The Garner Optimist Club celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Fifty years is a long time to be doing the same thing. Yet, there they are, year after year, working with young people to foster the concepts of teamwork, physical fitness and fun.
The Garner Optimist Club is synonymous with basketball in this town. Their anniversary comes just a year after the local high school laid claim to the title of best in the land, when the Garner Trojans won the state basketball championship.
Like any organization, the Optimist Club has had its ups and downs. The club has faced uncertainty, the lack of manpower and perhaps, at times, even the lack of willpower.
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But at every challenge, civic-minded people with a singular dedication to our youth have stepped forward and done whatever it took to keep the program going and provide Garner’s children with positive options.
Youth sports can be time-consuming, not just for the young people who participate and their parents, but for the people who organize the effort and unlock the doors each Saturday morning, and sell the Coca-Colas and candy bars and clean up after the crowds have gone home. It is inglorious work, but it is worth a lifetime of skills and memories for the young people who reap the benefits of that hard work.
The Garner Optimist Club is about much more than just the basketball league they operate, but nothing they do has impacted as many lives through one effort. Garner is a better place because Optimists have overcome the challenges they’ve faced and, year after year, opened the gymnasium doors on Saturday mornings for young people of all ages and skills to play a game and enjoy the spirit of competition.
Garner is fortunate to have a volunteer organization like the Optimist Club. We hope we write the same thing 50 years from now when they celebrate a century of service to our young people.