As Optimists, we stand on the edge of a feat we have rarely accomplished. Let me explain. The month of December tells the tale of possible success or failure for the efforts of our Clubs to serve children around the world. Something mysterious has happened. After the first quarter of the 2013-2014 year, we have experienced fewer deleted Members than in previous years. In fact, we have more children being served by more activities than ever before.
Optimist International has 2,600 Optimist Clubs in 17 countries focused on "Bringing out the Best in Kids." As a result of these statistics, we have at our disposal a unique opportunity. If each Club would take a moment to look at just how great this small but mighty organization really is, they will see as I have, that we can do it. We can show the rest of the world that while other service organizations are declining, we have something worth working toward.
Ron Huxley, 2013-14 International President
It won't take a lot of effort. As a matter of fact, it will only take a small commitment from each of your dedicated Clubs to say we can do it. We can say to the world, "we will lead the way." We will find new Members who believe in what we do, who want to put smiles on children's faces. These new Members will strengthen our resolve to grow again. These new Members will show us enthusiasm and a willingness to work and these new Members will put us back on the road to a greater future.
Help make each of your Clubs healthy. When you have to delete, also add. Look to the future with new ideas in the minds of new Members. We all have a common bond - we want to make a difference in the life of a child. Together, we are Optimist International. It is time to hold hands and show the world that we are standing strong. Please accept my challenge and help us move forward. Make this year a year for your new "MO."
See you soon at a Leadership Summit near you and this summer in Las Vegas.
Yours in Optimism,
What Members are Saying About the Optimist Leadership Summits "We had a great time and took home a lot of information that will make our year a lot easier and productive. We enjoyed the trainers, meeting President Ron and spending time with staff." - Phyllis Caughran, Governor-Elect Pacific Central District, attended San Francisco Summit
"As a relatively new Member, I appreciated the information about various programs. PowerPoints and handouts were excellent." - Janean Campanaro, Sanford Optimist Club, North Florida District, attended Jacksonville Summit
There is still time to make plans to attend an upcoming event. Optimist Summits will be conducted through June and International President Ron Huxley will be in attendance at each session. Upcoming Summits will be held in Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. You can view the entire schedule and register online at www.optimist.org/summit.
Jack Canfield to Deliver Convention Keynote Address
Optimist International is pleased to announce that Jack Canfield - a multiple New York Times bestselling author, America's #1 Success Coach and originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series - will be the convention's keynote speaker. Over the last 30 years, Canfield's compelling message, empowering energy and personable coaching style has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals achieve their dreams. The keynote address will take place during the First Business Session on Friday, July 11.
Make Your Convention Housing Reservations Today
By phone: call the hotel booking center toll free at (866) 227-5944. Be sure to mention group code SCOIN4 and that you are attending the Optimist International Convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, July 2014. Room rates start at $119 plus taxes and fees per night. A first night deposit is required at the time of booking.
Group Name: Optimist International
Group Code: SCOIN4
Online: to reserve a hotel room online, click here.
Registering Club Officers Has Never Been Easier
Optimist Clubs can now register their 2014-2015 Officers online. A current Club Officer will need to login to the Optimist Leaders website and click "Reports" on the right-hand side of the screen. Then click on "Club Officer Elect Report" and you will be able to select the names of the Club Members who will be filling leadership roles during the upcoming Optimist year. If you have questions or need assistance, please call Charlotte in the Member Services department at (800) 500-8130 ext. 247.
Board Nominees: It's Time to Apply
Qualified Optimists who wish to run for an opening on the Optimist International Board of Directors may apply now. The application deadline is April 1.
Qualified applicants will be put on the ballot at the 2014 Optimist International Convention in Las Vegas. The election will be to fill two three-year terms on the Board. For information about requirements, please call (800) 500-8130.
Optimists can submit applications by mail to Optimist International, c/o Candidate Qualifications Committee, 4494 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or by fax at (314) 371-6006. Applications will not be accepted by e-mail.
Become a Certified Club Builder and Field Representative
Optimist International will be holding a Certified Club Builder and Field Representative certification course for volunteers. Applicants must have built at least one Optimist Club prior to taking the course. The training will be conducted at the Optimist International headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
Certified Club Builders are Optimist volunteers who are trained to build new Clubs using a variety of methods and mentor other volunteers on the process of new Club building. This training will be two all day sessions conducted on April 25 and 26.
Field Representatives are authorized ambassadors of Optimist International who conduct the official organizational meeting when a new Club forms. This portion of the course will be held on April 27 from 8am - noon.
If you are interested in taking this course or have any questions, please contact the New Club Building department at 800-500-8130 ext. 226 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Attention Builders of Excellence
Beginning at the 2014 Las Vegas Convention, additional medallions will not be given to Club Builders who have received a medallion in previous years. Builders of Excellence should bring their medallions to convention, where they will receive stars to indicate the number of Clubs built between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014.
