The Breakfast Optimist Club of Clay County, which was established in 1988, plans to conclude its organization at the end of December.
According to Optimist Club Secretary Ken Turner, there are a number of reasons the club decided to surrender its charter including declining membership and difficulty raising funds.
The club recently completed its final Christmas Clothe-A-Child project, spending $8,000 to purchase new winter clothing and footwear for children in Clay County. The club has put the event together for at least 22 years and its efforts have benefited more than 3,000 youth.
Optimist members have been responsible for mounting the illuminated Christmas ornaments on National Avenue with the help of Public Service Company and Duke Energy. The club raised the money for the ornaments 12 years ago, and the ones purchased then are still being used. The club will no longer be a part of the mounting of the ornaments.
"I don't know if another organization will pick that up or not," Turner said. "This may be the last year for it."
In addition, the Optimist Club had been responsible for recruiting the candidates sent to the annual Respect for Law Camps conducted by the Indiana State Troopers Association. On at least two occasions, more than 70 students had the opportunity to attend the camp thanks to the club providing a substantial amount of their enrollment fees.
The Optimist Club also had several youth golf tournaments at the Forest Park Course, among other service projects that promoted the club's motto "Friend of Youth."
"Over the years, we had many things we did," Turner said. "We used to be a larger group and more active, but it got down to where it was a chore and we are just worn out."
The club still has money in its possession, which will be distributed among the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts of America, Clay Community Parks Association, Clay Community Skatepark, Brazil YMCA, LEAAP Center and Serving on the Streets.
Turner said the organizations were chosen because they were local and supported area youth.
"The purpose of the Optimist Club was to support children," Turner said. "We are giving the money to them because they have to do with the younger generation."