Doug Miller- Optimist Respect for Law Committee Chair, Jill Clark – recipient, Mark Cropp – Optimist Club of Gettysburg President

Each year the Optimist Club of Gettysburg selects and recognizes a deserving law enforcement professional from the Gettysburg area for the Optimist Respect for Law Award.  “We believe it is important for children to grow up with a strong belief in abiding by the law, respecting law enforcement and doing what they can to maintain peace”, said project chair, Doug Miller.  Through the club’s 2012 Respect for Law program, the club selected Jill Clark,  Community Re-entry Program, Director of Institutional Services, Adams County Department of Probation Services.  Jill was selected for her commitment and selfless dedication to her profession and the community.

Ms. Clark is involved with creating and maintaining a program called The Adams County Community Re-entry Program.  Her goal and mission is to allow and assist individuals to reenter into the community as upstanding citizens.

The Community Re-Entry Program, as supported by the Mission of the Adams County Court, is committed to providing opportunities for all those who participate to be stronger, healthier, more productive individuals than they were before they were incarcerated. The objective is to provide a structured environment that promotes accountability for growth and self-development and seeks to instill a desire within all participants to succeed and to focus on a healthier future as they return to the community.

The Community Re-Entry Program provides opportunities for participants to engage in the community prior to their release from incarceration through employment, treatment and rehabilitative programming, public service and visitation in a structured environment. These opportunities, when embraced by those who share a desire to improve their future, are essential components for a successful transition from incarceration to the community.

Optimist International is one of the world’s largest service club organizations with 93,000 adult and youth members in 3,200 clubs in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and throughout the word.  The Optimist Respect or Law Program is one of the organization’s most popular programs, with more than 1,500 clubs participating annually.  Carrying the motto “Bringing out the Best in Kids,” Optimists clubs around the world conduct hundreds of positive service projects that reach more than six million young people each year.

The Optimist Club of Gettysburg was chartered in 1958 as an affiliate of Optimist International and has been in continuous service to the Gettysburg community and its youth since its initiation.  To learn more about The Gettysburg Optimist Club, visit or


The Optimist Club of Gettysburg will begin their 55th year serving the needs of Gettysburg youth on Wednesday, October 3, 2012.  A new slate of officers and Board of Directors will take the oath of their respective positions during the annual Gettysburg Optimist Club Installation Banquet at the Dobbin House Restaurant in Gettysburg.  The evening will begin with a social gathering at 6:00 pm followed by dinner at 6:30.

Installation Banquet Chairman, Mark Grazulewicz, is planning the evening beginning with a buffet menu which includes; Chicken Coq Au Vin, Seafood Newburg, Beef Tips of Stroganoff, assorted vegetables and desserts.  Following the meal outgoing President, J. Mark Cropp will review and wrap-up the 2011-2012 Optimist administrative year.  Elmo Vestal, Optimist District Finance Chairman from  East York, will be the keynote speaker and Tom McGlynn, Optimist Lt. Governor, will install the new officers and directors for the coming year.  Incoming Club President, Craig Sweet will address the gathering and set forth the objectives for the Club in 2013.

Officers taking the oath for 2012-2013 will be Craig Sweet – President, Kris Accardi – Vice President, Tom Barako – Treasurer, and Mindy Accardi – Secretary.  The newly elected Board of Directors members will include; Joe MacDowell, Mark Grazulewicz, Marci L. Cropp and Daryl Aurand.  They will join outgoing President, J. Mark Cropp and the newly elected officers in guiding the “Friends of Youth” throughout the coming Gettysburg Optimist Club year.

The evening will conclude with the recitation of the Optimist Creed and the handing-off of the Optimist Bell and gavel to the new administration.  Traditionally the Bell and gavel have been used to call the Club’s meetings and special events to order since the Optimist Club of Gettysburg was chartered n 1958.

Members who are planning to attend the 2012 Installation Banquet are encouraged to contact event chairman Mark Grazulewicz by Friday, September 28, at  A fee of $10.00 for each attendee will be collected prior to the event.  There is no fee for official guests of the Club and invited prospective members.


The Optimist Club of Gettysburg is moving back indoors for their last regular membership meeting of the 2011-2012 administrative year.  After a busy summer when membership meetings were held outside at the Lake Heritage Pavilion, and the homes of members Wayne Hill and Mark Cropp, the Gettysburg “Friends of Youth”  will complete the clubs business for the current year at their home for the coming fall and winter months.  The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Lutheran Theological Seminary Refectory on Wednesday, September 19 , beginning at 6:30 pm.  The meal will be catered by Stacey Green and Bigerstaff’s Catering.

