Desoto County News

Optimists fund splash pad, virtual train car projects in Hernando

Photo: The Lynda and Bill Austin YMCA Early Learning Center in Hernando, where the Optimist Club of Hernando is funding a splash pad. (Bob Bakken/

The Optimist Club of Hernando has provided two organizations funding for projects they have planned. The YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South has the Lynda and Bill Austin Early Learning Center in Hernando and the DeSoto County Museum is also an integral part of the community. 

Pam Black of the Optimist Club of Hernando said the club recently awarded a $10,000 check to the YMCA Early Learning Center, which will be used for a splash pad.  The Optimists are receiving naming rights to the splash pad.

“One of the purposes of the Optimist Club is to aid and encourage the development of youth, in the belief that the giving of oneself in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world,” Black said. “We are elated to be able to contribute to the YMCA to provide a much-needed water activity for the children. Although we get naming rights for our donation, it is our hope that it will bring many hours of enjoyment to the youth of our community for many years to come.”

The Optimist Club also provided the DeSoto County Museum a check for $2,000, funding that Curator Rob Long said will be used to complete the museum’s virtual indoor train car, where children may have “an immersive experience in riding in a real train car,” Long said, adding “We are converting an interior hallway in the DeSoto County Museum and turning it into a train car for children. 

Long said the Hernando Optimist Club is partnering with the DeSoto County Museum on the project.  

“We have supported the DeSoto County Museum for many years in various endeavors,” Black said. “Helping to bring Rob’s vision, the experience of an actual train ride, has been our focus over the past few years. It is very exciting to know that the project is about to be completed. We are looking forward to visiting and hope that the exhibit will bring even more visitors to the museum.”