District Membership Chairs are a Valuable Resource
Have you contacted your District Membership Chair lately? District Membership Chairs are an important resource for helping Governors and Club Presidents recruit new Members and helping our organization grow!
Club Presidents can work with Membership Chairs to plan and implement recruitment programs, such as NOW. Membership Chairs can help Clubs come up with new and fun ways to recruit new Members and keep current Members engaged.
Governors can work with their Membership Chairs to promote District-wide membership drives. Governors should be in constant contact with their Membership Chair to help their District grow.
If you haven't been in touch with your Membership Chair lately, call or e-mail them to see how you can be promoting Member recruitment and retention. If you're unsure who your Membership Chair is, contact the Membership Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Academy Class to be Selected
Optimist International is in the process of selecting its second Leadership Academy class. Only select individuals will be invited to participate in this very elite program.
Selection will be determined by demonstrated leadership skills and recommendations from Optimist International staff, International Vice Presidents, the International President and other Optimist leaders. Candidates selected will be invited to attend a one-day training program to share their leadership knowledge and participate in an advanced leadership program held the Sunday after the International Convention.
As a member of the Leadership Academy, individuals are being recognized for their exceptional leadership skills. There are no other commitments or obligations. If you are one of "the best of the best," or know someone who is, make sure a recommendation is forwarded to the Leadership Development Committee.
Exercise Your Club's Right to Vote
Each and every Optimist Club has the ability to vote for the next Optimist International President, two At Large Board Directors, and their Regional Vice President online.
To be able to vote, your Optimist Club must be up to date with all Optimist International dues and fees by April 30, 2014. Voting will take place during the month of June 2014.
Please make sure that your 2013-2014 Club President's email address is correct in the Optimist Membership database to ensure your Club receives the voting procedures, which will be sent in May:
Go to www.optimistleaders.org, login with your credentials, select yourself and then confirm your email is correct or enter the correct address. If you do not know your credentials, click on the "Password Recovery" link.
The Greatest Thing about Being an Optimist
How would you finish the sentence, "the greatest thing about being an Optimist is...?" There are hundreds of ways and there are really no wrong answers. Grab your video camera or smartphone, gather up your fellow Club Members, shoot video footage of your Club in action, then upload it to YouTube and your Club could win a $1,000 Club Grant!
For contest details and rules, go to www.optimist.org/ReelOptimism or follow the hashtag #ReelOptimism. The Reel Optimism Video Contest is a collaborative project between Optimist International, the Optimist International Foundation and the Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation.
Optimist International Foundation's Club Grant Deadline
Optimist International Foundation is currently accepting applications for the 2014 Club Grant Program. Applications must be received by March 7, 2014. This program awards a $500 matching grant to twenty different Clubs for a new project. The project must start and finish between April 2014 and March 2015.
The Club Grant Program encourages Optimist Members to be actively involved in the project their Club conducts. Last year's program enabled 426 Optimists to help 43,500 children and their families.
More information about this program and Club Grant applications can be found at www.oifoundation.org. Questions may be directed to Allyson Pope at 800-500-8130 ext 249.
Review the Bylaws Amendments
If your Club wants to recommend a revision to the Bylaws Amendments, it must submit a proposed amendment citing the article and section, and exact proposed wording change to all articles and sections cited, along with a written rationale in 200 words or less for the change. The Club must submit the proposal on Club letterhead signed by the Club President. The proposal may be e-mailed or faxed to the International Office, but the original Club letter must be received in the International Office in order for the proposal to be considered.
All submitted changes will be brought before the 2014 Convention delegates for vote and possible endorsement.
All proposed change submissions for the Bylaws must be received at the International Office by 5 p.m. (CST) April 11. Items postmarked on or before but received after April 11 will not be accepted. Please mail them to Dana Thomas, Executive Assistant, Optimist International, 4494 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108.
Convention Resolutions for Other Subjects
The Convention Resolutions Process can be used for any aspect of the organization not covered in the Bylaws. Clubs must submit resolutions by May 11, to the Resolutions Committee. The committee will choose the strongest resolutions and report them to Convention delegates for debate and vote (note: Resolutions endorsed by Convention delegates are non-binding and are sent to the International Board of Directors for further consideration and study).
Please type resolutions on Club stationery and include your Club name, Club number and Club President's signature. All resolutions should be written in standard resolution format: "Whereas ... , Whereas ... , Whereas ... , Be it resolved that the Board of Directors of Optimist International is asked to consider... ." Please mail your resolutions to: Resolutions Committee, Optimist International, 4494 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108.