Featured at next weeks meeting will be Walt Jones,  Adams County Business and Education Council and Doug Miller, making the presentation of the Gettysburg Optimist “Respect for Law Award” for 2012.  As always, members are encouraged to attend and are welcome to invite prospective members as guests.  For an advanced copy of the evenings agenda, click on  Optimist 091912 Meeting Agenda.

Mark your calendar now to join us in an evening of Optimism.  See you there!

J. Mark


At their last regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 5, the Optimist Club of Gettysburg launched a new page on their recently redesigned website.  “Our Sponsors” page is an opportunity for businesses to participate in supporting the clubs efforts.  The local “Friends of Youth” raises in excess of $40,000.00 annually to fund more than 20 youth related programs throughout the Gettysburg community.

Fees from the new website page will help off-set the clubs administrative operating costs, assuring that 100% of the dollars that are raised from the clubs many fund raising projects throughout the year will go directly to supporting selected youth programs.  The page features the sponsors branded link to their website and recognizes the businesses for their support of the local, non-profit, community service organization.

Those who sign up now as “Charter Sponsors” will receive a special rate of $100.00 for the first year listing.  If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Gettysburg Optimist Club you will find our contact information at

Contact us today to see how you can join these “Charter Sponsors” in their support of the Optimist Club of Gettysburg.

Meeting Minutes from September 5, 2012

Club members celebrated their annual steak feed at President Mark’s home Wednesday September 5.   A big “Thank You!” to Mark for hosting our group.

Nominations for officers and Board of Directors for the upcoming 2012-2013 administrative year were announced as:

President – Craig Sweet

Vice President – Kris Accardi

Secretary – Mindy Accardi

Treasurer – Tom Barako

Board of Directors:

Daryl Aurand

Mark Grazulewicz

Marci Cropp

Joe MacDowell

Mark Cropp will serve on the Board as Past President

There being no nominations from the floor the above officers and Board members were declared elected by President Mark Cropp.

Don Davis reported on the success of the Soccer parking.  Thanks to Don for organizing this important fund raiser!

Mark Cropp reported that a new web page was added to our website that acknowledges and accepts sponsorships,  Two sponsors already appear in recognition of their on-going contributions to the club. These are Biggerstaff’s Catering and Junction Creative Solutions.

The installation banquet will be held on Wednesday, October 3rd at the Dobbin House Restaurant in Gettysburg.  Please mark your calendar for this important event date!!  Cost will be $10.00 per person
The 2012-2013 budget was presented by Tom Barako and after discussion, a modified budget was passed.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday September 19th at the Lutheran Seminary refectory building, beginning at 6:30 pm.  Hope to see you there!


The traditional end of summer Promise Yourself: Optimist of Gettysburg Grill Out is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5.  The last outdoor membership meeting of the year will be held at President Mark’s house at 275 Montclair Road beginning at 6:30 pm.  The feature menu entree will be New York Strip Steaks prepared to order over the grill.  The agenda will include elections for the upcoming administrative year, presentation of the 2012-13 budget for approval at the September 19 meeting, and recent Board of Directors recommendations.

The annual end of summer meeting continues a long tradition first started by Clyde Williams (charter member 1958) when the membership gathered at his cabin in Caledonia State Park to celebrate the coming of a new year of Optimism.  All members are encouraged to bring a potential member as a guest.  We have lots of important business to complete before the Installation Banquet on October 5.  See you all there!




Great weather, good food and great Optimist fellowship were plentiful at the 2012 Optimist Fourth Quarter Zone Meeting on Wednesday, August 15.  More than 40 members from the First Capitol, East York, Lancaster and Gettysburg Optimist Clubs arrived at the Lake Heritage Pavilion in Gettysburg for what has become an annual tradition for the central Pennsylvania Optimist Clubs.  Attendees were treated to pork barbecue, roasted potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans and assorted desserts provided by the Gettysburg Optimist Club. Elmo Vestal filled in for the ailing Lt. Govern, Tom McGlynn and conducted the evenings business agenda.  Each Optimist Club in attendance gave a brief presentation on at least one project they are currently sponsoring in their respective communities.  Marion Duarte reported on the upcoming District Meeting and State Convention and Elmo reviewed the standings of each club in the Zone as well as the requirements for Honor Club and an update on the Optimist Olympics Project.  A review of the A & A Report indicated those clubs in attendance rank in the top 15 out of 57 clubs. The meeting ended with a 50/50 drawing, continued fellowship and the traditional recitation of the Optimist Creed.

