The Optimist Club News

Newsletter, December 2014

Please click on the link to view the newsletter.


Message from the President, Jon Vance

Members: Happy Holidays and best wishes for a prosperous 2015. Every year we take up a cash collection for Lisa, our special server at Denny as well as for the staff at Lomas Santa Fe CC, who serve our dinners. We will give Lisa her gift next Wednesday at our breakfast gathering (no formal meeting/just member fellowship). I will arrange to get the gift to Lomas employees. This is a voluntary member contribution so do not feel that you are obligated. For those that would like to contribute, please send me, President Jon Vance, an email ( ) and let me know if you would like to participate. I believe we gave Lisa $100 last year and I believe we did the same for the Lomas employees.


Mountain Boarding

The Optimist Club, Del Mar - Solana Beach sponsors an annual "Boostamonte Youth Mountain Boarding Program" for "Straight From the Heart" Foster Children.

"All Kids on Board" focuses on offering free mountainboarding lessons to local San Diego children going through some sort of challenges. "It's great to watch kids just be kids and forget about struggles which may be taking place in their personal lives. It's such a rewarding program for all involved and I'm excited about helping more kids Get on Board!" says Brad.

Boostamonte started in 2011 with a mission to spread the word of owner Brad Beren's 16-year passion, mountainboarding; a fun, safe cross of snowboarding, mountainbiking, and skateboarding. Quickly building a successful niche market in San Diego, the company is a new start-up and offers quality Apparel, Safety Gear, Boards, and Professional Instructions.

Boostamonte Mountainboarding’s “Learn To Boost” program paves the way for kids and people of all ages to try mountainboarding. All first lessons take place on small grass slopes and all safety equipment is provided. This unique program is very easy to learn, helps promote a healthy living lifestyle and builds student skills like balance, flexibility, aerobic capacity, strength, endurance, social interaction, confidence, and more. Mountainboarding lessons are perfect After School Programs, Summer Camps, Children Birthday Parties, etc. and according to Leslie A.’s 13 year old son Sam, “The most fun I’ve ever had at a birthday party!”

For more information please visit:

Brad Beren
Boostamonte Mountainboarding
858 382 0355

WEB MASTER: Audrey Eller




WEB MASTER: Audrey Eller


Presidents Message. May, 2014

Presidents Message:
My Fellow Optimists: It is really TRUE that the older you get the faster the time goes by. It seems as if we were just in the winter season with Christmas and New Years, and now we are all looking forward to sunny skies, warm breezes and all of our summertime activities.
I am pleased to report that our club is on solid footing with a strong and active membership deeply committed to “bringing out the best in kids”. Unfortunately, we had a few members decide not to rejoin for 2014-2015 year. Every year we are faced with the possibility of losing certain members due to health, transfer or other reasons. This is a normal cycle within service clubs. Despite losing a few members, I am excited to announce that Jonathan Mayberry and his wife, Sara Jo, have become our newest members. The Mayberry’s are relative newcomers to Del Mar, and we welcome them to our club. Also, special thanks to the Wells Fargo Advisors for their generous contributions to the Optimist Club.
The last few months have been very busy months with respect to club activities. I am pleased to report that under Chairman Victor Svistoonoff, the Oratorical Contest was the most successful contest to date with close to 30 participants. John Murphy served as the skilled Master of Ceremonies (for the local as well as District contest); Jim Parrotte provided excellent support; Warren Raps once again handled all of the refreshments, and Dick Brown handled the timing portion of the contest. Thanks to all of you for your outstanding effort, and to the numerous other club members who helped out…a big thank you! Oh, by the way, our local winner won the district event and the $2500 scholarship.
As you are aware, we are a big supporter of Rady’s Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House through our Childhood Cancer Campaign. Audrey Eller and her team have done a wonderful job! I would like to also recognize Louis Verhoog for his “Pennies for a Purpose” campaign which raised nearly $1500 over the last few months to be donated to Ronald McDonald House. The funds will be presented to the Ronald McDonald House at the May dinner meeting.
On May 14th, we held our 32 annual Vic Kops Children’s Challenge event at Lomas Santa Fe CC. This event was headed up by Susan Pfleeger and her committee of Jo Ann Carlton, Gary Wilson and Sam Junk. 7 participants were awarded $100 cash awards for their outstanding efforts in the community service, humanities, and arts categories. My hats off to Susan and her committee for another wonderful Children’s Challenge! For our members who have not attended this event, please try to attend next year’s program. It is one of our longest running and most successful programs.
Please check the website for details, but we have a new fundraising event planned for Sunday, June 8th at Lomas Santa Fe CC to benefit the Childhood Cancer program. Audrey Eller and her committee have a tennis and pickleball event planned that promises to be a fun event. Never heard of, let alone played pickle ball? Well, now is your chance to enjoy a fun afternoon.
In early July, the Junior Optimist’s will hold its annual convention in San Diego. Jim Parrotte and Gwen Robinson are coordinating this event with the hopes of getting as many of our JOII members in the Canyon Crest and Torrey Pines clubs to attend. The board has authorized additional funding to assist those members that cannot afford to attend. Jim and Gwen have done a fantastic job of organizing the new clubs and getting them properly focused.
Finally, it seems like my year was just starting, and now it is time to announce our officer and director slate for 2014-2015. As I said…time flies. The officers of the Club will be Jon Vance- President; Dave Eller- Vice President; Jim Ferrara-Treasurer and Jim Parrotte-Secretary. The board will consist of Louis Verhoog, Gene Hancock and Gary Wilson. Gary and Gene will replace Jo Ann Carlton and Emy Schneider. Both ladies have served the club very well as directors.
Each of you can take great pride and satisfaction in belonging to and supporting a great club. Your ongoing time and financial support are fantastic. Thanks to club members for all you do, and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming breakfast or dinner meeting…maybe both. Have a great summer! Jon


AUSTIN GATUS - A Cancer Survivor

I would like to introduce Austin Gatus to you. ( Please see the attached photo.) I first met Austin when he was nine years old at an American Cancer Society summer camp. Austin is now 17, and he is an amazing Cancer survivor. Throughout his ordeal Austin loved music. Somewhere along the way Dave Koz, and Kenny G took Austin under their wings, and guided him to become the extraordinarily talented , and accomplished musician he has become.

