|Mission, Vision and Purposes of Optimist International
|Mission: By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.
Vision: Optimist International will be recognized worldwide as the premier volunteer organization that values all children and helps them develop to their full potential.
Purposes: 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 the 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.
A Brief History of the Welland Optimist Club
The Welland Optimist Club was chartered in 1937 and has continually served the youth of Welland and surrounding areas up to the present. In our' inaugural year, the Welland Optimist Club built the Cross Street public wading pool which was in continuous use until the courthouse renovations of the 1990's.
During the war years, charter members Harry Diffin (former mayor) and Fred E. Coyne were instrumental in raising money to purchase chocolate bars for the children of Great Britain. This program which was started here in Welland soon spread all across Canada.
In 1945 the Welland Optimist Club started "Boys Town", later called "Kats Kavern" on Church Street, just off Aqueduct Street. It was a social club for youth which also provided training in sports. Today's Minor Baseball League and Minor Hockey League were born out of this service we provided. When the Welland Optimist Club sold this property in 1953-54, we donated $5,000 to the Y.M.C.A. so they could purchase the former Welland Legion building on East Main Street providing them with their first permanent home in Welland. In 1985 we donated a further $10,000 to help with upgrades to this building.
In 1951 the Welland Optimist Club built and raffled off a home on the corner of Edgar and Thorold Road. It's exterior was constructed of modern Crete (poured concrete slabs). This type of construction was considered ahead of its time then.
From 1953 to 1967 the Welland Optimist Club owned and operated a summer camp for underprivileged children. It was located at Morgan's Point on Lake Erie and was called "Camp Tomahawk".
For 15 to 20 years during the 1950's to 1960's the Welland Optimist Club sponsored the Sea Cadets in the old Armour building on Denistoun Avenue.
Until the early 1970's, the Welland Optimist Club also sponsored the local Air Cadets. Both organizations went on to become very successful.
The Welland Optimist Club sponsored the first Junior Curling Bonspiel as well as purchasing the first sets of junior rocks for the youth of this league. We continue to sponsor this curling event to this day. During this time we also supported the Welland Rowing Club by purchasing four and eight man rowing shells.
In the mid 1980's the Welland Optimist Club purchased the old Elmwood Elementary School which sat on 4.5 acres and was located at 70 Elmwood Avenue. Our main tenant at the time was St. Johns' Ambulance Organization. We had a soccer field and a baseball diamond which were in continuous use during those years.
In 2008 the Welland Optimist Club sold our facilities at 70 Elmwood Avenue and purchased our current club at 38 Patterson Avenue in Welland.
Our yearly "Optimist International" programs include Respect for Law, Bicycle Safety Week, Optimist Spelling Bee, Oratorical Contest and Youth Appreciation Week.
We continually sponsor and donate to; Youth sports, Scouting, Regional Youth Programs, City of Welland Summer Camp Programs, Annual Food Drive, Women's Place, Christmas Toys just to name a few. We have had a very active history in Welland and are looking forward to the future in this community by keeping true to our motto. "Friend of Youth".