Adrian Optimist Club...40 Years in the Kid Business

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By ANDY ENOS

The year was 1969. The Clinton Sunrise Optimist Club was seeking out a community in which to build another Optimist Club. A gentleman from Clinton by the name of Lyle Cummins knew a gentleman in Adrian by the name of Wayne C. Davis. Lyle approached Wayne with the idea of building an Optimist Club in Adrian. Wayne took it upon himself to seek out the key people that would eventually become the Charter Members of The Adrian Optimist Club.

Wayne laid the groundwork for what is now the largest Optimist Club (146 members) in the State of Missouri. Around these parts we feel as though it’s the best Optimist Club in the state as well.

The Adrian Optimist Club has been a driving force in the community for forty years. It has been involved in many aspects of community improvement and service with our main focus on the youth.

As you enter into the park you will notice a little league football field, baseball fields, the batting cage, soccer fields, a rodeo arena, volleyball courts, a McDonald’s Playland, benches around the walking trail, shelter houses, brick restrooms, drinking fountains and hydrants. These are all projects of the Adrian Optimist Club.

The club has constructed a 14,000 sq foot community building. The Adrian Optimist Community Building is constantly in use and serves as a major hub and meeting place. The club partnered with The Adrian Lions Club and The Adrian Volunteer Fire Department to construct a Life Flight Helipad on the building grounds. The building serves as the location for the gun shows and the club’s weekly bingo. These are two of the club’s major fund raisers.

As with their major focus of service to youth, in conjunction with the school, they sponsor numerous activities throughout the year. Some of these include: Always Buckle Children in the Backseat, drug abuse poster contest, safety on wheels, Christmas gifts for underprivileged children, essay and oratorical contest, student of the month, Youth Appreciation Week, high school awards assembly, Achievement in Education Award (elementary and high school), 6th grade dictionary program, NHS field trip, civics class field trip, fund students to state and national contest, Boy’s State, Missouri Youth Leadership Seminar, and several thousand dollars each year in scholarships. In addition The Adrian Optimist Club is also responsible for getting the wrestling program kicked off at the school.

The Adrian Optimist Club also sponsors the annual Adrian Optimist Fourth of July Celebration. What was originally one of our major fundraisers has evolved into more of a community service project. And don’t forget the American Flags that the club puts up around town on national holidays.

It is estimated that The Adrian Optimist Club has raised and reinvested in excess of two million dollars in the community over the past forty years and at least three times that amount in donated labor, materials and equipment.

The Adrian Optimist Club was chartered on August 26, 1969 and will officially celebrate their 40th Anniversary at their Annual Installation and Awards Banquet on September 26, 2009. The banquet will of course be held at their community building. A commemorative coin set has been commissioned to mark the occasion.

**To see more Optimist pictures, please read this week's issue of the Adrian Journal.