Celebrate With Us 102 Years of  Optimism

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On July 14, St Cloud Morning Optimist Presented Friend of Youth Awards 
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Each year the St Cloud Morning Optimists recognizes individuals, businesses, and organizations that provide support and assistance to area youth.  Congratulations to our current winners

Sharalyn Snavely.  Sheralyn has been instrumental in serving as the Central MN Youth Ski Club Assistant Coordinator and it's primary Level 1 Coach for 4-6-year-olds for the past ten years She also assists with the annual Sons of Norway Barnelopet at Riverside Park.

Tolly Vollen and Jon Vollen were nominated for their work with our Area Youth Ski Program, ages 3-13.  Both are the organizers for the Sons of Norway Barnelopet and other cross-country events.  Jon coaches the Apollo and Sauk Rapids-Rice ski teams.

Mark Dingmann was nominated for his work as President of the Sartell Baseball Assoc. for the last 3 years. He leads the board, organizes teams, finds coaches and fields for over 500 youth.

Steve Jurek. Steve has been a volunteer with the Central MN Boy Scouts for 30 years. Over the years Steve has held many positions with the scouts and received various Scout Awards.

Vicky Welty plays an integral part in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Vicky has served on the board, been board president, and served on committees for fundraisers and Galas.

Mary Swingle was nominated by the Boys and Girls Club of Central MN. Mary worked tirelessly for youth during the pandemic.  When Schools closed Mary helped the Club open free childcare services for essential workers and provided quality programming.

Gail Cruikshank  In 1919 the B&GC launched CareerSTART. Gail was committed to building great futures for youth. Gails efforts provided exploration, development and application of career paths for youth.

Not Present: Jim Barthel - TLC Toys is located in Big Lake. His group of 30-40 retired seniors design and build wooden toys for area youth to be given away free to youth during the holidays.

Not Present: Lenora Hunt - Lenora is the founder and director of Too Much Talent.  She has provided artistic, educational, self-awareness and empowerment for young black women.

On June 16 2021 the Morning Optimist Presented Respect for Law Awards

2021 Respect for Law Awards receiptants.

Congratulations to each of these Respect for Law Recipients

Pictured are front row: Heidi Voight and Linda Wander  Back row:  Buddy King, Brandon Johnson, Eric Schultz, Pastor James Alberts, Sgt. Ryan Sayre, and Aric Putnam


Buddy King has maintained a close working relationship with law enforcement agencies in Central MN and is active in working for and developing youth programs including athletics, leadership training, and fostering a connection between youth in our Community and law enforcement. 

Heidi Voight and Brandon Johnson own Voight Johnson Realty Company and enjoy giving back to organizations in our community, They also supply the Waite Park Police with goodie bags which officers give when working with youth to develop a more positive relationship with police.

Deputy Eric Schultz works as a School Resource Officer in Holdingford.  Deputy Schultz is also involved with the Sheriff's Office Explorers Scout Program working with 30 kids from the area.

Pastor James Alberts For the past 17 years Pastor Alberts has been involved in community policing and his leadership has resulted in the formulation of the St Cloud Policing Agreement which has won national recognition. Pastor Alberts has been a leader in the city, skillfully calming dangerous situation, saving lives and property.

Ryan Sayre  Officer Sayre is with the St Cloud Police Department. He has been involved with many youth development projects and has been instrumental in implementing programs and policies that have positively promoted respect for law and service to youth.

Aric Putnam Senator Aric Putnam has a special understanding of Respect for Law through family history. Aric served on the task force in formulating the St Cloud Policing Agreement for several years and has been working with the Stearns County Policing Agreement for the past year. He has been a strong advocate for law enforcement funding.

Linda Wander Linda has been a strong supporter of the Waite Park Police Department and has supported local and statewide efforts to stop sex trafficking.

Congratulations to our nine 2021 Optimist Scholarship Recipients. 
Each received a $1000 scholarship.

1. Albany High School - Lucy Then      

2. Apollo High School - Mohamed G Ahmed         

3. Catherdral - Brianna Rueter                      

4. Foley - Ellie Piepgras                              

5. Sauk Rapids - Justus Floren                   

6. Sartell - Adyn Larson                              

7. St Cloud Christian - Matthew Nelson           

8. St Cloud Tech - CMCF/tom Pierce Memorial Scholarship - Ridge Hagemeister      

9. ROCORI  Each received $500 scholarshops - Teanna Horn and Reis Perrotti        

Optimist International Drawing and Painting Contest for Children 

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                     Roe Seamans - Drawing                                                                               Victoria Kremers - Painting

Our Optimist Club had three children's programs participate in the Drawing and Painting contests  The Boys and Girls Club had 45 entries, the St Cloud Christian School had 1 entry and Higher Learning Collaborative had 4 entries.  Optimist Club members judged all the entries and chose the first place drawing and first place painting.  The first place winners had their artwork submitted to Optimist International where all clubs have until May 30th to judge the best work.  1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category will win $250, $150 and $100 prize respectively.

All the artwork was displayed at the Paramount Theatre.  A BIG Thank You to all the students who submitted their work

This is our 35th year Sponsoring Kids Speak Out

Our St Cloud Morning Club gives 5-6 grade students in our community an opportunity to write and present a 2-3 minutes speech on a specific topic assigned by their classroom teacher. This year Oak Hill and Kennedy Elementary participated. Optimist members judged the speeches via Zoom.  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each classroom were presented with a gold, silver or bronze medal for their speeches.  Thanks to all the students that participated.  Giving a speech in front of a group is a experience that will help you in life.