Past Meetings

Sunday, September 23, 2018 - Crossings
Twenty nine members, spouses and guests met for brunch at Crossings for our last member meeting of the Optimist Year.  We inducted a new member, Optimist Ruth Harland as well as the incoming Board of Directors.  The link will take you to an image with (from left) Optimist LG Darcy Walsh, Optimists Ramona Fudge, Rick Gillespie, Mike Blencowe, Tim Farmillo and Bill Adams pictured.  Optimist LG Darcy Walsh performed those duties.  President Rick summarized our successes over this year and presented two awards to members.  Optimist Kevin Levesque was presented with the Lorne Heycock Award as Optimist of the Year in recognition of his service to the club this year and in the past.  Optimist Kevin became a member in 2006, has served on the board often, most recently as VP Youth for two years.  He chaired the Trivia Night committee for two years and has been an active participant and leader at club programs, meetings and fundraisers.  Optimist Ron Fisher was presented with a Life Membership for his contributions to the club since his induction in 1990.  He has been President twice and served on the board in many other positions, most recently as our Secretary.  He also served for over 20 years on the baseball committee and performed several roles.  President Elect Mike Blencowe presented President Rick with a plaque recognizing his term.  Optimist LG Darcy addressed the group and advised that based on our increase in membership, our programs delivered, our recognition of members of the community and our partnership with the East London Optimist Club in building the new Optimist Club of Woodstock, that our club would be recognized as Distinguished - a huge honour for any club.  He also presented President Rick with a print recognizing our financial contribution to the Foundation. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018 - Joe Kool's
Twenty seven members and guests attended this breakfast meeting.  Optimist LG Darcy was on hand and inducted two new members - Optimists Jessica Gullons and Megan Telfer.  We presented him with his very own Oakridge Optimist Club shirt in recognition of all of the help he has given to our club during his term.  Anika Garg was on hand with her parents and she read her District winning essay.  Anika was presented with here awards from the club and district level by the Essay Contest Coordinator, Optimist Don Lucas.  Optimist Ramona Fudge was the coordinator for this meeting and she had invited Al Day who is the Executive Director of N'Amerind.  He have an overview of that organization.  Brett Watson is the Sensei of the N'Amerind's karate club.  See photo.  He provided information on their karate program.  Brett and Al were given a cheque for $100 to support the ongoing efforts of the karate club.  This meeting will be the last until our September meeting.

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - Crossings
This was designated as a NOW (New Optimists Welcome) meeting.  We had 26 people in attendance, including two guests who are prospective members, and had a variety of activities including an interesting guest speaker, the winner of our District Oratorical Contest and the induction of a new member.  Revya Chhibber, seen in the photo being introduced by Optimist Don Lucas with Optimist President Rick on the right, placed second in our club oratorical contest, won the zone contest and competed against six other young people at the district level and came away a winner.  She will now go on to compete at the World level in St. Louis but took time out to visit us.  Members were extremely impressed by the content of her speech and by the poise and polish of her delivery.  Kathy Mueller was our guest speaker and gave us a very impressive overview of her travels as a journalist and with the Canadian Red Cross to remote areas of the world where she has visited to help deliver aid to the local communities.  Her focus was on the impacts on children.  One member commented that her talk and Revya's speech made this one of our club's best ever dinner meetings.  Our LG, Optimist Darcy Walsh, attended to give us an overview of what's happening in the zone and district but most importantly he inducted new member Optimist Henry Littleton.  From the left are new member sponsor Optimist Doug Mackay, Optimist LG Darcy Walsh, new Optimist Henry and Optimist President Rick.  Welcome to the club Optimist Henry!

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - Crossings
We had 26 members in attendance.  We inducted new member Optimist John Banjac into the club and held our Annual General Meeting in lieu of a speaker.  Our LG, Darcy Walsh, presented last year's President Bill Adams, Treasurer Randy Brewe and Secretary Ron Fisher with plaques recognizing their leadership in our club attaining Honour Club status during the 2016 - 2017 Optimist Year.

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - Joe Kool's
The meeting was coordinated by Optimist Brian Gibson.  The speaker was John Gibson who spoke to attendees about an initiative that donates brand new tools to high schools in the London area that promote the learning of skilled trades.  This gives students the ability to train and practice on current, modern tools that are used in the real world.

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - Crossings
Twenty-six members and guests attended this meeting that was coordinated by Optimist VP Sport Doug Cameron.  His guest speaker was the co-chair of the Oakridge Optimist Soccer Club, Optimist Brent Ashby, seen in this photo being thanked by Optimist President Rick.  He was joined by his shier and less talkative co-chair Optimist Len Curiale, seen here with Optimist Gary D.  Brent updated us on the activities of the soccer club and the structure of organized soccer in the province.  Although invited, our Oakridge Optimist Baseball Association chair Optimist Doug Finlay was unable to attend.  Our favourite LG, Optimist Darcy Walsh, attended and inducted our latest member, Optimist Derek Tang, seen in this photo participating in his induction ceremony.  

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - Joe Kool's
We had 24 people in attendance and heard Cara and Kristy tell us about Andrew's Legacy.  Our club donated $2000.00 to purchase an AED to be placed in Oakridge Secondary School.  Optimist Jay Minielly rejoined the club after being away for just over a year.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Joe Kool's
With 29 people in attendance, Lt. Governor Darcy Walsh inducted two new members - Michael Hoy and Pat Flannery.  Our guest speakers were Megan Telfer and Amy Trembley-Prevost from Victoria Public School.  They are the founders and coordinators of the school's healthy snack program that provides healthy snack options to all students in the school.  Our club made a donation of $1500.00 towards that effort.  Optimist President Rick Gillespie presented Optimist Past President Bill Adams with a plaque to commemorate his past two years of service.  Optimist Bill then presented Optimist Don Draper with a plaque and identification card to denote his attainment of Life Member status.

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - Crossings
Our newest member Stephen Strutt was sworn in by our Lt. Governor Darcy Walsh.  (Photo from Left - Optimists LG Darcy Walsh, President Rick Gillespie, Stephen Strutt and VP Ways and Means Bruce Pope).  Darcy brought greetings from the District Governor.  Our speaker was Sergeant Kevin Lui of the London Police Service.  (Photo from Left - Sergeant Kevin Lui and Optimist President Rick Gillespie during the cheque presentation.  Optimist Treasurer Randy Brewe in background.)  He gave us an overview of the Joe League which sees police officers coach teams comprised of kids from the city's housing complexes.  Our club made a $3000 donation to cover the cost of transportation.  Other sponsors are Joe Kool's, Source for Sports and the London Lightning.  This was the first meeting at our new dinner venue.  We had a large turnout of members which made for close quarters but it was good to see so many members in attendance.

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - Byron Legion
Our new board for the coming Optimist year was sworn in.  Optimist Doug Mackay was honoured as Optimist of the Year for his outstanding level of volunteerism, leadership and dedication to the club and the youth it serves.  Optimist Don Draper was honoured as a Life Member as recognition of his long time service as a member, Board member, Past President and editor of our award winning newsletter over several years.  We inducted four new members to the club. From left to right is Optimist Ramona Fudge, Optimist Brian Gibson, Optimist President Bill Adams, Optimist Claude Robinson and Optimist Nick Tountas.  See the photos in the links above.