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Optimists Out and About

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 L-R: Paul Budden, Participant, Ron Jaacks, Donar/Volunteer, and Joel Walczak, Co-Founder

President Melissa Palfrey (L), and Joel Walczak (R)

The Wisconsin Veterans Fishing Camp

Joel Walczak drove over two hours on a cold Friday morning to share his passion project  with us.  He is a Co-Founder of the Wisconsin Veterans Fishing Camp.  The camp was established to give the opportunity to Veterans from around the state of Wisconsin to attend a fishing camp dedicated to them. Their brochure states, this is our way of showing our HEROES how THANKFUL we are for their service to our country, as well as for our FREEDOM.
The camp is run entirely on donations, including the resort, room and board, food, professional guides, equipment and boats.  Their is no charge to Veterans who attend.
The fishing is amazing but the opportunity for Veterans to share their stories with their comrades is priceless.

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 Vice President Alaina Reeves (L),Sue Kies (M), Brook Brockman (R)

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 L-R: Gene Weber, PCA, Vice President Alaina Reeves, Brook Brockman and Sue Kies

Sue Kies, author, retired educator and PCA volunteer spoke to our Optimist Club about writing her book, Sassy's Vacation.  The book is about a turtle that lives near Katie's Garden along the Rountree Branch  Trail. Sue was accompanied by Brook Brockman, 1st grade teacher at Westview elementary and avid trail user, who now uses field trips to the trail as part of her curriculum. She will incorporate Sassy Vacation into her class.

The Platteville Optimist Club presented a check to the Platteville Community Arboretum to help with the cost of the books.

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Congratulations Becky!

Left: Becky Schambow holding up the joker as she cut to became the BIG winner of the Joker Draw.  Terri Ellis reacts to the news.

Right: Platteville Optimist Club President Melissa Palfrey presents Becky Schambow with a check for her Joker Draw winnings. 

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Pictured: On the left, Wayne Wodarz, Director of the Platteville Chamber of Commerce and on the right, Optimist Club President Melissa Palfrey.

Wayne Wodarz, Director of Platteville Chamber of Commerce, spoke at a recent meeting highlighting upcoming events in Platteville during November including:

  • Platteville Holiday Project 

  • United Way Silent Auction

  • Fidelity Bank Holiday Silent Auction

  • Annual Soccer Craft & Vendor Show 

  • Small Business Passport Promotion

  • Salvation Army Bell Ring,

  • Free Holiday (family) movie;

  • Small Business Saturday and Santa Stroll

  • Chamber’s Jolly Jingle Promotion 

  • Artist’s Sunday 


December events including:

  • Residential Decorating Contest and Holiday Tour of Lights 

  • Local stores will be open on Friday evenings  with;

    • Horse Drawn Carriage rides

    • Carolingwill be provided on Main Street;

    • Kiwanis will be selling roasted chestnuts & s’mores;

  • Tubb Club Party to raise funds for Badger Camp;

  • Santa at Katie’s Garden

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Welcome New Member

Sultana Amin


Left: Optimist Club President Melissa Palfrey installs Sultana Amin as a new Optimist member while Gary Engelke who sponsored Sultana's membership observes.

Right: Platteville Optimist Club President Melissa Palfrey, Sultana Amin and Gary Engelke. 

Pictured Below With the SWIS District Logo: Swis District Governor Jo'EL Pearlman. Platteville Optimist Club President Melissa Palfrey, Sultana Amin and Gary Engelke.

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 President Melissa Palfrey (L),Jo'EL Pearlman (M), Tom Nall (R)

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 President Melissa Palfrey (L), Maxine Lane and Jo'EL Pearlman (R)

Maxine Lane introduced our guest speaker, Jo'EL Pearlman, 2022-2023 SWIS District Governor. Jo'EL has chosen "All Roads Lead to Optimism" has her theme for the her year as governor. She been busy visiting Clubs in our district.  Jo'EL's session was entitled "Let's Talk Optimism".  She talked about her road to optimism and her experiences as a member of multiple Optimist Clubs.  Many of our members shared their road to optimism and why they chose to become Optimists and what the enjoy about being Platteville  Optimist Club members.

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A Very Special

Thank You!

The Cheese Curd Committee presented a very special thank you to Gary and Eileen Engelke and Steve and Maxine Lane during our recent  Appreciation, Installation and Awards Gathering on October 9th.