I am very proud to tell you that Austin will be performing at the opening ceremonies at the Optimist International Convention at Ceaser's Palace in Las Vegas. He will also be featured in the next edition of the Optimist International Magazine, and on the OI website.

My friends - the Gatus family gave me permission to share with you Austin's epic battle with leukemia featured in this video:

It is because of the many brave children like Austin that we continue to provide Treasure Bags, and Pocket Blankets to give the children some comfort, smiles, and special love as they struggle with the horrible disease.

It is also the reason I organize the Optimist's, Family, and Friends "Shamu" walk every October (Next walk October 4th, 2014) to raise funds for Rady Children's Cancer Research. Without the dedicated Medical Staff, and Research Scientist's at Rady - Austin would not be here.

We will be providing Treasure Bags, and Pocket Blankets for Girls and Boys, ages 4 to 19, (approximatly 375) attending the summer Cancer Camps coming up in June and July.

I do hope you know how grateful the Children, their Families, the Child Life Specialists, and the Medical Staff are for our gifts, generosity, and compassion for the children.

Please call me or email me if you have any questions or comments.
~ Audrey



My fellow Optimists: Nearly 3 years ago, I had the chance to meet Dave Eller and learn about the Del Mar Solana Beach Optimist Club. For many years Dave and my wife Sara had been involved in the “Dollars for Scholars” scholarship program at Torrey Pines High School. At one of their chance meetings at Staples, he gave Sara a membership application for the club, and as we know, Dave NEVER leaves home without his corduroy sport coat and a handful of membership applications. The rest is history as I became a new member and my wife joined shortly thereafter.
As I reflect back several years ago, I realize how fortunate I was to meet Dave and become involved and get to know each of you. We have a great and active membership that gives their time and money freely and with conviction. Our many charitable projects make a big difference in our community and provide a wonderful and positive template upon which to build. At a time when many service and charitable clubs are losing members, enthusiasm and momentum, our club is gaining momentum and new members. We have great attendance and participation at our monthly breakfast meetings as well as our dinner meetings. This is a very solid foundation to build upon…and we WILL!
Our club supports many outstanding programs that serve our community and “bring out the best” in kids. The committee chairs and committee members of each of our programs do a fantastic job of planning, promoting and holding the events. A ton of careful attention and detail goes into our many successful, annual programs. Don’t be shy in passing along compliments…these members deserve it.
I am fortunate to have a great legacy of past presidents and board members in our club that provide wonderful assistance and direction to me. I value their ongoing input, and I thank them for their service.
In closing, here’s to a great and Optimistic year. For those members who we have not seen in a while due to other commitments, we hope to see you at an upcoming function. Come and join us in some fun and fellowship! Jon


2018 Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club Oratorical Contest

Please find below a flyer and application form for the 2018 Del Mar/Solana Beach Optimist Club Oratorical Contest.


Who May Enter: Any girls and boys under the age of 18 who have not yet graduated from high school, or the equivalent, and who are educated in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean.

Application Deadline: Friday, March 16, 2018

Contest Date and Location:
Saturday, March 24th, 2018 at 9:00 am
Check in for all students begins at 8:00 am
The Winston School
215 9th Street, Del Mar, CA 92014

Questions and Application Submission Address:
John Murphy, DTM
Phone: 619-886-2212; Email:
Address: 3720 Kingsley Street, San Diego, CA 92106



400 Christmas themed Treasure Bags, 100 Elves, 100 Pocket Blankets, 40 Christmas Hats, and 600 Beanie Babies were delivered to Rady Children's Hospital.
We also delivered 50 Baby Blankets, 60 Hat and Bootie sets, to Palomar Hospital Pediatric ward which is operated by Rady.

Extra special thanks, appreciation, and gratitude to the following Optimist Clubs for their support: Carlsbad, Del Mar - Solana Beach, El Cajon, Oceanside, and Valley Center.

Sew-ers from all over San Diego created the hand made, unique items for the children. What a difference each of you are making for the children. The world is a better place because of you.

Two ladies (both RN's) drove down from Corona to deliver 90 Christmas Treasure Bags to me. They and a group of their friends got together to make the bags in HONOR of a 6 year old boy who is the nephew of one of the ladies, He has battled brain cancer. He was in treatment at Rady for over 2 1/2 years and went into remission. Sadly the cancer has returned and he had to have one eye removed, he is again in treatment. The day of the delivery I told one of the Rady Executives the story and asked her to make sure the he got a Christmas Treasure Bag, and a pair of elves. As luck would have it the Child Life Specialist who takes care of him was present at the delivery, she promised the family would be notified of the Treasure Bags made by the ladies in honor of their child, and that she would personally present the young boy with his Treasure Bag and Elves. By the way the ladies learned about Covers With Love when they picked up a brochure in one of the Quilt shops.

As you celebrate the wonderful season, please keep the children in your heart, and in your prayers.

Blessings to you, and your family, and best wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Thank you for your kindness and generosity,
~ Audrey