November 2016
President's Message

Greetings Fellow Optimists,

The 2016-17 Optimist Year is finally off and running! It seemed like it was so far away, and now the time has come, our team has the ball, and it is our turn to keep the momentum going. We are coming off two fabulous years of positive pushes in Optimist International - hats off to Past International Presidents Ken Garner and David Bruns for their leadership and foresight.

2016-17 is the year of the "Honor Club." We are returning to the basics that helped us grow for decades. We do not grow for the sake of growth, but rather to enhance our ability to serve more youth, provide Optimism to more communities, and develop personally as we serve others and have fun! That is the real beauty and strength of Optimist International. I ask every Optimist to work toward Honor Club status. This is a tried and true way to help your Club stay strong and continue to serve our youth and out communities. Together We Can!

The Honor Club criteria is a road map to success for any Club. It will take commitment on everyone's part for our Clubs to attain Honor Club. When our Clubs achieve Honor Club status, the organization stays strong and vibrant, and able to serve others. Together We Can!

So, let's all make a commitment to ourselves, our Clubs and Optimist International. Let's make the "Year of the Honor Club" a great one! Just think - if 30 Clubs in each District become Honor Club, the Optimist International organization will touch the lives of over 50,000 youth that were not served before. The Clubs will be stronger, and the organization as a whole will have grown because we shared our time and talents to help others. Together We Can!

As Seth Godin says: "'If you don't start, you can't fail.' It sounds ridiculous when you say it that way. But of course, it is ridiculous. It's (quite possibly) the reason you're stalling. On the other hand, there's no doubt that, 'If you don't start, you will fail.' Not starting and failing head to precisely the same outcome, with different names."

Together We Can!

Jim Kondrasuk
2016-17 International President
The Year of the Honor Club - We are Here to Help!

Club Fitness Advisors are here to promote strength and stability through teamwork and support the health and continuous growth at all levels within Districts and Clubs.

Start your year off right by planning a NOW event and/or your first of three service projects. For assistance, email
Update Member Information

To ensure each Optimist Member is receiving important information from Optimist International, encourage each Member to update their contact information with a leader in your Club. This includes addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Each leader (Club President, Secretary, or Treasurer) has a log-in for Optimist Leaders to update the Members’ information. For log-in instructions, click here.

NEW! Benchmark Club Projects

Every month, Optimist International will feature a Club project in the Leadership Hotline and on the Optimist International website. The Benchmark Club Projects will highlight a successful project, along with information about the host Optimist Club.

The Evening Optimist Club of Albuquerque pairs with the YMCA in the Camp Shaver Area to host a one-week camp for sixth graders. The week-long activities focus on belonging, leadership skills, and character building. The Evening Optimist Club raises funds to cover the cost of the camp. They also receive donations from local businesses, schools, other Optimist Clubs, families, and friends. Read more.

How Fit is Your Club? - Take the Honor Club Test!

Does your Club need new Members, new leaders, new ideas, and fresh energy? Is your Club thriving and growing? Are your plans working? The Honor Club Programs can help! The Leadership Development Committee will explain the eight steps to Honor Club, which are new this year, and how these steps can rejuvenate your Club. The Leadership Development Committee is ready and willing to help you achieve your Club goals for the year. Using the Honor Club Program, a healthy and stable Club for you and your Members is within your reach!

The Leadership Development Committee will be hosting a "Honor Club" webinar on Tuesday, December 6 at 7:00pm (CST). To sign up, click here.

Global Spotlight

The Optimist International Global Spotlight was created to provide another means of communication between Optimist International and the Optimist Club Presidents outside of the United States and Canada.  The newsletter is sent monthly.

To view the October Global Spotlight, click here.
Junior Optimist International: The Torch

The 2016 Fall edition of The Torch is now available here. The Torch is the official newsletter of Junior Optimist International.

For more information about Junior Optimist International or if you have questions about starting a Junior Optimist Club, click here.

Plan Your Trip to Convention

The 99th Annual Optimist International Convention will be held in Albuquerque July 6-8, 2017. Begin planning your trip today! To book your reservations or to learn more about the convention, click  here. Online registration will be available January 1. To learn more about the convention, visit or contact us at
Year of the Honor Club and Membership Recruitment Drives

The main focus of the 2016-17 Optimist year is to encourage ALL Optimist Clubs to become Honor Clubs. Honor Club status is the benchmark of a healthy Optimist Club. Click here for the full requirements for Honor Club status which have changed for the 2016-17 Optimist year.  

You will notice that, amongst other criteria, your Club needs to grow in membership by a net +3 Members AND conduct a membership recruitment drive. Compile a list of community members who may be interested in joining. Ask all Club Members to consider friends, neighbors and coworkers for this list. The worst thing people can do is say no!  

Membership recruitment drives come in many shapes and forms and should be tailored to what best suits your Club and the prospective Members you are trying to attract. The event can be a formal dinner, a table at a Club project or simply meeting for morning coffee. At the event, tell the prospective Members what your Club does for the community and why you need their help. Show them by bringing pictures of Club service projects with smiling children. Encourage them to sign up on the spot. Follow up with those that do not. 

One successful membership drive will get your Club well on the way to becoming an Honor Club. More importantly, your Club will become a healthier entity for helping your community now and into the future.

Upcoming Events

International Board of Directors Meeting
December 9-10, 2016 (St. Louis, MO)
President’s Midyear Planning Conference 
February 3-4, 2017 (Winston-Salem, NC)

President’s Midyear Planning Conference 
February 10-11, 2017 (St. Louis, MO)
Official Optimist International Suppliers

United States and the Caribbean:

Ansell's Awards and Specialties

Optimist International Oratorical World Championships

Clubs should be deep into planning their Oratorical Contests for next Spring.  The topic for the 2016-17 school year is “What the World Gains from Optimism.”

Hopefully, Districts are prepared to fund their one District winner to come to St. Louis to compete in the second annual Optimist International Oratorical World Championships. A District winner has the chance to win up to $22,500 in scholarships!  Check out this video outlining last year's contest. 

For more information about the Oratorical Program, click here or email If you are interested in building a new Optimist Club around the Oratorical Contest, contact the New Club Building Department at

Optimist International Junior Golf

The Optimist International Junior Golf Tour at Green Valley Ranch in Denver took place October 15-16. A total of 95 junior golfers from six states and Germany competed at the first Optimist Junior Golf Tour event held in Colorado. Top finishers are exempt from having to qualify for the summer 2017 Optimist International Junior Golf Championships. For results, click here.

President's Pride Reports

Thank you to all Clubs that submitted their President’s Pride Report.  If your Club has not yet submitted, please do so as soon as possible.  While it may be too late to qualify for Honor Club, the information is valuable to Optimist International for future planning and resource allocation.
Contact the International Board of Directors 

If you have comments, concerns or suggestions for the International Board of Directors, please send to

Canadian Children's Optimist Foundation

A thirtieth anniversary is an important achievement. The Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation decided to mark the 30th anniversary of women in Optimism with a limited edition commemorative pin.  The pin is yours with a donation of $50 or more. Take this opportunity to recognize the contribution of female Members in your Club! For more information, please visit

Optimist International Foundation

Foundation Board of Directors Nominations
The Optimist International Foundation is now accepting nominations for a Board Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors. Nominations must be received by January 2, 2017. Qualifications for candidates and the nomination form can be found on the Foundation website.
Club Foundation Representatives
Attention Club Foundation Representatives: inform your Club and its Members about the Foundation programs and help share the mission of the Foundation. Optimist Clubs that have not appointed a Club Foundation Representative (CFR) can submit a form online here.