Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Optimism, Mandela, and the gift of positive thinking.

There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children. - Nelson Mandela.
In September 2011, I visited Robben Island and among the things etched in my mind from that visit are: the pit in which prisoners broke stone on a daily basis; and the inclusion of both the stories of those white prisoners who were part of the struggle for freedom and the former white guards as tour guides. It so behooves us to appreciate the fullness of all stories.
The late professor Rex Nettleford had a unique way of turning phrases but his constant reminder that "the jailer and the jailed are both in jail" (think Rousseau)  ring home every time I think about Mandela before apartheid, Mandela under apartheid, and even more so, Mandela post apartheid. "As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison", Mandela said of that glorious morning that changed the arc of South African history forever. That was the consequence of positive thinking.
Lest we forget, Mandela was 95 years old when he passed. He spent the last 23 years as an extraordinary transformational world leader whose embrace, commitment and promotion of reconciliation gave him stratospheric status. Before that he was imprisoned as a saboteur and branded a terrorist for 27 years, eighteen of which he served on an isolated island surrounded by shark-infested waters mostly chipping rocks in a quarry or behind bars in an 8x8 cell.
Those years of imprisonment with hard-labour would have made mere mortals bitter, revengeful, and hungry for blood. And yet, as the years rolled by thousands of days turned into nights and into days again; light faded to darkness and into light over and over; and freedom became oppression and oppression the platform for reconciliation and emancipation!
One tenet of the Optimist Creed (originally written by Christian D. Larson) says: Promise yourself... To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Many Optimists use this tenet as an excuse for side-stepping serious reflection on their failures; but I insist, while history is not meant to be a shackle it can only serve as a genuine guidepost to a better future if we understand how from whence we came can shape the future we envision.
In other words, the future does not have to be mere coincidence but the consequence of planned action.
Motivation is always rooted in circumstance. The past is the shoulder upon which we stand to see the future. Marley immortalized the words of Garvey in song: Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery - and foreshadowed the very essence of Mandela's long walk to freedom.
Acknowledging the despair, the adversities, the wounds, the pain, the struggle and translating the lessons learned from being down into a new sense of spirit, awakening, enlightenment, and freedom take positive thinking.
Envisioning the world as a better place and doing what it takes to make it so for all humanity to enjoy a quality of life that is uplifting and productive, meaningful and fulfilling, purposeful and edifying is positive thinking.
So while we celebrate the life of Mandela, I implore us as Optimists to take time out to reflect on the full story; and in that reflection I hope we can find motivation to do what is right and invest in the future - that world in which we all want to live.
A big part of investing in the future lies in the way we treat our children. As Optimists our investment and commitment must mean holding the hands of our children, partnering with them in uncovering their many gifts, and together planting seeds of hope and positive vision of a better world for all.
The best way to do that, in my humble opinion, is through education. After all, in the words of Nelson Mandela, "Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world".

Patrick Prendergast
Director and PGI Chair
Sunset Optimist Cub of Liguanea

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sunset Liguanea's Great Start to 2013-2014

