The Optimist Club News

Junior Optimist Clubs Provide Lunches For The Needy

On Saturday, November 12th, 2016, members of the three Junior Optimist Clubs sponsored by the Del Mar - Solana Beach Optimist Club prepared over 200 nutritious lunches for the needy. The Junior Optimists from Canyon Crest Academy, Torrey Pines High School, and Carmel Valley Middle School assembled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, washed fresh fruit, and packaged granola bars into lunch bags for distribution to those in need. Some 14 students, their advisors, and friends participated in the effort. This community service activity is one of many the clubs perform throughout the year. To learn more about Optimist Clubs, their mission, and their purposes please visit

President Gary Wilson - Newsletter, November 2016

Good morning and Happy November.

Where does the time go? According to my calendar, Christmas is 50 days from today. Do you have your shopping done yet? I don't!

October has been a great month for our club and November promises to be even more eventful. Here are the highlights from October and November:


Our 21st Annual Golf Tournament on October 7 was a smashing success this year. We are still collecting Silent Auction fees and should be totaled out by the middle of November. Thank you to all our members and friends who participated in this great event. With over 25 members assisting with the implementation of our Silent Auction, Tee sponsor donations, gift card donations, a delicious luncheon, and special snacks at the end of the Golf Tournament provided by Emy and Sid Schneider, the day went very well. I want to again thank everyone who helped make this event successful in raising needed funds to support our many projects for the year.

Our breakfast meetings were well attended with some great guest speakers and Mystery Guests. We heard new information from Shari Sapp, Board member from the Miracle League, Martha Cox from the League of Women Voters, and Terry Decker, Superintendent, of the Solana Beach School District. Last week, we heard from Angie Hawkins, past Zone Governor, now, our Zone Rep for Optimist International.

The monthly dinner meeting at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club featured guest speakers from the Encinitas Resource Center. This event was well attended and the dinner
was fantastic!

Our JOOI clubs are busy working on projects, feeding the homeless, and participating in their Quarterly Meeting and beach clean up on November 5. All three clubs at Torrey Pines CCA, and CVMS are flourishing due to the enthusiasm of our student members and the wonderful Optimist sponsors, Gwen Beren, and JIm Parrotte. Thank you both for your leadership every week with these fine young people. We are building the future, one week at a time.

Over 19 Optimists participated in the annual Miracle League Event last Saturday, October 29. We did a great job with set-up, clean-up, selling items out of the Snack Shack, and hosting the table for sales of Miracle League T-Shirts, and commemorative bricks. Thanks also to those who cooked hot dogs. I understand that not one was burned this year. I surely enjoyed helping out in the morning, and watching the kids have a great time running the bases. We also thank the 9 JOOI club members from Torrey Pines and Canyon Crest Academy High School, along with our club from Carmel Valley Middle School who helped us during the day.


Here are the dates for your calendar for the month of November:

Nov. 1 Angie Hawkins visits our club for breakfast
Nov. 5 Quarterly JOOI Club meeting followed by a beach clean-up party
Nov. 9 Nicole from Casa de Amistad will be our guest speaker on the annual Christmas gift giving party sponsored by our club
Nov. 16 No formal breakfast meeting today. We will have our Board meeting at 7:00am. All are welcome! No dinner meeting this month due to Thanksgiving
Nov. 23 No breakfast meeting today due to Thanksgiving.
Nov. 30 Breakfast meeting at Denny's at 7:00am. Why not join us?


Dec. 7 Morning Breakfast meeting at Denny's at 7:00am
Dec. 13 Casa de Amistad Christmas Gift giving party. ( Our gift wrapping party date will be sent to you soon )
Dec. 14 Annual Holiday Party at Loma Santa Fe Country Club ( entertainment, gifts, and proceeds going to St. Leo's Dental Clinic in Solana Beach)
Dec. 14 No breakfast meeting today due to our Holiday party
Dec. 21 No formal breakfast meeting due to Christmas week. (Come and have breakfast with a few of us anyway at Denny's at 7:00am)
Dec. 28 No formal breakfast meeting due to New Years (Come and have breakfast with a few of us anyway at Denny's at 7:00am)

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, and lots of good times with your family and friends.


Gary Wilson, President
Del Mar / Solana Beach Optimist Club


President Gary Wilson - Newsletter. August, 2016

Happy August to our 54 members of the Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club!

Our club brought in three new members in July and we welcome Kathy Brown, Karen Gee, and Brian Sharpee to our fantastic group of Optimists.

