Summer on the Mall- Christmas in July!

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This month’s Summer on the Mall theme of “Christmas in July” rang in a happy and festive note as the Whitewater Food Pantry received canned goods, as well as monetary donations.   During the event held at the James R. Connor University Center, Marianne Scott of the Whitewater Food Pantry received $286 donated by participants in various event activities.  Additionally, the check for $1,000 was presented from the UW-Whitewater/ Community Optimist Club, which was from the remaining proceeds from the annual “Optimist Trivia Night” in February 2017.  

Thanks to all who donated and participated in both events.  Generous donations will help the Whitewater Food Pantry continue to fulfill its mission during coming months.  Mark your calendars for the 2018 “Optimist Trivia Night,” scheduled for Friday, February 16, 2018.

For more information about the UW-Whitewater/Community Optimist Club, contact co-president Kim Adams at or 608-201-2151.


Delicious Gyros Are Almost Here!

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Hello fellow optimists!

The UW-Whitewater/ Community Optimist Club will be serving the best sought-after gyros in South Eastern Wisconsin at their Gyro Stand during the upcoming Whitewater Fourth of July Festival.

The festival will have a variety of carnival rides and games, so as you work up an appetite, come enjoy some of these well-known gyros! The gyros are freshly made with gyro meat, diced tomatoes, diced onions, and tzatziki sauce wrapped in a warm pita. The stand will also feature Pepsi products and Gatorade.

Proceeds from the gyro stand will help to promote youth activities in the Whitewater community. The UW-Whitewater Community Optimist Club works to connect campus and community, and aims to be a friend of the youth; Youth Appreciation Week, Breakfast with Santa, the Easter Egg Hunt are just some of many events that will benefit from the money raised at the Gyro Stand.

The club is always looking for new members and encourages those who are interested in helping the Whitewater community, to consider joining the efforts to help the youth. Membership information will be available at the stand.

The mouth-watering gyros will be served by the friendly optimists of the club during the times listed below. Come join us for a good time and some delicious food!

Gyro Stand Hours

June 30- 4:30pm-12:00am

July 1- 12:00pm- 12:00am

July 2- 12:00pm- 9:00pm

July 3- 5:00pm- 11:30pm

July 4- 11:00am- 11:00pm


Successful Optimist Free Fishing Day

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On Saturday, June 3, the UW-Whitewater/ Community Optimist Club sponsored a successful Free Fishing Day event, despite periods of rainy weather.

The turnout of this year’s Free Fishing Day was larger than in past years with over 40 children showing up with their families. Each young participant received a goody bag of supplies. Fishers were eager to get out to the water, and some even arrived well before the event start time. Although it did rain a couple of times during the morning, the event stayed afloat and people were out fishing again once it cleared up.

A prize drawing took place at the end of the event for children of all ages. Prizes included tackle boxes and handmade fishing poles by Al Hutcheson. He uses a technique called marble painting to decorate the fishing poles and they were the first of the prizes to get snatched up!

The Optimist Club had 18 volunteers at the event, with 18 Club members showing up to lend a helping hand. The Club offered food and drinks at the end of the morning and everyone had a great time at the Free Fishing Day. Keep an eye out for updates about our next event–the Gyro Stand will be held on June 30-July 4.


Lakeview Elementary Landscaping Project

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Hello Optimists!

Last month, the UW-Whitewater Student Optimist Club teamed up with a Service Learning and Leadership (SLLS) class taught by Kim Adams and Angie Alesci to help beautify the playground of Lakeview Elementary School.

The project was a great success, and together the groups created two landscaping beds, planted eight trees, and constructed two buddy benches for the playground.

The groups came together to understand the needs and wishes of principal Dave Brokopp and his staff. Those needs were fulfilled with the money raised from the 2017 Optimist Trivia Night, sponsored by the UW-Whitewater/Community Optimist Club and the UW-Whitewater Student Optimist Club. The groups removed sod, brought in mulch for planting, and worked to design and paint the buddy benches. John Zastrow and Chuck Lilla from the UW-W campus also volunteered their time to assist with the project.

The benches were constructed by Optimist Club member Wes Therrian. Students from the after-school program at Lakeview helped the college students decorate them with paint and handprints. The principal, students and teachers were very pleased with the finished product.Proceeds from the 2018 Optimist Trivia Night will be contributed to the Whitewater Middle School.



brothers on the bench

Two brothers and a friend, sitting on a completed buddy bench.

 students and planting beds

Student Learning and Leadership (SLLS) class behind a new landscaping bed.

 john bright yellow

John Zasgtrow (middle) and UW-Whitewater students creating a landscaping bed.

lakeview students builiding bench

UW-Whitewater and Lakeview students working together to decorate a Buddy Bench.

oak tree planting

Service Learning and Leadership (SLLS) class behind a newly planted oak tree.

girls on the bench

Four Lakeview students sitting on a Buddy Bench they helped create.

chuck working on tree

UW-Whitewater student (left) and Chuck Lilla (right) planting a tree at Lakeview.

students and bench

UW-Whitewater students behind a newly finished Buddy Bench.

Come Join us for a Day of Free Fishing!

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Hello Optimists!

This Saturday, June 3, is the Free Fishing Day sponsored by the UW-Whitewater/ Community Optimist Club. Join us for a morning of fishing at Trippe Lake Park from 9am-12pm. This event is for people of all ages, but people ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

No fishing experience is needed but those with more advanced fishing skills are invited to bring their knowledge to help others. At this event, you will learn how to cast a lure, tie a lure and more! It’s a great opportunity to get your pole in the water and learn about fishing!

There will also be a free hot dog cookout lunch, with refreshments at the end of the morning. Saturday’s forecast is looking a little rainy, but we will not cancel the event unless it is storming. We will update you on the status of the event, on Saturday morning according to weather conditions. To stay updated with the event, check out our blog and the UW-Whitewater Community Optimist Club Facebook page. Keep your fingers crossed for nothing but sunshine!

Fishing poles will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own if you have one. Bring the sunshine with you and hope to see you there!

fishing day pic dad and son


Optimist, Week 28

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Greetings Optimists,

April showers bring May flowers. We are hopeful that May will bring some Spring-like experiences, including warmth!

There is a Club meeting on Tuesday, 5/2/2017 at 12:00 PM in UC 259A. It is with great excitement that will induct both Robin Fox and Lori Heidenreich as new members. Let’s have a terrific turnout and demonstrate that “Optimism” is alive and well. Also, Dave has lined up Kristine Wallace of the Rock River Free Clinic as our guest speaker. It is always good to hear about community-based services.

At our Wednesday evening meeting this past week our two interns shared their goals and the progress they made in their personal learning as well as highlights from their experience as Optimist interns. Thank you Anne and Kayla for your great work! Announcements about summer and fall interns will be made later this week. At our Wednesday meeting, we discussed at least five other topics—the Fishing Derby, the Gyro Stand, Baseball Playoffs, Jefferson County Fair, and upcoming Optimist scholarships/awards.

Al is requesting help from our membership for the Fishing Derby. Shopping for hot dogs, chips and soda as well as staffing the event are among the tasks. Please check in with Al and let him know how you would like to be involved. (I, Angie, have signed up to grill the hot dogs and to make sure participants get fed. Rick has contacted the DNR for fishing pamphlets, etc. Mike will assemble our participant “Goody bags.” Our intern Anne designed our flyer. Thanks one and all!).

The Gyro Stand will be staffed by our Club at the Fourth of July community celebration. Thank you Duane, Rick and Dave for launching the ordering, sign-ups, etc. We now have the dates and hours for the event. Please watch for details soon. It’s not too early to check your schedules! Thank you to Jan and Jeanine for working on a news release about our Club and the Gyro Stand.

We have been asked to staff the Baseball Playoffs held at UW-Whitewater in May. Signup sheets will be made available soon. Mark your calendars for May 17-21. This is an unexpected opportunity to raise funds to assist with our youth programming. “Take me out to the ballgame . . . “ See you there! Therese is also asking for Optimist Award/Scholarship presenters for May 15 at 8:25am (at WHS) and May 23 from 6:30pm – 8:00pm (also at WHS). Can anyone help out?

Our Club has agreed to staff the Jefferson County Fair on Wednesday, July 12 for “Kids’ Day.” Watch emails for further details—and again, make your calendars.

One other item of discussion this past Wednesday was Club officers. Are you willing to serve in a leadership role? Who could you invite to join our Club—or to take a leadership role in the Club? In the film “The American President,” the character Lewis says to his president: “People want leadership . . . They’re so thirsty for it, they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.” It is a strong statement about what happens in the absence of leadership. Would you consider taking a role in our Club leadership? We are still looking for a president for 2017-18. That said, we are very excited that Janay Alston has agreed to serve as President Elect in 2017-18! Thank you, Janay!

That is “This week in Optimism.”

Angie & Kim :)

Optimist, Week 27

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Happy Spring, Optimists,

What a beautiful day!

Here are a few quick updates:

1) We have a noon meeting this Tuesday in UC 259A. It will be a catered meal. Courtney Nelson (from Downtown Whitewater) will be our guest speaker.

