Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club

Bringing Out the Best in Kids!

Sponsored Programs & Groups

Childhood Cancer

The Childhood Cancer Campaign was established by Optimist International in 2001 with the mission of “being the leading force to rid the world of childhood cancer.”  Did you know that each year more than 12,000 children and teenagers will be diagnosed with cancer? Did you also know that one in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of 20? Due to statistics such as these, Optimist Clubs often participate in this program by building awareness of the disease, providing assistance to childhood cancer patients and their families and supporting research to find a cure.



Children's Challenge Awards:

Our local Optimist Club sponsors two scholarship contests for students: the Children's Essay Contest and the Oratorical Contest. 


- Optimist Essay Contest

This contest requires students under the age of 19 who have not yet graduated from high school or the equivalent to compose a 700- to 800-word essay around a central idea. The contest is designed to develop writing and critical thinking skills.



- Optimist Oratorical Contest
The Oratorical Contest is open to students under the age of 19 who have not yet graduated from high school or its equivalent. Students are required to prepare a 4- to 5-minute speech on a pre-assigned topic. This contest is designed to assist youth in gaining public speaking experience. 


Optimist International Junior Golf Tournament:

The Optimist Junior Golf Program is an exciting and unique junior golf program for ages 10-18.  Since 1978, Optimist-sponsored golf tournaments have served as a springboard for many of golf’s greatest players. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, Michelle McGann and Nancy Lopez are just a few of today’s elite players who found their humble beginnings with the Optimists.

No other junior golf tournament quite compares to that of the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships, which focuses on fair competition and cultural understanding among youth. This unique tournament offers as broad a field and expanded age groups as any other in its class. 

Check our website regularly for details on our local qualifying event.



Respect for Law Awards Banquet:

Optimist Clubs participate in activities to inspire respect for law enforcement among young people and to educate them on the jobs these brave men and women perform.  



High School Scholarships:

This scholarship is given annually in the amount of $1000 to three seniors from high schools in and around Champaign - Urbana.  The scholarship is for the purpose of continuing education in a career choice that will enhance community or youth. We select the scholarship recipients based on their service to community and youth.  This will be both past experience and career choice.

Students can be nominated by an Optimist Club member, faculty member or by self-nomination.

As a winner of an Optimist Scholarship, the recipient must be willing to attend a Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club meeting as a guest speaker to tell how the scholarship will enhance his/her education.  The recipient must relinquish the scholarship if he/she ends his/her education within the first year following the scholarship award.


Youth Appreciation:

Optimists recognize youth for a variety of reasons, including their achievements at school, dedication to community service, improvement in their grades and doing their best in sports or the arts. This activity allows Optimists to build the self-esteem of the youth in their community and show them that their efforts and hard work really do make a difference.  Here are organizations and clubs that we support that focus on youth appreciation:


Champaign County ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, & Scientific Olympics)


Fishing Derby

- Held at Kaufmann Lake


Illinois Truth Basketball Program

Jefferson Middle School Archery Team

Urbana Fast Pitch Softball



Urbana Middle School

-Student of the Month / Character Education


Wheelchair Sports Camp



 Adopt-A-Park Programs - Park Beautification
- Kaufman Park, Champaign
- Busey Woods, Urbana


 Youth Christmas Gifts for the following organizations:


Family Advocacy of Champaign County & Family Service





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Upcoming Events

Thursday, Aug 6 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Aug 20 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Sep 3 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Sep 17 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM