March 2021 Optimizer

The Optimizer | March 2021 | Menomonee Falls Optimist Club


— In this issue —

Weekly Meeting Schedule

President’s Message

Upcoming Activities and Events


Fishing Derby

Scholarship Golf Outing

Oratorical Contest

Village Park


Beer Garden

Lieutenant Governor News

Getting to Know You: Annie Jurczyk

Optimist Meetings

MFHS Cheerleaders


Food Pantry

New Members

Students of the Month

Board Meeting Minutes

Thank You Notes

This Month in Club History

How to Publish Optimist News


— Meeting Schedule —

First time guest Headmaster Eric DeMuse of Chesterton Academy will be our speaker.  Chesterton Academy moved into the space formerly occupied by St. Anthony’s School in the Fall of 2020.

This is another one of our annual ‘can’t miss’ meetings as we welcome the teachers and several students from the MFHS QUEST Program.  If you want to hear some inspirational success stories, don’t miss this meeting.

Meeting the Students of the Month from NMS, St. Mary and MFHS will brighten up any Wednesday morning!

Menomonee Falls resident Noel Schoesow and his daughter Laken will talk about his Build A Bear Project that was recently featured in the NOW section of the Milwaukee Journal.

There will be a lot of new and interesting things going on in our Downtown this spring and summer, and who better to talk about that than Felicia Reichard, who will fill us on her new position.

~Jerry Mislang

— President’s Message —

Dear Members, as we approach March and Spring the club has many activities going on. The Essay and Oratorical Contests are on. Dawn Mariscal is handling the Essay Contest and Michael Russell and Annie Jurcyzk the Oratorical Contest. A big thanks to all!

The Fishing Derby is scheduled for Saturday May 8th. A big thanks to Dustin Koehler and Sue Carney.

Optimist Golf Outing is scheduled for Wednesday May 19th at Ironwood. More info to come on this. Get your foursome ready.

We are also going to have many opportunities at the Popcorn wagon this spring and summer. The wagon will be stationed up at Village Park this year (soon to be Optimist Village Park). Stay tuned for happenings there.

Check out the upcoming speakers for the month of March in this newsletter as Jerry and his team have another great lineup.

We still plan to have our meetings on Zoom at least thru March.

Please welcome new club members Vicki Boelter, Stacie Estrada and Janet Hudachek.

~ Yours in optimism, President Rick


— Upcoming Activities and Events —

Oratorical Contest

Fishing Derby

Scholarship Golf Outing


Fishing Derby

We have exiting news!  The Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls is optimistic that we will be able bring back and host the 2021 Kids Catch and Release Fishing Derby.  The derby will take place on Saturday, May 8th, 2021 at the Mill Pond in downtown Menomonee Falls.  The contest is free and is open to all boys and girls age 3 through 16 that reside or attend school in the Menomonee Falls area.  All participants will receive a t-shirt and door prize. Trophies will be awarded to boys and girls in five age divisions for the longest fish and most fish caught during the contest.

Registration for the event will be from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM at the Mill Pond Shelter.  During registration, each child will receive a t-shirt, door prize, and fish recording log.  The fishing contest will be from 10:00 AM to Noon.  At Noon, participants will want to hand-in their fish recording log to one of many volunteers that will be on site.  To help keep the event safe and encourage social distancing, we will encourage participates to stay near their fishing spot while scorers determine the winners.  As quickly as possible, winners will be called up to the scoring table to claim their trophy.

Please bring your own fishing equipment.  Only a limited supply of bait will be provided.  Children under 11 years old must be accompanied by an adult.  Those 16 years old and older must have a fishing license.

As we continue to come together to work through this pandemic, please note that some things at the Derby may be different than in years past.  We will work hard to ensure social distancing occurs.  We kindly ask that all who attend do wear a mask/face covering.  We are also currently working to determine if food will be sold during the event.  Thank you for your cooperation and helping to make this year’s fishing derby a fun experience for all!

Over the years, sponsors and supporters of this event include the Menomonee Falls Police Department, the Menomonee Falls Neighborhood Watch, the Village of Menomonee Falls, RB Enterprises, Fleet Farm, Krueger’s Recreation Center, Cops and Kids Foundation, Sandy Spring Farm, Kwik Trip, and the Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls

~ Dustin Koehler Golf Outing

The 31st Annual Scholarship Golf outing is set for Wednesday May 19, 2021 at Ironwood Golf Course in Sussex.  The event will kick off with an 11:00 am shotgun start with lunch served before the outing.  As planning gets underway, we will need help from all members to make this event a success.

We have $15,000 committed for scholarships for this year’s Senior class, so this event helps fund most of that balance.  As you begin returning to favorite stores or restaurants, ask if they would be willing to help our event out.  We use these donations for opportunity basket raffles, regular raffles and possibly a voice auction depending on the items received.  We will need hole sponsors.  Typically, the cost for these sponsors is $100 but also have other potential sponsor opportunities available if you want your name more prominent at the event.  We will also need “new” dozens of golf balls that we use for hole prizes on the course throughout the day.

Finally, we need golfers for the event.  The past few years we have had around 100 golfers for this event.  Hopefully we can match or surpass that this year.  As we did last year, golfer safety will be our driving force for the event so we will take step to host this event safely.  Depending on weather, we may be indoors for the post-golf event.  I am hopeful though with the earlier start we can be outdoors possibly.  As soon as we have the price set and a flyer ready, we will get it out to everyone, along with a general donation letter you can use for possible donors.  Thanks for everyone’s help in making this event a success.

~ Todd Paulus



Oratorical Contest

Oratorical Contest Logo

How would you HEAL THE WORLD WITH OPTIMISM?  We are getting so excited to host the Oratorical Contest on Thursday, March 18 where area students will present their ideas on how Optimism can heal the world.  We look forward to hearing what they have to say.

Registration for the event starts at 5:30 and the contest starts at 6:00.  The Judges and Timekeepers will be together in person at the Menomonee Falls Community Center. The students will present their speech via Zoom.

Please make sure to mark April 7th in your calendar.  The participating students will be invited to our Club meeting to present their speeches so everyone can hear from them directly.

If you have any questions, please contact either Mike Russell at or Annie Jurczyk at

~ Annie Jurczyk

— Village Park —


Hopefully everyone has had a chance to see the beautiful improvements (Phase I) to Village Park. There are many exciting events (e.g. concerts) planned for this summer to take advantage of this gem located in the heart of our community. Plans also continue to move along for Phase II, which is where our club will be heavily involved as a partner to the village in a capital fundraising campaign.

The village will be working on the design and engineering work for Phase II this spring and throughout the summer. They will then have design renderings and cost estimates, which will allow them to share the vision in greater detail. If things go according to plan, all Optimists, past and present, will all be able to take great pride in renaming our park “Optimist Village Park.” This might coincide extremely well with the 50th Anniversary of the founding of our club (1973).

Tyler Zwagerman, Village Planner, is tentatively scheduled to give our club an update in late May.

~ Don Eisenhauer


Beer Garden

I am currently a member of the Beer Garden committee at Village Park.  As planning has begun for this venue, I wanted to pass along some exciting news for our club.  As many know the popcorn wagon will also be moving to Village Park this year, with phase 1 completed.  The exciting thing about both of these at Village Park is increased opportunities for our club to raise funds.

The beer garden is scheduled to be open every Wednesday night from 5:00-8:00 pm in conjunction with the Farmer’s Market.  The MFDI (Menomonee Falls Downtown Inc) group and the beer garden committee will find volunteers to staff Wednesday nights with the profits going back to the MFDI for programming at the park.  Other nights like the concerts in the park or other events held there (Art Guild show, Cheery Cherry, etc.) that request the Beer Garden to be open, if those groups do not want to staff the Beer Garden, service clubs in Menomonee Falls will be asked if they want to staff it with profits staying with their groups.  When these events become available, we will put out an email to the club looking for volunteers.  It will probably take 2-3 people total for a shift.  The popcorn wagon will also have these same opportunities, where groups that rent the park may ask for our wagon to be open for their events, outside out normal operating hours of 6:30-9:00 pm.  Please be aware of these opportunities and please volunteer for some of these events.  It is a way for us to raise more funds, but this cannot fall on a group of 10-12 people over and over.  We have over 140 people in the club and this will allow us to have a bigger presence up there too.  We lost the Chili dinner this year and the Trivia contest is on hold, so this is a way to help offset these losses.  I know Summer is a busy time for everyone, but if all members pitch in for a few shifts here and there, we can make this a more profitable year for our club.

