Celebrating 25 Years of Optimism in Collingwood
In September of 1986, at the Collingwood Curling Club, the largest charter club (72 members strong) in Optimist History was formed. That summer our founders from Barrie worked very hard with local business leaders, factory workers, tradesmen and professionals to fashion a club that was devoted to the needs of the kids in the area, and optimism was a vehicle to make that happen.
As a club, from our charter party forward, we put little emphasis on fulfilling the programs of Optimist International except for those that were needed such as Bike Safety, Junior Golf and the HOBY Leadership Program. But we did evaluate and recognize the needs of the community.
With virtually no music program in the community we started an instrumental music program which has become renowned throughout Canada. Summer sports activities were limited in the community so we began Optimist Youth Soccer, a program that grew to 1,500 strong. Optimist Kids Fish Day came out of that same assessment. We even attempted to provide an option for youth housing, to supply a need to the homeless teens in the community. We have funded the creation of soccer fields and two parks, “Optimist Harbourview Park” and “Fisher Field Soccer Centre”.
What did it take to make these services happen? Money, or as we like to say in the club, FUN Raising. Building and managing the Kids Kitchen, Selling tickets on Boats and Cars, Bingo, Selling Christmas Trees, creating LOBSTERFEST into a “happening”, were all early investments of our time in service to assist in financing youth projects. More recently it has been the “The Mother of all Yard Sales”, Break open Tickets, Oktoberfest dances, “The World Bed Race Championships” and our anniversary event “The Man Show”.
Events and a purpose are required to make a service club work. It is working members having fun at the job, growing in leadership and seeing the results of their labour that make the club a vibrant organization. As we celebrate our 25th year we invite you to join and help create the next 25 years of history.