Midwestern Ontario District of Optimist International,

Governor Rick Gillespie


I would like to thank each member in our district for their warm welcomes and offers of assistance as I travelled across our district during the planning process for our 2023-2024 Optimist year. This will be a busy year with emphasis on several key areas: 

Optimism in Canada celebrates 100 years – Our team, under the leadership of Past Optimist Governor Dianne Josling, is going to inspire clubs to celebrate this milestone no matter how long they have been chartered. 

Communication Enhancements – Communications is key to any successful organization and our committee is preparing to set a new standard in the coming year. Optimist Tricia Holmes Storey is going to bring her experience as the editor of her Optimist Club of Mornington newsletter to the district. Watch for five editions during our year. Optimist Tay Flett coordinates a stellar Facebook site for Mildmay-Carrick and will bring that skill to a new district Facebook page. The Optimist Club of St. Jacobs’, Rob Perry will bring his expertise to the coordination of our website. 

Member Growth and Engagement – We will bring in new members, work to build new clubs and we will do everything we can to help each club retain their existing members with these teams led by Past Governors, Optimist Jim Pipe and Optimist Doris Haw. We are working to explore new frontiers by establishing a district wide social media advertising campaign to reach potential new members across our district. We will also be working to enhance the experience of being an Optimist for every member. 

Programs and Scholarships – Past Optimist Governor Catherine Herdman’s team will coordinate Essay, Oratorical, Spelling Bee and Junior Golf programs and will work on providing clubs with other opportunities for service projects. It would be wonderful if we could coordinate a Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the London and Kitchener areas that have centres. 

Commitment to Enriching and Thoughtful Training Experiences – The Convention and Conference Committee, under the leadership of Past Distinguished Governor Elaine McLaren has been working since early summer to book venues for our conferences and the training team is designing agendas that will offer each member in attendance an interesting slate of workshops, speakers, and activities. We will build an online library of best practices in the areas of club service projects, fundraisers, and member social activities. 

District Administration – The Finance Committee and the Candidate Qualifications Committees will be chaired by Immediate Past Governor Joe Paul to ensure that we are financially accountable and that we have a succession and leadership plan in place to continue the vital work done by the district team to support our clubs and members. 

All of this can only be successful if the one, most important member makes it work. YOU! The district is an administrative body to support its clubs and members. You have an open invitation to contact me at any time to share your thoughts or express your needs. This is my personal vision of how this will all work. Supportive District + Successful Clubs + Involved Members = Engaged and Safe Youth, Enriched Communities, and Happy Members. 

Optimimst Rick Gillespie

Governor, Midwestern Ontario District