Keep Cheerful Friend of Youth Award - Honoring Friend of Youth

This award was created by club member, Tori Exum, in remembrance of Walter Emil Splittstoesser, who was a faithful and active member of the Champaign-Urbana Optimist Club for 40 years, serving as President from 1983-1984 and as the Secretary/Treasurer for nearly three decades. Walter passed away in 2018. His famous last words to many conversations and phone calls was “Keep Cheerful”. He was a true friend of youth and worked hard as an Optimist Club Member.


This award is to recognize a deserving person or group for their outstanding efforts on behalf of youth in the Champaign County community, who keep a cheerful and optimistic attitude and go above and beyond in helping youth. There are many adult and groups in our community who have given much of their time and energy to youth projects, activities and mentoring. Through our “Keep Cheerful” award, we wish to honor an individual or group each year for outstanding efforts in contributing to the growth and development of youth.


A committee of club members will consider all nominations. The award ceremony will take place at one of our fall meetings where the winner will receive a free dinner, $100, and a plaque.


Nominations will be accepted beginning May 2020. Award information, criteria and a printable nomination form can also be found on this page at that time.