September: New beginnings, A Fresh Start, Cleaning the Campsite

September marks the first month of fall in the northern half of the world, where leaves begin to change colors, and the first month of spring in the southern half, where flowers start to bloom. Around the world – there are holidays, festivals, observances, national days, food days, and celebrations in September: Royal Canadian Air Force Day, Labor Day/Patriot Day, International Day of Peace, and yes – International Day of Chocolate (September 13th.)

It marks the start of the school year in most countries, with students returning from their summer break. From childhood, we remember September as a fresh start, with memories of new school clothes, books, teachers, and the challenges of entering a higher grade.

As we enter the last month of this Optimist administrative year, I remind you all of the importance of the purposes of Optimist International:

  • To develop optimism as a philosophy of life utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed;
  • To promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs;
  • To inspire respect for the law;
  • To promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people;
  • To aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world.

September is the time to renew our Optimism, strengthen our Clubs, and reach out to new communities so that we may expand our positive influence on youth, our communities, and ourselves. It’s time to take charge, get inspired, tackle all those goals you’ve been “getting around to,” and clean up our campsite.

Following are a few reminders:

  • This year, Celebrate Community” will be held during the week of September 11-17, 2022. We  encourage you to organize a project that fits the needs of your community and the interests and talents of your members. Consider ways to team up with other service clubs to magnify your impact. Imagine having our volunteers working together as we Celebrate Community through service!
  • The traditional way for an Optimist Club to measure its success is to become an Honor Club. By gaining this recognition, an Optimist Club proves that it is doing all it can do to leave a positive legacy by acting with pride today. It’s time to take the final steps to make Honor Club part of your Optimist Club’s reality and future.
  • Make a commitment to yourself and your Club to invite a guest to Club gathering in the next 30 days. Once they see the value you see in your Club, they will want to be part of it too.
  • Presidential Incentive: 212:One Degree More.  Even though 211 degrees is extremely hot, the steam engine needs one more degree to move. Until it hits 212 it’s not going anywhere. It’s time to turn up the heat! One Degree More in Optimism makes a HUGE difference!

At the first Part of this administrative year – I shared with every member a little about The Optimist Power.

The Power of the words written on a small bookmark – the Optimist creed, and the Purposes of Optimist International. These little bookmarks are passed out everywhere I go, especially in my travels.

A few weeks ago, Executive Director Cheryl and I attended the Leadership Summit at Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Chicago – with Organization Presidents, Executive Directors, and staff from the Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and Optimists. We discussed our challenges, successes, differences, structures, and serving together during Celebrate Community week.

While on a 4-hour wait back home in the Chicago O’Hare Admirals Club, I spoke with two couples sitting next to me. One of the ladies asked me about my green shirt, specifically the Logo on my shirt. My elevator speech kicked in with conversation leading to the conference I had attended piqued their interest. Their small community was represented by clubs from all four organizations. I passed out bookmarks, and we began to talk about the Optimist Creed and our purposes.

The conversation ended as we turned back to computers and our own world when about 15 minutes later, one of the men sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and asked: “Are you, Patsy Garner?” After replying yes, he said – You Are the President of Optimist International. I feel positive that the little bookmark created a bit of Optimism in the busy Chicago O’Hare airport and will be shared in a small town in Illinois.  

Together – we have been good campers. We did the hard things that are also the right things, fixed things that needed fixing, and addressed processes that will provide more than a short-term focus. No one is perfect, and there’s always loads left to be done, but as good campers,we leave behind stronger clubs and a stronger Organization than when we first entered.

30 more days – to reach the goal of +212. Spreading Optimism! First gentleman Ken and I want to thank every one of you for making the decision to be an Optimist. It has been an honor to serve with you – beside you in Optimism. We are truly – better together!

#OptimismBetterTogether    #BeAnOptimist     #212OneDegreeMore