Summit County: Optimists always need volunteers for its local after-school programs |

Summit County: Optimists always need volunteers for its local after-school programs

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – Volleyball, chess, speech contests, internships: Where there’s a void in extracurricular activities at the Summit School District, the Summit Lake Dillon Optimists Club try to fill it.

And the Summit Lake Dillon Optimist Club, serving Summit County youth for more than 27 years, is run by its members and it’s always looking for volunteers, said treasurer Bill Wallace.

Wallace noted that between 400 and 500 local kids are currently involved with free Optimists programs. And funding for youth programs comes from two main fundraisers – a golf tournament in June and a ski pass raffle in fall.

“We raised enough funds,” Wallace said of this year’s efforts, though less money was collected than in previous years due to the down economy. “Each year we’ve raised between $13,000 and $15,000. All the money goes to programs for kids.”

The Summit Lake Dillon Optimist Club was formed under an umbrella organization, Optimist International – an association made up of more than 3,000 Optimist Clubs around the world.

According to the Optimists International website, the group aims to conduct “positive service projects” in its communities to help youth and empower them to “be the best they can be.” Each club determines its young people’s needs and creates programs to fit them. And every year, Optimists conduct 65,000 community service projects, serving more than six million youth globally.

Summit County’s local group provides fun activities for kids spanning all ranges of interest, including: Elementary school chess clubs, an essay contest for high school students, the Octagon Club – high school students run an elementary-level volleyball program and do community service projects, basketball at the elementary school, high school scholarships, the ‘School to Career’ internship program, oratorical contests for elementary and high school students, 5th grade girls’ volleyball and Make A Difference Day.

The chess program stands out to Wallace as a fun endeavor – “Envision a gym full of elementary students being quiet at one time for an hour. That’s sort of interesting.”

The Optimists are additionally trying to rejuvenate its internship program with the high school – “It’s in the works,” Wallace said.

“If people come to us and ask for activities, if there’s an interest there we’ll support it,” Wallace added.

For more information about the Summit Lake Dillon Optimist Club, visit

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633.

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