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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Optimist Club in search of members

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recently, the Clay County Breakfast Optimist Club, with help from associates of the Brazil Walmart, delivered clothes to area children through its Clothe-A-Child program. Those taking part included (front, from left) Mona Rogers, Barbara Philabaum, Terri Clodfelter, Rita Rothrock, Sondra Camadine, Juliana Rothrock, Kourtney Fitch, Kim Stantz, (back) Larry Jackman and Ken Turner. Not pictured: Jerie Sue Huffman. [Order this photo]
The numbers have been dwindling for the Clay County Breakfast Optimist Club.

Current President Larry Jackman has been a member of the club since 1989.

He said the club, in existence for approximately 50 years, has 30-40 members, well down from previous years.

"We've been around for a long time," Jackman said. "We mainly (attract new members) just by word of mouth, but we have placed fliers strategically in town."

Not only have the numbers declined, Jackman said the club must also find a new place to meet. It meets regularly at 8 a.m., each Saturday, at the American Legion Post 2. Meetings feature speakers and a breakfast.

But with the legion recently closing down due to financial issues, the Optimist Club finds itself in limbo.

"We are looking for a new place to meet," Jackman said. "We have talked to the (Clay County Senior Citizens Center, 120 S. Franklin St., Brazil) about meetings and that looks promising.

"If we don't come up with something, we may also meet at (The Clay County Museum). We've met there before."

Jackman said in order to gain interest from possible new members, the club has considered changing meeting dates, but added the breakfast the club offers during its meetings has always been a high point

"We don't know if changing the meeting day would add members," he said. "The breakfast thing has always been a big part of our meeting."

Jackman added the only requirement to be a member of the club is to pay annual dues, which he said are $60. In addition, there is a $15 joining fee and $15 quarterly dues.

But with the numbers continuing to decrease, the club's volunteer projects have suffered.

Jackman said the club takes part in several projects throughout the year, including an annual golf tournament at the Forest Park Golf Course, setting up Christmas lights downtown just before the Christmas In The Park Parade, selling Poinsettias and its biggest project, Clothe-A-Child.

The selling of the Poinsettias, which takes place in October, spearheads Clothe-A-Child, which takes place on the second Sunday in December annually. Jackman said the clothes are distributed the following Saturday at the museum. This year, the club helped 136 Clay County children through the program.

In addition, Jackman said in the past, the club regularly attended schools within the Clay Community School Corporation to promote a Law Enforcement camp in Vincennes.

However, they are no longer able to do so, making it more difficult to get people interested in the club.

"Now, we take the information to the schools and let teachers (promote the camp)," Jackman said. "But the number of applicants (for the camp) has been down."

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