Optimist Programs

Optimist Programs Optimist Clubs annually conduct many exciting youth oriented special events and promotions. These activities are specially designed to provide a means to serve girls and boys in the communities across the world.

For more information including suggestions on how to stage these programs visit the Optimist International Web site at www.optimist.org .


Optimist International Childhood Cancer Campaign

It won't be long before Optimists are known as the world's leaders in fighting childhood cancer. The organization's newest program - the Optimist International Childhood Cancer Campaign - has settled on a logo, which is ready to download directly from this Web site. (Right click on the logo, and select "Save Picture As...")

Want to be a leader in your community? Want to be involved in a project that will put a smile on your face? Want to make a difference in the lives for young people? The Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign will allow you to do all those things - and plenty more. Clubs wanting to move forward can name a Childhood Cancer Chair. This move is the first step in building a dynamic, focused program. It will also provide the Club with one contact person between the District Chair and the International Office.

In addition to creating an international speakers bureau and laying the groundwork for the newest program, the Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign is developing new ways that Clubs can become involved in their community. Optimists who don't know how to start fighting childhood cancer are encouraged to contact the international office for more information at (800) 500-8130.

It's impossible to overstate the seriousness of childhood cancer. It affects every community on every corner of the map. But with service, a positive vision and a desire to change the world, Optimists will be the leading force to rid the world of this deadly killer.


Youth Appreciation Week

The second full week (beginning with Monday) in November, Optimist Clubs, recognize local youth for their efforts in the arts, athletics, academics and community service work. Youth Appreciation Week is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in your community and demonstrate the Optimists' commitment to young people. Youth Appreciation Week projects are intended to make children feel important and highlight their positive contributions to society.

Since 1956, this program has given Optimist Clubs the occasion to work with youth toward the common goals of education, career development, physical well-being and community service.

Your Youth Appreciation Week program can be more than an awards ceremony or a dinner for a few top students. Youth Appreciation Week is designed to encourage a greater exchange of ideas between young people and adults. Youth Appreciation Week offers Optimist Clubs the opportunity to make a community impact by hlding one or more worthwhile, fun events that involve both adults and children.


Oratorical Contest

The Optimist Oratorical Contest gives youngsters that chance to speak to the world. Scholarships are awarded to youth. The winners at the club level receive medallions and zone winners receive a plaque. Districts have the opportunity to provide two $1,500 scholarships.


Tri-Star Sports

Clubs focus on three skills competitions in each of the following sports: basketball, baseball, soccer, football, in-line hockey or ice hockey.

Offering a friendly basketball, baseball, soccer, football, in-line or ice hockey skills competition may be just what you need to serve your community's youth. These contests are the perfect opportunity for children to have fun while testing their skills in three areas of the sport of your choice. Each skill offers exciting opportunities to promote self-confidence and physical fitness, even if you have limited resources.


Safety On Wheels

This program addresses safety issues relating to many popular "wheeled" youth activities, such as bike riding, skate boarding, in-line skating, riding the school bus, and riding in automobiles.

The Optimist Safety on Wheels Program is intended to promote youth safety regarding all forms of "wheeled" activities. These include bike riding, skate boarding, in-line skating, riding the school bus, and driving and riding in automobiles. Whether from bike, bus, or car, each year, one of four children receives accident-related medical attention, resulting in combined medical costs of $14 million. This program provides viable projects that address contemporary safety issues.


Essay Contest

The essay contest awards scholarships and an expense-paid trip to a youth leadership conference. High school students from all over North America write short essays on the topic of freedom, which are judged at regional competitions. More than $10,000 in scholarships is awarded every year.

Each Optimist District conducts competitions beginning at the club level for youth under the age of 19 who are in the 10th, 11th or 12th grades. Club winners advance to the district contest where the winner receives an expense-paid trip to attend a four-day freedom and leadership conference at the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

An International Essay Panel judges the district-winning essays. Scholarships are awarded as follows:

first place-$5,000; second place-$3,000; and third place-$2,000.

