Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

FROM GOVERNOR BARBARA...                                                                                                         

“The year is gone, beyond recall,
With all its hopes and fears,
With all its bright and gladdening smiles,
and … with some mourners’ tears.”

...So now we look to the future! 
The year 2015 is before us or in Optimist terms we might say that a brand new quarter is ahead of us. We have an opportunity to evaluate, to regroup, to plan. Let’s embrace our unique talents and potential as we continue to make young lives and our own lives better.
The good news is that many of our clubs have grown over the last few months. A total of 42 new club members and 4 FOOs are now part of the Caribbean District Family. We lost no clubs in the first quarter and had the absolute pleasure of welcoming a new club. We started with 52 and we are now a family of 53 Caribbean Clubs.
We have every reason to be proud of ourselves and many reasons to challenge each other to do even better. 
Congrats to those who embraced Treez2015. Remember that the second quarter is all about “The JOOI of reading TOGETHER”.
May the spirit of love and compassion that you shared so willingly during the Christmas season remain with us all as we interact with each other throughout 2015.
I remain proud to be the Governor of this great Caribbean District.
Happy New Year!

Governor Barbara 

FROM GOVERNOR-ELECT PATRICK...                                                                                            
THE REFLECTIONS are abounding. So too, are the resolutions.
Whatever our choices may be for the New Year, I do hope we renew our essence of Optimism – positive thoughts and action that open new pathways for our children to experience a healthy, happy and good life.
With the advent of the New Year come even greater opportunities for us to build on the lessons of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. I am confident that success awaits each one of us as individuals; and collectively in our Optimist clubs, zones and district.
Let us embrace the warmth of Optimism within us; let us march to the positive beats of Optimism around us; and let the New Year be a year of Blessings for the children of the Caribbean and the world.
Bonne année et bonne santé! ¡Feliz año nuevo! Happy New Year!

GE Patrick

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Building a culture of leadership development... now!

IN MY first official comment as Governor Elect, I took the opportunity to remind people that we Optimists are people who make things happen. I argued then, that by the very nature of the word, Optimism means it is always time for action. 
Here is a quotation from the incredible body of work by Christian D. Larson that I believe ties a couple tenets of the Optimist Creed with the need to ACTION those tenets. Larson says, The true optimist not only expects the best to happen, but goes to work to make the best happen. The true optimist not only looks upon the bright side, but trains every force that is in him to produce more and more brightness in his life…
The ways in which Optimists go about producing more and more brightness in our lives include creating programmes that serve children, because they are indeed our sunshine. It is also  about recruiting more people to become Optimists, not merely because we want to increase our numbers, but because we know that more hands help us serve more children.
As Optimists, we dare not forget that everything we do today is in the hope that tomorrow will be better; and so we must do what it takes to keep the brightness going and spreading. We dare not forget either, that our strength is dependent on the quality of our members, the reach of our programmes, as well as our culture of leadership development.
Nothing becomes a way of life overnight. If we want a culture of good strong leadership we must build it. We must be constant in doing the things that will perpetuate an environment in which good strong leadership will emerge and be practiced. It is in that vein that I call on Caribbean Optimists to identify our future leaders, now! 
Every good organisation, whether they have short or long term leadership changes, makes the effort to ensure that its new leaders are able to hit the ground running. From the very start of their tenure the leaders must be ready. We as Optimists are no different. In fact, Optimist International expects and encourages a smooth and seamless transition from one administrative year to the next. That is why the mechanisms are in place for early identification of future leaders.
President-Elect Dave (fourth left) with his 'assistant coaches'
at the recent VP-Elect Training including
Southeaster region VP-Elect James Adams (l)
One tried, tested and proven approach to achieving a seamless transition is the officer-elect post. The practice is clearly evident at the international level. The President-elect, Vice presidents-elect, and Governor-elect are all identified up to 15 months before his or her administrative year. That timing guarantees the incoming officers a full transition year to understudy the incumbent, to grasp the magnitude of their jobs, and to plan and project with a team that will support the mission of making Optimist International the best voluntary service organisation in the world. 
Simply put, the officer-elect post highlights four critical elements of leadership transition:
  1. It allows for specific training activities at the local, regional and international levels;
  2. It facilitates  active participation in the organisation’s administrative processes;
  3. It provides invaluable opportunities for self-directed learning and planning; and
  4. It supports the promotion of good governance and democratic ideals within our own movement.
We have all heard the stories of clubs and zones coming to the end of their administrative year, and no one is making himself or herself available to lead. The negative consequences of identifying the incoming officers too late in the year are evident; and so we won’t dwell on them. As Optimists, we identify the weaknesses of the past merely as a platform for moving on to the greater achievements; and so I wish to underscore the tremendous worthiness and benefits of early nomination, selection and election of our leaders at all levels. Again these benefits include:
  • EARLY TRAINING in the areas of responsibilities to be undertaken;
  • SUSTAINED PLANNING that benefits from active consultation with members;
  • TEAM BUILDING  on the strengths of  engaging members individually and collectively in the process; 
  • EXPOSURE to the various levels of human, technical and informational expertise and resources that the Optimist movement is known to possess. 
In this Step by Step year 2014 – 2015, it is my wish that all officers-elect in our great Caribbean District (presidents-elect, Lieutenant Governors-elect and Governor-elect) will benefit from not only an increased number of training activities; but more extensive training. I would like to see greater networking and planning across the zones and clubs. Planning is a most effective foundation for proper communication. I would like to see even more cohesive teams understanding, appreciating and working together for the collective well-being of our children, our members, and the District. TEAM... I would like to see those with experience encouraging and building up those who are coming on board as new leaders and new members. And, I know other Optimists want to see these things too.
Of course, it cannot happen overnight and neither can I do it alone. But, we know it can happen, and will happen with your support. Therefore, as individual Optimists in your clubs and zones, I appeal to your sense of hope, your belief in our collective abilities, your confidence in the brightness of our future, and your commitment to the tenets of the Optimist Creed to let us together work at getting our officers-elect in place with the urgency of now
Let us together build a culture of leadership development and sustainability in our clubs, zones and district as part of making our organisation the best it can be. As Christian D. Larson encourages, let us together go to work to make the best happen.