These four dedicated individuals have been the backbone of our cheese curds sales for many years.  The Cheese Curd Committee wanted to recognize them for all their hard work and thank them for their continuing dedication to our club.

Pictured L to R:  Gary and Eileen Engelke and Steve and Maxine Lane.

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Charlie Clark(L), Barb Stockhausen and President Melissa Palfrey (R)

Barb Stockhausen was installed as new Optimist member by new Optimist Club President Melissa Palfrey during our Appreciation, Installation and Awards Gathering on October 9th.


Other new members, Emmily and Dan Dreessens and Karla and Todd Timmerman were unable to attend.

Welcome Barb Stockhausen!

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Charlie Clark(L), Barb Stockhausen and President Melissa Palfrey (R)

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Howard Crofoot (L) and Tom Nall (R)

Tom Nall has recruited 10 new Optimist members during his career with the Platteville Optimist Club.

Optimist President Howard Crofoot presented Tom with a letter of recognition and a pin from Optimist International for reaching this milestone. 

Congratulations Tom!

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Tom Nall (L) and Howard Crofoot (R)

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Sarah Ellis

Terri Ellis arranged for her very talented daughter, Sarah Ellis to speak to our Club. Sarah hails from New York City where she is an actress.  Sarah spoke with us about the behind the scenes life of some one working in the acting profession.

When she is not in front of the camera, she is behind it making original movie musicals with a MT Shorts, a company she co-created. Thank you, Sarah for and interesting and entertaining presentation.

Left: Terri Ellis and Sarah Ellis

Right: Sarah Ellis and Optimist President Howard Crofoot.

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Our Club SURVIVED the Pandemic!

Maintaining club membership during the pandemic was very challenging.  During her term as SWIS District Governor, Maxine Lane recognized district clubs who survived the pandemic with an "Our Club SURVIVED the Pandemic" badge to apply to their banners. Maxine presented our Club's badge to Optimist President Howard Crofoot recognizing our efforts and optimism during two challenging years.

Pictured on the left, Maxine Lane holding the badge and Howard Crofoot.

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Terri Ellis

Volunteer of the Year 2022

Optimist President Howard Crofoot presented Terri Ellis the Volunteer of the Year Award at a recent meeting.


Terri is a member of our Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Membership  committee, as well as, actively participating in many Club meetings and events. Thank you for all you do, Terri!

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Welcome New Members!


Amy Coffey (L) and Mary Ann Shurson (R) were installed as new Optimist members by Optimist Club President Howard Crofoot on July 1st.


Amy was sponsored by Terri Ellis and Mary Ann was sponsored by Eileen McCartney.

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Optimist member Beth Frieders organized a work day to cleanup the Optimist Club garden along the Rountree Branch Trail. Terri Ellis, pictured on the right, Optimist President Howard Crofoot, above center, and Alaina Reeves, pictured with Beth Frieders above right, completed the job.  Also assisting with the cleanup was Charlie Clark who is hiding behind the camera. 

Thank you Beth, Terri, Howard, Alaina and Charlie for all your hard work on a hot day.

Thank you to Kathy Buhr and Will Hudson from the DRA for presenting to our group about local grant opportunities!

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Platteville Optimist Club President Howard Crofoot presented a $300 check to CESA 3 for Champion Games. Thirty-one schools will send students to participate at Boscobel track on May 6th. UWP students help set up the games. 

Platteville Optimist Club President Howard Crofoot presented a $2800 check to Alaina Reeves, Fund Raising Committee member for Inspiring Community, for the Inclusive Playground.  This donation was made up of a $1000 grant from the OI Foundation and $1800 donated by Platteville Optimist Club members.

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And the winner is:

Left: Chris Budden was the lucky winner of the Joker Draw at a recent meeting.  Way to go, Chris!

The trip of a lifetime!

Right: Our own Doreen Hlavaty, spoke to our group about her safari trip to Botswana, Africa in July of 2021.Doreen shared beautiful photos of the four lodgings, which were like 4-star hotels located in the wilderness.  She also shared amazing pictures and videos of many of the animals they encountered on the trip.  An avid birdwatcher, Doreen photographed many brightly colored birds not seen in other parts of the world. 

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Together Again!


Our first in-person meeting in several months began with check presentations.

Pictured on the right: Platteville Optimist President, Howard Crofoot presents a check to Family Advocates.  Melissa Palfrey of Family Advocates accepts the donation.


