April 17, 2014

Hunt, scramble and dash

Optimist of North Augusta, SC hosts annual Easter egg dash
This weekend, children throughout the US and Canada will be dashing, hunting and scrambling for eggs as many Optimist Clubs host one of their favorite activities: the Easter Egg Hunt.

Ask any Optimist Club spokesperson and they will say it's the best 60 seconds of the year. After weeks of planning and hours of setting up, the children arrive and wipe out the colorful, candy-filled eggs in record-breaking time. Smiles are seen all around as the kiddos claim their prizes and Optimist Club members and parents look on with delight.

The Optimist Club of Meridian, Idaho proudly claimed on its Easter egg scramble flyer that it is the 37th consecutive year to host the event. That's an important record to publish for it acknowledges that the Optimist Club has been strong and contributing to the community for a very long time. It signifies its staying power and demonstrates value in belonging to the Optimist Club. Don't be afraid to brag a little about your Optimist Club's commitment to those it serves.

So when the whistle blows this weekend, don't be looking the other way or you'll miss all the fun.

Photo credit: Derrek Asberry for The Star

April 14, 2014

Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon appreciates kids every month

I always look forward to seeing the Youth Appreciation events at the Optimist Club of Salem, Oregon. When they come across my Facebook feed, I click and enjoy the stories about the students that they have honored during the month. 

You see, almost two years ago, the members decided that if they were indeed friends of youth as the Optimist International motto says, then they needed to interact more with children. That led them to reach out to the schools in search of students who deserve a little recognition. The criteria is different for every recipient, based on what the teachers would like to emphasize. Sometimes it's most improved in a particular subject, other times it's recognition for arts or music acumen or sports ability. They are especially aware of students who improve their attendance record and give community service to others.

One of the best things about the recognition is that the Optimist Club of Salem shares the stories on their Facebook page and gives a little boost for the kids that they serve while at the same time making a clear statement of why its important and rewarding to belong to an Optimist Club.

This month's honorees come from several different schools. With permission, I've reprinted their stories here. Enjoy!
There were many students with a plethora of reasons to be acknowledged during our Youth Appreciation event on April 10. The picture shows you the students, here are their stories: 
The students are (from left to right): 
Tomah Linwood from Chemawa Indian School honored for his significant improvement in academics. Tomah follows in his grandfather's footsteps, his grandpa was the first member of the family to attend Chemawa.Tomah started his school time as an underachiever, liking to fight and carrying a . 1.7 GPA. During this last year he wanted to graduate with a 3.75 GPA and he made it happen. He changed his attitude and his life. Tomah served as the school librarian among other leadership roles. Tomah plans to go to Portland Community College in the fall. 
Idallis Riggs from Chemawa Indian School was selected as that school's Youth of the Year (Chemawa graduation is on April 25th so we had to present this award today). A Navaho from Arizona, Idalis chose Chemawa for the social programs offered there. She has spent four years in the AVID program. She was Miss Chemawa in the Pow Wow events for two years. She played volleyball and basketball. She will attend PSU after she graduates and will play basketball there. 
Nicholas Becker from Blanchet Catholic School selected as Most Improved in Academics. Nicholas has managed his school years with a great balance of all topics. Whether it was math, Drama or Science, he was always at the top of his class. Nicholas plans to attend Chemeketa Community College for two years, then will move on to OSU. 
Adriana Bernard from McNary High School selected as Most Involved in Community Affairs (last month's category). Adriana has been a true leader in community service projects and a role model for other students. She plans to go to OSU to study Athletic Training. 
Eduardo Rangel from McNary High School selected as Most Improved in Academics. Eduardo had trouble in his freshman year and "iffy" attendance as a sophomore and was expelled. He knew that he needed to come back to McNary and when he did he turned his life around. He was even given an awarding T-shirt at a CE2 luncheon. He is now considered a role model for his two younger brothers. 
Kymmery Simmons From Sprague High School selected as Most Improved in Academics. Kymmery is an awesome champion of the AVID program and has served students so well that Sprague even gets appreciative phone calls. Not surprisingly, she will be going into college to allow her to teach children!

April 10, 2014

News Flash: Optimist Club meets in Marshall, MO

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2012 there were 13,003 people in Marshall, Missouri. I find it heartwarming that the Marshall Democrat-News thinks that even in a town of their size, the happenings within the Optimist Club are worthy of print. And because of that, they even choose to publish the club's minutes as recorded by the club scribe.

From their minutes of April 5, on that day the Optimist Club of Marshall came together with an invocation and Pledge of Allegiance, heard from a community group, the Fairy Prom Mothers; reported on a club program with the school district, planned to participate in two city-wide events in April, reported on the progress of the fish fry fundraiser to be held on April 18, and celebrated life events with their club members that included a 95th birthday, 65th wedding anniversary and an engagement.

Of course, after all that goodness packed into a short 1-hour meeting, it concluded with the Optimist Creed.

This meeting describes a traditional meeting style, one that I, growing up in the Midwest, came to know best. Traditional meetings give ample time to be informed, productive and social. Many find that there is comfort in structure and guests will often comment that they especially appreciate that the club says the pledge. They always enjoy the Optimist Creed.

And this compact, 206-word summary tells me, and all of Marshall, Missouri, that the Optimist Club is alive and well and doing great things in the community.

Are  your Optimist Club's minutes worthy of print? If your answer is yes, then don't be afraid to share them with the world!

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