The Port Colborne Optimist Club is part of an an association of over 3,000 Optimist Clubs around the world dedicated to “Bringing Out the Best in Kids.” Optimist Clubs conduct positive service projects in their communities, aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best they can be.
Each Optimist Club determines the needs of the young people in its community and conducts programs to meet those needs. Every year, Optimists around the world conduct 65,000 service projects and serve well over six million young people.
To develop Optimism as a philosophy of life utilizing the tenets of the Optimist Creed; to promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs; to inspire respect for law; to promote patriotism, and work for international accord and friendship among all people; 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.
After the original group folded in the early 70’s, the Optimist Club of Port Colborne was re-organized in our city by the Fort Erie Optimist club, and received its charter in September 1986. George Sutherland, their past president, is now remembered by the George Sutherland Optimist Memorial Scholarship presented annually to students graduating from Port Colborne High School and Lakeshore Catholic High School.
The club and its members are involved in numerous youth and community programs.
A few non-comprehensive examples include:
- Youth Appreciation Week, where we showcase youths in the community who are actively involved with making Port Colborne a better place to live.
- With the assistance of First Books Canada, we are able to donate hundreds of books to encourage reading by students in our public schools.
- March Break, we sponsor a Free Skate at the Vale Community Centre
- The club runs the Bike Rodeo at the Fire Hall during the Annual Community Safety Week.
- 2023 sees us adopting the annual Kids Fishing Derby. More to come on that.
The club also organizes and puts on the annual Optimist Day in the Park / Canada Day activities on July 1st., where we showcase Canada’s Birthday and put on free youth-oriented events for the whole family. A fun, no-cost family day with craft vendors, animal displays, rides and fun for the kids.
The club supports a number of local organizations with monetary donations to their causes.
As none of this can be done without funds, the Club holds annual Girls Night Out and Murder Mystery fundraisers. Members also sell 50/50 tickets during the weekly Cruise Nights held over the summer in downtown Port Colborne. The club holds a large craft show at Vale Community Centre during Port Colborne’s annual Canal Days Festival and a Craft Show and Penny Sale before Christmas.
We also assist the Lion’s Club with their Annual Carnival and put on the Annual Community Living Christmas Dinner.
As you can see, we like to keep busy. We always need volunteers and new members. Membership is open to anyone over the age of 18 years.
For more information on Optimist International go to their web site: https://optimist.org