Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Changing Times at OI

Here are a couple really cute videos that show both creativity and innovation in how we can share information and encourage dialogue:

Learn Strategies for Service from Successful Clubs

2014 Online Elections

Oh, by the way, the following link is not a video but we may want to start a discussion in our clubs and district:
Proposed Bylaws Amendments for 2014-2015

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Time for Optimist International Convention in the Caribbean

In 2018 when the Optimist International Convention takes place in Ottawa, Ontario it will be the 100th time that Optimists will gather for an annual general meeting. It will also mark the first time that the convention will be held in that city since Optimists started holding their annual convention in 1919 in that historic city of Louisville, Kentucky. That’s a great first in the making!
Over the near hundred years of Optimist gatherings several cities, and by extension Optimist districts, have had the benefit of hosting a convention. Among the cities are multiple hosts St Louis (6) and Montreal (5). The convention returns to New Orleans in 2015 for that city’s fourth time as host; its third since Optimism hit the shores of the Caribbean over three decades ago and its second since the Caribbean district was established in 1996. The 2014 convention gives Las Vegas the distinction of hosting two of its five international conventions during the lifetime of the Caribbean district.
Florida, the state and region with which the Caribbean would have had both close geographical proximity and administrative kinship has had only two of its cities hosting an OI Convention. Miami, arguably the southernmost major city of Florida, had its first of three in 1946 and its last more than four decades ago in 1969. Orlando had its first in 1981 and the third in 2009. In other words, it has been five years since the Convention headed so far south. 
I would have expected an even more southern trajectory especially in recent times. Actually, I think the time has long gone for a leap off the northern land mass and across to the islands in the Caribbean Sea. Surely, from a location perspective any one of the Caribbean member countries from The Bahamas down to Barbados could host an international convention. Look across the region and in all confidence, tell me that Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Jamaica or St Lucia does not have the physical and intellectual capacity to host an international gathering of Optimists.
Nowhere is there a perfect location. That’s a given. But the wide mix of modern, technologically cutting-edge and internationally competitive convention facilities available across the tourism, entertainment, and events management industries make us more than worthy of consideration. The Caribbean has the human resource and expertise to deliver the first-class experience expected of an international affair. The planning, organisation and direction skills within the Caribbean are unquestionably among the best in global convention services. And the region's ICT capabilities are consistent with global standards far outstripping many of the usual choices.
Ask international parliamentary groupings. Check with world religious confederations. Scan the experience of transnational financial alliances. Look to the multinational civic society and interest groups. The region has been and will continue to be a location of choice for many intercontinental affairs. Optimist International needs to be among those groupings that meet in the Caribbean too. I see no reason why OI should not be looking further south and specifically to the Caribbean. Well, only one minor weakness comes to mind and that could easily be resolved with planning - like all other aspects of events management.

Convention 2018 is settled. So too are convention locations for 2015 and 2016. But 2017 is not. In the normal scheme of things that is not much time; but it is an opportunity. If advocacy is needed then we have to start now. Caribbean Optimists must get into the habit of setting its own agenda. We need to be proactive. This is my way of putting this matter on the agenda and I encourage other Optimists to join the lobby.
I am calling for an international convention in the Caribbean if not for 2017 then certainly by 2020!