The Fitchburg Optimist Club was founded in 2006 as a way to help improve the quality of life for all kids in our community.  We do this by providing recreational, academic, and community programs and support for children in the three school districts (Madison, Oregon, and Verona) located in Fitchburg.  Our members are comprised of a cross section of men and women with a strong sense of civic responsibility and personal accomplishment who care deeply about the welfare and the well being of our children.

We meet the first Monday of every month, usually at the community center on Lacy Road at noon. Some evening meetings as well. Check the schedule for meeting times and locations.

 By providing hope and positive vision, Optimists bring out the best in kids.

Promise Yourself… 

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best

Club Leaders

Jake Johnson


Jake is a husband, father, and an audio & video producer who has lived in Fitchburg for over 12 years. He has been a member of our club for over 4 years and is active in the community volunteering, coaching youth sports, and serving in city government. He is currently serving a 2nd term as Co-President of the Fitchburg Optimist Club.

Don Ashbaugh


Don was a founding member and the Charter President of the Fitchburg Optimist Club. A Fitchburg resident since 1998, he operates a business that helps seniors transition from their current living location to one they deem more suitable at this point in their life. He has two adult children and is an avid cook and kayaker.

Laura Smith

Vice President

Laura is a wife and mother. She has lived and worked in Fitchburg for over 12 years. She has been a member of the club since the beginning. She is an avid Badger Basketball fan. She also enjoys spending time with her children, volunteering at Leopold Elementary, and reading when she can find time between 4-H and flying with the family. She is currently serving as Vice President of the Fitchburg Optimist Club.

Chris Johnson


A Wisconsin native, Mr. Johnson has been a Fitchburg resident since 1993, raising two sons here and working in both the scientific and financial services industries. Before joining the Fitchburg Optimist Club in 2014, he volunteered to help construct the Kids Crossing playground at McKee Park. He has coached various local youth sports teams, and regularly volunteers serving youth and high school groups at his church. Through his professional affiliation with U.S. Bank, he served as a United Way of Dane County Loaned Executive and over 8 years as Employee Campaign board member and 4 times as chairman, with emphasis on early childhood literacy and teenage academic programs.

Gail Greuel


Gail has a son and daughter-in-law and has lived in Fitchburg for 26 years. She’s a charter member of the Fitchburg Optimist Club, which was started in 2006, and is currently the Treasurer (for the 2nd time). She retired in 2013, after working 40 years for AT&T, and volunteers for the AT&T Pioneers as the chapter Treasurer, at Badger Honor Flights, etc. She also volunteers at her church and Leopold School.