On Thursday, October 10 the team of Optimists belonging to the Sunset Optimist Club of Liguanea gathered for its first business meeting of the 2013-2014 year under the leadership of club president No.15, Optimist Tetrice Prendergast. It was a blast of a kick off. Round one of two activities for the week.
Optimist International Caribbean District Governor, Optimist Nutilia Simon (St. Johns Antigua) was the special guest at a meeting which also included sharing the video message from Optimist International President Ron Huxley, and a very dynamic, engaging and inspiring Personal Growth and Involvement (PGI) development module. Club president No.12, Optimist Marc-Maurice Frankson was responsible for that enlightening experience on the topic Bringing out the Leader.
Governor Nutilia in her usually cool and charming manner reminded fellow Optimists of the tremendous responsibility they have to the children of the Caribbean. Whatever we need to bring out the best of and for our children, we've got it, she reassured as she encouraged the club to continue working hard and to do its best in helping to lift the profile of Optimism across the Caribbean.
A few days later on Saturday October 12, it was round two of the 2013-2014 kick off. The much anticipated Installation Ceremony and Cocktail Reception held at Family Life Ministries did live up to expectations.
Club secretary Sharon 
presents Optimist Creed 
to Rev Astor Carlyle
Guest speaker, Rev Astor Carlyle of Webster Memorial United Church delivered on the topic "The Gift of Giving". His was a lesson in good public speaking as much as it was for the content. Reverend Carlyle called on Optimists to embrace the spirit and power of togetherness, of being a collective in serving not only individuals but communities. The topic, he suggested, was about being an agent of change; and to be an effective change agent is to acknowledge that our gifts and resources were meant to flow, not to be canned. As change agents, he said, "we are channels of blessings, instruments of grace and dealers of hope".
Lt.G Karlene Walker leads
the installation exercise
Lieutenant Governor (Zone 4) Karlene M. Walker expressed joy in having her first installation exercise with her home club but more so pride in knowing that the club will continue to blaze a trail of positive outcomes in the Optimist movement, noting the caliber of talent and leadership experience gathered among the Board of Directors.
The 2013-2014 team include past district secretary treasurer, Latoya Wade and past lieutenant governor Kenneth M. Walker, Jnr. as well as past club president Glaister Green, and immediate past president Lavern Brown. (See full board of directors below).
President Tetrice in her comments reminded members that the reasons for becoming an Optimist have not changed: that is to volunteer our time and talents, to meet people, to serve the children and make meaningful contribution to the lives of others. While there is a duty to have the meetings, fellowship activities, training and personal development, she maintained that the greater responsibility is to aid and uplift children in need... to make our children the best they can be!
The thrust is therefore towards creating new relationships in new ways and places this year. Under the theme "uncovering the gifts of our children" Sunset Liguanea will seek to, among other things:
  • improve relations with JOOI
  • embark on a mentorship programme starting with Cumberland High school
  • raise funds in aid of childhood cancer
  • form new bonds with children in need from homes and communities no so privileged
  • give members the opportunity to truly share their talents, knowledge and skills.
This is a year to fully appreciate that "to be able to give is truly a gift... Let us seek to uncover our own gifts as we uncover those of the children we serve", concluded President Tetrice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Governor Nutilia's New Year Message

My Optimism... For the children of the Caribbean

Optimist Nutilia Simon
Caribbean District Governor 
Today is the first day of October, 2013. It is the start of a new year for Optimists - members of one of the largest voluntary service organisations in the world, Optimist International; and so we say, 
Happy New Year!
Under the motto, Bringing out the Best in Kids, Optimists serve over six million children and young people each year through the execution of hundreds of positive children support projects.
The Optimist year runs from October 1 to September 30. Today new administrations will take charge of the more than 2,600 Optimist clubs spread across the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean.
From the club, zone, and district levels up to the regional and international offices, the incoming teams for 2013-2014 will seek to build on the more than one hundred year old tradition of bringing hope and positive vision to the world.
Optimist Treasa James
District Secretary-Treasurer
In the Caribbean District just over 1600 Optimists in 60 clubs continue to make a difference to the lives of thousands of children and young people in schools, hospitals, and other institutions in the communities. 
Children living with Cancer and HIV&AIDS as well as those in marginalized social, economic, and educational circumstances have been the main beneficiaries of Optimist projects in the region.
You too can make a difference. Help change the life of one child today and make the future a brighter one for everybody.

You've got it...Optimism...Yes, we’ve got it!

Optimist Karlene Walker
Lieutenant Governor
Caribbean District Zone 4
Optimist Tetrice Prendergast
Optimist Club of Sunset Liguanea

Monday, September 30, 2013

To Caribbean Optimism 2012-2013

What a difference a year makes...
As we close out the 2012-2013 year
The 7804 Optimist says:
Congratulations to all members of Optimist International Caribbean District for a tremendously awesome year. The lives of our children and young people across the Caribbean are better because of you... your spirit of service and commitment as volunteers cannot be discounted.

