Optimist International is an international service club organization with 3,200 clubs and almost 100,000 members in more than 35 nations throughout the world. The international headquarters is located in St. Louis, Missouri.
Optimist International is also the sponsor of Junior Optimist Octagon International, designed for elementary through high school youth. Optimist International's motto is "Friend of Youth" and the organization also uses the branding statement "Bringing Out the Best in Kids." Optimist Clubs demonstrate their caring attitude by carrying out the mission of the organization, "By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids."
Optimist International is made up of autonomous Optimist Clubs that do work in their communities. Each club raises its own funds and chooses its own service projects to improve the lives of children. Examples of typical projects are sponsoring youth athletic leagues, scholarship essay and speech contests and supporting local schools.
The international organization was founded at a convention in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1919, uniting various local and regional clubs, the first of which was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1911. At the convention, the first official charter of the international organization was awarded to the club in Downtown Indianapolis, Indiana which was founded in 1916.
On October 1, 2006, the first female international president in Optimist history, Ronnie Dunn, took office for the standard one-year term. In October 2007, Theo Golding of Jamaica became the first international president from outside of Canada or the United States.
There are currently about 85,000 individual members who belong to more than 2,850 autonomous Clubs. Optimists conduct 65,000 service projects each year, serving six million young people. Optimists also spend $78 million on their communities annually.
Mission statement-By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.
Optimist International will be recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential.
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.
The Optimist Creed was developed by Christian D. Larson.