A committee of our club began the process of New Club Building in February 2021. The goal was to build a new club to replace the Optimist Club of London-Fanshawe that had recently ceased operation after 42 years of service to the youth and families of North East London. Given the COVID restrictions in place at the time, we were limited in our strategy to reach out to potential members. We held all of our committee meetings online using Zoom and concentrated on using social media and portable signs in the area to direct interested men and women to contact us by phone, text or email.
The tactic worked well and by April 29th we were holding a Charter meeting for the new Optimist Club of London-Fanshawe and its 18 members. Each new candidate was inducted as an Optimist by Lieutenant Governor Rick Gillespie and International Vice President Tracy Huxlet made the motion to charter and approve the new club's bylaws. Midwestern Ontario Governor Darcy Walsh oversaw the election of club officers and Optimist International President Mark Weinsoff inducted those executive officers to their positions.
The next milestone was to hold a Charter Event Celebration. Although COVID restrictions around in person meetings outdoors had eased by August 4th, the decision was made to hold this event online using Zoom. Invitations to join and help the new Fanshawe Optimist Club had been extended to all other clubs in our District and many sent letters of support and congratulations and some also sent monetary donations to put the club on a strong financial footing. The event booklet which contains the agenda and letters of support is attached.
Governor Darcy Walsh presented the Governor's Distinguished Service Certificate to the Oakridge Optimist Club New Club Build Committee on Sunday, September 26th. The committee was chaired by Optimist Kevin Levesque and consisted of Optimists Bill Adams, Mike Blencose, Dave Butt, Gary Dennerley, Rick Gillespie, Ruth Harland, Brad Heslop, Bruce Pope, Eric Riley and Jim Smythe. Optimists Kevin Levesque and Rick Gillespie were also presented with Builder of Excellence medals for their contribution to the success of this new club build.