Who are the Optimists?

Our positive approach, our upbeat outlook, and our commitment to creating a more optimistic future for our kids is what differentiates Optimist Clubs from any other volunteer opportunity.

Objectives of the Optimist Club

  • To develop optimism as a philosophy of life
  • To promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs
  • To inspire respect of 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.

Optimist International History

Optimist International traces its roots to 1911 when a group of businesspeople from Buffalo, New York, began meeting for lunch on a regular basis.

The club proved successful, and similar groups soon began in Syracuse and Rochester, New York.  In 1916, an Optimist Club was started in Indianapolis, independently of the New York groups.  Soon, clubs were founded in St. Louis, Denver, Louisville, Los Angeles, and other cities.

Optimist International was formed on June 19, 1919 when representatives of 11 Optimist Clubs met in Louisville, Kentucky.

Almost from the beginning, youth work has been a major focus of the organization.  Early Optimist Clubs started day camps and homes for delinquent youth, organized parent-child weeks, and sponsored Junior Optimist Clubs for young people.

In the 1970’s the Optimist International Organization adopted the motto “Friend of Youth”.

Optimist International Vision

Be recognized worldwide as an organization of people committed to optimism and self-development for the improvement of youth and community.

Optimist International Mission 

To foster an optimistic way of life for the improvement of individuals and society, through a network of optimists dedicated to ever-expanding service to its members, the youth, the community and the world.