Wednesday, December 5, 2012

95th Optimist International Convention

It’s never too early to starting planning your trip to the 2013 Optimist International Convention.

Here’s a sneak peak of top attractions in Cincinnati including the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Cincinnati Zoo, Kings Island amusement & waterpark, Taft Museum of Art, and more!

Register for the convention at

15 Top Attractions in Cincinnati

This historic city on the Ohio River offers top cultural institutions and a revitalized riverfront.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Do You Have Club News ?

Do you have club news that you would like to get posted on the District blog?  Maybe a notice of a club anniversary, or a story about a donation to a youth project, or a club community service project, or a story to recognize a deserving club member.

Now we have a couple of easy ways for you to get that information published online:
  1. You can write up the article as an email and attach any photo JPG or PNG files, or a PDF file if you have a registration form that you want to include.  Send the email to; OR
  2. If you have a facebook account, you can post it to the District facebook page -
Does your club run a website with a blog?  You can also email a link to a specific article to

We will do our best to get your club news posted to the District blog as soon as we receive it.

Do You Recognize These Faces?

The top row of faces are past District Governors Debbie Ettleman, Lee Weiszhaar, Bert Hancock and Les Rogers.  The bottom row of faces are past District Secretary-Treasurers Lyle Merriam, Ron Eaket, Gary Cross and Mike DeMarco.

Here's another interesting question ... of those past District Secretary-Treasurers, how many have also served as past District Governors?  Have you guessed yet?  It's three ... Lyle, Gary and Mike also served as past Governors.

Knowing our history is an important hallmark of respect to those individuals and their families who donated a year of their lives and hundreds of hours of their time to serve all the members of this great District.  I invite you to take a tour of our Past Governors ( and our Past DSTs (

We have a really good idea of who served in which positions, but we do have a few holes in our records, so we need your help to fill in the blanks.  We currently have photos for 22 serving and past Governors but only 16 serving and past DSTs. We are also looking for the names of who served as a past DST for the years 1991-92 and 1973-74. 

Our thanks go to Duane Kelly who helped to compile an almost complete list of past DSTs.  Thanks also go to Ron Eaket who provided his photo and helped to correct some mistakes with the past Governors list. Finally thanks go to Betty Jewison who provided a photo of he husband, past Governor Glenn Jewison; and to Mike Flaherty who supplied a photo of his father, past Governor Jim Flaherty.  

If you can provide a photo and/or supply the missing names, please contact Optimist Gord Welling (District Web Services Special Projects).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Update to 2012-13 CCDHH Topic

After hearing from several members who work closely with the deaf and hard of hearing community, Optimist International will now allow a new CCDHH topic as an acceptable revision to the current topic.  Both topics will be accepted for the 2012-2013 CCDHH Contest only.  This will not affect the Oratorical Contest in any way.

The current topic is “Why My Voice is Important.”  Also acceptable is “Why My Opinions are Important.”

Republished from Optimist News -

Top Ten Ways to Market Your Club

Marketing is essential for Clubs to attract new Members, establish a strong basis in the community and effectively “bring out the best in kids” through Optimist programs.

According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.”

It sounds complicated, but the secret is that marketing can be simple. As Optimists, you are the best source of marketing for your Club. You understand the value of being a Member and working with the children in your community.

Now it is up to you to share that value with others, so your Club can grow, attain new Members and help more kids.

At the 2012 International convention in Milwaukee, Vice President-Elect Jim Boyd presented two Club marketing workshops. The response was tremendous. Jim and those in attendance worked to compile the following list to get every Member excited about marketing and sharing the value associated with being a part of their Club.

So here are the "Top Ten Ways to Market Your Club"

Talk about you and your story
Host a club website
Use social media
Use the "Optimist Marketing Kit"
Don't forget about traditional media
Participate in community public events
Use personal stories
Host "Meet the Optimists Events"
Partner with another community group
Wear club clothing

The best time to start marketing is now!  Here are some helpful tools:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

General Announcement - Canadian Optimist Club Websites

Canadian clubs recently received an email that indicated that the Optimist Canada International network of club websites is suffering extreme difficulties and clubs should switch to creating their own website at

I wanted to provide some clarification on this notice:
  1. This notice does not affect any Optimist Clubs outside of Canada. U.S. clubs can disregard this announcement.
  2. This notice is about the generic club websites that were built for each Canadian Optimist club.  Those websites were typically hosted as  That announcement has no affect on any club websites that you have built on your own.
  3. Clubs can continue to use their existing websites and facebook pages ... you do not have to make any changes to what you already have.
Most Canadian Optimist Clubs will have this generic website link in the Club Directory hosted at  Each club should check their website link on the Club Directory and email if you need the website link changed.

