These are trying times for optimists. Covid deaths remain tragically high. Job growth remains stubbornly low. So many of our colleagues and kids are feeling stressed, exhausted, angry — “hitting the pandemic wall.” No wonder a recent front-page article in the Wall Street Journal, which has chronicled the Covid-driven struggles of companies and universities, highlighted a crisis at a different kind of organization — Optimist International, a 110-year-old club with chapters around the world. Membership is now at 60,000, down from a high of 190,000, although club leaders remain true to their guiding spirit. “When you hit rock bottom, the only direction you can go is up,” said one chapter head, who declared she was “getting my optimistic groove back.”

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