Optimist Patrick
Optimist International Caribbean District.
Step by Step...2014-15

"Bim rocks Optimism" - GE Patrick

THE SECOND of two first quarter district meetings in the Step by Step year of Governor Barbara Arrindell unfolded at the 3Ws Oval on the UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on October 25, 2014. As was the case in Kingston, the organizers promised difference and surely they delivered.

The great Caribbean District of Optimist International is indeed formidable in so many ways.

I want to give thanks for the opportunity afforded me to share in the experience with such ease and comfort. You are all awesome people and I am so happy to be an Optimist. Thanks to my friend and brother, PIVP Adrian and family for being such gracious hosts (and now family). My BaJam sister, PIVP Carol, your special care and attention to my personal growth and involvement as an Optimist continue to be simply inspirational. JOOI Co-Chair Ann, you know I love you even more! Jordis and I are forever grateful to all of you.

Secondly, to all the leaders in your neck of the woods - from Governor Barbara to club presidents Darshani, Laura, Cameron, Allison, Leo, Mercile, Katrina and your representatives at the meeting; and from DST Jason to all club secretary-treasurers, directors and chairpersons - thank you all for sitting in the driver's seat at this time. You are deeply appreciated. I am confident that you are going to have a distinguished year. GA Barry and LTGs Pat and Margaret, you guys and your planning and operation teams are simply and marvelously efficient at what you do. Thanks. PGs Adrian, Carol and Joe, as well as IPG Nutilia, it means a lot that your presence and insight continue to be seen and felt. 

Finally, I just want to share my notes from the meeting (almost as they were taken). Here we go:

Punctuality is an indicator of respect and value for others. Business-like. Engaging. Entertaining. Enlightening. Fun. Fellowship. Feeling Good. Friends. 

Optimists are serious people - serious about the business of service. Optimists are service people - serving the best we can regardless of the circumstance. Optimists are for the children - there is a child out there somewhere who needs us now, not tomorrow, but now. Optimists are builders of the future - ask Adriana, Firhana, and all the Junior Optimists who are becoming leaders in their own right! Jevanni Waugh!! Optimists are fun people - throw us an opportunity for play and it is off the chain! Pride!!

Good meeting. Great presentations. Humor. Hospitality. Happy. Honor.

Leadership. Moving Forward. Planning and Communication. Regrouping. Sensitivity in Service. Teamwork. The Future is Bright. Sustainability of quality is about recruiting quality. Training. Training.Training! Let us get it done and done early and right.