If you are depending on a club website hosted by, they are recommending that clubs create their own website.  There are several options that clubs can choose:

Clubs can use our "Contact Us" form if you need help or have questions on building a club website.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kids Can Run Their Own Optimist Club

If the kids in your local subdivision are bored, lack anything interesting to do, or want to do something that will make a difference ... please take the time to encourage them to learn about opening a JOOI club.

Teachers ... are you looking for a "club" that will foster a sense of volunteerism in addition to teaching valuable problem solving and team work skills?

Youth from across the U.S. and Canada have started their own "Optimist" clubs under the JOOI program so they can server their community.  Most kids are looking for a way to give back if they can and if it's cool.  The JOOI program gives those youth the opportunity to build their own club ... from the ground up .. they raise their own funds ... they decide what projects they will design and deliver ... and they create a energetic "Optimistic" presence!

Focus on Community Service

Contrary to popular belief among many school principals, JOOI is not a leadership program ... JOOI is a community service club that offers each youth the opportunity to lead, follow, particpate, communicate, and foster their imagination.

Different Clubs for Different Ages

JOOI is made up of four types of clubs: Collegiate Clubs for full-time undergraduate students, Octagon Clubs for high school students, Junior Optimist Clubs for junior high students, and Alpha Clubs for elementary-aged youths. The 20,000 members of JOOI elect their own president and four-member board of directors which also includes the immediate past president.

Each JOOI Club is governed autonomously, with its own local leadership. By keeping that leadership local, JOOI Clubs empower young people to make positive decisions to serve fellow youths and their community. By encouraging involvement and awareness of local issues, JOOI Clubs cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.

The Future of Optimist International

The future of Optimist International is with our youth.  If we can give them the opportunity to excel beyod their wildest dreams they will jump at the chance.  Our future leaders and members will experience the energy and satisfaction of creating and running their own club and will carry that success to adult clubs when they are ready.

Get the youth ready to propel Optimist International into the future ... help build a youth Optimist Club today.

Are You Interested in Sponsoring a Youth Optimist Club?

Contact our New Club Building Chair - Opt Glen Kreller and visit our Clubs 4 Kids web page for more details and links to resources to get you started.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Have you heard the latest ... Coffee Recruitment

Have you heard about the latest idea in recruiting new members for your club?

It's as simple as a cup of coffee ... literally.  That's what it involves; just inviting a friend or a neighbor for a cup of coffee, or tea, or milkshake (whatever strikes your fancy).

  • Invite - Extend an invitation to "coffee" and be ready to pick up the tab.
  • Enjoy a coffee and Listen - Begin to build a relationship by taking the time to ask questions.  Share stories about your club and how they can have an impact with community service projects to help kids.
  • Engage - let your guest know about an upcoming project and invite them to participate.
Once your guest meets your fellow club members running an activity ... you'll often hear a question about how to become more involved.  Download the Coffee Recruitement Program brochure to get more ideas.

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012-13 Scholarship Contest Topics Announced

The topics for the 2012-13 Optimist International Scholarship competitions have been announced:


"How Can I Help My Friends Realize Their Value"

Oratorical & CCDHH

"Why My Voice Is Important "

Clubs are free to run a club-level competition to select winners to move on to the applicable Zone, Regional and District level competitions. Clubs can award monetary awards of up to $500 per winner for some of those competitions.

Additional information is available at the following online information pages:

Garnering interest in Oratorical competitions has been difficult in recent years so clubs may want to consider approaching elementary schools (grades 5 & 6) to start a "Kids Speak Out" program or club.

Clubs should visit our Programs Resources web page and click on the logo for the competition that they want to host to access the latest OI information for that competition.

2nd Quarter District Meeting Feb. 1-2, 2013

You are invited to the 2nd Quarter District Board Meeting scheduled for Feb. 1-2, 2013 in High River, Alberta (just 37 km south of Calgary). Enjoy the hospitality of the Optimist Club of High River, at the Hertiage Inn Hotel and Cenvention Centre.