Big up and maximum respect 
to District Governor, Lynden Buchanan...
for making such a difference one child at a time!
And what a way to end the year?
The Arthur Guinness Award for the Bridging Gap project!!
Endurance to the very end...

Optimist Latoya Wade

Saluting District Secretary-Treasurer, Latoya Wade... 
for an amazing year! Continue to do what you do for Optimism.

To all Lieutenant Governors... for leading with such quiet resolve and aplomb.

And lest we forget, District Chairpersons and special committee leaders and members, we acknowledge you for crossing the many rivers and helping to show that overcoming is possible.

Club presidents...without you there is no Optimist movement. Gratitude to you all... A blazing trail you have all made!

And oh, what a special force the Caribbean District shared with the Southeast Region...
Her royal highness of generosity and inspiration,
International Vice President, Sonia Anderson...
what more can we say but

Finally, to For The Future Optimist International President, Jean Claude St. Onge for sharing his passion for children with the Caribbean, we say Thank You.

To the incoming 2013-2014 team of District Governor, Nutilia Simon, we say, nothing but the best. We are confident of the promise because we know...we've got it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Magnificent Six

The magnificent six – Women past governors of Optimist Caribbean district.
(first published in the Optimist International Caribbean District Q4 Magazine, August 23-24, 2013)
IT IS AGREED. Caribbean women have been nothing short of phenomenal in their quest for equality and equity. Their declaration of self-hood and agency has benefited the development of the region in many spheres – including but not exclusively civil society, non-governmental, and voluntary service organizations.
In the Optimist International Caribbean District (OIDC), the evidence is indisputable. The pace of women’s progressive rise and impact within Optimism subsequent to the removal of the men-only provision from the Optimist International (OI) constitution in June 1987 is both significant and instructive.  In that same year a Caribbean woman named Jennifer Wynter (later Palmer) was among the first few females in the world to become an Optimist when she joined the Optimist Club of Kingston.
Optimist Ronnie Dunn
It had taken 68 years for women to be officially in; but within four years of that June 1987 declaration Jewel L. Thompson (Wichita Falls, Texas) became the first female governor (North Texas District; 1991-1992). And, 20 years to the historic vote to accept women, Ronnie Dunn (Frankfurt, Kentucky) was presiding over another momentous Montreal Convention as the first female International President (2006-2007). So in just over two decades the women had made their mark on the leadership of Optimist International. But what was happening for women in the Caribbean District was extraordinary.
Seven years into the life of the Jamaica District (est. 1992) and only three years into its official elevation to Caribbean District status (est. 1996), a powerhouse from the Optimist Club of Ocho Rios became the District’s first female governor. Shirley Jarrett had set off what was to become a tsunami of female clout within Caribbean optimism because by 2009 the District was heading into the leadership of its sixth female governor – that’s one female governor every 22 months. And, in their own incomparable fashion (pardon the gender undertone), each had created both a strong wave individually and a sea of brilliance collectively.
Optimist Shirley Jarrett
1. Shirley Jarrett (Ocho Rios) 1999-2000:
At a time when the world was anticipating all kinds of calamitous consequences on the turn of the new century Shirley Jarrett took on the governorship of the Caribbean District under an insightful theme – Vision 2000. With her Secretary-Treasurer (DST), Cecille Hale – a self-styled neophyte in Optimism – Jarrett proceeded to chart a new direction for the District as the first woman governor. According to the former principal and General Manager of the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel Training Institute, establishing the JOOI Caribbean district and elevating the district to number one in OI were among the highlights of her governorship. 
The distinguished and outstanding governor would later become Optimist International Vice President in 2007/2008.
Optimist Carol Haynes

