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Friends of Youth

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Battle Buddies Children's Obstacle Course

November 4th, 2023


Patriot Park

Soccer Fields

Oratorical Entry Applications must be recieved by March 1, 2024 Essays and Applications mu


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About Us

The Palmetto Optimist Club is a volunteer organization dedicated to bringing out the best in the youth of the Sumter, SC community.  By providing hope and positive vision Optimists bring out the best in youth, our community and ourselves. 

Join us on the 2rd Tuesday of each month at 7pm at the Sumter Chamber of Commerce.  

Call us at (803)847-5834

Email us at

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @PalmettoOptimistClub


Making a Difference

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Every spring we give away thousands of books to children in Sumter during the Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association's Art in the Park.

Battle Buddies

Every November we host a free children's obstacle course called Battle Buddies.  Children navigate through a hand made course of 20 obstacles, watch demonstrations from local martial arts, gymnastics and dance teams, and enjoy numerous small business vendors for a day of fun. 

Savor Sumter Burger Cookoff for Childhood Cancer

Locals for teams to battle it out for Sumter's juiciest throw down and the title of best burger. Funds raised benefit Children's Cancer Partners of the Carolinas and are designated for children battling cancer in Suter and clarendon counties. 


Donate a Duffle Bag

Children in foster care often arrive in care with the clothes on their backs or all of their personal items in a garbage bag.  Your $20 donation will purchase a duffle bag for a child in foster care at Crosswell Children's Home in Sumter, SC.  The Palmetto Optimist club will personalize the bag with the child's name and deliver it to the home.  Click the duffle bag to the right to make your donation.


Make A Donation

Donations to the Palmetto Optimist Club go to scholarships for local Sumter students as well as toward our community events.   Click the button below to make a secure donation. 
  • Crochet (and Knit) Hats and Lap Blankets for Childhood Cancer
    Crochet (and Knit) Hats and Lap Blankets for Childhood Cancer
    Multiple Dates
    Thu, Dec 14
    Dec 14, 2023, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
    Sumter, 1835 Camden Hwy, Sumter, SC 29153, USA
    Dec 14, 2023, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
    Sumter, 1835 Camden Hwy, Sumter, SC 29153, USA
    For new and experienced crocheters and knitters. We meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Yarn, hooks, patterns and snacks are provided. Want to learn? Come on! Hats and lap blankets are donated to children battling cancer through Children's Cancer Partners of the Carolinas.
  • Optimist General Meeting
    Optimist General Meeting
    Multiple Dates
    Tue, Dec 19
    Dec 19, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Sumter, 32 E Calhoun St, Sumter, SC 29150, USA
    Dec 19, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Sumter, 32 E Calhoun St, Sumter, SC 29150, USA
    All are welcome to join us as we discuss upcoming events.

Learn more

Want more details about what we do? Scroll below to find stories and the latest updates about how our work is helping make an impact. We invite you to learn more about our efforts and help spread the word.

Battle Buddies 2021

Learn More

Card Carrying Optimist

Learn More

Burger Cookoff 2022

Learn More

Donate New or Used Bicycles

The Evening Optimist Club of Sumter conducts an annual a project for underprivileged youth in the Sumter Community called “Cycles for Christmas”. Over the last 25 years more than 5000 bicycles have been given to needy children in the Sumter area. This year the Palmetto Optimist Club would like to continue to support that effort.


“Cycles for Christmas” involves collecting used bicycles, donated by individuals throughout the county, and having them repaired and/or refurbished to be distributed to deserving Sumter young persons. The Sumter County fire stations have agreed to serve as our drop off points again this year. The cycles are being collected, sorted and repaired by Optimist and other volunteers.


Donations can be made at all Sumter Area Fire Stations.

(Alice Drive Fire Dept. preferred) If you need bikes picked up or would like to volunteer your time, contact Tom Lawrence 803-983-2875.




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