Welcome to our Website!

By believing in young people and empowering them to be the best they can, Optimist volunteers continually make this world a better place to live. The Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club conducts positive service projects aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. Our Club Members are best known in their communities for their upbeat attitudes and volunteer efforts for children in our community.
We welcome you to attend our monthly meetings. Our meetings are held on third Thursday of each month at Perkins Restaurant on University Avenue in Urbana from 6:00pm-7:00pm unless otherwise posted. You are free to drop by one of our meetings if you have an interest...we accept members all year. If you have any questions, please contact us at cuoptimistclub@gmail.com. Please click here to download our Brochure. Share with others!

Children's Challenge (K-5th grade)

We are excited to offer the opportunity for elementary students in our community to be nominated for our Children’s Challenge Award Program.  This is a great opportunity for youth to be honored for their outstanding and wonderful abilities and skills in various categories.


  • An award certificate will be given to each child nominated.
  • A $50 cash gift will be awarded to the winner in each category.
  • Students, Kindergarten through 5th grade, in area elementary schools are eligible to be nominated.

For more information, click here.

2019 Senior Scholarships

The Application for our 2019 Senior Scholarships is open now through and the deadline has been extended to April 13, 2019. Our club will be awarding three $1,000 scholarships. Information and the application can be found by clicking here.

2019 Jr. Golf Tournament
(12-18 year olds)

The date has been set for our Annual Jr. Golf Tournament! We are excited to host a tournament at such a low cost of $10 per player. Boys and Girls ages 12-18 compete for a chance to move on to the District Tournament in Decatur, IL and two lucky winners from the district will have an opportunity to compete in the Optimist International Tournament in Palm Beach, Florida in July.

For more information, a printable flyer, and registration forms please click here or visit the 2019 Jr. Golf link at the top of this page.

2019 Poster Contest (4th-6th grade)

Based on requests from local schools, the deadline for Poster contest extended to April 5th! We hope the young artists will take advantage of Spring Break and draw some exciting posters!
The Illinois Optimist District Conference was wonderful. Trainers included the Optimist International President! Pictured here is (L-R): Optimist International President, Rebecca Butler Mona; C-U Optimist Club President, Mason Minnes; Illinois Optimist District Governor, Sandi Schmidt; Illinois Optimist District Club Fitness Advisor, Grace Mitchell, and Illinois District Lieutenant Governor, Tori Exum-Johnson.

Local Optimists Honored:

Optimist of the Year, Howard Schweighart

Congratulations to C-U Optimist Club Member Howard Schweighart on being named the C-U Optimist of the year for 2018. Howard also received the President's Citation Award and the Perfect Attendance Award. The C-U Optimist Club's outgoing President, Tori Exum-Johnson, describes Howard as an inspiration to the club noting he has been an active member of the club for 50 years, works all service projects and attends all events.Wherever the club is, Howard is there working and truly demonstrating the Optimist Creed in his every day life. For his distinguished and dedicated service to the club and the local community, I am happy to award him with this prestigious award, Exum-Johnson noted.

Walter E. Splittstoesser Keep Cheerful Friend of Youth Award: Dr. Barbara Gillespie

Congratulations to Dr. Barbara Gillespie on being selected as the recipient of the first annual Walter E. Splittstoesser "Keep Cheerful Friend of Youth Award". This award was created in memory of Walt, who was a member of the C-U Optimist Club for 40 years, having served as President one year and Secretary/Treasurer for over 30 years. Walt ended most conversations with "Keep Cheerful" and was truly one of our hardest working members.

Dr. Barbara Gillespie was nominated by Shirley Splittstoesser, wife of the late Walt, who came along with her daughter, Pam, to present the award. Shirley described Barb as "a diamond among jewels, going on to say, "Through her strong faith and genuine belief in the goodness of human, nature, she touches everyone she meets with a spirit of love. She helps children in all walks of life; she enriches the community through her leadership; -- and she is always cheerful!"

Congratulations 2018 C-U Optimist Club Scholarship Winners!

Congratulations to the C-U Optimist Club's 2018 Essay Contest Scholarship Winners:

  • Gage Curtner from Urbana High School;
  • Mary Elizabeth Guenther from Urbana High School and
  • Maddie Sanders from Urbana High School.

Selection is based on candidates' service to the community, spirit of Optimism, Volunteer work, and career choice. Each winner will receive $1,000 and each, have their names placed on an Optimist Scholar plaque in their High Schools and will be honored at a dinner in June. Congratulations!


Upcoming Events

Thursday, May 16 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Jun 20 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Jul 18 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Thursday, Aug 15 at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Former C-U Optimist Club Member, Tim Nugent, known as "Father of Accessibility" His legacy will live on...

Read more about Tim at the here.