Hershey is fortunate to have several service organizations. While clubs have come and gone, they all exist to provide opportunities for individuals to make a difference in their community.
The Archives is fortunate to have the records of a number of different service organizations that have operated in Hershey. Some are still going strong, while others have passed away. To learn more about the community collections held by the Archives, follow this link.
The Hershey Optimist Club was founded in 1954, when it was sponsored by the Lebanon Optimist Club. An initial organizational dinner was held on May 5, 1954 with 13 prospective members in attendance. On May 19, 16 charter members attended the organizational meeting and elected officers. By the time the charter closed on June 2, Hershey Optimist Club had 40 members. The Club held its Charter Party on September 25, 1954 at the Hershey Park Golf Club. Regular meetings thereafter were held in the Community Building dining room.
The Club has always focused its efforts towards helping and supporting the youth of the community. During its long years of operation, the Hershey Optimist Club sponsored youth athletic teams and programs promoting safety, education, respect for the law, and civic duty in Hershey’s youth. Over the years, Hershey Optimists sponsored a variety of programs including Bike Safety Week, the Oratorical Contest, the Respect for Law program, Boys Work projects, and Youth Appreciation Week.
In recent years the Hershey Optimist Club struggled to attract new members. In 2007 the club’s charter was revoked and the chapter was officially closed.