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Governor’s Message for February 2017


While much of the beautiful Pacific Northwest lies smack in the middle of one of the worst winters of the past century, it may be difficult to comprehend the idea of “look at the sunny side of everything.” Many of us have not even seen the sun. Others spent over five consecutive weeks with temperatures below the freezing mark. So, it would appear I need to explain myself.

There are two viewpoints for the idea of look at the sunny side. The first one is recognition that one must truly make a personal effort to look at the sunny side but more than that “make your optimism come true.” For some that effort, may be larger than it is for others. There is an explanation for some of the downs many of us feel during this time of the year. There is actually a psychological explanation. The disorder is referred to as S.A.D. or more completely, Seasonal Affective Disorder. It affects many but some more than others. One tendency to experience S.A.D. is compounded by the shorter daylight hours, the decrease in opportunities to be outside, and the overcast nature of the weather that actually keeps a person from seeing the sun.

A person may need to put some effort into this or in those most serious of cases, a consultation with the family physician may be the only way out.

The second viewpoint is one far less serious but nonetheless uncomfortable for many of us. We all tend to experience the funk. Those days when you find yourself just being plain lazy and directionless while blaming this awful month of February. Some find peace in becoming a cabin rat. The frequency of reading, writing, cooking, pottery, drawing and a list of other things begins to experience an upswing. This may counteract the funk, it may only be a diversion. A diversion many have honed to a fine skill through many years in the Pacific Northwest. Yet even the most skilled in the diversion are not truly in the process of making “your optimism come true.”

This one little line in the creed is by far the biggest when it comes to directing you to actually exercise your optimism. In order to do that, one must continue to maintain a positive outlook. That would be looking “at the sunny side” of the projects you have in mind. This is your opportunity to assess how your club is making optimism come true. The clubs that are maintaining their membership, their zest, and their impact in the community are those that remain active in the hands-on projects.

As club members age, there is the temptation to become a project broker rather than a hands-on doer. A broker may be a very successful club that continues on with fund raising and eventually has a massive amount of cash. They may lack the energy to get back out in the community but continue to be a support to their community through regular contributions to youth projects, activities, and scholarships. This is not a bad thing. However, a club that continues to remain active in the community with its ongoing youth projects maintains the opportunity to be viewed by members of their community. Simply by being viewed as the doers in your community you attract younger and more active new members that have seen what you have accomplished and want to be a part of it. Supporters and sponsors who normally may not have considered a donation to a service organization see the worthiness of what you have going. Friend of youth is no longer just something on the logo. Your friends, neighbors, and local businesses see you living what you are saying. By remaining active, particularly during the months when people are not all wrapped up in camping, fishing, and hiking you have stepped up and stepped forward to “make your optimism come true.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2017