2. Dr. Carol Haynes (Bridgetown, Barbados) 2001-2002: 
Known for her outstanding service to health and particularly HIV&AIDS across CARICOM, Carol Haynes made sure the Positive Caribbean Attitude was to be forever etched in the annals of Optimism. As the first governor from outside of Jamaica, the graduate of Hampton High School and The University of the West Indies proceeded to strengthen the team across the region. 
Ensuring sponsorship for all three conferences and convention (including Antigua and Trinidad) she says “was critically important in order to reward members for their invaluable work across the District”. The woman who sees “absolutely no limits to the role women can play in (Optimism)” would go on to serve as the first female IVP from the region in 2006/2007.

Optimist Cecille Hale
3.  Cecille Hale (Sunset Kingston) 2004-2005: 
By 2003, the DST to the first female Governor had come of age as an Optimist and the district elected her to serve as 2004-2005 Governor.  Cecille Hale took to the task with the quiet diligence that has become her distinctive disposition in the district. In her words, “What I wanted most for my year (was) to draw everybody in; I wanted to sell them Optimism; I wanted them to buy in and be involved; I wanted every member to feel the way I do about my Club, my Organisation.  So I sold them the 'Opportunity for Involvement'… (In the end),  we received, on stage at OI Convention, awards for the highest percentage of membership gain, of most Honour Clubs, and from our region, our District was number one.  The members obviously had bought what I sold”. Indeed, the reluctant governor had brought back some limelight to the district.

Optimist Sonia Anderson
4. Sonia Anderson (St Ann’s Bay) 2006-2007: To many Optimists, Sonia Anderson is just WOW – Woman of Wonder!  She took the One Love theme ‘to the world’ and in the process, put the District back on top of Optimist International, and as top governor took all three of President Ronnie Dunn’s awards. “The district had developed the 'habit' of building most clubs but unfortunately oftentimes lost more than or almost as many as we built. (We) ended the year with twelve clubs more than we started. We lost only one club, Grenada”, notes the retired IT professional and proud grandmother of five.  
Extremely popular across the Optimist fraternity, Anderson, the 2012-2013 International Vice President, is known for her always charming and motivational discourse.

5. Judith Reid (North St Andrew) 2008-2009: 
When Judith Reid became Governor her charge was: “Give me five for the Children – Mission for tomorrow” reflecting both the strong sense of spirit and commitment to purpose that were among the special qualities of her defining personality.  Of course these were under-girded by Reid’s eccentricity, colour and chic. As the women who shared the pole position of district governor recall, PG Judith was “flamboyant – a true optimist (who) wanted the best for the movement at whatever cost” (PG Gene). “She was my friend – a committed, indomitable, and strong-willed Optimist!” (IVP Sonia). 
Reid was “a highly energetic Optimist who was unbelievably courageous in the face of her challenges” PIVP Carol).  “The ever-present Optimist” (PG Cecille) who was “truly known for her perseverance… She was tenacious in carrying the Optimist Torch to the end” (PIVP Shirley).  
The Optimist of the Year Award is a testament to the extraordinary honor in which the late PG Judith Reid is held by the District.

Optimist Gene M. Douglas
6. Gene M. Douglas (North St Andrew) 2009-2010: The first governor of the newly designated Caribbean district in 1996 was Major Errol Alliman and his DST was long-standing Chartered Secretary and proud past student of Morant Bay High School, Gene M. Douglas. Fourteen years later as Governor she was saying to the District “…for the children: Soar and Shine” and it sure did. At ‘touch down’ Gene M. and the district had taken the International President award for building the most clubs during that year but critically its organizational capacity, committee structure, and collaborative foundation were strengthened. “My role as governor was good because of the team that was in place”, reasons the retiree who is still active as corporate secretary of one the Caribbean’s largest financial institutions – Sagicor Bank.