The beer garden will be selling cans of craft beer, along with bottles of soda and water to help make it easier for selling and keeping track of inventory.  Sorry, but no wine will be sold as the liquor license does not allow for this.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

~ Todd Paulus


— Lieutenant Governor News —

In order to plan ahead, the 3rd quarter conference is scheduled for May (exact date still in the air).  At this conference, we will feature the top 4 Oratorical contestants from all the club contests in the SWIS district.  This contest will take place along with the normal business and guest speakers typically featured at these conferences.  We have not had much participation from our club at the first 2 meetings, so I am asking club members to look at being a part of this meeting.  Good information is covered and the guest speakers have been very informative.  The first 2 were held via Zoom due to the pandemic.  A decision will be made closer to the conference as to whether or not this one will be in person or via Zoom.

Also, in January the SWIS district held a combo zone meeting for any clubs that wanted to participate.  We covered 3 topics with clubs being asked to share ideas with what they do in regards to those 3 topics – Speakers, Fundraising, and Club Events.  It was an opportunity to share ideas amongst clubs.  Another one is being planned for April (date tbd).  Once I get the exact dates and the topics being covered, I will pass them along to Rick to share with his weekly email.  Rick Kohl and Jerry Mislang were also a part of the first one and thought it was very informative.  Please give some thought as to being a part of it and sharing your ideas with other clubs.  If you have any questions regarding either of these events, please feel free to contact me.

~ Todd Paulus

— Getting to Know You —

Annie Jurczyk

I am happy to be a member of the Optimist Club. I’m also honored to Co-Chair the Oratorical Contest and look forward to growing this event in the future. As a Realtor with Keller Williams, I am passionate about helping people buy or sell their homes. I understand the complexities of the local market and know how to navigate it successfully. My background is diverse with experience in business, public speaking, and fundraising and I am happy to share my talents to serve our Club.

I am originally from theCleveland area in Ohio.  I majored in theater in college and started my career at the Dallas Theater Center as the Production Coordinator for their children’s theater. I moved to Milwaukee to run the business end of The Great American Children’s Theater – a national touring theatre producing Broadway style productions for children in 22 cities across the States. Next, I went to work at Ko-Thi Dance Company – Milwaukee’s premier African dance company. I ran the business end of the company and accomplished a special fundraising push to balance their budget. Then I went to Milwaukee Repertory Theater and enjoyed 12 years of creating exciting theater running their fundraising and PR departments and led their special events. I have always supported children in our community which led me to my next job at Big Brothers Big Sisters. For five years, I ran their fundraising department which included three BIG Events – Bowl For Kids Sake, NFL Alumni Golf Outing and Gala.

Throughout my career, I became friends with people from all walks of life. Many of them shared their stories about their journey moving from their family homes downsizing to smaller ones. These transitions can be more difficult as we age. This led me to my career in real estate.  I have enjoyed every minute.  I am also accredited as a Senior Real Estate Specialist.  I want to help Seniors make an easier transition to their new life chapter.  I understand buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction: it’s a life-changing experience. If you or someone you know wants to start a new chapter in life by selling or buying a home, I would be honored to guide you on your real estate journey.

Five years ago, I met a wonderful man who swept me off my feet.  Steve Miller has been a resident of Menomonee Falls for 25 years and has raised two beautiful daughters Sarah and Megan.  Sarah is a Freshman at UW Whitewater and Megan is a Special Education Teacher at Genesee Lake School in Oconomowoc.  In the last four years, I have grown to enjoy everything the Falls has to offer including shopping downtown, the farmer’s market, and special events.

As a family, we enjoy camping, fishing and entertaining.  We also enjoy tackling remodeling projects around the house – we just finished installing hard wood floors with inlays in our living room. We adopted a wonderful dog last March who has become a big part of our family as well. I am passionate about cooking wonderful food and I look so forward to COVID going away and gatherings happen in person once again.

— Optimist Meetings—

MFHS Cheerleaders

MFHS varsity cheerleaders and their coaches were recognized at our February 3rd meeting.

Photo by Jon Cline.






