"As in all service clubs, we try to expand," Condit said. "One of the big problems that all service clubs and fraternal organizations have is dwindling membership. My hope is to increase membership in the existing clubs and start new clubs."
Holtville has been targeted for the first new club. An informational meeting was staged Aug. 1 in the Holtville Civic Center. Efforts will be made to start an evening club in El Centro and daytime clubs in Brawley and Calexico.
Condit said new clubs need help the first year and the Sunrise Optimists plan to do just that.
"We will be there to assist and encourage," he said.
Traditionally, Optimist clubs meet once a week. When a core membership is started in Holtville, the members will make decisions on when and where they will meet and what their dues will be.
John Jordan, Holtville's city manager, is an enthusiastic member of the Sunrise Optimists.
"I would love to see one started in Holtville," Jordan said. "All the money they make is donated right back into the community, anything that has to do with youth."
The Optimists were an all-male organization until about 10 years ago, Condit said.
"About half the Sunrise Optimists are women," he said. "Women who join service clubs are sincere in wanting to help."
Lupe Ibarra of Holtville attended the first meeting at the Civic Center and was pleased with the exchange of ideas. She looks forward to becoming involved with the Optimists.
"We need to get the children in our community involved in as many activities as we can," Ibarra said. "I grew up in Holtville and I remember saying there is nothing to do here. I want to change that. We can make things happen if everyone puts forth a little effort."
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19.