Our events for July included our monthly dinner meeting with guest speaker, Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Joe is always entertaining and he brought down the house with his jokes, and stories about Del Mar Racing. Did you know Joe is Anthony Quinn's nephew and he calls him "Uncle Tony?" A Big thank you to Jon Vance, Sara Vance, Audrey Eller, and Dave Eller for their efforts towards a most successful dinner meeting.

Did you know about CAMP REACH FOR THE SKY? This is a Free Summer Camp for Children with Cancer, and their siblings. The camps use to be run by the American Cancer Society. In 2012, The American Cancer Society decided they preferred to use money to support the Cancer Research rather than the Camps.
The Robins family lost their teenage son Sean to Cancer after an epic battle. Sean loved the camps. The Robins established the Seany Foundation in honor of their son and took over CAMP REACH FOR THE SKY.

CAMP REACH FOR THE SKY is made up of 3 annual Cancer Camps.
l. Sibling Camp 2. Oncology Camp for kids ages 9-20 battling Cancer. 3. Day Camp for ages 4-9. The children are referred to the camps by their Doctors.
On July 25, our members spent a large part of the day volunteering for CAMP REACH FOR THE SKY. SID AND EMY SCHNEIDER, GARY WILSON, AUDREY AND DAVE ELLER distributed character theme hats, and Treasure Bags to over 125 children at camp. It was a treasured experience to watch the kids choose their favorite hat and Treasure Bag. Thanks to the Eller's for planning the activities. This was the second annual camp our club sponsored.

We also welcomed Sierra Beren into our Optimist Family this month. Susan Pfleeger and Gary Wilson had the privilege of delivering assorted children's books to Sierra
and her two proud parents on July 25. We both were so glad to see Brad and Gwen in their home, along with Sierra. We both got to hold Sierra who is now three weeks old. The books were a "great hit" and Gwen plans to start reading them to Sierra every day. Our club members were so happy to contribute over $200 towards books for Sierra.

Mark your calendar for the Annual Club Installation of Officers during the month of September. Our Installation will be held on September 24, at the lovely home of Sam and Grace Junk in Solana Beach. We are planning a delicious dinner which includes Sam's famous Barbecued Chicken and Ribs. Our club members will sign up to bring assorted dishes and desserts to share. Cocktails will be from 4:00-5:00, with dinner and installation to follow. We will have our newly installed Lt. Governor, Bonnie Styles, and Governor Elect, Alan Aegerter as our guests. Both Alan and Bonnie will assist in the installation ceremony. Please plan to come and bring your favorite dish. Contact Susan Pfleeger to sign up.


Please mark your calendar for the 21st. Annual Youth Golf Tournament, October 7, 2016. Come and support us with a donation of a SILENT AUCTION ITEM, TEE SPONSOR, OR RAFFLE PRIZE. WE NEED EVERYONE TO HELP US RAISE FUNDS FOR OUR MANY PROJECTS FOR THE NEW YEAR. THIS IS OUR ONLY FUND RAISER AND WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT.

Proceeds from this annual event are dedicated to benefit youth in the Del Mar/Solana Beech Communities. Our goal is to bring a smile to children's faces, and provide a lasting experience of a positive memory. Your participation will be recognized at our event and is deeply appreciated. Come and play golf, enjoy lunch and dinner, and join in the SILENT AUCTION OR RAFFLE. Our planning committee is working hard to make this the most successful Golf Tournament/Fund Raiser yet.

If you have gift cards, prizes, or Silent Auction gifts to donate, please call Gary Wilson at 858 864-3491.

Stay cool during our heatwave and STAY OPTIMISTIC. We'll see you Wednesday morning at Denny's at 7:00am, or at our dinner meeting on Wednesday, August 17.


Your President, Gary Wilson 858 864-3491


Camp Reach For The Sky

July 27, 2016. Wonderful time at Camp Reach for the Sky (summer camp for children with cancer) Approximately one hundred children selected a Treasure Bag and a colorful "Honorary Optimist" hat that appealed to them. We are so honored to be a little part of the incredible Camp Reach for the Sky team and the wonderful work they do for the children and their families. Audrey


July 20, 2016. Optimist Dinner Presentation by Joe Harper

Joe Harper, Director, President, and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and a long time supporter of the Del Mar - Solana Beach Optimist Club was the guest speaker at the Optimist Club's Dinner Meeting on Wednesday, July 20th. Mr. Harper shared stories of his long tenure with the horse racing environment. The sizeable crowd of attendees was entertained as his stories were interesting and amusing. Many went far back into the track's history and even about its early beginnings. Joe shared his brief theatrical history and his relatives in the film industry. He thoroughly enjoys what he does and traces his involvement with horses back to his early years of childhood. Yes, he says, horses do have personalities! Come out to see them at the track this season. The members of the Optimist Club expressed their appreciation for Mr. Harper's insights and amusing stories throughout the evening.


Gary Wilson, President - Newsletter

Greetings from your President, Gary Wilson:

The Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club is thriving during the summer months with great programs, new members, and ramping up for our October 7 Golf Tournament. This is our only fundraiser to support the many youth programs for the upcoming year. We would like every
member to get involved helping us raise the needed funds for all our projects. Help us gather gift certificates for the Silent Auction, Live Auction, gift prizes, and T Sponsors. Here are some of our projects to be funded in the coming year:

Childhood Cancer Camp Reach 4 the Sky Christmas Charities Cub/Boy Scouts CCA Dollars for Scholars

TPHS Scholarships Essay and Oratorical Contests Miracle League Rady's Children's Hospital Ronald McDonald House

San Dieguito Heritage Museum Solana Beach Library Vic Kops Children's Challenge Awards Winston School

Youth Mountain Boarding, and many more.........................

During the month of July many of our our members are on vacation. The County Fair is now over, and Racing Season is starting up soon. We continue to have weekly breakfast meetings on Wednesday mornings at Denny's Restaurant starting at 7:00am (Except for the 3rd Wednesdays) Our dinner meetings also continue at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club with a wonderful dinner and program on the 3rd Wednesdays. Why not join us for breakfast or dinner and bring a friend?
Our guest speaker for our dinner meeting on July 20, is Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Racing Association. He will be updating us on the plans for this new racing season. Get your reservations in to Audrey Eller early. ph: 760 510-9535 or

You have already heard the great news concerning our proud parents Gwen and Brad Beren. Their new baby girl was born on July 6. Her name is Sierra Marie, and she weighed in at 7 lbs. We wish the Beren Family congratulations on their new arrival. Both Gwen and Brad are dedicated members of our club and we are happy for them as we welcome Sierra into the Optimist Family. Susan Pfleeger is collecting funds for a nice gift of books for Sierra. Contact her at ph: 858 755-2287or Gary Wilson at ph: 858 864-3491 if you wish to contribute.

Here are a few dates for your calendar as we plan ahead with our activities:

July 11 Optimist Board Meeting 5:00pm
July 20 Evening Dinner meeting at Lomas Santa Country Club with Joe Harper as our guest speaker
July 13, 27 Breakfast meetings at Denny's Restaurant 7:00am
Sept. 16-17 Optimist District Convention in Pt. Loma
Sept. 24 Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Installation
Oct. 7 Optimist Golf Tournament at Lomas Santa Fe Executive Golf Course

See you next Wednesday at our breakfast meeting!


Gary Wilson-President
Del Mar / Solana Beach Optimist Club


Jim Ferrara

In 2008 Jim was asked to write a summary of his life for his granddaughter, Genevieve’s baby book. Here is what he wrote: I was born on May 24, 1946 in New London, Connecticut while my father was stationed at the submarine base close by. My parents’ names are Maurice (Duke) Ferrara, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, and Judith Astin Ferrara. Unlike you, I was not the first born in the family: Duke (1941), Tom (1943), Judy (1944), Jim (me 1946), Mike (1951), and Joe (1955). We have been in San Diego since 1955, except while I was in the Army: in Maryland, Georgia, Vietnam, and Hawaii. We had a good family life and enjoyed getting together with our grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins on both the east and west coast. In 1955 I went to school in San Diego at Loma Portal Elementary, then catholic school before graduating from Point Loma High School. After graduating from San Diego State University, Business Administration, I graduated from the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird, Maryland, then from IBM’s computer marketing school. Among my military decorations is the Bronze Star I earned in Vietnam. I have been essentially self-employed since 1981 as Jim Ferrara & Company; most recently as a distributor of storage and related material handling equipment. I have been civically active since 1981 as a member of Optimist International. Projects include Governor, CALSO administration, National Eagle Board for Boy Scouts, and Director for the San Diego County Water Authority. Your Bonne Maman and I are also members of the Eudist Congregation of Jesus and Mary, a catholic religious community. I love nature, the country, and also enjoy music, surfing, and a little skiing. I have traveled the United States extensively, but my heart is in France, second to San Diego. With all my love, Jim


Jim Ferrara - Eulogy by David Eller

Jim Ferrara was a good friend of mine, having met, and served together, in our Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach over 32 years ago.
I had the honor, at Elisabeth's request, of speaking at Jim's Memorial Service at the St. James Church on May 12th. The following is a copy of my Eulogy remarks.
David Eller

Good Morning Elisabeth, Family Members, and Everyone gathered here to Celebrate the Life of
James (Jim) A. Ferrara

I am honored to say a few words regarding a man I have known, respected, and trusted for over the past 32 years - associated together thru the Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach.

The Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach was Chartered on May 19th, 1981. Jim became a Member of the Club on December 1st, 1981 - not as a "Charter Member" but joining during the first year of our Club.

Eugene (Gene) Schwartz joined our Club shortly before Jim did.

I would like to read to you some comments from Gene:

"Much too soon. I can't think of anyone who brought a kinder, gentler nature to his optimistic outlook. Jim and I both became members in the first year of our chapter, 1981, and shared a joint Optimist of the Year recognition in 1983. We always felt a special kinship from that early experience. In later years I have been inactive, but Jim fulfilled his commitment as a FRIEND OF YOUTH, giving back unstintingly the very best he had to offer to the community.

With a sad heart and condolences to Elisabeth and his family, I wish you God speed. Jim, we are smiling our farewell to you as I know your are up there smiling on us."

I joined the Optimist Club on June 1st, 1984, during Jim's first Term as President of our Club for the Optimist Year of 1984 - 1985. I gained an immediate respect for the man, and began a life time friendship.

During my first Term as President of our Club - Optimist year of 1988 - 1989, Jim approached me with an idea of sponsoring a local Scout Pack. The idea sounded "good" to me, I signed the Charter Papers for Pack 734 on behalf of our Optimist Club as Sponsor. It must have been a good idea as Pack 734 was chartered on December 1, 1988, and has been in continuous service since then with the continued support from the Optimist Club of Del Mar/Solana Beach.

I WILL READ A NOTE FROM: Daniel Marks, District Executive. Boy Scouts of America. San Diego-Imperial County

"It my hope to extend to his family and to all of those who knew him my profound thanks for sharing him with Cub Scout Pack 734 and our Scouting community. Jim was an extraordinary man and has touched the lives of many of us. The Scouts he has mentored have grown up to become community leaders and outstanding family men, no doubt because Jim served as a role model that they looked up to.

For the men and women of the Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club, my thanks for sharing Jim with us, and for sending us such a fine man to lead a generation of Cub Scouts.


"Jim made a point of talking to each boy at the Pine Wood Derby's, he really new the importance of getting down to their level. It was easy to see that he enjoyed the events.

We have had several of our distinquished Optimist Club Members involved in Scouting over the years - Tom Emery, Eagle Scout Board, Carolyn Coughlin Grimm, and Steven Wagner. All thought very highly of Jim. In addition, I have Jim to Thank for the many Pinewood Derby's I have judged, and the Blue and Gold Dinners that I have attended - the "skits" are a high light of the evening, and our young Scouts are always"full of energy'"!

Jim became Governor of our Optimist Southern California District for the 1992 - 1993 Optimist Year. He also met and married his "First Lady" Elisabeth.


"The Optimists were certainly a major part of Jim's life and we became engaged just as he was asked to become Governor Elect. I have teased him that he realized then that he needed a First lady, that is why I came into his life"...

Yes, Elisabeth, you were, and are, Jim's "First Lady" not only to the Optimist district, but to everyone the two of you encountered.

During our Club's Optimist year of 1994 - 1995, Jim once again answered a call to serve the Club as President. One of my most poignant memories of Jim, and Elisabeth comes from that year. Jim, decided that it would be a good idea if our Optimist Club participated in the Fiesta Del Sol Parade in Solana Beach - so Jim and Elisabeth were in the Parade! I will never forget seeing Jim proudly carrying our Optimist Club Banner, with Elisabeth at his side, down Cedros Avenue as Our "Club Entry to the Parade".

Jim, I know that you will be carrying the Optimist Banner along the streets of Heaven, too!!

Over the years, Jim served almost every position on our Optimist Board, including Treasurer at which he did too good a job because he held that one continuously for a number of years until he "retired" after the 2014 - 2015 Year.

However, in that year, Optimist International, awarded "Distinquished Club Watches" to the President, Secretary, and Treasurer, and it was my distinct Honor as Lt. Governor of our Optimist Zone to present Jim with his watch. He was beaming with pride.

We are very proud of you, Jim. We will miss you, and you will always have a special place in our hearts.


