New Orleans – GSOI Convention Julie Golden

Two weeks ago I was on a road trip to New Orleans with some wonderful fellow GS Optimist club members to be a part of the annual Optimist International convention. I’ve been to several professional conventions and was very curious to see how this one would be conducted. Out of the five of us, only two had ever attended an OI convention. As we crossed the southern states between South Carolina and Louisiana the radio was never turned on, instead we discussed programs and projects we had been working on with our club.  Upon entering New Orleans, I wondered how a convention of volunteers would differ from the others and I am so glad to be able to say that it was an incredible experience. As first timers, the three of us were welcomed with open arms, we had our own session where convention procedures were explained to us the morning of the first official day, and we were given all the tools needed to make our weekend an opportunity to learn and grow as Optimists. The remainder of the sessions centered around spreading optimism, adding and keeping members, rejuvenating our clubs with current social media, reviewing and voting for changes in our bylaws, etc… The topics are too many to mention in this newsletter and the presenters were specifically trained in their area of expertise. On our ride back to South Carolina, Tom, our president, asked each of us what our impressions were of the convention and the sessions we attended. Suffice it say, I never found out if the radio actually worked in that rental van, we brainstormed new ideas, new programs, and the general theme centered around ways to keep our club growing and ultimately reaching more children in need. I hope more of us can attend district and/or international conventions, it certainly puts our purpose in perspective. I’m very appreciative of having had this opportunity and am excited in being a part of making our club as great as it can be.