Background Photo Provided by the
Nebraska Tourism Commission
Offical Nebraska Government Website
Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts Celebrates Optimist International’s 100th Anniversary

Media Contacts:  

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970

Eric Maher, 402-471-1974


Media Release:

Gov. Ricketts Celebrates Optimist International’s 100th Anniversary


Governor Pete Ricketts with Nebraska Optimists at a ceremony

this morning to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary


LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined representatives from the Nebraska District of Optimist International to celebrate their 100th anniversary. 


“Voluntary organizations like the Optimist Clubs are the lifeblood of our great state.” said Governor Ricketts.  “For 100 years, Optimist Clubs have generously invested time and resources to benefit their communities.  Their civic-minded volunteerism enriches Nebraska and helps make our state the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.”


There are about 50 Optimist Clubs meeting across Nebraska.  The clubs collect charitable donations, beautify highways through litter cleanup, and host essay, oratorical, and athletic contests for youth—along with a number of other community service activities.  Founded in 1919, Optimist International now has 2,500 clubs with 80,000 members and is active in 20 countries. 


“Since 1919, Optimist Club Members have been dedicated to the mission of ‘providing hope and positive vision to bring out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves’ through their many service programs.  Optimist International Clubs conduct 65,000 serve projects worldwide, spending $78 million in their communities, positively impacting six million youth.  With nearly 50 clubs operating autonomously, Nebraskans have joined together to serve others and to promote Optimism as a way of life,” stated Judith Conway Kluge, past-Governor of the Nebraska District.  “A Club's service activities are based on the needs of the community and is limited only to the resources and imaginations of its members.  All clubs have the opportunity to hold scholarship competitions in Golf, Oratorical, Essay and the unique Communications Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, awarding thousands of dollars annually.  It gives me great pride to have served as the leader of this state's over 1,500 dedicated volunteer members.”




Mission: “By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in youth, our communities, and ourselves.”


Purposes: “To promote an active interest in good government and civic affairs; to inspire respect for the law; to promote patriotism and work for international accord and friendship among all people; to aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life, and the world.”


More information about Optimist International can be found at  A list of Optimist Clubs in Nebraska is available at