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Saturday, November 19, 2011

PNW District - Optimist International Oratorical Contest for 2011-2012


“How My Optimism Helps Me Overcome Obstacles”
  Submitted by Jeanne Large, Oratorical Chair

Since its start in 1928, the Oratorical contest has become the longest-running program sponsored by Optimist International.  The contest is designed for youth to gain experience in public speaking and to provide them with the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship. 

Optimist International’s 2012 Oratorical Contest has a theme that speaks to the heart of every Optimist volunteer.  When a volunteer stands up and says “Yes, I can!” children are given the opportunity to learn the invaluable skill of public speaking, experience the warmth of volunteers who care, and hear the empowering words of their fellow speakers. 

If you and your club think that this is an opportunity that you want the children in your community to have, now is the time to start planning for it.  Now is the time to let school speech and communication departments know about the theme and timelines, contact youth who have participated in the last couple of years and who might still be eligible, and prepare flyers that can be publicly available in libraries and community centers. 

It is also time to budget for the contest so that your contestants can be offered cash prizes, now possible for club level events.  Clubs are allowed to give monetary awards up to $500 per winner in addition to the official medallions.  The club level awards may be given in the form of a scholarship, savings bond or cash prize.  The cash incentives will attract speakers of they know about them.

Optimist International and your PNW District Oratorical Chairperson, Jeanne Large, are readily available to help you make it happen.  The complete rules and all the forms are available online at http://www.optimist.org.  To locate this year’s guides, just go to the “Members” area of the website, select “Programs” and then go to either “Scholarship Contests” or “Planning Guides”.  The planning guides are also available under the “Club” and “District” tabs atwww.optimistleaders.org

Some key dates:  
  • District Oratorical Contest:  May 18-19, 2012, Best Western Agate Beach, Newport, OR
  • Regional Oratorical Events:  At least two weeks prior to District Event –late April 2012
  • Zone Oratorical Events:  At least two weeks prior to Regional Event –early April 2012
  • Club Oratorical Contests:  At least two weeks prior to the Zone Event -March, 2012
  • Deadline to register an event with District Chair, Jeanne Large - January 31, 2012

To let me know if your club is interested in sponsoring a contest, to volunteer to be a Regional Chair for these events or for more contest information and support, please contact:
Jeanne Large at  jeannemlarge2010@hotmail.com or call 206-794-2900.

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