Stories of Optimism

Resolving to "Bring Out the Best" in the New Year
January 4, 2013

New Year’s resolutions are often easy to break, but the Optimist Club of Plymouth, Wisconsin is dedicated to making theirs a reality.  President David Marthenze lists their resolutions as “take on more community projects and grow our membership.” These are likely the same resolutions made by a number of Optimist Clubs.

While the Plymouth Club plans to take on more projects, they already sponsor a number of community activities including an essay contest, student of the year program and Shopping with Santa. David calls the Shopping with Santa program "great" and it is easy to understand why. 

The Club asks neighborhood schools to select 30 less fortunate families. With the help and support of the local Kmart store, each child is paired with a Club Member and given a $28 gift card to shop. The Club supplies cookies, doughnuts, coffee and juice for the parents and kids. Club Members dress up as Santa and an elf to visit with the children. Each child had a picture taken with Santa, after selecting and wrapping their chosen gifts. 

A Club Member helps local children buy
holiday gifts.

The Club has not yet decided on what new programs they would like to adopt, but they have settled on one requirement – all new projects must directly involve children! That is definitely a great first step. Club Members have already come up with 10 proposed projects. One of these is to sponsor and conduct a “free family fun day.” This event would involve big inflatables, pony rides, arts and crafts, games and refreshments. Everything would be provided at no cost to the children in the community.

While providing a recreational event for children, it would also be a great way to get the Club’s name out to their community. The event would introduce parents and other community members to the Club and give them a first-hand view of the great work done by the Optimist volunteers.

Club informational booth at
a community event

The Club is also dedicated to growing their membership. David admits the Club has struggled quite a bit over the last 5 years due to people relocating and retiring.  Their membership in 2007-2008 was down to 14 with only about 9 active. Today, the Club’s current membership is 33 and growing! 

The biggest membership draw was simply by asking! David says the Club had forgotten how to simply ask someone to come to a meeting, or to hand out a membership flyer. That can be easy to do when you are focused on providing service, but membership growth is vital to that service. The more Members you have, the more service you can provide! The Plymouth Club is now dedicated to attracting new Members and maintaining their membership.

The Club will certainly have its hands full fulfilling those resolutions, but there is one more goal David has set. A Member recently started the PGI program offered through Optimist International. The PGI program offers every Optimist member the opportunity to learn more about Optimism while advancing through 10 levels of involvement, leadership growth and achievement. David would like to see the majority of the Club accomplish the first five stages of the program before the end of the year.

The Plymouth Club is poised for success in 2013 and they have already laid out the road map to get them there. Reaching their goals will benefit the Club, local children and their community. That may just be the best reason to stick to a New Year’s resolution.




12.27.12-This Christmas, Service Comes Full Circle

12.14.12-Holiday Message from 50 Years Ago

12.6.12-Dozens of Students Honored at Youth Appreciate Luncheon

11.28.12- Optimist Clubs Support Accessible Playground

9.10.12-Youth Display Optimism in the Face of Adversity


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