If you don't pay, you can't play! Money matters. What about a resolution at OI Convention on the tier-system given the economic realities and diversities across the Caribbean? A surplus, yeah!!!

Table sessions. Panel discussion. What is that signature activity or project that will make everyone say, Optimists!? PR is more than just the media and the public out there; it is also about Optimists knowing what we do as Optimists. Cherish the experience of those who share lessons. Use the lessons of strengths that come from sharing our projects with each other. Right Optimist Richelle and VP Yvette! 

Courtesy. Respect. Protocol. Robert's Rules. SURPRISE!!! Sweet.

Thank you all for making the weekend in Barbados such a memorable one for me on a personal level as I marked my 25@50 milestone. Thank you all for making the weekend in Barbados so productive, meaningful, and motivating for me as your GE. Thank you for making the weekend in Barbados one of pure Optimism! 

I wish for you and your families and teams at work, in the clubs, the zones and district absolutely nothing but the best.

I was delighted to have been in attendance; but in the final analysis it is even more delightful to be able to declare that, Bim rocks with Optimism!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where do the children play?

AS OPTIMISTS we are committed to improving the welfare of our children. The mission of Optimism is simple and direct in its declaration: By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.
On this Universal Children's Day, celebrated on November 20 each year, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon reminds us of a simple fact.
The one thing all children have in common is their rights. Every child has the right to survive and thrive, to be educated, to be free from violence and abuse, to participate and be heard. These are innate human rights as inalienable as those held by adults. (Ban Ki-Moon, Nov 2014)
It is not only our children's right to be protected, however; it is our duty to make sure that they are. It is our responsibility to ensure that our children have safe places to learn and play and grow happily together. Every opportunity must be provided for them to realize their full and true potential. We all as adult human beings embrace our duty and stand up for the future today.
There are many ways to make a positive difference in the lives of our children. Here are just a few:
Become a mentor
Adopt a child
Contribute to a children's fund
Join an organization that supports children
Volunteer to share your many and varied gifts with the children at a schools, church, children's home.
Let us continue to lift up our children and be the best wind beneath their wings helping them to soar to the many heights of their true potential. Our children are god's gift to remind us of our humanity. Let us love, care, guide and protect them as best we can. After all, as Nelson Mandela says, There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The JOOI of Optimism in Barbados

A young Optimist Adriana
Stirred our souls
With a voice so fine
It was more than a 'feeling good' start
To a day that was truly fun
Filled with passion and sensitivity
Fellowship and sincerity.
Our children need us -
Fostering a child is one great way.
Service is still relevant -
Societies fail if we do not rise today
For tomorrow's better
We  must as Optimists show we care
To listen, to respect, counsels Firhana.

What a JOOI filled time to be
Gathered together for introspection
To remind ourselves of a philosophy
That teaches us always to do the best, we can
Produce more and more brightness
In and for all our lives
Try hope, optimism, yes, positivity!

Step by Step... moving onward and upward.

Thanks to all seven clubs of zones 12 and 13, their presidents and secretary-treasures, and especially, Lieutenant Governors Patricia and Margaret. You all did an awesome job in front and behind the scenes. The first quarter Barbados meeting will not soon be forgot.
A lot of opportunity for fellowship was created. So too opportunities for dealing with issues of importance to the district. GA Barry and JOOI Co-chairs in Barbados, Optimist Ann and Optimist Yvette, you guys are making such an impact on the young people of our region.
Past International Vice Presidents Carol Haynes and Adrian Elcock as well as IPG Nutilia Simon, the district can only be better with your support. Members do value your contribution and we hope you will continue to be there for all Optimists.
Big Ups to Governor Barbara and District Secretary-Treasurer Jason. It was a weekend of sharing, engagement and clean lively humor to which you all added your bit of special touch.
DST Jason, LtG Patricia and LtG Margaret

GE Patrick, IPG Nutilia, Gov Barbara
Club president Darshani, DST Jason
and LTG Margaret

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Leaders Forum 2014-15

Optimist International Caribbean District Leaders

Barbara Arrindell
Optimist Club of St John's Antigua

Patrick Prendergast
Governor Elect
Sunset Optimist Club of Liguanea

Nutilia Simon
Immediate Past Governor
Optimist Club of St John's Antigua

Jason Gilead
District Secretary-Treasurer
Optimist Club of St John's Antigua

Jenelle Morgan
Governor, JOOI Caribbean District
 Octagon Club of Immaculate 

Optimist International Leaders

Ken Garner
International President
Optimist Club of Fort Worth-Breakfast East, TX

