FOLEY — The Foley Optimist Club's creed is a promise.
It's a promise that the members will remain kind, open-hearted and strive to make a difference in the lives of community children.
That promise can be seen in action throughout Foley schools daily. The Junior Optimist Club, five $1,000 scholarships awarded annually, the Optimist Oratorical contest and the Optimist Essay contest are only a few examples of programs made possible with the aid of the Optimist Club.
"We try to support the youth in their development, in celebrating their achievements and in giving them an opportunity to not only be recognized for those achievements, but also to come and present to the greater community what it is they're learning and that they're doing," said Asa Baugher, 2021/2022 club president.
During a recent club meeting, members met with some of the
students whose lives they've impacted.
The Foley Elementary Ukulele Club played three songs for members. Foley High Junior Optimist members Salma Bravo and Laly Hernandez introduced themselves to the club. Future presentations included Foley High band program and track, tennis and golf previews.
"We try to support the youth of the community in as many different ways as we can come up with, whether it be just recognition of their accomplishments or whether it be providing a forum or a stage for them to showcase their interests and accomplishments or supporting contests to help fund scholarships," Baugher said. "We find different little things that we can in the community and help out where we can, but primarily in any way that we can support the youth in the community and ensure that we're giving them some attention, recognition and a little help for the future."
Every school year the club awards Foley High students for academics and athletics, sponsors the Junior Optimist Club at FHS, supports the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation annual rodeo, co-sponsors the Swift School Christmas party, supports the Boy Scouts of America and the Alabama Sheriffs' Boys Ranch, participates in the Avenue of Flags program alongside FHS ROTC and more.
"Being in the Optimist Club gives us a chance to all get together and see each other and talk about what's going on and things like that, and then it's getting to participate in the community that you live in with the different fundraisers that we do and different functions that we help out with," Baugher said. "Getting to interact with and support our teachers and our principals and our students in the community, you really get a feel for what and who the community is."
The Foley Optimist Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Wolf Bay Restaurant in Foley. Members are in the planning phases for this year's Taste of South Baldwin, proceeds of which go towards annual scholarships for local Foley seniors. Baugher invites anyone interested in participating as a vendor or a sponsor to reach out to the club for more information. For details, visit foleyoptimistclub.com.
"We recently received a letter for reaching our 75th anniversary as an optimist club within the Optimist International footprint," said longtime club member and current treasurer Clark Cathey. "I think that's worth noting that we've been around for 75 years, and we're going to be around for 75 more."