The second Optimist Soccer Parking Project of the year is scheduled for NEXT WEEKEND, August 25th and 26th.  Don Davis has the project well planned and members should check the Parking Schedule to confirm the times and the lot location that they have volunteered to work.  The field maps are not available yet, but the plan currently calls for parking vehicles at the Adams County Historic site (former Adams County Prison) and the Gettysburg Construction Company site, both on Biglerville Road north of Gettysburg.  Don may make last minute personnel adjustments to site assignments and will contact those individual members affected by the change.

The Optimist Soccer Parking Project represents a significant portion of the Clubs fund raising efforts each year, so members are encouraged to put on their Optimist shirts, grab their hats, sunglasses and a lawn chair and head out Biglerville Road next Saturday and Sunday.  More than 2000 young soccer players and their parents will converge on Gettysburg from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia for the second Gettysburg Battlefield Blast Soccer Tournament of 2012.

Members who wish to volunteer to help with this  important project, should contact Don Davis at 717-253-0295.

Every July members of the Optimist Club of Gettysburg gather at Wayne and Sue Hill’s home for one of the most popular Optimist meetings of the year. The Gettysburg Optimist Club Family Night is an opportunity for club members and their families to gather and enjoy some really good food, warm family fellowship and the traditional Optimist Family Trivia Contest.  Prior to the conclusion of the evenings festivities, attendees are divided into groups to compete against one another for the right to select a deserving recipient for a charitable contribution from the Club.

This year the winning team of Bill Pyron, Katie Barako, Mark and Beverly Grazulewicz and Don and Ginny Davis demonstrated their remarkable knowledge of the subject matter and earned the opportunity to select a deserving charitable organization for a $1000.00 contribution from the Optimist Club of Gettysburg.  The winning contestants selected the Dayton R. Biesecker Special Needs Fund and the Blake E. Biesecker Special Needs Fund for this years contribution.

Dayton and Blake are the seven year old, twin sons of Tom and Nikki Biesecker of Biglerville, who last year were both diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease known as  Muscular Dystrophy with the Duchenne type.  It is the most aggressive type of MD and affects 1 in 3,600 boys.  The disease targets the muscular-skeletal system and over time will require expensive ongoing treatment, therapy and specially designed mobility equipment.  The Special Needs Funds were created to provide the family with much needed assistance in meeting the costs of two, specially designed wheel chairs.

At the Clubs regular membership meeting held on August 1, the members voted unanimously to deposit $500.00 in each of the accounts maintained by Adams County National Bank.

While the Optimist Club generally does not contribute to individuals, but rather to organizations, the membership decided that given the family nature of our event, the Special Needs Funds cause was more than appropriate.   The Gettysburg Optimist Club raises more than $40,000 each year in support of 19 youth related programs throughout the Gettysburg and the Adams County area and is pleased that we could include Blake and Dayton’s Special Needs Funds to our list of recipients this year.



Mark your calendars and set your schedule now for the Optimist Zone Seven Quarterly Meeting on Wednesday August 15! The Gettysburg Optimist Club will be hosting the event to be held at the Pavilion at Lake Heritage at 6:30 pm. Lake Heritage is located at the junction of Pennsylvania route 97 and US route 15, two miles south of Gettysburg.

Optimist members, spouses or guests from Gettysburg, York, Lancaster and all over Zone Seven are invited to the Gettysburg Optimist Annual Pig Roast. Daryl Aurand and Mark Cropp are preparing a menu of barbecue pork, baked beans, coleslaw, roasted potatoes and assorted desserts.

Plenty of good food, great fellowship and Optimist business will be on tap for all those who attend. If you are from a visiting club in Zone Seven, please contact Mark Cropp at or Elmo Vestal at by Monday evening, August 13, to let us know you will be participating. Upon arrival tell the gate keeper at Lake Heritage that you are with the Gettysburg Optimist Club. The pavilion is located just inside the gate to your right.

We are looking forward to meeting all our “Friends of Youth” this coming Wednesday.