Stories of Optimism

NOW Wow!
By Paula Reyling, Member of the International Leadership Development Committee
January 21, 2014

A small town Optimist Club in the Indiana South District conducted numerous NOW programs over the years, but each program only generated one to three new Members. The approach was to plan a special event, such as a cookout or guest speaker to allow potential Members to experience the Club and then invite them to join. The Club decided to try the approach recommended by Optimist International.  As a Member of the Club, I would like to share the results!

A group of four Members was assembled to plan the NOW event. All Club members were contacted to generate the prospective new Member list.  An invitation letter was sent to each prospect, using the format suggested on the Optimist website, The sponsors followed up with phone calls to confirm their new Members’ reservations for the evening.

Packets containing a Creed card, the purposes of Optimism, a flyer with information about the Club, a question and answer sheet and information on PGI were created for the prospective new Members. The tallies began to come in and we realized that the 15 packets we had made were not going to be enough.  We needed to double that number to keep up with the confirmed reservations. 

It was important to ensure the experience of the evening and promotion of our Club was superb for these prospective Members.  Issues of The Optimist magazine were placed on the tables for guests to read, Optimist placemats were on the tables for the meal that had been planned, and our presenters were ready to share the topics they were most passionate about.  We invited our Governor and our Lieutenant Governor to top off the special attention for our newcomers. Our registration table was prepared to greet our guests and distribute their packets as we welcomed them. 

Once guests were seated with their sponsors, the evening began with dinner. We chose some of our most visible and popular programs to share and also showed the “I Am an Optimist” DVD.  We took time for questions and then asked the guests to join us by filling out the applications.  We kicked off the signing and collection of checks with the gift of an Optimist pen for each guest. 

Excitement mounted as we reached 16, 17, on to 20 new Members!  It didn’t stop there, 2 more came forward and then our final 4! We welcomed 26 new Members at this NOW event… WOW!  Our Governor installed our new Members, assisted by our Lieutenant Governor, who distributed Member pins.

We have many new enthused Members, as well as excited current Members, who are still smiling as they remember our evening of ‘Wow’ing our guests with the Club’s wonderful community projects.  Spreading the spirit of Optimism in Jasper, Indiana was easy and lots of fun when we followed the program clearly outlined on our Optimist International website.  Just don’t skip any steps; each one is important! 

Our next NOW program is already being planned.  All our new Members have friends they would like to share Optimism with and our current Members are already thinking of more people to invite.



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9.10.12-Youth Display Optimism in the Face of Adversity


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