Dave Bruns
International President-Elect
White Lakes Optimist Club of Topeka, KS

Ron Huxley
Immediate Past President
Optimist Clubs of Ausable-Port Franks, ON and Jeffersonville, IN

Javanni Waugh
JOOI President

Deanna Morrow
International Vice President, Southeast Region 
Optimist Clubs of Carrollton and Optimist Xpress, GA

James Adams
 International Vice President-Elect, Southeast Region

Caribbean Leaders 
Serving on International Committees

PIVP Sonia Anderson
New Club Building
Optimist Club of St. Ann's Bay

PIVP Carol Haynes
Optimist Club of Barbados, Bridgetown

PIVP Adrian Elcock
Audit and Finance
Optimist Club of Barbados, Bridgetown

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Second Q1 District Meeting Set for Barbados

THE SECOND Caribbean district meeting for the first quarter of the Optimist International year is scheduled to unfold on Saturday October 25, 2014 at the incredible site named in honor of three magnificent West Indian cricketers, The 3Ws Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Following on the successful unorthodox meeting at Hope Gardens in St Andrew, Jamaica, the planners of the Barbados gathering are promising unmatched fellowship and club changing workshops for the large number of Optimists expected to attend.
Governor Barbara Arrindell (St Johns, Antigua), Governor-Elect Patrick Prendergast (Sunset Liguanea) and District Secretary-Treasurer Jason Gillead (St Johns, Antigua) are all looking forward to an awesome weekend of Optimism in the Eastern Caribbean.
Immediate past Governor Nutilia G. Simon and Past International Vice Presidents Carol Jacobs and Adrian Elcock are also expected to join the zones 11 to 13 Optimists for their first major gathering in the Step by Step year. The weekend programme will culminate with a church service at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church and a tree planting ceremony at the AC Graham Centre on Sunday, October 26.
The 3W's Oval is located on the grounds of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus and is a tribute to Barbadian cricketers Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes whose positive attitude on and off the field of play brought glory and hope to the region.

8:30 am


8: 50 am
Opening Session 

9:30 am
Guest Presentation
"Fostering Children" with Julia Davis (Barbados Child Care Board)

10:15 am
Workshop 1
"Money Matters" with DST Jason

11:20 am
Town Hall Panel Discussion
"Are Service Clubs a Thing of the Past?"

12:00 noon
Lunch with Governor & DST 

12:30 pm
Luncheon Speaker - GE Patrick
"Future Leaders Wanted NOW"

1:15 pm
NOW 101... New Optimists Welcome Programme

2:00 pm
General Session - Be Not Afraid!

3:00 pm
Closing Remarks

Regular & Onsite Registration Adult: US$35.00

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hope Springs from the Gardens

Hope Springs from the Gardens

Embraced by the awesome splendor
Of towering flowering trees and lush green hills;
Set against a backdrop of clear Blue Mountain sky,
The spirit of Caribbean Optimism finds retreat
In the beautiful arms of Hope Gardens.

Giving thanks and praises,
Voices of hope are raised on high:
Learning and sharing, the future springs forward;
With fun and laughter, the unity of Optimism finds new energies
On the knowledge wings of a sound and glorious past.

Return then to your bases, oh Ambassadors we are,
And convert the big dreams to small acts that will last;
Lead with purpose, oh servants of goodwill,
In the name of our blessed children,
Make the hope of Optimism footprints of the faithful.

© Patrick Prendergast
This poem was inspired by the first quarter district meeting of Caribbean Optimists held at Hope Gardens in St Andrew, Jamaica on Sunday, October 5, 2014. 
Chaired by Governor Barbara Arrindell and with engaging workshops led by PIVP Shirley Jarrett and DST Jason Gillead, the meeting had a number of youth and adult Optimists from Zones 1 - 11 engaged in fun, learning, and camaraderie with a difference. 
Another Q1 meeting is scheduled for Bridgetown, Barbados on October 25.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Treez2015 off and running

GOVERNOR ELECT of Optimist International Caribbean District, Patrick Prendergast planted his first seedling for the Treez2015 district project at Ardenne Preparatory in St Andrew on Wednesday, October 1.

