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The Shawano Optimist Club has been serving the Shawano area since 1976. Annual youth projects include a bike rodeo, Christmas movies for kids, Respect for Law activities, boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments, a Rose Day fund raiser, a Scholastic Awards Banquet, which has been recognized by Optimist International as one of the top service projects in the nation, as well as basketball and football skills competitions. The funds the Shawano Optimists raise each year are all returned to the Shawano community to support more than 30 different organizations.

For information on becoming a member of the Shawano Optimist Club, contact President Jim Black or any Optimist Club member.

Shawano Optimist Club Installs new officers

Jim Black installed as President of Shawano Optimist Club 2020-2021


October 4, 2020

Shawano Optimists Install New Officers; Present Annual Awards

The Shawano Optimist Club recently held its annual installation and awards meeting, albeit in a “virtual” setting rather than at a banquet as it had in the past.

District Lieutenant Governor Chris Neilsen conducted the installation of officers and directors for the 2020-2021 year. Prior to the installation, Neilsen told the Shawano Optimists in attendance that Optimist International is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and the new Wisconsin Governor has chosen the theme to be “Optimism – Fun for All.” He added, “You should be very proud of your club and what it has accomplished since it was started in 1976. I’ve always heard great things about what your club is doing for the youth of the Shawano area. Keep up the great work.”

New Officers and Directors

Installed as the officers for the 2020-2021 year were: President-Jim Black; Vice President-Fund Raising- Axel Rehder; Vice President-Student Activities-Robyn Shingler; Secretary-Gail Moesch; Treasurer-Dawn Knope and immediate past president-Jen Schroeder.

The six new directors installed were Jim Liesner, Dan Mauel, Greg Parker, Jeanne Cronce, Troy Edwards and Brian Morstad.

Incoming president Jim Black said, “The Shawano Optimist club has a great history of focusing on the betterment of the youth of our community. I am proud to be part of this and honored to take on the president’s role. With the strength of our club members working together and their creativity, I hope to help the club take what we’ve built in the past and find new ways to still reach area youth in the upcoming year. There will certainly be challenges and, yet, I know as a team we can persevere. After all, it’s all about the kids!”

Outgoing president Jen Schroeder, who was commended for her great work as the president of the club during the past year said, “Although this past year was definitely not what I envisioned a year ago, I truly believe the work we have done together has been meaningful and impactful and continues to move us forward together in our mission to serve our community’s children.”

Optimist of the Year

Named the Shawano Optimist of the Year for the2019-2020 year was Greg Parker. In making the presentation, Jen Schroeder said, “Greg has consistently provided great service to the club. His wisdom on the board exemplifies what it means to be an Optimist.”

Life Member Award

The Shawano Optimists have annually presented a life membership in Optimist International to a member who has gone above and beyond serving the club during the previous year. This year’s recipient, Dan Mauel, has been in the club only four years. “But,” said presenter Jim Liesner,” he has always been there when we’ve needed someone and a year ago did an outstanding job as our club president.”  Commenting on receiving the award, Mauel said, “I love this club because it’s all about engaging the kids. And it’s always a team effort.”

Perfect Attendance Awards

Each year, the Shawano Optimist members who achieve a certain level of attendance at club meetings and service projects are given a perfect attendance award. Receiving awards for perfect attendance this year were: Jeanne Cronce – 1 year; Brian Morstad – 2 years; Jen Schroeder and Jim Liesner – 3 years; Dan Mauel – 4 years; LorineRaddant – 5 years; Greg Parker and Dawn Knope – 7 years; Troy Edwards – 12 years; Ryan Alexander – 13 years; Steve Peterson – 16 years; Michael Sleeper – 20 years; Gail Moesch – 21 years; Jim Black – 22 years; and Jim Leuenberger – 43 years, 39 of which were consecutive.

The Shawano Optimists meet the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6:45 a.m. at Angie’s in downtown Shawano. Anyone wishing to learn about joining the club can contact incoming president Jim Black at or any Optimist member.


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