In addition to the scholarship, the first-place winner receives an expense-paid trip with his/her parents to the annual Optimist International Convention.


Communications Contest for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

This contest offers a fun opportunity for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to present their thoughts in the community, gaining skills, which can only come from signing or speaking to a large audience.

Patterned after the Optimist Oratorical Contest, the Communication Contest For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing offers hearing impaired youth the chance to compete in speech or sign language. The Optimist International Foundation funds a $1,500 scholarship to any district, which meets the minimum participation criteria.

Nearly 300 clubs are actively involved with this program each year.

Respect For Law & Day of Non-Violence

This motivational program can be a community rally against local violence, a get-acquainted event between youth and local law enforcement officials, or a "what peace means to me" poster contest for young kids. During the first full week (beginning with Monday) in May, inspire respect for the law among your local young people.

In July 1965, a discussion between Past Optimist International President Carl Bowen and former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover resulted in the birth of the Respect for Law program. As the title suggests, the program inspires a healthy admiration for local law enforcement officials among young people. In conjunction with the Respect for Law Week, clubs take part in the annual Optimist Day of Non-Violence, which is Saturday during the Respect For Law Week. This special day has been chosen during Respect for Law Week to encourage peace and harmony within communities all over the world. Clubs conduct an Optimist Day of Non-Violence Rally, which brings families together in cities to pledge against local violence.


ABC Program

This exciting program encourages Optimist Clubs to work with their communities in order to educate people on how children should be restrained in vehicles with passenger-side airbags. Optimist International continues its involvement in the ABC program to educate the public on properly restraining children 12 years of age and younger in vehicles equipped with a passenger-side airbag.

Clubs can help build awareness of this important problem by contacting and partnering with local retailers, auto dealers, car rental agencies, hospitals, pediatricians, day care centers, schools and local media, asking them to distribute safety literature and merchandise.


Junior Golf Championships

The Optimist International Junior Golf Championship (OIJGC) is one of the largest and most prestigious events for junior golfers ages 10-18. Each year over 5,000 young people from the United States and Canada compete in qualifying tournaments; there are over 650 players from 15 countries, 45 states, and 6 Canadian Provinces that participate in the championship event. Players compete in the 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18 age divisions. (Ages are determined by the age of participant on last day of tournament; 18 year old must not have started college.)

Some former participants in Optimist-sponsored events include Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Michelle McGann, Ernie Els, Justin Leonard, Nancy Lopez, Phil Mickelson, Nick Price, Corey Pavin, and Craig Stadler.


Club Developed & Run Activities

Some of the best activities are those the individual club develops and runs by itself! Each year, thousands of Optimist Clubs get involved in fun, successful projects and fundraisers such as the following.

Substance abuse programs, Sports teams/leagues, Tutoring Reading to children, Mentoring Career fair, Youth in government, Student exchange Inner city projects, Park development, Blood bank, Special Olympics, Senior Citizen programs, Poster contests, Traffic safety, Conflict resolution

Participation in programs offered by Optimist International Endorsed / Partner Organizations Joint activities with Youth Clubs Fund-raisers noted in the Fund-Raiser Planning pages of the International Programs Planning Guide.


CPA Program

The CPA program recognizes clubs, which have conducted outstanding community service and fund-raising projects. This annual competition offers clubs the opportunity to enter their most successful projects in district and international competition. International winners will be recognized at the annual International Convention and in The Optimist magazine.

Specific objectives of the program are to:

- Provide recognition to clubs for outstanding projects
- Encourage significant community-serving activities, which enhance the image of the club and Optimist International
- Stimulate membership involvement in meaningful club activities
- Aid Optimist International in acquiring information on outstanding club projects for the guidance of other clubs seeking similar opportunities

The following categories have been established to recognize excellence in club community projects in an equitable manner:

- Citizenship Community Improvement
- Culture and Education Fund Raising Heath and Welfare
- Joint Projects With A JOOI Club
- Non-Violence Safety Sports and Recreation Youth Appreciation Week