Sheril and I just returned from the Florida convention where once again we met with Optimists from several countries we serve. We were amazed by the enthusiasm present despite the economic meltdown we find ourselves in.
We are currently the number 6 District in all of Optimist International and I believe we can reach number 1 with a commitment from all our clubs. We are still active in our effort to build a club in Shelburne and need your help. A second project is underway at Brock University with the help of Southwest District Governor Doug Kinchen and his team. I believe that in these troubled times the youth we serve need us more than ever and our purpose becomes more important. Please take advantage of the incentives provided by Optimist International and by our own District and increase our membership insuring our organization’s survival. Remember, for every member, 31 kids are served in our community.
Convention delegates voted for a dues increase at the July convention. This may hurt many clubs but was necessary as was explained by the finance committee, and no doubt will be explained in detail in the O.I. magazine. Without this increase the parent organization’s future was in jeopardy because of rulings made in the U.S. regarding pension funding O.I. employees. The employees of Optimist International work for us too and there is no more cutting to be done without losing service projects including our Canadian Service Centre in Montreal.
I am confident we will survive this crisis and our youth will continue to be served by enthusiastic clubs thought this great district. One of my goals as Governor was to leave this District in as good or better shape than I found it. I am confident that with your help and support this will be accomplished by Oct 1st.
I am pleased that we have Governors in waiting. This has not been the case in years gone by. After 28 years I still believe we are the best service organization this country has to offer and I encourage you to Just Ask your friends and family to share our enthusiasm for youth. They are our future and the hope for the survival of our organization.
Many of our clubs are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year and we wish them all our best for the future and thank them for their service in the past. My own club of Keswick reaches 60 years, Hamilton Inc. 85 years, Oakville 60 years and Windsor in Southwest District 75 years. This proves Optimism, is alive and well throughout Ontario and in many countries around the world as was evidenced at the convention in Orlando. Next year we will meet in Denver, Colorado. I look forward to it as this is one State my travels have not taken me into and there are many friends there I have yet to meet. Thanks for your support this year and let’s give a huge push to the finish line and be number 1 by Oct 1st. This District deserves it and it will give Tom a HUGE burst for next year.