Our kids are growing up during a totally bonkers time, politically speaking. And we’ve manage to cultivate one crisis after another that they will have to contend with—the opioid epidemic, the rising suicide rate, mass shootings, the destruction of our planet; I could go on. It doesn’t always feel like there’s much to be optimistic about. But if ever there were a time when we could all use a little optimism, it’s now.
On a beautiful summer like Saturday in November the Junior Optimist Clubs of the California South (CALSO) Junior Optimist International (JOI) District held their 1st meeting of the new 2019-2020 Optimist Year. Thirty-one Junior Optimists from eight different JOI Clubs gathered, along with eleven supporting adult advisors, sponsors, and adult CALSO Optimist District Junior Optimist Clubs Committee Co-Chairs for the meeting.
CALSO JOI District Governor Kylie Guess conducted the business portion of the meeting which consisted of announcements, introductions of her four Lt. Governors and invitations for them to report of the status of their assigned JOI Clubs. Governor Kylie introduced and invited the adult Optimists to provide input to the meeting. Prior adult CALSO Governor, Al Aegerter, provided words of encouragement and support to the Junior Optimists. The reigning Miss Bonita, O’Hara Wickham, Past President of Junior Optimist International shared her Optimist Journey that started over seven years earlier with entry into the Oratorical Contest. O’Hara now continues her journey as a member of an adult Optimist Club and her pursuit of higher education at the University of California, San Diego. JOI Club Presidents and JOI Club Members present were invited to share their recent Club activities and their Club’s plans for the year ahead. Since this meeting was held at the Historic Stein Family Farm in National City, CA, the JOI Club Members performed ‘farm tasks’ at the farm’s barns and orchards as a community service activity and brought baby carrots and cat food for the farm’s animals.
An ‘icebreaker’ activity was conducted with members of the different JOI Clubs getting to know each other better. The farm meeting event was concluded with a pizza party luncheon provided by the CALSO Optimist District and enjoyed by all. The Junior Optimists were invited back to participate in the Farm’s Holiday Craft Fair in December.
Beach Clean Up at Moonlight Beach hosted by Surfrider Foundation
On Saturday October 19, 2019 a small group of Canyon Crest Academy Junior Optimist Club Members volunteered their time to help clean up the beach and play area at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA. This event was hosted by the Surfrider Foundation. The group reported that there was not too much work to be done as they found that this beautiful beach was relatively trash free. However, it was a great chance to enjoy our beautiful coastline whilst making sure that the area was safe and clean.
Thanks to Paul Wentworth for chaperoning.
Attendees: Ryan C, Hari W & Pavan C.
JOI Clubs of CCA and CVMS help out at the Fall Festival in San Dieguito County Park
On Saturday October 26, 2019 five members of the Canyon Crest Academy (CCA) Junior Optimist Club worked together with a large group of Junior Optimists from Carmel Valley Middle School (CVMS) Junior Optimist Club to help San Dieguito County Park rangers prepare for and host their annual Fall Festival. Club members were responsible for organizing games and craft activities during the event. They also worked before the two hour event to decorate / set up gazebos and tables, and stayed on after to pack up all the games and other supplies.
It was a beautiful day to be at the park. Ranger Alejandro (shown in picture) invited our clubs back to help at the Breakfast with Santa event to be held on Saturday December 7, 2019.
JOI Clubs of CCA and CVMS volunteer at San Diego Food Bank
On Friday October 18, 2019 Junior Optimists from Canyon Crest Academy and Carmel Valley Middle School JOIned the evening shift at San Diego Food Bank to help package food for their Back Pack program. For a couple of hours, ten club members (along with 3 parent chaperones) worked two assembly lines to produce individual bags of non perishable items such as soups, single portion meals, cereal and snacks, which children can take home for weekend meals. The bags were then boxed and made ready for transfer to distribution sites.
It was a great opportunity to work on a joint project with our two JOI Clubs and we are looking forward to volunteering at the San Diego Food Bank again in the near future. Thank you to our parent chaperones, Ms Wentworth, Ms Cressy and Ms Lieu.
Photos by Rick Lakin and Henry Vaca Escandon