Nampa Optimist Club
Nampa Idaho takes great pride in the many ways we provide for our youth. When the Nampa Optimist club began in 1996, all we really had was the desire to do something extra special for our community.
Our best known program, the Nampa Optimist Football program (began in 2000), including the Nampa Optimist Cheerleading (2002). We currently have about 900+ kids in our program. We also have the wonderful 25 acre Nampa Optimist Park for our football program.
The Nampa Optimist Park was selected as the best project in the world in 2003 in the category of Community Improvement. Community Improvement includes fantastic club projects building parks and buildings. It was a great honor to be selected, as our competition was truly intense.
Our Nampa Optimist Football Touchdown Cards were selected as the second best fund raiser in the world in 2005. Touchdown cards raise thousands of dollars in about a month each year. The football and cheerleader kids actually do most of the work. They do a great job!
Obviously, we didn't start with all these great resources. We had to work on some other projects first. Like every civic club, we had to take on fund raising projects to stay alive. We did many other projects, which proved that we could accomplish things. We had to develop the confidence with our community before they would be willing to make the incredible investments to make our program possible.
The first few years, we took on a variety of projects. We had varying results for these projects. We had a lot of fun selling programs at the Idaho Stampede basketball games. Some of our other projects were traditional Optimist projects like Essay and Oratorical contests. These were great projects but, because of Nampa's dedication to serving the youth, lots of other organizations were already providing similar projects. We had to find our niche!
In 1998, we were one of the first Optimist clubs to take an interest in Childhood Cancer. We had a Teddy Bear program, where we'd find people to donate $50 to childhood cancer and we would get a teddy bear donated to us. We then took the teddy bears to the childhood cancer units and gave them to the kids. We still collect donations for childhood cancer to this day using donation boxes.
Optimist International has since chosen Childhood Cancer as one of their flagship programs. Childhood cancer is difficult because the best way to fight cancer is to target fast growing cells and kill them before damaging the host. Of course, children are nothing but fast growing cells.