Optimist Nutilia Simon
Within a decade then, the Caribbean District had seen a meteoric upswing of female leadership in its ranks and though bearing a striking similarity to that which was unfolding in the wider society, contextually there was a deeper meaning in Optimism. The fact is that even in a world of service, especially with a focus on children, where women’s so-called natural nurturing instincts would have been perfect fit; the women simply were not welcome up to little more than a decade before that.
Come 2013-2014 yet another woman will be at the helm when retired airline executive, Nutilia Simon (St Johns, Antigua) takes over the governorship on October 1. There is no better time to invoke the innovative and focused leadership of the magnificent six - past Governors Shirley, Carol, Cecille, Sonia, Judith and Gene M. 
Indeed, the women of OICD have been incredibly effective in providing hope and positive vision as they continue to bring out the best in kids.  

© Patrick Prendergast, August 23, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Reflections.2 from OI-CDC 2013

Governor Lynden's Closing Charge…
We must complete this important leg similar to the Usain Bolt-Asafa Powell final leg exchange; ensure that the incoming team gets the baton in a good position and have the advantage of a good start. 

It's more about keeping Optimism alive and positioning our District to be the best that we can be.

As part of achieving this I have challenged our New Club Building team to deliver the other four clubs before September 30

I also make my pledge to enlist at least two new members over the next two weeks...
I challenge my fellow Executive team, Past Governors, Lieutenant Governors and Optimists in general to look among (your) friends and associates and enlist at least ONE member to the District Roster before September 30.

We need to leave our District in the positive to ensure a good start to the New Year. 

Let’s make a difference in our leg of the relay and when we pass that baton successfully we will know as the next runner will shout enthusiastically, “GOT IT!".   
Optimist Lynden Buchanan (Caribbean District Governor 2012-2013) and Optimist Dave Wilson (Governor's Assistant)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reflections from OI-CDC 2013

Governor Lynden says: 
It was indeed another successful convention with everything coming together like an orchestra in performance, the bass keeping the background rich and enjoyable, the strings and wind instruments adding their flavour keeping the melody and harmony, the percussionists filling any gaps with interesting sounds, the tympani; lots on high pitch but adding to the flare and excitement (you can work out who played where - smile).  
Lets now go and ensure that we pass the baton successfully so the next runner can shout enthusiastically, GOT IT!"

GD Nutilia says:
We've got it!! The convention was quite good; packed with training. The injection of fellowship, fun and excitement during the closing session brought out the true spirit of our Optimism. I was a bit disappointed that a number of leaders for our 2013/14 year did not make it to convention. I am pleading with all Optimists; let us make ourselves available for training and do share the information given. The training that is being offered is also for our own personal growth and development. A hearty thank you to all who participated. Congratulations to LDC Barbara on being selected Governor-Elect (2013-2014). As committed Optimists we will continue the great work of our District.
GE Barbara says: 
So much energy in one place, so much enthusiasm, so many people doing good things and these same people itching for opportunities to do more …. People ready to share their ideas and wanting to celebrate the success of others. All of this and yet I was only able to experience one day of the District Convention. 
I want to congratulate all of the officers who attended training. I’m looking forward to working with you over the next twenty five months and beyond.

PDST Heather Says: 

As we re-energize to 'Make a difference...one child at a time', the just concluded Caribbean District Convention reminds us that 'We Got it'! As Optimists we must now dig deep beyond our circumstances and recruit new members to keep the blood line of our organization running.   
I was happy to see the members of our newest club, Sunrise Optimist Club of Newport, out in their numbers...their future is bright and indeed the children they will serve will be better with them as part of our supreme organization.

CP Diana Morrison says:
As someone who is always on the outside (working) at conferences my impressions of the conferences are guided by the feedback I get from the members. For this conference the positive feedback outweighed the negatives. Members, especially the first-timers, were impressed with the workshops offered and the presentations by the  Guest speaker, Mr. Horace Wildes.  
For me the enthusiasm  displayed by the first-timers (especially the members from Sunrise Newport) is something we need to cultivate and return to our more seasoned members. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ready for District Convention...

 i AM READY… r U?
                          EXECUTIVE MEETING  Saturday, August 24 @ 7:30 a.m.

