A group of area residents is starting an Optimist Club to “bring out the best in kids.”
A potential charter date of Wednesday, Dec. 18, has been established for the Wolf River Area Optimists.
“We will be able to say we have 15 people from the area who have proudly said they will dedicate themselves to being Optimists,” said Jennifer Moen.
She is among those who are working to start the local club.
Clubs are formed by people who want to help youth and communities.
While each Optimist Club is chartered as a member of Optimist International, each club operates autonomously.
That means clubs operate independently of each other.
They elect their own officers, raise their own funds and choose their own activities.
Their service activities are based on the needs of the communities they serve.
The purposes of a club include developing optimism as a philosophy of life, promoting an active interest in good government and civic affairs, promoting patriotism and encouraging the development of youth.
Fifteen people are necessary to charter a club.
Since late September, those interested in starting the Wolf River Area Optimists have been meeting weekly at Hotel Fremont.
Moen, who moved to the Fremont area about 15 months ago, has been among them.
“I was a member of the Plymouth Optimist Club. I was a member six years,” she said.
After moving here, Moen missed the civic involvement of the club and felt there was a need for an Optimist Club in this area.
Tri-Star Sports, Coats for Kids and Shopping with Santa were just a few of the programs she had been a part of as a member of that club.
“I felt this instant withdrawal,” she said of the civic projects she felt were now missing in her life.
The group she had belonged to had also donated equipment for the city’s park.
“That is what I had come from as a club. I was active. I enjoyed it,” Moen said. “I was proud to be involved. Moving up here and looking to find one, I found there wasn’t one here.”
She contacted the president of the Plymouth Optimist Club, who initially asked if she was going to rejoin that club.
Moen told him she thought an Optimist Club would be a great addition to this area.
Members of clubs from Two Rivers and Sheboygan are mentoring the Wolf River Optimists and will continue to guide the new club for a period of two years.
One of them is Mark Miller, the current governor of the Wisconsin North and Upper Michigan District.
Local resident Anne Casey knows Miller, and when he told her someone wanted to start an Optimist Club, she was unfamiliar with the mission of the clubs.
“It’s been a nice learning experience,” she said. “What impressed me is that once we get the club going, we can see the needs.”
Informational meetings are taking place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, at Hotel Fremont.
Those interested in learning about the club may attend a meeting or may also contact Moen at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 920-838-0527.
“We would like to eventually rotate the communities in which we hold the meetings,” she said.
That would include Fremont, Weyauwega, Tustin and Poy Sippi.
“We want input from people as to what they would like to see,” Casey said.
Rebecca Looker, who is also helping to start the club, said drama or music in the park is an idea for the summer.
Moen said there is also interest in a fisheree which would pair adults with children.
Businesses interested in the club and what it does but not wanting to commit to a membership may become a Friend of Optimists.
Moen is also the contact for that.
The Wolf River Area Optimists are partnering with the Fremont Neighborhood Watch Group, the Fremont Area Historical Society and Wega Arts.
“The sky is the limit, and you have fun doing it,” Moen said. “When you’re with like-minded people, it seems like you are almost unstoppable.”