Lifesaving Heroes

At our February 10 meeting, we honored four heroes who were part of saving a life of a Wisconsin Lutheran boys basketball player at a game at MFHS.

L to R: Officer Holz, Kezza Frye, Tina Orr, Linda Wentworth

Photo by Jon Cline.







Food Pantry

Paula Knox, Director of the Food Pantry in Menomonee Falls updated us on what the pantry is doing and their needs from the community.

Photo by Jon Cline.






New Members

Vicki Boelter, Janet Hudachek and Stacie Estrada were sworn in as our newest members.

Photo by Jon Cline.







Ella Weyker – St. Mary School




Students of the Month

Hailey Carver and Quinten Redding (MFHS), Mylee Boebel and Cail Geiger (North Middle School)

Photo by Jon Cline.




Board Meeting Minutes from February 16, 2021

Unapproved: to be approved at the next board meeting.

Rick Kohl, Dan Schwind, Todd Paulus, Greg Mattson, Carol Schulteis, John Yusko, Kim Wenzel, Don Eisenhauer and Fred Blanke.

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 AM by President Rick Kohl.

Rick Kohl presented the agenda and wanted to make a change from Lakers to Legion. The approval of the amended agenda was motioned by Greg, seconded by Carol and approved by all present.

The approval of the presented minutes and newsletter was moved by Todd and seconded by John.  All presented voted to approve.  The motion passed.


Banner for Trenary Field – Legion baseball team

Larry Podolske brought forward the idea of a banner to be in the outfield at Trenary field.  The banner would cost $250 to create and $300 to be placed on display. Greg motioned to approve the request for $550 for a banner at Trenary field, seconded by Carol. All present voted to approve. The motion passed.


Village Park update

The Park is moving along and is starting to look towards phase 2.  In Phase 2 the Optimist Club is to partner with the Village to raise funds for the splash park, sports areas, and other park things.  A discussion of what the Club should donate to the project should be started sooner than later because they will be looking for a commitment from us.  A couple ideas were placed on the table.  A three-year commitment of $20,000 a year for a total of $60,000.  A 5-year commitment of $10,000 a year for a total of $50,000.  Look into having an entire meeting devoted to this as a club and possibly create a park committee.


There are potential opportunities at the park this year.

Meat raffles are continuously being planned.

New ideas for fundraisers are welcome.

Membership Chair

Lynette Shepard is resigning. A new person will be needed to take over if this position is still needed.


Rick presented balance sheet and income statement.  John made a motion to approve, seconded by Fred.  All presented voted to approve. The motion passed.

An upgrade to the picnic table and chairs for the popcorn should be considered.

March 16, 7:00 am, Menomonee Falls CEREC building

A motion was made by John, seconded by Greg and approved by all present to adjourn the meeting at 7:50 AM.

~ Kim Wenzel



— Thank You Notes (excerpts) —

Abby Hughes – DYW Scholarship Winner
“Thank you so much for choosing me as one of your scholarship recipients. I’m attempting to live out the values you represent by being a part of Hands-on Oshkosh, a local volunteer organization.”

Barb Riehle – Food Pantry Assistant Director “Thank you for your donation of $100…to purchase food for families in our community who need help.”

~Submitted by Jerry Mislang


— This Month in Club History —, 1991 (30 years ago)

After 18 years of holding morning meetings at (the) Holiday Inn/Days Inn, (the) club moves to Denny’s on Appleton Avenue.  Longtime waitress Helen Reickert is made an Honorary Member of the Optimist Club and is presented with a plaque.

~ Submitted by Jerry Mislang from the 40 Year History Program, courtesy of Ed Schlumpf


— How to Publish Optimist News –-

See the source image

There are multiple venues for publishing Optimist news and events the community and to the Optimist members. It is important to get the word out so everyone is aware of the events we sponsor to benefit the youth of the community. Committee chairs are responsible for writing the articles and sending them via email to the people listed below:

NEWSLETTER  Jerry Mislang or Barb Schmit no later than the 27th of each month – or

NEWSPAPERS  Shannon Dederich three or more weeks prior to your event, as quickly as possible after an event

FACEBOOK  Cathy Sharkey, Dawn Mariscal or Lynette Shepherd –,

WEBSITE  Beth Saunders –



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