Registration Details: Register before Jan. 4, 2013 for early registration prices of $100/$90 Member/Companion, otherwise add $20 for late registration.
Heritage Inn Hotel and Convention Centre 1104 11th Ave SE, High River, AB 403-652-3834 or 888-888-4374 Heritage Inn Indoor Pool and Fitness Centre, but no elevator to second floor Rates: $110 plus taxes per night – Mention High River Optimist Conference
Registration Form
Just complete a Registration Form and book your room before they are all reserved!
More Conference Info Optimist Club of High River
Opt Duane Kelly or
Opt Pat Shorrock 403-646-5490

Monday, October 22, 2012

District Website Service Restored

UPDATE:  access to has been restored.  The alternate website link of will always be available should the same issue happen again.

At the present time, the District website at is not available due to a problem with our DNS service provider.  The issue has been reported.

The District website is also available at  That website link can be used until the primary website address becomes available again.

We apologize for any inconveniencce this may cause you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get More Help

One of the new web service projects that we have embarked on is adding a dynamic support service that can accept support requests, provide knowledge base articles to help Optimists and visitors find information, and that can accept new ideas from website visitors.

Just Added - Get More Help

We have just added a new graphic on the right border of the web page when visiting our District website called "get more help".  If you click on that, you will be introduced to the new online support system that we are implementing.

The website will become greyed out in the background and a new support window will open.  From here you will be able to submit a "Contact support" request, provide feedback, and look at the newest knowledge base articles.

Read Getting More Help to learn more about the new support feature.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Welcome from OI President JC St-Onge

Dear Optimist Leaders,

Good morning to each of you. Today, "WE" are responsible for the LEADERSHIP and DIRECTION of our districts, clubs and members! You have the skills, knowledge and ability to be a GREAT Optimist leader and together we will forge a great team and achieve wonderful results for our clubs and kids!

I believe very strongly that new clubs are the answer to achieving success and meeting the needs of kids and our communities!  Building new clubs is the answer!

New clubs will bring us excitement, enthusiasm, excellence, energy and electricity to power our year to success.

So, in that spirit and to highlight and focus on this important element of our success...

For the first 25-member adult new Optimist club chartered in 2012-2013:  
  • The new club's president and his or her partner will receive a President's Cruise in November 2013 (includes airfare and cruise).
  • The sponsor club's president and his or her partner will also receive a President's Cruise in November 2013 (includes airfare and cruise).
The sponsor club must finish 2012-13 as a Distinguished Club and the new club must finish the year as an Honor Club.

New clubs are our future.  I urge you to make this your highest priority and top goal this year! The first team that charters a new 25-member adult club in 2012-13, then calls me, wins (charter paperwork must be filed within the same day).  I am looking forward to the first call!


OI President
"JC" St-Onge

Welcome from Governor Nick Markowsky

Good Fellow Optimists:

I would like to welcome you all to “This Great Year for the AMS&NW”. 2012/2013 will be the best year this district has seen in a long time. To do this we must take stock of our clubs and our district. As you all have heard, our district is shrinking.

To reverse this trend we must go out and build New Young Clubs not only this year, but for the next few years. We have a lot of clubs with the majority of members who are sixty plus in age. My quick evaluation is that if we do not start now or do not bother to build New Young Clubs we will lose up to 25% of our clubs in 5 to 10 years, because we as members are having a hard time attracting young people to join “our” Old Clubs. The ones that we do sign up are around our own age group. As a district we are getting older instead of younger.

Now do not get me wrong, Member retention as well as existing club growth is still important. My Club the High Noon Optimists was started as a new “YOUNG” Club, because the young people did not want to belong to an old club. This still exists today whether we like it or not.

So my final words are go get cracking and find New Young Clubs to build. You go out as a club, Clubs, or complete zones to build clubs collectively if that is what it takes. Do not let the OI recognition part hold you back as a collective group. We need Clubs not recognition for our District to grow.

Soaring to Greater Heights for Children

2012-13 Governor
AMS&NW District 13
Nick A Markowsky

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spooktacular Update 1st Quarter District Meeting

Saskatoon, SK - A Halloween Costume Party will kick the event off at 7:00 PM. on Friday evening Oct. 26, 2012. You are encouraged to enter the competition for “best costume”. You may find a lot of treats and maybe the odd trick. We hope to see you there.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

District launches 2012-13 website

Although the 2012-13 District website has been live since October 1st, the final pages and touch-ups have been added.  I invite you to take a tour and discover all of the changes.

