What is known today as Optimist International began in 1923 in Buffalo, N.Y. Businessmen in the Buffalo area wanted to organize their efforts to assist troubled youth in the City. The first logo was, ”Friend of Troubled Boys.”Later this was modified to “ Friend of Troubled Youth.” The motto was later adjusted to be more politically correct and has stayed with the Club since that time as “Friend Of Youth.”Today Optimist International operates in twenty seven countries around the world. Although each club is associated with Optimist International they are independently operated by concerned citizens of the community they serve. These volunteers meet regularly to plan their activities and to socialize. Hard work can be and is fun. The overall idea is to fundraise and use those funds to help any worthwhile projects or groups within the community with an emphasis on the youth of the community. One hundred percent of the funds raised by these independent clubs go directly into the community. None of these funds are used to operated either the individual club or Optimist International.
In 1976 the Optimist Club of Carlisle approached the then Reeve, Archie MacRobbie to explore the need for a service club in Puslinch. The Optimist club of Carlisle sponsored the startup of our club over the summer of 1976. By the fall 35 members of the newly organized Optimist Club of Puslinch were meeting on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month in the (original) Puslinch Community Centre in Aberfoyle. These meeting days every month have remained the same since then. The first officers of the club were, President Jim McMillan, Secretary Doug Mast, treasurer Bill Dobbie. These three gentlemen have remained active, key members of the Club. There were also 6 Directors selected to help run the Club and the projects undertaken. Each year the Club goes out actively looking for new members. We always need new ideas and energetic volunteers to improve what we do in the community. Every October new officers and Directors are elected . The membership of the Club has grown to approximately 60 members.
Optimist International is divided into a series of Zones and Districts within each country. We are considered a key part of the Central Ontario District or CENON. Although the main focus of our executive is to operate and grow our club, we are active in both the quarterly Zone and District Meetings. We have had Four of our members take on the responsibility of Lieutenant Governor in recent years.
Each year the Club has taken on more responsibilities in the Community. In the past we have completed several key projects for the community as well as supporting the activities of our young people. The Club donated $20,000 to the building of the existing Community Centre, supplied the Sign in front of the Community Centre, the Tennis courts, Horseshoe pits in the park, water system and roller rink for the park. The Club is currently spearheading a project which will see the building of a community rink and gymnasium in the park.
In addition to the projects mentioned the club is involved in supporting activities of the entire community with an emphasis on youth activities. Some of these activities are: Minor Ball, Scoccer,4-H Clubs, Junior World of Golf, Scouts, Brownies, Aberfoyle School, Life Line, Student Scholarships for scholastic and vocational achievements, Dreams take Flight, Remembrance Day Services, Santa Parade and many more.
The funds to support the Club’s community involvement come from a series of events the Club organizes and runs for the enjoyment of the community and to raise the required funds. There are activities available in the community every month of the year. We would encourage readers to go the Calendar of Events on this website to review the entire list.
We welcome inquiries from interested prospective new members.