2) We are needing to put together a slate of officers for 2017-18. Thank you to Cort, Susan and Joyce for saying yes to joining/continuing as board members for the new Optimist year. We are still in need for volunteers for several other positions, including that of president/co-president. Please contact Kim or Angie if you would be willing to serve on the Board.

3) Congratulations and welcome to Lori Heidenreich for being our newest member! We look forward to seeing Lori at a meeting in the near future. We are hoping to induct Lori and Robin Fox on Tuesday, May 2.

4) This past Tuesday, the Board voted to donate $250 to the Campus Memory Garden in memory of all deceased members of the UW-Whitewater/Community Optimist Club. More info to come in the neat future.

5) This is a reminder that our Club is not sponsoring the City-wide rummage sale this year. This has been communicated to the Chamber and to Jim Stewart.

6) The Board also voted not to be involving other youth groups to help staff the 4th of July Gyro Stand. Rather, we will staff the booth more efficiently and will count on our members, as well as the Octagon members and UW-W Student Optimists to assist with the fundraiser. Dave Halbach will be following up with other event helpers, starting a sign up sheet, and contacting the 4th of July Committee to confirm our participation.

7) Last Monday, we delivered over 100 birthday items to the Whitewater Food Pantry. This included 67 completely wrapped and stuffed shoe boxes. Thank you to those who donated time and product to this service project. The workers at the Food Pantry were very grateful to receive the donations.

8) We will be holding 4 landscaping work sessions at Lakeview Elementary on Tuesday, April 25; Thursday, April 27; as well as Tuesday, May 2 and Thursday May 4 (all from 4pm – 8pm). If you would like to help out, please contact Kim or Angie. We will need all of the helping hand we can get for this project. Some of the money from Trivia Night will be used for this project.

9) Next Wednesday, April 26, our Club meeting will be held at 5pm at Jessica’s. Our interns (Anne and Kayla) will be our guest speakers. Please plan on joining us!

10) Speaking of our Optimist Interns, we sill be interviewing several candidates for summer and fall positions (in the coming weeks).

That’s it for now. Enjoy your week–and “Just Keep Smiling!”

Kim and Angie :)

Optimist, Week 26 (Revised)

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Happy Sunday, Optimists,

Thank you to all Club members, Student Optimists, Kayla (our intern), and other community volunteers who helped to facilitate our Annual Optimist Easter Egg Hunt yesterday at the Middle School. A special thank you to Connie Murray for chairing the event and to her stepson for serving as our Easter Bunny. We had beautiful weather, a record turn out, and three news photographers there to cover the event. Watch for a story on the Whitewater Banner and in local papers. In the meantime, enjoy the group photo I have attached.

We do not have a Club meeting this week. Rather, we have a Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 11 at 12pm in UC 268. I will send an agenda by tomorrow evening. Please let me know if you can not participate (in person or via phone). Right now, I know of only one member who can not be there.

Angie and I are starting to work on the slate of officers for next year. Thank you to those who have said YES so far and to those who are considering a position on the Board!

In addition, thank you to those who contributed to the Birthday Box Project for the Whitewater Food Pantry. If anyone is interested in helping to stuff and label the boxes, we will be working with the Service Learning and Leadership students tomorrow from 8:30am – 10:00am in UC 259A&B. Many hands make light work–so please know we would gladly take any member’s assistance.

Another volunteer opportunity for Community Optimists, Student Optimists and Service Learning students will be to help with landscaping work sessions at Lakeview Elementary on April 25 and April 27, May 2 and May 4 from 4pm to 8pm. More information to come soon. In the meantime, feel free to contact Angie or me if you are interested in helping.

Our meeting schedule for the next few weeks is as follows:
Tuesday, April 11–Board Meeting, UC 268
Tuesday, April 18–Cub Meeting, 12pm, UC 259A (Guest Speaker: Courtney Nelson, Discover Whitewater; Youth of the Month)
Wednesday, April 25–Club Meeting, 5pm, Jessica’s Restaurant (Guest Speakers: Anne and Kayla on their work as Optimist Interns)
Tuesday, May 2–Club Meeting, 12pm, UC 259A (Induction of New Members; Guest Speaker TBD)

Angie and I will share key points from our Board meeting within the next week. There are a few important decisions that the Board will need to make this week.

Lastly, please note that our Club is the featured business for the Whitewater Chamber this week. Check out the Chamber’s web site for more details! They promoted our Easter Egg Hunt and offered to feature several Club photos.

Thank you for your commitment to being Optimists, and as always–“Just keep smiling!”

Kim and Angie :)

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