It was great getting to see so many people in Kennewick last month. People seemed to think it was a very good conference and Esthermarie Hillman and Jim Pekny did a great job training us in Optimist Strong sessions.
I have been asked to repeat my message about the theme for this year. For those of you who are not familiar with the theme it is to "Reach out to lift up". I have three things in mind for us to work on:
First, is to Reach out to lift up the kids in our communities. I am hoping you will continue the excellent programs you are doing. But, I want you to ask yourself -- is there something else we can be doing to fill a need in our community? I don't expect you to spread yourselves thinner, but is there a way to get more people involved by taking on something new? Do your new members have some ideas or projects they would like to see started or can you form a Club Within a Club? This is a new program that was started last year by Optimist International where you can recruit 15 new members to your club that have a project or program they are interested in. These might be people who can't or don't want to be involved in a typical meal time club. They might want to meet for a social hour, by Skype, or some other nontraditional method. They would pay the same dues as the regular club members and have the same rights. They also might be a source for additional help for your ongoing projects.
Second, let's Reach out to lift up our fellow club members. Do they feel welcome at our meetings? Do you volunteer to help them when they are in charge of a project? What kind of tracking do you do if someone isn't showing up for meetings? What message are you giving them on social media? As I've said before, we have many differences and political beliefs. Some of us are Democrats and some are Republicans, some are liberals and some are conservatives, but we are all working at Bringing Out the Best in Kids. Is your message on social media one that will attract people that might not agree with you, or will it turn them away? Can your club afford to have you drive people away?
Third, I would like to see us Reach out to lift up our fellow clubs in the district. Are you willing to share your talents with other clubs to help them with a project? Are you willing to help them with a NOW program? NOW, if you're not familiar, stands for New Optimists Wanted or Welcome, whichever you prefer.
If your club is hurting, are you willing to ask for help? It breaks my heart to hear of clubs folding in our district without us having a chance to help build them back up. I would rather see us spend time building a club back up than to have to build a new club to meet the needs of the kids in our communities.
Are you willing to help me Reach out to lift up?
Hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving!