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Messages from the Governor

This is the introduction to the 2016-2017 Theme and Logo as introduced by Governor Rick Matkin at District Convention, August 2016.

Introduction of the Theme and Logo

I have been watching and listening to guest presenters at our club meetings for literally years. Almost without exception the guest has commented on the Optimist Creed once the club has recited it in unison. Comments over the years have included, “that’s amazing”, “I love your creed”, “your creed is so special and meaningful”. One comment that has been offered more than once and has stuck with me over the years is the comment, “If only we all lived that, we would all be better people”. They are even more impressed when we present them with our symbol of gratitude for their presentation in the form of a coffee mug with the creed embossed on the back of it in gold.
It is from this casual comment of a guest or so that when offered the opportunity to present a theme I chose, “Promise yourself…to live the creed”.

Let me take the choice of theme and the reintroduction of shirts into our annual celebration here and explain them further. When I was recently in St. Louis attending training for Governors Elect, I took the opportunity to ask one of the organizational officers if Optimist International had an official color. The response was no there is no official color so to speak. I was perplexed since I had always seen the banners in purple and gold and many of the award vests and achievement patches. Still the answer was no.

My response to that was a decision to make this year’s shirts and logo purple and gold. If you encourage others as well as yourself to live the creed then be proud and stand out as being the banner bearing our creed. Our banners are purple and now you, too, may stand out in a crowd to live the creed and show others how it is done. 

Why live the creed? It will make you a better person. People will see your commitment and those successes brought about by your abilities to live the creed. People enjoy being with others who are successful, happy, optimistic. Those people may become so happy being with you they may want to join in with the source of your creed and join an Optimist Club. You become a living and breathing symbol of the success experienced by one that has chosen to live the Optimistic way of life and “…to live the creed”.



Governor's Message for November 2016


It’s the “Why”

Undoubtedly all of us have seen a club that appears more successful. They have more members, they keep more members, and they recruit more successfully. We also see other individual Optimists that just appear to be better recruiters. We wonder and frequently pass it off as they are more gregarious, easy going or extroverted. So what is the difference?

We have attended meetings and seminars that stress the need to practice our “elevator speech”. We recognize we may be offered an opportunity to talk with a prospective member or a stranger who expresses interest in one of your projects. These opportunities tend to be very brief, thus resulting in the utilization of what we have come to refer to as the “elevator speech.” Is this the answer?
A typical inquiry by an interested person tends to start with, “What do Optimists do?” That is the kick off of your elevator speech opportunity. You tell that person about your community projects and possibly some facts about how it fits into your own community. That input on your part tends to prompt the question, “How do you do all of that?” That launches you into a mention of all of the successful fundraisers you may do or describe your benefactors and your appreciation of their involvement. This tends to be your opportunity to slip in the fact you could do much more if this person would be willing to join in with you or your local club and strengthen your involvement in the community. Why is this method not more successful than it is?

A person who may ask you about an Optimist project is more often than not a caring individual. They care for their community. They care for the opportunities their child may be offered. Usually the inquiry comes during a time when you are involved in a project and are witnessed by the person making the inquiry. A person who asks at this time is a caring person. Caring is done from the heart of an individual. So here is the difference.

When we answer the inquiry about the “What?” and the “How?” we are satisfying the individual’s needs for their head. It is just like you answered a business question. Things that are good for business are handled differently in the brain than are those believed to belong in the heart. A long term Optimist is a person who spends more time operating from the heart than from the brain. These are the people that make good Optimists and stay with your organization a number of years.

People who join for reasons of the head or brain tend to see how Optimists may benefit their business, their contacts in the community, or their visibility to others. These are all good reasons but tend not to be the reasons a person remains productive and invested in your club activities.
The question people who look for details about Optimist International seldom ask is the “Why?” In a way to personalize your elevator speech it is best if you make it personal from you. You are inviting them to be with you, so make it personal. That is where the “why” comes in. I was asked, “Why are you an Optimist?” My response is, “I love doing projects for the kids in my community with all of my best friends.” 

After looking back at my life in my community over the past eighteen years, I recognized that most of my best friends are Optimists. Why do many of us drive sometimes across two states and occasionally a province to visit with other members at conference? Some of them are my best friends and I can be assured when I attend a conference I am spending time with another person who shares a caring for their community as much as I do mine.

You can make a connection with an individual more completely if in addition to answering the “What?” and the “How?” you also include the “Why”. You already know how to take care of the business or the head and brain questions. There are those people who join Optimists for reasons of the head, but the ones who stay with your club do so for reasons of the heart.
So continue to practice your elevator speech, but in your own words plan on making it a more personal invitation by telling them “Why” you are an Optimist.


December 2016

In keeping with the Governor’s commitment to provide a little note each month during our current Optimist year, the following is the December contribution to your thoughts of optimism.


While approaching the holiday season, it was hard to make a decision about the message I planned to share. It finally came down to a decision of not what I wanted you to hear but more what I needed to hear. I didn’t mean hear from you but more like “self-talk”. I wanted to have a message that could be of interest to all of us. I find that most of us are aging or have already. Some of us could be considered to be seniors on a fixed income or many on a limited source of income. I thought of that concern because so many of us look to this time of year as being “the season of giving”. I came to the realization many of us, generally myself included, are looking at the season of giving in the literal sense rather than from a viewpoint advantageous to all of us.

The common thread I found was almost all of us have hunkered down with the onset of the harsher season. That in itself will frequently bring on depression or sadder moods. That can be compounded by one’s perception they cannot afford to participate in the season of giving quite as much as they would like. Is there a solution to this situation? I thought maybe I had found a partial solution.

I looked back to the theme for this year. Live the Creed. The creed has two phrases that include the concept of giving. I was pleased to find that one phrase referred to giving to others; “give every living creature you meet a smile.” The second makes reference to giving to yourself; “give so much time to the improvement of yourself…” I was more pleased to see one phrase was to others and one phrase was to give to oneself. To me that meant the ability maintain balance in life. A focus toward seeking a balance in life is one to be frequently sought. 

I thought back to my experience of shopping for the holidays. As I wandered through the various stores, I noted those that were shopping with joy and those that were apparently shopping for the chore of it. I had thought of all of the examples of persons who simply walked through a crowd giving out smiles just to check out the reactions. Well it appears to be valid. Giving out smiles while faced with the task of holiday shopping does appear to get back its own rewards. Others begin smiling back at you and even more begin smiling to others they pass in the busy aisles. In the view of an Optimist member, you have just given a holiday gift that cost you absolutely nothing and yet it was a gift that kept on giving.

The second phrase was easier for me to understand. The phrase, “Give so much time to the improvement of yourself…” I have found it difficult in years passed to figure out a way to give to myself during the holiday season. I seldom shop for myself, even some of the necessities, because I am too focused on setting aside money to spend on loved ones. But that isn’t what it says. It says give so much time. Those of us who have raised children realize one of the greatest gifts we have to give is time. We were giving it to career at times when we realized we could have been giving it to our families. But what does it mean to give so much time to the improvement of yourself? This is the season that lends itself best to this. Most of us have more time once we hunker down for the harsher season. Use that time to read, thus improving your mind. It goes a long way toward providing relaxation as well. Use it to write, maybe letters you have put off or entries in a journal intended strictly for yourself. Give yourself the time to plan your vacation next year. You will not only have this task out of the way, but the idea of a vacation may even perk up your seasonal mood. Give yourself time to plan some of the details of your retirement. Developing a budget for your golden years may take time away from other things were it not already the season to be indoors and away from all of that yard work. Having these smaller tasks behind you allows you to become more optimistic about the coming new year and your ability to be relaxed and prepared for it.

You have just met the life hints of the creed head on and it didn’t cost you a single dime. Yet you have given important opportunities to others and to yourself during the season of giving. Here is wishing you all a wonderful, loving, and safe holiday season.





Governor’s January Message

As I spent time thinking of how the theme this year, Live the Creed, fit into the usual thoughts associated with January, I couldn’t help but think of New Year’s Eve parties and the resolutions of the following morning. The line of the Optimist Creed that was first to seem a fit was “To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.”
That line in the Optimist Creed seems to be straight forward enough. It remains optimistic in that it encourages one to press on to the greater achievements of the future. That in itself suggests there are greater achievements to be had and reached for. One being a true Optimist takes this for granted and tackles the challenge.
The other frequent association of thoughts, poems, and songs associated with New Year’s observance is the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” A Scot poem or story later set to the melody of a common folk song has become an everlasting ritual every New Year’s Eve. Few people really know the words and even fewer understand the true meaning of the original poem. It is referred to in the archives as “an old song.” The Scottish poet Robert Burns was given credit for having put it on paper and to melody in 1788. Bear in mind it was in Scot at the time. The title “Auld Lang Sine,” directly translates to “old long ago” and it means “good old days”.
I made the association between the song and the creed initially because I thought the lyrics, “should old acquaintances be forgotten and never brought to mind” fit well with “forget the mistakes of the past.” After finding a number of translations from the original Scot writing, it became clear to me the meaning was actually “a call to remember old friends as time marches on.” The actual meaning of “For Auld Lang Syne” was “for the sake of old times.” The song is about remembering kindness and love that was experienced in the past.
Clearing up the translation appeared to me to throw a real crimp in my association of the two poems, the one by Robert Burns in 1788 and the one by Christian Larson in 1912. It is much clearer than one might initially see. Acquaintances aren’t the same as mistakes. Mistakes, as written by Christian Larson who came to be known as a motivational writer, need to be forgotten in order to move on to the greater achievements of the future. We cannot continue to focus on the failures as a way and an excuse to prevent us from accomplishing the successes of the future. The poem by Robert Burns calls for us to remember our old friends as time marches on.
We, as Optimists, can remember our old acquaintances, particularly those who were once members of our own clubs. Remembering those acquaintances, many of them very near and dear to us, can in itself pose for us a challenge and a New Year’s resolution. Optimist International began keeping records in digital form in 1991. Since the beginning of that practice, the Pacific Northwest District has revoked or disbanded sixty-seven clubs for a loss of more than 414 members. Since those numbers were provided to me, an additional five clubs have been revoked, disbanded, or sent letters of intent to do so.
This provides us the opportunity for a New Year’s resolution as well as a worthwhile challenge as Optimist members. “For the sake of the old times,” we need to rekindle the enthusiasm of our old friends. We need to remember the times that were so great when we were larger and healthier as a district. In a short phrase we need, “to press on to the greater achievements of the future.” Those greater achievements need to include a personal focus on the part of every active member to seek out those who may have left us as well as those who have yet to have been introduced and invite them to one of our local functions. In that way you will be one to “press on to the greater achievements of the future.”
Happy New Year to each and every one of you. January can be so exciting to those who consider themselves to be Optimists.


Governor’s Message for February 2017


While much of the beautiful Pacific Northwest lies smack in the middle of one of the worst winters of the past century, it may be difficult to comprehend the idea of “look at the sunny side of everything.” Many of us have not even seen the sun. Others spent over five consecutive weeks with temperatures below the freezing mark. So, it would appear I need to explain myself.

There are two viewpoints for the idea of look at the sunny side. The first one is recognition that one must truly make a personal effort to look at the sunny side but more than that “make your optimism come true.” For some that effort, may be larger than it is for others. There is an explanation for some of the downs many of us feel during this time of the year. There is actually a psychological explanation. The disorder is referred to as S.A.D. or more completely, Seasonal Affective Disorder. It affects many but some more than others. One tendency to experience S.A.D. is compounded by the shorter daylight hours, the decrease in opportunities to be outside, and the overcast nature of the weather that actually keeps a person from seeing the sun.

A person may need to put some effort into this or in those most serious of cases, a consultation with the family physician may be the only way out.

The second viewpoint is one far less serious but nonetheless uncomfortable for many of us. We all tend to experience the funk. Those days when you find yourself just being plain lazy and directionless while blaming this awful month of February. Some find peace in becoming a cabin rat. The frequency of reading, writing, cooking, pottery, drawing and a list of other things begins to experience an upswing. This may counteract the funk, it may only be a diversion. A diversion many have honed to a fine skill through many years in the Pacific Northwest. Yet even the most skilled in the diversion are not truly in the process of making “your optimism come true.” 

This one little line in the creed is by far the biggest when it comes to directing you to actually exercise your optimism. In order to do that, one must continue to maintain a positive outlook. That would be looking “at the sunny side” of the projects you have in mind. This is your opportunity to assess how your club is making optimism come true. The clubs that are maintaining their membership, their zest, and their impact in the community are those that remain active in the hands-on projects. 

As club members age, there is the temptation to become a project broker rather than a hands-on doer. A broker may be a very successful club that continues on with fund raising and eventually has a massive amount of cash. They may lack the energy to get back out in the community but continue to be a support to their community through regular contributions to youth projects, activities, and scholarships. This is not a bad thing. However, a club that continues to remain active in the community with its ongoing youth projects maintains the opportunity to be viewed by members of their community. Simply by being viewed as the doers in your community you attract younger and more active new members that have seen what you have accomplished and want to be a part of it. Supporters and sponsors who normally may not have considered a donation to a service organization see the worthiness of what you have going. Friend of youth is no longer just something on the logo. Your friends, neighbors, and local businesses see you living what you are saying. By remaining active, particularly during the months when people are not all wrapped up in camping, fishing, and hiking you have stepped up and stepped forward to “make your optimism come true.”


Governor’s March Comments


The signs are upon us. The first day of spring signals to us the beginning of the third quarter of our important Optimist work. Spring brings with it a sense of new beginning. It is the Optimist of all the seasons of the year.
I looked at the Optimist Creed and made a quick and very easy decision about which line to feature this month. The one we see now is, “To talk health, happiness, and prosperity…”. It was easy for me because I have been traveling with Governor-Elect Bruce Gilbertson to the zone meetings. Bruce is preparing for his upcoming year. Bruce has made a very minimal request for those in attendance. He simply said, “Go home and ask your members about the health of your club.” I would truly like to support him in his preparation for his year. I remember all too recently the amount of preparation an incoming governor must go through.
I flash back upon my thirty plus year career in the field as a child and family therapist. Somewhere during those thirty years it came to my attention we were no longer referred to as counselors in the field of mental illness. That had become strongly frowned upon. Instead, we had suddenly become professionals in the field of mental health. As I look back I can only assume when that committee met to make that change they must have had an Optimist there putting in his opinion. Just to say the words casts a light on it that inadvertently causes a mindset to lean one way or the other. Referring to the professional field as mental health immediately told everyone we were goal oriented and no longer problem oriented. That very same view must be alive and amongst us all as we go forward.
Bruce is asking you to assess your club’s health. That means find the positives going on in your club and concentrate on those. The next statement Bruce offered up was, “and once you have found your strengths, is someone in your club willing to share that with other clubs?” To me that means you have found it and you are willing to share your “prosperity” with those around you so we can all look forward to becoming better at what we do. As we share, we grow. As we learn, we perform. Those of you in attendance at the various zone meetings have all walked away with these ideas as our District Leadership Development Chair, Lynn Viner, has instilled in all of us that what we learn we can readily put to use in a number of places in our professional, personal, and also our Optimist Club lives.
The first time I heard Bruce close the zone meetings with his little three-line request, I thought it was very simple and might not have thrown enough out there for people to sink their teeth into. As I heard it again, I came to realize just how deep the thought and the effort runs and just how important it is in addressing where we are and also where we need to be as the performers within the Pacific Northwest District.
To put this all into perspective I simply say, go out and find your club health, then talk about your club health, and then become open to the idea of sharing your prosperity with the clubs around you. Sharing your prosperity will definitely result in your feeling of happiness. So, now you have fulfilled the part of the creed featured for this month, “To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.”
Again, I stress the importance of predetermined viewpoint. A change of a simple word tells others, as well as reaffirms within your own mindset, that you are goal oriented. Be sure to recognize the difference between talking about the illness within your club. That becomes negative, defeating, and petty. Recognize the health of your club. Only through viewing the health of your club will you convince those around you that you truly are an Optimist.

Governor’s April Message

The meeting ended with me jokingly saying to the club president, “that signals the end of my social life.” He looked at me with a definite question on his face. I said to him that this was the last of our luncheon meetings on our current meeting schedule.
Our Optimist Club had struggled for months on the question of whether to change the meeting time or the frequency of the club meetings. A decision was finally made to reduce the number of regularly scheduled meetings and this was the last on the old schedule.

It was then I thought about how much more I had looked forward to our luncheon meetings since I had retired. I am not tremendously socially connected and look forward to the break in the week that our luncheon meeting have been providing me.
My thinking spread even further from that point to where I was thinking about the total value of fellowship in our Optimist lives. In a day of go here, go there, go this fast, I believe we sacrifice what our parents used to enjoy in the way they just enjoyed each other, their neighbors, and their friends. This is so true in the way I have enjoyed my life in Optimism.

As we talk amongst ourselves about our clubs and their current membership, I don’t think we address the need for fellowship as an important factor in retention as well as recruitment of new members. Many of my fondest memories have been those in the company of friends who were like me, Optimists. Looking back, I remember parties, barbeques, potlucks, and celebrations spent with Optimists as being many of my favorites.

We don’t stress to people we talk to about our clubs how this club is made up of some of the neatest people in the world. When we think of our social lives, many of us share concern about the ability to go out in our communities knowing we are going to a place that will be safe and will cater to people who share many of the values we hold that make that place a fun place to go.

Many of our more successful clubs still cater to the idea of group activities that have nothing to do with a project.  It's just a matter of, "hey, let's get together."  It might be, "isn't this the weekend we scheduled the potluck at the Petersen's?"  Where else can you go knowing you will be safe, enjoy inexpensive fun with friends, and laugh with people you know share the same values you do?

Many young people abandon a social life fearing they will go to an establishment to be confronted by a self-centered, over-bearing, attention seeker. That is virtually impossible if you were attending a barbeque at a fellow Optimist’s house. There is no such thing as a self-centered Optimist. They are too busy spending time promoting the things that address the needs of others, particularly youth in their community.

In our business world, systems such as HR, human resources, work toward ensuring you don’t cultivate a social life. There are rules against this and rules against that and policies that prohibit involvement between this person and that person. Integrity and ethics dictate to you, you mustn’t spend too much time socializing with subordinates for fear of endangering your position within the company.

With systems working against enjoying a social life, why not use Optimists to find another way to allow for personal enjoyment? This is beyond networking and sharing what is going on in your community. This is simply finding a way to enjoy one another and do it in such a manner as others recognize it is a good idea and would be willing to join your club just to have that valued fellowship. Man is a social beast. The social part of Optimism needs to be stressed and fellowship brought back as a way to promote what made our organization great.


Help Needed for NCB Surge Effort

If you are an Optimist member that is capable of making some time over the next six or seven weeks, I really need you to read this.

Mr. Jim Boyd, the Optimist International Strategic Growth Coordinator would really like to revisit the Pacific Northwest.  In order to make that visit possible for him we need to get a new club up and ready to charter.

When I introduced the cluster concept last August at convention, I thought we would be screaming with our success stories.  That hasn't been the story.  So, I need four or five individuals from each zone to do the research into the needs of a community near you, then contact some community doers to see if they can be resources for you while you begin the process of gathering up the soon to be Optimists.

Once you have the names of a portion of your soon to be core group, give me a call and I will pack my bags and call Jim so he can be there to close the deal for you.  Our district is in serious need of some new growth and the ability to touch more communities.  Please ask your friend and then give me a call.  Governor Rick (208) 989-9360.
Governor’s Comments for May

In March, I attended the zone four second quarter conference in Chehalis, Washington. At that conference, Monique Connors, conference coordinator put together an interesting team building exercise. Monique asked each of us to list on a piece of paper our most memorable Optimist moment. These pieces of paper were put into a bowl and as some of them were pulled, comments were provided to fill in a little with the details. Having been an Optimist for over a quarter of a century it was a little effort to come up with which moment I thought was my most memorable.

After a few moments, I listed on my entry that my most memorable moment was when, as chair of the selection committee, I was allowed to present the award for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year as part of our Respect for Law annual project. Even the memory of this event years ago caused me to become emotional as I recalled the many stories I had to sort through that detailed the heroics of so many of my neighbors that deserved recognition that only a few could receive during our ceremony.

While that ceremony sticks deep in my memory, I believe it will have to take a step to the side and become my second most memorable moment. During the Opening Ceremony for the third quarter conference in Burnaby, British Columbia this May, I had the opportunity to announce the recognition of two long time Optimists. The recognition took the shape of having their names memorialized in connection with the scholarship awarded to a competitor in the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CCDHH). Each year the Pacific Northwest awards a second scholarship to a competitor in this contest. The district wishes to recognize not only those youth who must sign their entry speech but also recognize those who are now able to speak their entry as a result of having received implants allowing them to hear and therefore speak aloud.

The funds for the second scholarship are raised solely within the district and often by a very few members. It appeared time that the efforts of the few become recognized by way of allowing the scholarship to bear their name for years to come. It was decided Connie Pollock of British Columbia and Dr. Tom Hammond of the United States be those individuals to have their name memorialized on the scholarship given by our district.

The scholarship awarded to the winner, if Canadian, would bear the name Constance Pollock and would be awarded in Canadian funds. The scholarship awarded to the winner if a U. S. competitor would bear the name of Dr. Thomas Hammond and would be awarded in U. S. dollars. It was hoped by those serving on the committee to establish this, the ongoing annual confusion about the distribution of funds would finally be satisfied as well as provide a means to recognize these fabulous Optimists.

During the announcement I made, I told those in attendance they need look no further than to Connie’s obituary to understand why she was selected. In her obituary it was stated, in lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation. As I said then, she has found a way to keep on giving even after having left our earth.

Tom Hammond, a longtime member of the Meridian Idaho Optimist Club, has been responsible for spearheading effort after effort during his years of service to the youth of the Treasure Valley in Idaho. The Meridian Optimist Club has for many years been the largest contributor to the fund that allowed this scholarship to remain in effect. Once again this year, the Meridian Club quickly went to the top of the list of contributors and remained there throughout the process of gathering funds.

I am pleased and very humbled to have experienced yet another “most memorable moment” in my life that can be attributed to my participation in Optimist International.

Convention Project

In preparation for your annual convention, I decided on an activity that should bring interest and pride to each and every Optimist.  My wish and my goal is for our district to create a "Wall of Fame."  

This project would ask each club within our district to reflect back upon a youth who had participated in one of their various projects who utilized the skills taught and interests cultivated to go on and become a more productive youth or young adult.

Ask members of your club if they recall a youth who has gone on to do greater things.  An example would be one of your young athletes who may have gone on and received a college scholarship as a result of the experiences gained in your Optimist Youth Athletic efforts.

Your entry should include an 8 X 10 head shot or portrait of your entry individual and a one page bio of how the Optimist experience prepared that person for the gains in their life.  This is a two page effort and that is all.  Please send them in to your governor for preparation for the "Wall of Fame."  It would be nice to be able to cover one wall of the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Boise, Idaho with our Optimist pride and bragging rights.  We do wonderful things for our youth.  Help us see those other youth further away in our district and get to know of their accomplishments.

It definitely does not need to be an athlete.  I am aware of Oratorical winners who have used those honed skills to go on a do great things as well.  See if you can find an essay winner who went on to become an author or an editor.  Talk to your older members who may have been teachers or coaches during their more active years.  I know we all have had youth who would deserve to be put on that wall.

Update:

We are receiving some very outstanding entrants.  I am sure the result at convention time will surprise all of you.  Begin thinking outside the box.  We would enjoy having entrants from other than the sports world.  Some of our entrants are fulfilling important roles elsewhere in our life but we recognize we, as Optimists, still played an important part in developing their interests and their talents.
Governor’s Message for June

We are nearing the fourth quarter of our Optimist Year. Merely by mentioning that we know that many of us are already looking back at the year rather than ahead to the remainder. It is natural, I’m sure, nearly all of us are prone to it.

When I look back at the previous three quarters, frankly I stand here just a little disappointed. It is not a situation where there is any blame to be placed and I have included myself in that boat of those where the disappointment lies.

I am not one of those guys that tends to live by excuses. It is not excuses that I offer at this time. There comes a time in all of our lives when things just don’t work out the way we planned. Well, this has been one of those years.

Amongst my Optimist friends and teammates many unexpected trials took place. We must not have been aligned with the right stars. Of the four Lt. Governors, three spent time in the hospital with a couple of them more than once. Unexpected surgeries and even day long treatments often cost enormous amounts of time for recovery when you know you need to be at your best to go out and represent Optimist International. Many of you know that I fell while on my way to a zone meeting with the injury requiring surgery. I had already had one surgery planned so that one was put on hold and may be taking place even before my year is over.  

Beyond those things just handed to us by fate, Mother Nature may have handed us the worse one. Many of us managed to struggle through what was to many of us the winter storm of the century. To others, it was only the worst winter in thirty-five years. The end result was many of us were unable to get out and visit those clubs we had intended on visiting. The roads were impassable in many cases, often lasting for days or at the very least becoming so unpredictable you didn’t dare get too far from home and loved ones. That type of disappointment led to the possibility of getting down and then the depression or just the downs kept many of us from being our true optimistic selves as we so frequently are.

Now, all I hear is it is so darn hot we just can’t go outside and enjoy ourselves. But that version is quite different than the previous one. I recognize we might not like to travel or get involved in club activities when it is warm, but nevertheless we manage to get it done. Much more so in the summer than in the depth of the winter.

While we have looked back at our sources of disappointment let’s not give it all up and sound like Cubs fans used to, “there is always next year.” No, there is still this year. There is at least a quarter of it left for us to really make an impact. I’m not trying to sound like a cheerleader at a pep rally, but realistically we are still in a situation where we could have two distinguished Lt. Governors this year. Membership had been down but has really shown a change just in the past few weeks. We are still working toward the goal of two new clubs. That work, though not a totally polished effort appears to be able to provide fruit in the long run. Clubs are following through with their NOW events at a rate I have not seen in years. Our district has shown strong results in getting our Club Foundation Representatives on board and doing their work. While not yelling Honor Club out loud so very many clubs are within reach of this goal.

Let us spend just a moment to get our heads turned around from looking back so that we are looking forward to a road that is not nearly as bumpy as we all were led to believe. Notable progress and worthwhile accomplishment is well within the reach of anyone reading my note. So let’s go out there and show everyone we are really Optimists.