugh with a friend as well? I hope so. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or send me a message and I'll help you get one started in your community.

October 11, 2014

Don't be lonely: Join an Optimist Club

join an optimist club
I'm visiting friends in the St. Louis metropolitan area this week. It's home, although it doesn't really feel like it anymore. I've been living in Idaho for fifteen years and so much has changed in my old stomping grounds.

Roads have different names, entire malls have closed and others have opened in different locations, and the city itself seems to have somehow become more compact. It doesn't take as long to get from the Illinois side of the Mississippi River to the West County suburbs.

On its face, it would seem that this is all a good way to build community. After all the Cardinals baseball team is in the playoffs this year and one can certainly feel that the area is one Cardinals Nation. However, in reality, I feel distant and alone. My friends say, it's not the same, Linda, people have moved on. How sad and true and necessary that statement is.

Do you know what I'm going to do to make it feel like home again? I'm reaching out to the Optimist Club. The Illinois District is hosting it's quarterly meeting on October 17-18, 2014 and I plan to be there. I know I'll find some old friends and make some new ones. Most important, I'll feel like a belong because with them, I feel a sense of purpose. We share a vision of community service that brings hope and optimism to all.

If you are feeling lonely, don't be alone. Join an Optimist Club. Click here to find an Optimist Club near you or send me a message and I'll help you get one started in your community.

October 9, 2014

Ken Garner declares war

Reverting to the random, abstract presidential theme used by Optimist International presidents before him, Ken Garner has decided that this administrative year will focus on "the best."

Whether it be "bringing out the best in kids," which part of the vision statement, "With hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in children;" or a salute to the tenet of the Optimist Creed that says, "Promise yourself to think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best;" Garner hopes to eradicate apathy and pessimism by encouraging the best in all endeavors.

He explains more in his first video to the organization as president.

Garner uses the word war to describe his approach. He says, "I declare a war on apathy and pessimism."

As a public relations communicator, I might have suggested a different tactic; war seems to me the polar opposite of hope and optimism. It's funny how our words play differently in individuals' minds.

In any case, I support his efforts and expect only the best. Good luck to all Optimist Clubs in your annual pursuit of optimism.
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