All posts by Craig Miller

Grant Money Issued

During our weekly meeting on October 25th our club issued three grant requests of $500 each in support of Harper Creek Schools.

The first two grants were for the 5th and 6th grade Middle School Student Special Support Departments. These departments assist students when they become overwhelmed, angry and upset, which often times is related to a traumatic event in their life or issues struggling to maintain their composure in the classroom. The funds from these two grants will be used to help furnish calming environmental space with stress relieving activities and materials in the designated departmental rooms. Plans also include the purchase of a small refrigerator and funds for healthy perishable food items.

Pictured below (L-R) are HC 5th Grade Middle School Student Support Specialist/Counselor Amanda Schultz, 6th Grade Specialist Kalyn Critchlow and Club President Rich Peternel. 2018-10-OptimistSpecialistCounselor

The third grant issued was to the Wattles Park Elementary School in support of their “Harvest Fest”. This is a one-time community event organized by a select leadership group of Wattles Park parents of students. The objective is to have as many school parents and their students join together for an evening to socialize with fun, food and games in hopes of gaining a better educational collective environment for the local school community.

Club President Rich Peternel is pictured below with Wattles Park Elementary School Principal Brent Swan and Harvest Fest organizer Tracy Monroe.  2018-10-OptimistWattlesPark

Long Time Active Club Member Passes Away

Long time active club member Lee Griffin passed away on Monday, October 22nd. Lee joined the Harper Creek Optimist Club September 1977. He held numerous club offices and participated in practically all club programs and projects throughout his membership. He regularly attended the weekly meetings and for the past number of years chaired our summer weekly outdoor meetings. He was a true Optimist and his services have been greatly appreciated and will be missed. As specified by his family, memorials in his name may be directed to the Harper Creek Optimist Club at 4275 Capital Avenue SW, Battle Creek, MI 49015.  2013-03-OptimistRaffleGriffin

Harper Creek Spanish Department Grant

Harper Creek Middle School Spanish teacher Jessica Swisher-Zimmerman presented a report to our club during our regular meeting on October 18 relative to the grant our club had issued to the Spanish Department for $570. The funds financially help support a trip 50 7th grade students took to Chicago the previous day. The students took a Latin dance class, toured the Day of the Dead exhibit, completed an art project with a visiting Mexican artist at the Mexican Museum of Fine Arts, ate an authentic lunch and visited an authentic bakery and marketplace.  She is pictured below accepting her grant check from Club President Richard Peternel.2018-18-OptimistGrant

Night of Magic

The Harper Creek Optimist Club will be sponsoring a “Night of Magic” on Friday November 9th at the Harper Creek High School Auditorium. This is our second time for the event and we are anticipating another well attended great show. All proceeds will be channeled back into the local youth projects our club supports.Magic Flyer 2018

Installation of Officers

On September 24th our club joined with the local Battle Creek and Pennfield Optimist Clubs at Clara’s on the River to install the upcoming year’s new officers. Accompanying a great meal and service, entertainment was provided by Harper Creek musical students. Pictured below are the new installed Harper Creek Optimist Club members: Tracie Tomak, Vice-President; Al Miller, Trustee; Dr. Craig Miller, Treasurer; Richard Peternel, President; Dr. Gary Gymer, Secretary; Mike Olson, Trustee and John Peruzze, Trustee. Unable to attend were Vice-President Dr. Jeromy Myers, Trustees Rob Ridgeway and Nate Smith.IMG_6848IMG_6842

Canine Copper

On September 20th our club was privileged to have as our guest speaker Officer Mark Beach from the Emmett Township Police Department. He presented with his well-trained canine friend “Copper” and informed our club about the history of Copper and his “dog duties”. Copper is relatively new to the department, but has already proved very valuable in assisting officers with numerous drug arrests. Our club helped financially with the purchase of Copper. Pictured below is Officer Beach, club member Craig Miller and Copper.2018-09-OptimistProgramCopper

Christmas Parade 2018

The Harper Creek Optimist Club will be sponsoring our communities 39th Annual Battle Creek Christmas Parade again this year. The theme for this year’s parade is Parade of Trees. The event will take place in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan starting at 5:45 PM Saturday, November 17. For more details of the event and to register to be a participant go to the following website:

Cross-Country Invitational

What started out as very early morning stormy weather on August 25th turned out to be one of our club’s most successful Cross-Country Invitational sponsored event last weekend at the Harper Creek High School sports complex. On the menu served up by our club for participants, coaches, parents and fans were free hot dogs (over 500!), chips, candy bars, apples, juice, coffee and water. Smiling faces and countless expression of thanks was well received by club members who donated their Saturday morning so the event could promote Optimism and support youth. Dr. Gary Gymer, who again chaired the event, extends a special thanks to the club members who volunteered their time. For more pictures and a brief summary of the event click on Cross Country Invitational under the Youth Service Projects on the main menu.2018-08-OptimistX-CountryWorkers12018-08-OptimistX-CountryFoodLine32018-08-OptimistX-CountryBoysFrSophStart2018-08-OptimistX-CountryHCBerning12018-08-OptimistX-CountryAwards2

2018 Harper Creek Optimist Open Tennis Classic Update

The Annual Optimist Tennis Tournament play starts at 6:00PM on Friday at the newly surfaced Harper Creek tennis courts with the Mixed Doubles starting the first round of their round robin format. There are two 5 team divisions designated as Red and Blue.  The winners of the divisions will meet for the championship on Sunday. Starting Saturday Mens A and Mens B tournaments each have 8 teams and will play a regular bracket tournament with a consolation bracket for first round losers. Womens Doubles will play a 2 match round robin format and the Youth Singles will have one match of play. To view the draws and obtain match times, click on the Youth Service Projects on the menu page and go to Tennis Tournament. There will be a drawing Saturday afternoon for various donated prizes; all participants will be eligible to win! The weather looks favorable, but in case of rain the tournament will move to the Minges Creek Racquet Club.

2018 Harper Creek Optimist Open Tennis Classic

The date for this year’s Harper Creek Optimist Open Tennis Classic is August 3 through August 5. It will be held at the Harper Creek High School Tennis Complex and the general tennis format will be the same: youth are encouraged to play singles and there are regular and mixed doubles divisions for adults. Youth and adults may enter not more than two tournaments and youth may also play doubles. Please click on the following link for all relative tournament information and to obtain an entry form:


Pictured below in action from last year’s tournament is the mixed youth/adult team of Ray Yager and Alexis Behnke plus the winning youth participants holding their trophies: Elise Norman and Andrew Hooker. To view pictures and results from previous tournaments click on Tennis Tournament under Youth Service Projects on the Home Page of this site.2017-08-OptimistTennisRayAlexis2017-08-OptimistTennisEliseAndrew