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Service clubs

Bob Young Sr.

The Scriptures remind us that “To every thing there is a season, and a

time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to

die. A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted...”

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For me, the time has come for me to retire from writing this weekly

column. It want to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity I

have had in writing news about volunteerism and making countless friends

in numerous service clubs over the years.

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Medical sources tell us that human arteries are made to last 100

years. At age 88, that leaves this Optimist some 12 years to enjoy

retirement and reminisce on the beauty and usefulness of volunteerism

and especially of my years being associated with service clubs.

Y2K is only 37 days away, and everyone seems to be preparing for it

one way or another. In contrast to the ominous threat that Y2K poses for

some folks, I am looking forward to it with keen anticipation because by

Jan. 1 will have been basking fully in the sun of complete retirement for

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more than a month -- and enjoying every moment of it.

Yes, today I am retiring from writing this weekly column.

We are often reminded that time is a precious possession. Some of us

waste it; others save it; but I intend to spend it doing all of the

things I have long postponed -- one of which is the handcrafting of early

American style pine furniture. Another is the observance of the early

California siesta.

Upon retiring 20 years ago from a printing business I had been running

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for 50 years, I eventually ended up writing service club columns for the

Burbank Leader, Foothill Leader and Glendale News-Press. Having spent

years in the service club movement as a card-carrying Optimist, the new

job was a natural, and for the past 17 years, I have enjoyed every moment

of it, telling about the wonders of volunteerism and the benefits enjoyed

by both the givers and receivers.

To the best of my knowledge, the Leader Newspapers are the only

publications regularly devoting space to the news of service club

activities and community volunteerism. Unfortunately, mankind’s darker

side, such as murder, rape and thievery make up much of the daily news.

This mayhem thrives in spite of the efforts of service oriented community

workers to overcome it.

But have you ever stopped to realize how much worse things could be if

there were no service clubs? They are like that little Dutch boy who

stuck his finger in the dyke to prevent his community from being flooded.

Service club activity is a definite asset to our community and

reporting it is a valuable contribution. The Burbank Leader is looking

for my replacement. If you have ever had a desire to write about all the

positive happenings in our community, now is the time to step forward and

apply for the post by calling Darrell Satzman, city editor of the Burbank

Leader at 843-8700.

And to clubs wanting publicity, please put the Burbank Leader on your

permanent mailing list and send your bulletins, newsletters and press

releases to Burbank Leader, 220 N. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502, or

send a fax to 954-9439. If you want a reporter to cover an event, call

Satzman at 843-8700.

SOME FINAL WORDS ON SERVICE CLUBS

Turnaround attitudes and a personal determination to succeed marked

the Magnolia Park Optimist Club’s Youth Appreciation Breakfast on

Thursday in Trevor Hall at Burbank’s First Methodist Church.

In the presence of their parents and school officials, seven local

high school students were honored for striking achievements in both their

academic and personal lives. Mayor Stacy Murphy had proclaimed the third

week in November as Youth Appreciation Week, urging all citizens to

“support the youth of our community as they assume responsible roles in

the future of mankind!”

True to their motto, “Friend of Youth” the Optimists responded.

Honored were: Jasmin Valle, of John Burroughs High School, Jakob Watts

of Optimist Youth Homes, Jose Godov of the Burbank Boys and Girls Club,

Catherine Engalla of Burbank High School, Terry Dyer of Monterey High

School, Craig Keplikian of Providence High School, and Natasha Sideritis

of Options for Youth. An eighth honoree, Jared Spencer from Bellarmine

Jefferson High was unable to attend. Optimist President Rick Burghdorf

chaired the event.

Burbank is fortunate in having two Optimist clubs. Reporting for the

Burbank Optimist Club, Past President Loren Troescher said that his club

has recognized that the scourge of youth today is surely drugs, and the

ability to “reach” youth on this subject is one of the most important

skills we can develop as responsible adults.

At Thursday’s luncheon meeting, the Burbank Optimists heard a speaker

from Narconon, the drug education and drug rehabilitation organization.

Narconon is working with Optimist clubs in many areas to make a

difference in the drug scene. “We support those activities,” Troescher

said.

Troescher also told of how, in the early 1920s, the Optimists in

Southern California took over the Strickland Ranch in Highland Park and

established the Optimist Boys Home -- predecessor to today’s Optimist

Youth Homes -- a refuge for boys with problems. Professional

parental-style counseling was provided in a family atmosphere, and the

turnaround in the youthful behavior patterns was amazingly gratifying. In

due time, the Optimists developed a self-contained campus replete with

its own accredited high school, gym, hobby workshops, and an all-faith

chapel on the hill and living accommodations for some 100 youthful wards

of the court seeking social adjustment.

In recent years, the Optimists added a series of satellite homes

throughout the Southland. These are individual residences where married

couples provide extended parental guidance to graduates who are able to

reside in a semi-independent home atmosphere while making the transition

to becoming independent, responsible citizens. Five of these homes are

for young men and two are for young women.

I joined the Highland Park Optimist Club in 1946, and as a life member

of the Optimist International, I am proud to have had a small part in

“aiding and encouraging the development of youth.” This longtime

Optimist membership, together with my involvement with writing weekly

columns during the past 17 years about Rotary, the Lions, Kiwanis,

Civitan, Sertoma and Exchange has been a most enjoyable and satisfying

period in my life.


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