100 YEARS OF OPTIMISM CELEBRATION
Held at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, January 26, 2018
Significant Dates for Optimist International
October 1920, the first edition of The Optimist magazine was published. Each of the 27 clubs was asked to report in at least once a month with news of their club.
1922, the Optimist Creed was adopted as Official creed of the organization. Written by Christian Larson, the creed was originally published under the title “Promise Yourself’ in 1912.
1924, it was voted by the convention delegates that the Optimist International motto be revised to “Friend of the Boy.”
1924 convention in Milwaukee, the Junior Optimist Club idea really began to spread.
1928, an organization-wide Oratorical Contest was started for the Junior Optimist Clubs
1929, the organization grew to 117 Optimist Clubs and 8,000 members
1940s, World War II Optimist Scrap Metal Drives & war bond drives. We flexed our support for communities due to the times of our country’s crisis and positive events
1950s – Launching New Programs
Bike Safety Week
Boys’ homes throughout the country. Some of the more famous optimist-sponsored boys’ homes were the Optimist Home for Boys in Los Angeles and Boysville in San Antonio.
1955, the 1,000th Optimist Club was chartered.
1957, Optimist International celebrated the first observance of Youth Appreciation Week
1960s – A Decade of Great Expansion
In 1960, Octagon Clubs for high school students. Respect for Law Week.
In 1968, Optimist International celebrated the organization’s Golden Anniversary convention in Louisville, Kentucky,
In 1969, membership topped the 100,000 mark.
1970s – Rapid Growth
At the 1971 convention, the Optimist International Foundation was begun.
In 1972, Optimist International’s motto was changed to “Friend of Youth” to reflect service to both girls and boys.
In 1978, the International Board of Directors voted to sponsor one the most prestigious junior golf events in the world, now known as the Junior World Golf Championships.
1980s -A Time of Change
In 1983, a new and special Optimist program for high school students was created – the Essay Contest.
As part of the Just Say No program, Optimists created a chicken mascot named “Mr. Resister” (chicken being an acronym of Cool, Honest, Intelligent, Clear-headed, Keen, Energetic and Not interested in drugs). DARE similar
In 1987, Optimists admitted women to the membership.
In 1988, Junior Optimist Octagon International (JOOI)
1990s – Looking Toward the Future
In August 1993, the first ever Jamaica Convention
In 1993, Alpha Clubs created for grades one through four became an official part of Junior Optimist Octagon International.
In 1997 ESPN covered the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, making Optimist International the first service club organization to have a worldwide event televised.
In 1998, Optimist lnternational’s float won the “National Trophy” in the Tournament of Roses Parade for best depicting the overall theme of “Hav’n’ Fun.”
Optimism for the New Millennium
In July 2001, Optimists found themselves seated in the White House, pledging to support U.S. President George W. Bush’s goal to mentor one million children
Also, in 2001, Optimist International introduced the Childhood Cancer Campaign
Friend of Optimists in 2005.
Ronnie Dunn became the first female International President in October 2006. Her year in office was followed by Theo W. Golding of Kingston, Jamaica, who became the first International President from outside Canada and the United States.