Briana Kaler - Governor of the Southern California Junior Optimist District.

Seven college bound graduating Seniors, members of the Canyon Crest Academy's Junior Optimist Club during their high school years, walked away with scholarships at the Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Canyon Crest Academy Dollars For Scholars (CCADFS) Awards event.

Briana Kaler, President of the Canyon Crest Academy Junior Optimist Club, and Governor of the Southern California Junior Optimist District, was presented a Del Mar - Solana Beach Optimist Club sponsored and funded scholarship.

Briana will attend the University of California - Berkeley following graduation.

Adrienne Rozells, Canyon Crest Academy Junior Optimist Club Vice President, and Lt. Governor of the District, was recognized with a Dollars For Scholars Achievement Award. Kira Sedayao received the Hansen's Award Scholarship. Margo Kersey took the CCADFS Alumni Award. Sandra Sandria was selected as the recipient of the CCADFS Board of Directors Award.

Also winning scholarships were past club members Sarah Du and Bianca Hung.

The second Del Mar - Solana Beach Optimist Club sponsored scholarship was presented to Tanvi Shah who does research and analysis at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and plans a career in that field.

For more information on Optimist Clubs and Junior Optimist Clubs visit the website.

President Gary Wilson - Newsletter

Greetings from your President of the Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club.:

I can't believe it's the middle of May and we are almost to summer. Time passes quickly when you're having fun.

April was full of activities. We had over 35 members for our April dinner meeting at the Lomas Santa Fe Country Club. Our next dinner meeting is Wednesday, May 18. That's this week! Call or E mail Audrey Eller to secure your reservation. Thank you to Audrey, and Dave Eller, and Jon Vance for their leadership on our once a month dinner meetings. (Your President directs a church choir on Wednesday evenings and is unable to attend the meetings).

Our breakfast meetings at 7:00am have been productive and worthwhile. The food is excellent and our programs have been very informative. We have heard speakers on Human Trafficking, an update on our sponsored Cub Scout Troop 734, and assorted Mystery Guests. Why not join us on the first, second, or fourth Wednesdays at Denny's?

As many of you heard, our own Jim Ferrara passed away and his service was attended by many of our club members and Optimist International. We extend to Jim's wife
Elisabeth and family our heartfelt sympathy. Jim was a long-time Optimist and had an extraordinary impact on our community and Optimist International. He served Optimists at the local level, California South District, and Optimist International. The Scouts were a particular passion as he served as an Eagle Scout, and mentored boys that have grown up to become community leaders, great citizens, and outstanding family men. Jim had a profound impact on so many kids, and his fellow Optimist friends. He will be missed by all of us.

Our JOOI clubs are winding down the end of the year activities as we complete a most successful year of community service and service learning. The JOOI Clubs, under the leadership on Gwen Beren, had a successful Bake Sale in April. The students baked different items; cookies, brownies, and cupcakes, raising over $162! These funds will go towards the Ronald McDonald House Project at the end of May. We are currently working with Audrey Eller and the CCA Club to arrange the details of this project. As you know, we volunteered on April 30, with our adult Optimist Members at the Miracle League Softball games at San Dieguito Park. We just completed our Election of Officers for next year, in conjunction with the end of the year Pizza Party. We plan next year to expand our membership and plan many more worthwhile activities. Stay tuned!

Our Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club has just completed our election results for Directors for the upcoming Optimist Year. Twenty-four Club Members voted for three directors and officers. The results are as follows:

Susan Pfleeger - Director
Don LaVigne - Director
Judy Trendel - Director

The following candidates were unopposed for the Club Officer Positions listed below, and will be installed into their positions along with the above elected Directors for the 2016-17 Optimist Year starting October 1, 2016:

President-Gary Wilson
Vice President-Dave Eller
Treasurer-Jeff Mattfolk
Secretary-Jim Parrotte

A special thank you to Jim Parotte, who served as chair of our election process.

Here are some dates and activities for the rest of the month:

April 30: Over 15 club members and 5 JOOI Club members attended the Miracle League Snack Shack Event. This included set up and take down, cooking hot dogs, and
selling goodies in the Snack Shack. All proceeds support the Miracle League.

May 4, 11: Breakfast meetings at Denny's at 7:00am

May 18: Dinner Meeting at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club at 5:30pm

May 25: Annual Vic Kops Children's Challenge Awards Breakfast Event at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club at 7:00am

Please join us for a breakfast or a dinner meeting, or at our Annual Vic Kops Children's Challenge Awards Breakfast..BRING A FRIEND


Gary Wilson-President
Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club