We would really appreciate your comments and suggestions on how we can improve your online experience with the District.

You can pass along your suggestions by email, use our new Contact Us form, or drop us a comment on our District Facebook page.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Into the sunset ... 2011-12 Web Services Report

Optimst Gord Welling
Web Services Chair
2009 - 2012
As most of you have heard, I am passing the role of District Web Services Chair to Wendy Skoretz.  We have been working closely for the past two months getting the 2012-13 District website ready.

I just wanted to post my last Web Services Report before handing over the reigns.

I want to thank Past Governors Darryl, Tim and Ted for their trust and support over the past 3 years, it has been a pleasure being part of your respective teams … and finally I appreciate all the kind words from all of you who participated in my workshops.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No more Hotel Rooms after today

1st Quarter District Board Meeting
Park Town Hotel, Saskatoon Saskatchewan
October 26 and 27, 2012

We recently advised that we were successful in obtaining an extension to our blocked hotel rooms until October 2, 2012. There will be no other rooms available at the hotel after that date.

Please call the toll free hotel number on our reservation form, so you can quote our Optimist hotel reservation number to obtain our reduced rate.

For any information or concern please contact

Brent Dunlop at 306-717-1275 or or
Elmer Hilgers at 306-3737-7321 or

We hope to see you soon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Important 1st Quarter Meeting Update

1st Quarter District Board Meeting
Park Town Hotel, Saskatoon Saskatchewan
October 26 and 27, 2012

Saskatoon is Canada’s fastest growing city and it is very busy. If you could find another place to stay, our hotel and others would be considerably more expensive. Tents are on sale at this time of the year but our nights are getting very chilly.

We have arraigned with the Park Town Hotel to extend our reservations for our blocked rooms until October 2, 2012.

We will also extend our early registration deadline to October 2, as well.

We encourage you to phone the hotel toll free so you can quote the reservation number on our registration form.

Some of the Hotel’s features are: Fitness Centre and Swimming Pool, Complimentary Surface Parking, Pet Friendly, Business Centre, and the Laugh Shop Comedy Club.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

Brent Dunlop at 306-717-1275 or or
Elmer Hilgers at 306-373-7321 or .

We hope to see you soon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

St. Albert Breakfast Optimists Launches New Website

Optimist Gord
At the District Convention in August, I presented a "Building a Club Website Using" workshop.  Using this FREE online website building and hosting service, clubs can now build visually appealing and dynamic websites.

The aim was to demonstrate and prove that anyone who can create a Word document or a PowerPoint slide presentation has the necessary skills to build a website ... mainly imagination and some spare time.

St. Albert Breakfast Optimists is pleased to announce the launch of their new website at  It took the equivalent of 10 hours to build this website using grahics files used on the AMS&NW District website and OI videos hosted on YouTube.

We invite you to investigate our new website and leave us a comment.

Friday, September 21, 2012

News Update 1st Quarter District Board Meeting Park Town Hotel, Saskatoon Saskatchewan October 26 and 27, 2012

A special evening is being planned for October 26. The registration desk will open at 5:00 pm. From 7:00 to 9:00 pm you will be treated to a reception featuring some surprise entertainment, munchies, and bargain priced refreshments. It will be an ideal opportunity to renew old acquaintances and make new friends.

The deadline for our special rate hotel rooms and early registration savings is fast approaching. We have plenty of rooms on hold but only until September 26. You are encouraged to phone the toll free number so you can quote the Optimist number that is on our registration form. The Park Town Hotel will pamper you with “Simple Elegance”.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Brent Dunlop at 306-717-2275 or or Elmer Hilgers at 306-373-7321 or .

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

News Update 1st Quarter District Board Meeting October 26 & 27 Saskatoon Saskatchewan

Saturday Luncheon Guest Speaker – We are excited to announce that it will be Dr. Alan M Rosenberg, MD., Professor Royal University Hospital, Department of Pediatrics.

We would also like to remind you that we are approaching the early savings deadline for registration and hotel accommodation. Please refer to the information on the registration form for our event and your hotel accommodation.

For any other information or concern please contact Brent Dunlop at 306-717-2275 or or Elmer Hilgers at 306-373-7321 or .


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