This sentence is found on the second line of the Optimists Creed. The Optimists are a group of individuals who promote children’s or youth activities in the community where the group meets.
Properly called Optimists International, they are focused on helping kids in communities. Their site is, http://www.optimist.org/.
I have the Optimists Creed on the wall in my office. I try and repeat it out loud as often as I remember. It is a wonderful set of positive sentences which when read aloud can help program your mind into a better area. I have done this off and on since I was a member of the group, back in Iowa in the late 80′s.
Back then after every weekly morning meeting, we would repeat the creed as a group, outloud. It really helped me kick off my day to see and visit with so many positive people. I really loved the atmosphere and the energy everyone brought to the breakfast meetings. Note, some clubs have evening or lunch meetings. I could not have worked my schedule as a Navy Recruiter around anything but a breakfast meeting so I am glad my group met early, around 7 AM.
There are many worthwhile youth groups in America. I have never found another which helps the members in this unique way though. The members gain through their associations with each other a great deal even before they apply their talents for helping the kids on community wide projects.
You can check out their website to see what the local Optimist group close to you is actively participating or sponsoring.
Optimists are very well known for their happy attitudes and attempt to bring this upbeat nature to their programs and activities for the youth in their communities. From the website the current numbers for Optimists International are 87,000 individual members who belong to 2,900 autonomous clubs. Optimists conduct 65,000 service projects each year, serving six million young people. Optimists also spend $78 million on their communities annually. These are some real good numbers reflecting extensive leverage of action for the size of the population doing this great work.
For the Empowered Volunteer to totally grasp the reality of these numbers, the membership in 2007 was 123,865 and club totals were 3,918.
The decline is dramatic over the last 6 years!
The decline of nearly 37,000 members and almost 1,000 clubs is reflective of the economic decline for sure, but also I submit it is due to the lack of knowledge of how much volunteering can do for the individual’s personal health and mental well being.
See the posts on this blog regarding the various health studies relating to social connections and social capital and increases in individual status for associated ideas and related data. If more people knew how much they gained from volunteering this and many other groups should see a steady increase in membership.
This is the purpose of the empowered volunteer, to get the message out for both the individual benefits as well as the incredible nature of many of these civic groups for the public to see.
I will reprint the Optimists Creed in full below to illustrate just how positive this groups creed really is. I don’t personally know of another group’s creed which even comes close to such positive thoughts.
The Optimist Creed
Promise Yourself …
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
I personally love this creed! It is a great way to start any day when you recite it out loud. I highly recommend doing so and then track your results. You will be surprised how effective this practice can be in making you a bit brighter for the rest of the day, with carry over to the next in many cases!
Being an Optimist was for me a pleasure and a fond memory. I networked my way into other groups from this initial membership and gained even more individual pleasure from extending my personal connections and relationships among adults. I stopped being just the local Navy Recruiter and became myself again. I really needed the balance of adult relationships after the total commitment needed to find worthy candidates for the US Navy.
This demanding job of finding sailors to man the expanding US Navy back in the late 80′s was all encompassing and all consuming. I needed a diversion from my duties and many of my “formal requests” from my command to join groups were denied. This group and the Freemasons were finally approved formerly by Navy Recruiting District Omaha. I was thrilled. I has already networked my way to meeting several Optimists and Freemasons at the local YMCA, so I was ready to petition.
I networked my way into joining the local Freemasons Lodge in Newton, Iowa next (you had to petition and then be initiated after you passed the famous voting process) and this combination of groups and the many friends I developed helped me tremendously with the stress and strain of Navy Recruiting which each military recruiter was dealing with back then. I owe a lot to both groups for keeping me sane during these very difficult times!
I also networked my way to visiting, in uniform a US Navy function with NATO! I was formerly invited by a Marine Major who liked my involvement with the Optimists, as he was also in his community of Va Beach, Va. So he invited me to join him as his guest for the Icelandic NATO celebration. I was delighted, but the stipulation was I had to do it in full dress uniform. He was dressed in his, so that was understandable.
I was by far the lowest ranking of Navy personnel there visible and several times I had to state I was a guest and not the help as one officer or another would try and hand me some plate to take away, they just could not allow an enlisted person to be a guest!
But the Icelandic food was great and I got a personal introduction to the U. S. Admiral in charge of the whole East Coast of the US. This is very rare experience for a junior enlisted sailor for those of you not familiar with military formalities. Enlisted folks only see such senior officers when they stand at attention at change of command ceremonies or when they serve meals.It is very rare to have a one on one private chat with one, especially at that officers request!
I was a Petty Officer 2nd Class at the time, MM2 (SS/SW) for those who know and care about the rate and warfare designations used in the Navy. It is very rare for a private conversation to take place between two individuals of such divergent ranks, which the admiral initiated when he saw my recruiting badge. He had an interest in where I was recruiting as well as how things were going in the recruiting world after the First Gulf War, particularly how the war had impacted our efforts.
This informal conversation played a huge part in my continued service in the Navy later on when the Admiral’s Chief of Staff called my command at NRD Omaha on my behalf. Literally within minutes of that call an unjust circumstance against me was straightened out and my new orders to stay in the Navy were arriving on the curly paper that was the fax machine back then. Such is the power of networking! My wife and I were trilled to move to my next assignment.
My point is that you never know when simply being in a very worthy group can change your whole life as this one event changed mine. If I had not sought out adult company to balance my work related needs I would never have been able to network my way to visiting with the senior most officer on the East Coast.
I also balanced my need for adult company with a new found Masonic brother who had been a POW during Viet Nam War. His stories helped me make sense of a world when I needed the help and I was and still am very grateful for his kind conversations.
I am sure many of you can find this youth group worthwhile today, even if you need to start one yourself. Consider helping this or another group of your choice by volunteering today. You never know when a small thing could change your life forever.