People should be at district convention because it is the BEST WAY to recharge your optimist batteries and you NEVER leave with the same amount of knowledge that you came with... Unless you wanted to! – Claude Reynolds (UWI-Mona)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING  Saturday, August 24 @ 3:40 p.m.

Optimists should attend convention and take advantage of the opportunities for fellowship, sharing of best practices with other clubs, and the training in areas that advance their personal growth and development while empowering them to execute projects that bring out the very best in our children. – Lt.G Maxine Francis Riley (North Portmore)

                                               DISTRICT PROJECT Sunday, August 25 @ 1:40 p.m.

Optimism has brought different and unique persons together for one great cause, let us redouble our efforts in unity at this convention to continue the mandate as 'Friend of Youth' while we fellowship with the persons we have also made lasting friendships with.PDST Heather Chin-Walker (Sunset Liguanea).

                   HOUSE OF OPTIMISM  Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 am 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Select Activities of OI-CDC 2013

Governor's Welcome Reception

SATURDAY 24th August 2013
Opening Ceremony
Set to begin at 9:30 in the morning this event features guest speaker, Mr Horace Wildes, Branch Manager, Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), Ocho Rios. The countries from which member clubs make up the District will be recognized in the usually exciting Parade of Flags.
The First General Session is scheduled for 11:00 am to be chaired by District Governor Lynden Buchanan. Committee reports on the life of the district will be taken. At 2:00 p.m. is Presidents-elect Training to be followed by the Board of Directors’ Meeting at 3:40.
At 8:00 in the evening, the gala affair that promises to be another of the traditionally unforgettable activities of the convention is the Installation Ceremony at which Governor-elect Nutilia Simon and her team of Lieutenant Governors and Chairpersons will take their oaths of office and outline their plans for the 2013-2014 Optimist year.

SUNDAY 25th MAY 2013
At 9:00 am, join the team for Inspirational Moments - a multi-denominational devotional exercise that awakens the spiritual energies.
The Second General Session is set for 9:45 at which time the business of the District will further take shape. Along with the strategies on how to finish strong, the election of the 2013-2014 governor-elect will also unfold.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

R U ready for OI-CDC 2013 @ Jewel Runaway Bay?

THE OPTIMIST International Caribbean District Convention - OI-CDC 2013 is one of those events not to be missed. It is packed full of fun, fellowship and masterful training that enhance personal development as well as inspire Optimism. Voluntary service and leadership sure make for an awesome combination.

The children, to whom Optimists have an unflinching commitment and resolute mission to serve, are obviously  priority throughout the year; but when it comes to the annual convention, this is when individual Optimists sharpen their skills, strengthen the collective, and chart new and exciting ways forward on the path to bringing hope and positive vision to the world. Incoming leaders for the 2013-2014 year and fellow Optimists will converge for what strictly speaking should be the 17th such gathering since the Jamaica district was elevated to Caribbean district status in 1996
This year the District Convention will be held at the beautiful and enchanting Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort in St. Ann, Jamaica and generally we are looking forward to what tradition says should be an engaging and fulfilling weekend. 
The confab kicks off on the evening of Friday, August 23 with talent-giving expose of a welcome reception. Saturday morning's edu-taining display of pomp, pageantry and public oratory in the opening ceremony kicks off the official business of the convention which include the training sessions for officers-elect, as well as the general sessions, development workshops and special meetings. Fabulous comes to town on Saturday evening for the enchanting Installation ceremony for the 2013-2014 team to be led by incoming governor, Nutila Simon.  And ending the confab will be the high-energy spirit raising closing session on Sunday August 25. 
Well guess what?  I AM READY… R U? 
Here are a few good reasons why you too should be there:

District convention is an opportunity to charge our batteries! Fellowship, training, motivation… help decide the future of our beloved district. I will be there; you should be too! – IVP Sonia Anderson (St. Ann’s Bay)

Convention 2013 will be invigorating! Join us as we reflect on the impact we have made on our youth so far and welcome the 2014 team in style. Finish strong! – Governor Lynden Buchanan (Mamee Bay)

We should be at convention for ongoing training, fun, fellowship, meeting the leadership team for 2013/14, excitement, and total involvement. – Governor-Elect Nutilia Simon (St Johns, Antigua).

