Optimist Club seeks to spread rosy outlook

Local service group turns 60, hopes to recruit young members

Posted 1/5/20

The Optimist Club of Littleton turned 60 in December, and club president Darrell Schulte doesn't want to see the group's rosy outlook dimmed. The service organization, akin to the Rotary or Kiwanis, …

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Optimist Club seeks to spread rosy outlook

Local service group turns 60, hopes to recruit young members

Posted

The Optimist Club of Littleton turned 60 in December, and club president Darrell Schulte doesn't want to see the group's rosy outlook dimmed.

The service organization, akin to the Rotary or Kiwanis, has sponsored scholarships and programs for Littleton's youth since Ike Eisenhower was in office. While the group's members are still working hard, Schulte said they're in need of fresh blood.

“We're at 67 members right now and dwindling,” Schulte said. “We're recruiting members, but they're mostly our same age. Our average age has got to be close to 70.”

Schulte joined the Optimists as a young officer at Colorado Business bank in the late 1970s, back when plenty of professions ordered up-and-comers on their staffs to give back to their communities.

“If you've been fortunate in life, it's your duty to give back,” Schulte said. “In the programs we do, we meet kids who have next to nothing. Everyone thinks Littleton is pretty prosperous, but there's a lot of hardship here people don't see.”

The Optimists still sponsor a mighty slew of programs, according to their website, including food drives, highway cleanups, tutoring, scholarships, and financial support to a host of charities around town.

Schulte said the group also works on keeping civic pride alive in Littleton, with traditions like festooning Main Street in American flags for major holidays and serving steak on a stick at Western Welcome Week.

Beyond the benefit to the community, Schulte said being an Optimist is a great way for members to broaden their own lives.

“People lose touch with each other these days,” Schulte said. “Social media isn't getting out to meet your neighbor. Kids don't go outside. Parents are busy. We could all stand to be better connected.”

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