I love being a member of the Optimist Club of Prince Albert, for the last 30+ years. Optimist International Clubs are service clubs which focus on helping the youth of the community, which in turns helps the community as a whole, for the last 100 years.
My Dad had been a active member until he passed away in 1982, and us kids always helped at Optimist projects the the P.A. Exhibition Food Booth (serving customers and collecting money) and the the P.A. Winter Festival Country North Show Canteen (selling potato chips, popcorn and such on the floor). So I already knew many members, there are always those number of members that Optimistism was a way of life. Great friends and mentors, many passed away now, like Stan Danbrook, Ralph Smith, Phil Samson, Del Anderson, Clem Kent and Arleigh Rogers, but many still around like Henry Hanson, Vince Parker, Roger Williams and Kris Eggum (an International Vice President) and quite a few that have moved away. Many strong friends still in the club. Our club is spoiled with having an amazing Bagpiper and retired School Band teacher in our club Dave Monette, and we have a bagpiper for all occasions and an excellent Burns Supper in Jan. every year.
I joined in 1986, just after I came back from my first year at University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture. During this University time, I was only home on the weekends and during the summer, but once I finished University, I got very involved with the club, being President in 1994-95, chairing the Bingo Committee, Finance, Bylaws, OptiMart, Website, Communications and many other projects. I was the Lt. Governor for Zone 7 (Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Lloydminster) 1996-97. As our club is part of a larger International District of Albert, Saskatchewan, Montana and Northern Wyoming (AMS&NW), on the few International Districts that cross borders, and now I have friends "across the line". Clubs travel to convention held around the District every quarter. Our club hosts conventions for the District from time to time, this last one was in Aug. 2018, which was a lot of fun, as the Governor Stuart Matice was game and we raised a few hundred dollars for the Optimist International Foundation (Canadian Childrens Optimist Foundation (CCOF) (Optimist Vince Parker from our club is the current President of the CCOF) by shooting the Governor with glow paintballs at the reception at Paintball Paradise Prince Albert, which includes a BBQ supper, bag pipers and drums, corn maze and tractor rides, besides the paintball shoot. Optimists are still scared of Red Deer Alberta for the infamous chainsaw the door down of the Governors hotel room to wake him up for the Saturday Morning Wakey Shakey Breakfast, which was videoed. LOL
Volunteering has many benefits, like networking, leadership training, guidance from experienced Optimists and leadership positions up through the Optimist organization. Plus it's just fun to met new and interesting people, that all want to help children and our community. It's been huge rewarding being part of a very successful Optimist Club, that really makes a huge impact on the local community, we do raise and give away $100,000 each year. We help so many wonderful organizations, schools, youth groups and the community.
Community Sponsored Youth Activities, Projects & Awards
George Lewko PAg, is a Professional Agrologist, with a certificate in Forensic Agrology. He grew up on his farm, and started Paintball Paradise Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1994. A combine accident left him with only his thumb on his right hand in 1997.