How to Ask the Right Question

By Ed Young, Gov-Elect, 2010-2011


As the foremost youth serving Organization in the world, Optimists strive to “Bring out the Best in Kids.”


Recruiting new Optimists is vital to the continuation of our community service mission and to the positive health of our Clubs.

Generational experiences and influences shape our world view, which can affect how and who we invite to join our movement.

Take a look at what is unique about the various generations and consider strategies to engage them as Optimists.

GI Generation, (83 & older)
Who are they: Assertive, energetic, do-er’s, team players, and community minded.
Influential events: the Great Depression, WWII
They: Bought a television, used air conditioning, chewed bubble gum, and did crossword puzzles for the first time.

Silent Generation, (63 to 82)
Who are they: Practical, loyal, conventional, pessimistic, and desiring spirituality.
Influential events:  Korean War, first man on the moon, Civil Rights era.
They: Microwaved frozen food, got a slinky as a birthday present,  ate at McDonalds for the first time,  many were first in family to graduate from College


Baby Boomers, (44 to 62)
Who are they: Optimistic, experimental, individualistic, free-spirited, social cause oriented, and distrusting of government.
Influential events: JFK assassination, civil disobedience, Vietnam War, Cold War.
They: Loved rock & roll, watched man land on the moon on TV, and owned a GI Joe action figure.


Gen X, (28 to 43)
Who are they: Street smart, entrepreneurial, individualistic, skeptical, and feel misunderstood by elders.
Influential events: Fall of Berlin Wall, Challenger disaster, Watergate, economic recession.
They: Played Pac-Man, used a word processor to do homework, lived in a dual income family, and have listened to music on records, 8 track tapes, cassettes, CD’s, and, now,  iPods.


Millennials, (13 to 27)
Who are they: Hopeful, nurtured, focused, team players, service oriented and aware of global issues, have mobility.

Influential events: Y2K, 9-11, economic recession.
They: Grew up on video games have used computers since they started to read, use instant communication machines, cell phones, texting devices.

We need to understand the implications of using the right key in recruiting people to our Clubs. Hopefully, this profile will assist in our efforts.

Submitted by:
Ed Young, Governor-Elect, 2009-2010
Pacific Southwest District

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