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Pictured on the left:

Platteville Optimist President, Howard Crofoot presents a check to Platteville Parks and Recreation.  Accepting the donation is Platteville's new Parks and Recreation Director, Robert  Lowe.




Dr Rich Dhanchand was our speaker.  Rich is currently an associate professor in the Biology department at UW-Platteville. He spoke about a new partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Physician Assistant Program. Students working towards this degree will be able to do so from UW-Platteville. The program will be called UW-Madison WisPACT @ UW-Platteville. 

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 Sippy Cup Award.

After several months of Zoom meetings, we returned to Country Kitchen on March 11, 2022. Of course, what meeting would be complete without a Sippy Cup Award?  Today the honor went to Hap Daus.  Happy sipping, Hap!

Merry Christmas to All!

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Little elves from the Platteville Optimist Club, Community First Bank and Family Advocates wrapped presents for over 25 families in the Family Advocates Giving Tree.




Pictured: Optimists Chris Budden, Dan Engelke and Carley Borcherding as they wrapped gifts for families in need on the Family Advocates, Inc. Giving Tree on December 21st.

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     The Nall Sippy Cup Award?

For the second Friday in a row a member of the Nall family received a Sippy Cup Award.  Not be out done by Tom,  Fern was this week's winner!

Perhaps a new name for the award is in order.

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        Friday Morning Fun

Left: Tom Nall received our first Sippy Cup Award since returning to Country Kitchen for in-person meetings.  Way to go, Tom!

Right: Alaina Reeves dropped her phone in her biscuits and gravy at the same meeting.  We don't even have a award for this, Alaina!

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John's presentation was about how to stay optimistic in situations that you feel are impossible. Being optimistic, appreciating history, and the beauty around him, he fell in love with a dilapidated wagon. Through his slideshow and presentation, he shared the journey of the many years it took him to research the wagon, the people he met, and the resources he used to restore the wagon to its original state: ready to use. John wants us to remember to “use your optimism when you are in an impossible situation, keep it strong through the long journey, and let your optimism carry you onto the next impossible situation!”

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On June 11, 2021, after 64 Friday mornings without meeting in-person , we held our first in-person meeting at the Broske Center Pavilion.

To allow ourselves time to catch and reflect on all we have conquered these past 15 months, there was no speaker.  After taking time to reflect, we enjoyed a joyous reunion! 


Being true optimists, we look forward to returning to our normal in-door breakfast meetings vey soon.

On June 11, 2021, after 64 Friday mornings without meeting in-person , we held our first in-person meeting at the Broske Center Pavilion.

To allow ourselves time to catch and reflect on all we have conquered these past 15 months, there was no speaker.  After taking time to reflect, we enjoyed a joyous reunion! 


Being true optimists, we look forward to returning to our normal in-door breakfast meetings vey soon.

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President Tom Nall and Steve Elvidge

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On June 25th, our President Tom Nall installed six new members to the Platteville Optimist Club.  Joining us were Steve and Deb Elvidge sponsored by Charlie Clark, Debi Sigwarth sponsored by Maxine Lane, Lisa Schmitt sponsored by Eileen Engelke, Doreen Hlavaty sponsored by Eileen McCartney, and Melissa Palfrey sponsored by Dan Engelke. 

Congratulations to our newest members and their sponsors.

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 President Tom Nall and Lisa Schmitt

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President Tom Nall and Deb Elvidge

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President Tom Nall and Doreen Hlavaty

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President Tom Nall and Debi Sigwarth

Melissa, Steve, Doreen, Lisa,  Deb and Debi 

President Tom Nall and Melissa Palfrey 

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Special NOW!

(New Optimists Welcome) 

Luncheon Guests

On Saturday, May 22nd, we held our NOW! Luncheon at the First English Lutheran Church.  Seven potential new members joined in the fun.


Also joining us were the local winners of the Essay and Oratorical Contests. Zachary Ludlum (upper left) read his winning essay entitled "Reaching Your Dreams by Choosing Optimism".  Pictured on the lower left are Shaun Murray, Zachary and his mother Andrea Murray. Thank you to Zachary for sharing his talents with us. 

Maria Schmitt (upper right) presented her award winning speech based on the theme of "Healing the World with Optimism".  Maria was accompanied by her parents Lisa and Bob Schmitt (pictured lower right).  Thank you to Maria for showing us what the strong leaders of tomorrow look like.

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