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Way to serve: Optimists, Masons, Elks and Lions

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Optimist Club members Nancy Zaske (from right) and Bev Watje give out hot dogs during a recent track meet in Worthington.

Editor's note: A companion piece about additional service clubs in Worthington appears in today's special "Positive Perspectives" section.

WORTHINGTON -- Options galore await those willing to give a little of themselves to improve the surrounding community -- and service club members, in turn, benefit from a sense of fulfillment and from relationships built within those organizations.

Here's a look at four of Worthington's service clubs: the Optimists, the Lions, the Masons and the Elks.

The Worthington Optimists: While capably dispensing their "famous" grilled hot dogs and juice to eager kids at the recent YMCA-sponsored All-Comers track meet at Trojan Field, a cheerful crowd of friendly Optimists happily shared the secret to their nearly 40-year-old group's success.

"Everything we do is to help kids," said Nancy Zaske, a four-year Optimist member.

The 62-member Worthington Optimists offered a long list of activities they implement to support that mission: skills events for youth volleyball, basketball and football players; bike safety inspections and bike give-aways for kids in Worthington and Brewster; sponsorship of a local wrestling tournament (along with concession sales there); a local Easter egg hunt; and the sponsorship of a fishing derby (held annually on the "take a kid fishing" weekend) for the past 35 years.

It's the kids, in turn, who fuel members' enthusiasm for their various efforts and fundraisers.

"We do so many things for the kids, and I love kids," said Steve Thill. "Doing these things for them makes me feel good about myself."

Monies raised at the Optimist-sponsored annual Thanksgiving weekend Toy Show at Worthington Middle School, along with pull-tab funds earned at local bars, provide the base for Optimists' donations to youth organizations.