It is the best way I know to catch up with my Optimist family... to hear all that is happening and has happened over the last year. Awesome fellowship, great training opportunities, and a feeding frenzy of Optimism – PG Joe Benfield (Barbados, Bridgetown).

Convention is the best place to network with peers in your district and foster symbiotic learning about the organization.  – Club president-elect Tetrice Prendergast (Sunset Liguanea).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Pride of Caribbean JOOI

CONGRATULATIONS TO JOOI Caribbean District Governor Nicholas Kellyman (Wolmer’s Boys) who captured the Member of Excellence Award at the recent JOOI International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as Lieutenant Governor Javanni Waugh (Kingston College) who has been elected to serve as an International JOOI Director for the 2013-2014 year.
As Chairperson Lisa-Gaye Anderson notes, “We ought to be so very proud of our youth; and every time we get the chance, we should encourage them as they have such great potential”.

I am honoured to be given such a prestigious award… Optimism has given me a sense of purpose and has unearthed a passion for helping others that I previously never knew existed within (me)…
I will do my best to justify your choice and I will continue to make a positive impact on society. Thank you!

                                                          - Nicholas Kellyman (JOOI Caribbean Governor 2012-2013)

I am beyond elated to be elected as Jamaica's first JOOI member to the International Board of Directors!
Words cannot express how humbled and happy I am to have this honour to serve a much wider community of like-minded youth bestowed upon me.
- Javanni Waugh (2013-2014 JOOI International Director-Elect)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Caribbean District Convention - A platform for renewal and commitment

BELIEVE the clarion call at the 2013 Caribbean District Convention (August 23-25) must include, among the many other considerations that will be made, an invitation for Caribbean Optimists to do two things:  Renew our batteries so that the energy, spirit and fire for which Optimists are known would become patently manifest once again; and two, restate our commitment to service under-girded by the mission and purpose of Optimism.
Yet again, the Optimist International Caribbean District is at a pivotal stage in its evolution as a voluntary service organization and whatever decisions are made, whatever actions are taken, surely these will require both renewal and commitment. What better time and opportunity to review, renew, and recommit ourselves to this noble movement called Optimism than at district convention?
This is what conventions are designed to do – allow for clear, bold and resolute calls to action. By their very nature, district conventions are perfect platforms to foreshadow new and emerging leadership, encourage innovative thinking, and embrace creative solutions to longstanding challenges. Major decision-making confabs such as these are ready made people’s fora at which all delegates have not only the privilege but the right to air their voices and be heard.
Three quarters have passed in the 2012-2013 fiscal year and as we look forward to finishing strong in Q4, we must also reflect on the challenges past and make projections for the future. And we need not do it alone in our small corner of a club or zone; let’s all do it together as a District. Make this Optimist International Caribbean District Convention 2013 a date for renewal and commitment.

Remember now, it is up to each one of us to make the difference; but we must work together because we know that together our children get not only more but better. That is why we should all be at OI-CDC 2013 ready to recharge, renew and recommit ourselves to ‘bringing out the best in kids’. Making a difference one child at a time!
The Optimist International Caribbean District Convention 2013 - OI-CDC 2013 - will run from August 23 - 25 at the Jewels Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort, St. Ann Jamaica. Highlights include the Installation ceremony for 2013-2014 Governor Nutilia Simon and her team which is a traditionally glitzy affair; leadership and development training for Presidents and Lieutenant Governors; and the always thought-provoking lively and informational general sessions.