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16 • The Optimist

Recently 76 Optimists

gathered for a day of training, fellowship and motivation in Kansas City, Missouri. The event was the eighth Leadership Summit and the most well-attended within the continental United States.

What is an Optimist Leadership Summit?

The best way to describe a Summit is a day full of the greatest training available on a wide range of topics combined with Optimist fellowship. Even the name sounds impressive and it should! A Summit is like a mini-convention without the added hassle of long travel times and hotel costs. They have something of interest for everyone, from new Members to past District Governors. While some of the information may be known to Members who have been part of the organization for years, it is presented in a new manner and serves as a helpful reminder of methods to strengthen Clubs and enhance their service.

The Optimist Leadership Summit conducted in Kansas City was an outstanding event. Attendees were welcomed to the Inner City Sugar Creek Optimist Facility by Members of the Optimist Club of Sugar Creek.

It was a great setting with Optimist banners and awards on display.

Members attended from East and West Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and even the New Mexico-West Texas District. There were Club Presidents, Vice Presidents, current and past District Governors, future Club and District offcers, as well as regular Members. A highlight was the attendance of International President Ron Huxley, as well as Ken Garner, the International President-Elect, who led the training! Executive Director Benny Ellerbe and a number of Optimist staff were also in attendance thanks to the proximity to the headquarters offce.

“This event is great for all kinds of Members to attend. It was very enjoyable,” said Douglas Palank, Member of the Optimist Club of Omaha-Breakfast. “It’s amazing

what you can learn on a smaller scale like this.”

Club-Focused Training

President-Elect Ken opened the session with a discussion of what makes a good Club meeting. He emphasized the training was intended to be interactive and Member comments were welcome. Most attendees remembered the best Club meeting they attended, while a few remembered their worst. It was agreed that a pre-determined agenda relevant to the work of the Club, enthusiasm, and activities that allow Members to be productive and have fun are necessary components for a worthwhile Club meeting.

The most disliked part of being an Optimist for Generation X members and millennials is meetings, while their biggest like is also meetings. Members of these generations prefer to have short, productive meetings that are benefcial to both themselves and the community. In order to attract individuals in these age categories, Clubs must conducted organized meetings with a clear focus.

Jessica Von Fange is a former JOOI Member, who became an adult Member two years ago. She is now the President of the Optimist Club of

By Danielle Baugher, Director of Communications and Community Outreach

Summits Lead to Successful

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