GE Patrick was joined by his daughter, Jordis in planting a Pride of Barbados seedling in one of the school’s green areas just outside of the classrooms.

A second seedling was planted by grade 3 teacher, Ms. Patcine Findlator and her students. They planted a Poui (Tabebuia) which is famous for its magnificent yellow, pink or white blooms around Easter time. 

The teacher and students have promised to care for these seedlings and to track their growth into the brilliant trees they should become.

Treez2015 is an initiative of Governor Barbara Arrindell to kick start the Optimist year with something that is both symbolic of growth and demonstrable of our concern for the future. Involving children is both a demonstration of our commitment to the future and positive motivation for children to think about the preservation of the environment.

The target is to plant Two Thousand and Fifteen (2015) trees by January 1, 2015 across all the Caribbean territories in which Optimist clubs are located.

The project comes at an opportune time as Jamaica will observe its annual National Tree Planting Day on Friday, October 3, 204. Optimists and their junior counterparts will participate in activities planned for several schools across the country.

Optimist Doreen (Sunset Liguanea)
with students and teacher at Ardenne Preparatory
Seedlings for the projects are available at the Forestry Department’s nurseries for either free or at minimal costs.

See more Treez2015 activities here:

Happy New Year, Optimists!

OCTOBER 1 marks the start of a new year for us as Optimists; but even while we embark on new beginnings we must seamlessly carry on the work of bringing hope and Optimism to the world. 

Over the last year we have demonstrated as a District that indeed we have what it takes to serve our children and serve them well. I take this opportunity to acknowledge and applaud Immediate Past Governor Nutilia Simon and her team for a tremendous 2013-2014. Good job, good job!

In the coming year we must take service to even newer levels. The theme for the 2014-2015 year is Step by Step. This is a call to move forward and upward in confidence that one step at a time we can and will reach our set goals. 

Commendation to Governor Barbara Arrindell and the 2014-2015 team for taking on the duties and responsibilities of leading our great Caribbean District at this time. I pledge my support both as a member of the team and as an Optimist. We are all in this thing together and surely, together we can achieve great things.

Congratulations also to all incoming club presidents, secretary-treasurers, officers and directors. Clubs are the heartbeat of our movement. Success at the club level is critical to the well-being of the District and Optimist International. I encourage you therefore to embrace your role in full assurance that your clubs will perform beyond expectations.

As we embark on this first leg of the 2014-2015 Optimist year, I am reminded that a fundamental purpose of Optimism is “to aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world”.

Let us without hesitation then, as Optimists should, strive always to make things happen for and with the children we pledge to serve; seek to light candles of hope, compassion and understanding; and remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfilling the vision of Optimism as “the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential”.

As volunteers we have many projects and activities competing for our limited time, energy and money; but having decided to serve, we must always be true to the best that is in us. Christian D. Larson, the author of our brilliant Optimist Creed says, “Be all that you are or can be today, and you will live in a fairer world tomorrow”.

Happy New Year Caribbean Optimists!

Patrick Prendergast
Governor Elect (2014-2015)
Optimist International Caribbean District

Friday, September 26, 2014

Second Call for Q1 District Meeting

It's a Friends and Family Optimist Meeting
Sunday 5th October

8:45 am    
Praise and Worship

9:45 am    
1st General Session

10:15 am  
Workshop 1

11:15 am
Workshop 2

12:00 noon     Lunch

1:00 pm
District Olympics
Team BLUE - Zones 1 & 2 and all affiliated JOOI clubs
Team RED - Zones 3 & 4 and all affiliated JOOI clubs
Team YELLOW - Zones 5 & 6, and all affiliated JOOI clubs
Team WHITE - Zones 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,12 & 13 and all affiliated JOOI clubs              

Cricket: 2 overs-a-side cricket match... Each person is allowed to face no more than 4 balls. DominoesTrack & Field... and much more!

2:15 pm
NOW Programme

3:30 pm
Workshop 3

4:15 pm
Closing session

4:45 pm
Board Meeting

Registration (includes lunch and drinks throughout the day)
Early Bird Adult: US$30.00 (extended to September 29)
Early Bird JOOI & College: US$18.00 (extended to September 29)
Regular & Onsite Registration Adult: US$36.00 (after Sept 29th)
Regular & Onsite Registration JOOI: US$26.00 (after Sept 29th)