The Optimist Club has been helping children in communities around the world for nearly 100 years.
Now, they aim to establish a foothold in Cloverdale.
Al Kersey is leading the charge as he aims to bring the club to Cloverdale. Kersey is already involved with the club, working as an ambassador for Optimist Junior Curling Club in Surrey for more than 20 years.
He’s currently the President of Cloverdale’s Optimist Curling Club #32009. With his involvement in both the Cloverdale community and with Optimist club, he’s confident that now is the time to bring the Optimist Club to Surrey.
“It would be great to start a new optimist club in Cloverdale,” said Kersey. “We really try to get involved in the community as much as possible by helping youth groups in any way we can.”
Kersey held a meeting at the Cloverdale Curling Rink on Sunday, Oct. 22nd after surveying the community to see how the Optimist Club could help.
He currently has five Charter members, but 15 are needed to officially establish a new club in Cloverdale.
“The feedback is starting to lean towards creating more sports programs,” said Kersey. “There are other great examples from around the Lower Mainland that we would love to bring to Cloverdale.”
“In Mission, they have a talent night for youth. That’s been a wildly successful program for youth in that community.”
The youth talent show in Mission that’s sponsored by the Optimist Club just held their 17th annual show earlier this year.
Kersey also suggested having a ‘tri-star sports program’ that’s been adopted by other Optimist Club’s around the world. The program allows youth to try out a number of different sports, including hockey, soccer, basketball, baseball or volleyball. There are eight sports to try in total, and three different activities are involved in each sport.
Providing sports programs for youth is a major component of the Optimist Club, and Cloverdale can only except an increase in local sports activities if Kersey were able to form a club in Cloverdale.
“We’re a huge supporter of getting kids involved in the community through sports,” said Kersey. “Specifically, we’re a huge supporter of junior golf and curling.”
Kersey also mentions that the local Optimist Clubs offer scholarships to students in British Columbia. The Coquitlam Optimist Club offers four different scholarships for students in that community.
In British Columbia, there are currently ten Optimist Clubs including two in Metro Vancouver, two in Victoria, one in Vernon and three in the Fraser Valley.
The Optimist Club started out as the “Friends of Juvenile Delinquents Club” back in 1919. The program initially started to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents by getting them involved in positive community activities.
With the club on the verge of celebrating their 100th anniversary, they are showing no signs of slowing down. Worldwide, there are 2,900 Optimist Clubs in 35 countries across the world.