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Evening Optimist Club of Gardena - Basketball-GEO


Event Location

PO Box 2132
Gardena, CA 90247
Map of Evening Optimist Club of Gardena - Basketball-GEO, PO Box 2132, Gardena

The Evening Optimist Club of Gardena is now in its 43rd year of serving communities in the South Bay. We were originally sponsored by the Japanese American Optimist Club of Los Angeles and chartered in February 1964.Our membership currently numbers 130 strong and represents a cross section of the community. Most of our members live in the immediate South Bay area; however, we do have some active members that live as far away as Orange County.

Our primary goal is to serve our community through projects and programs designed to develop and enrich our youth. Our positive approach, our upbeat outlook, and our commitment to creating a more optimistic future for kids is what differentiates Optimist Clubs from any other volunteer opportunity.

In addition to the activities listed below the Evening Optimist Club of Gardena sponsors a Boy Scout Troop, a Cub Scout Troop, and a Junior Optimist Club. We actively support the Gardena Valley JCI, the Gardena Valley Sansei League, the Optimist Junior Blind Olympics, and the Optimist Youth Homes.

Fee and dues
Our annual member dues are $150.00 year or $37.50 per quarter. New members are assessed an initiation fee of $35.00.

Regular club meetings are usually held on the first Tuesday of every month at various local restaurants and begin at 7:00 PM. Our Programs Chairperson is responsible for providing interesting and informative speakers or programs for these meetings. The third Tuesday of every month is usually reserved for special programs and social events in which spouses and guests are invited to attend. Our Programs/Special Events Chairperson and the other committee chairs, such as Respect For Law and Youth Appreciation, are responsible for the planning of these meetings.

About GEO Basketball
The Gardena Evening Optimist Basketball League was founded in 1967 by George Kobayashi, who also served as the League's first commissioner. Started as an alternative to the Community Youth Council (CYC) league in downtown Los Angeles, the League intended to create a local competition that stressed participation. Teams were formed from organizations such as the Buddhist Church, the Baptist Church, YMCA, VFW and the Optimists. Most of these organizations were fielding teams in the Sansei Baseball league and merely converted them over to basketball.

In addition to participation, the Optimists wanted the League to promote sportsmanship and to build character in the kids. Competition was kept a component of sportmanship in that participation did not necessarily mean equal playing time. Parents were kept involved with scorekeeping.

Les Phillips, from the Gardena Parks and Recreations Department, provided help with the filing of permits and the acquisition of referees. The League felt it was important to get good referees so that the kids' transition from the basketball program to high school would be smooth. The Optimist members even went to referee school to better understand the game.

The league was divided into two divisions, 12 and under, and 12 and over, resulting in six teams in the first year of play. This increased to ten teams in the second year, and fifteen teams in the third. Originally founded for boys only, the League exapanded in the 70's to include girls, on the request of the parents supporting the League. 
The Basketball League is, by far, the largest activity supported by the Evening Optimist Club of Gardena. With approximately 170 teams and 1700 participants in the first through ninth grades, the League continues to provide a venue for participation, competition, and sportsmanship for the area's youth.

In addition to playing basketball, the League provides the opportunity for kids to participate in other facets of the game. Those 14 and older can participate as scorekeepers, while those 16 and older can participate as referees, all the while earning credit towards scholarships awarded by the various local organizations. The League provides training and equipment for those interested in these activities. 
The Basketball League begins in September, runs through November, and culminates with the Jamboree in early January. During the season, the Optimists run the annual Tri-Star competition, where kids test their skills in the three disciplines of dribbling, shooting, and passing. In the past, top finishers in each age group have been presented their awards at the Jamboree and were given the honor of a center court appearance at halftime of the annual GEO-LA Clippers night in mid-January.

The Basketball Program also runs winter and summer developmental leagues. On a smaller scale than the fall basketball league, the developmental leagues provide players, scorekeepers, and referees additional game time to hone their skills. The Optimists also use these leagues to instruct their own volunteers on the art of being a referee.



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