Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Midwest City, Okla., Lodge No. 1890

Midwest City, Okla., Lodge No. 1890 teamed up with the city and a local golf course and used its Promise Grant to host the first annual “Youth Golf Skills Challenge.” Boys and Girls aged 8 to 14 took on the Lodge’s challenge and put their golf skills to the test. After the competition, all participants and their families were treated to awards banquet. The Lodge was recognized by the city for the successful event, and the mayor already offered his support for next year! 

The ENF awards Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of youth in their community. To find out more about these $2,000 grants, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Typical Day?

By Development Manager Kate Keating Edsey


ENF Chair Carolyn Shupe hands out cookies at Santa Barbara,
Calif., Lodge No. 613’s Bring a Veteran to Lunch event.
A day in the life of an ENF Chair. That was my original topic when I sat down to blog about our ENF volunteers. However, I quickly realized that there is no typical day for an ENF Chair.

As ENF representatives in their Lodge, district and or state, ENF Chairs wear many hats—they are at times promoters, cheerleaders, writers, bookkeepers, event planners or collection agents. No matter what hat they are wearing at any given time, ENF Chairs keep the ENF mission front and center. The work they do, raising funds for the ENF and spreading the word about the good works of the Foundation, helps Elks build stronger communities.

That’s a pretty great job to have. Except we all know that this is not a job to ENF Chairs. As volunteers, ENF Chairs dedicate their time, talent and treasure without compensation. They do what they do out of the goodness of their heart, and because they believe in the ENF.

A day in my life as ENF Development Manager? Every day, I have the good fortune to speak with Chairs across the country about what the ENF means to them and the impact of ENF funding in their community. Also, a pretty great job to have!

Thank you to the more than 2,000 ENF Chairs who will commit to making 2011-12 another record-breaking year. We appreciate your hard work and continued support, every day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

New Albany, Ind., Lodge No. 270

New Albany, Ind., Lodge No. 270 helps local police help local kids. Elks used their $1,000 Gratitude Grant plus an additional $1,000 in Lodge funds to enhance the D.A.R.E. Program, helping kids to make healthy choices.

The ENF awards Gratitude Grants to Lodges to directly address local needs. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the GER’s per-capita goal. In 2011-12, these grants are worth $2,000. To find out more about Gratitude Grants, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.   

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Little River, S.C., Lodge No. 2840

Little River, S.C., Lodge No. 2840 throws some big parties. The Lodge used its Promise Grant to make sure local children in need could celebrate holidays all year round. The Elks started with a Halloween party, and continued with two Christmas celebrations, a Valentine’s Day dance, and an Easter party. Above, the race is on as the children begin the Easter egg hunt.

The ENF awards Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of youth in their community. To find out more about Promise Grants and to download an application, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dribble, Dribble, Swoosh—Repeat 1,562 times.

By Programs Relationship Associate Anne Shields
Practicing at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
I attended my first National Hoop Shoot Finals on Saturday, April 30, and what a contest it was! I had heard for weeks how dedicated the contestants were and how much they practiced, but all the talk didn’t prepare me for what I saw on Saturday. Kids ages 8 to 13 were sinking free throws better than NBA players. It was my job to enter scores online for the up-to-the-minute shot tracker. I found myself mesmerized by the consecutive sunk shots, so much so that it was a challenge to stay focused on my job. (Don’t worry though, I entered all the correct scores for those of you who followed along at home on Saturday).

Henry Westphal shows off his
first place trophy!
After watching all 72 contestants step to the line, it was time for a shoot-off between Henry Westphal from Portland, Maine, Lodge No. 188 and Jerrick Rydbom from Blairsville, Pa., Lodge No. 406. The two were competing for the prestigious Getty Powell Award for best overall shooter among the boys. Having both sunk 25 out of 25 during the contest, the race was on for best shooter!

Now, I had heard shoot-offs were exciting, but this was something. The whole gym was silent as Henry and Jerrick completed a tense eight rounds. Ultimately, Henry won the shoot-off, but they are both winners in my eyes for having sunk so many free throws (and looking calm while doing it!).

While the boys were having their shoot-off, Kendal Cloninger from Gastonia, N.C., Lodge No. 1644, was enjoying her title as the girl’s Getty Powell Award winner after shooting a perfect 25 out of 25. Her perfect score didn’t surprise me, though. Every time Kendal stepped up to the line, I knew her shot would go in. Her poise, confidence, and follow through were amazing.

Kendal relaxes after scoring a perfect 25 out of 25.
After hearing about the National Hoop Shoot Finals for almost two years, being at the actual contest far exceeded my expectations. From Harika to Destiny, Logan to Conner, every shooter amazed me and I’m excited to see where they will go in the future!

Every parent, contestant, and volunteer I met during the weekend was nicer than could be and I am so grateful I got to see such a wonderful program in action. As I sat at the banquet on Saturday night looking at the kids’ smiles and their proud parents, I was reminded of how much the Elks do to empower America’s youth.  

In 2011-12, the Elks National Foundation allocated $809,275 to fund the Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program. For more information on the Hoop Shoot, visit www.elks.org/hoopshoot.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Mid-Westchester, N.Y., Lodge No. 535

Mid-Westchester, N.Y., Lodge No. 535 used its Promise Grant to sponsor a Pine Wood Derby for local Cub Scouts. Elks helped organize the event, hosted it at the Lodge, bought trophies for the winners and provided food and beverages for the racers and their crews. One hundred and fifty scouts participated in the derby, and winners advanced to the district runoff. Read the full story here.

The ENF awards Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of youth in their community. To find out more about Promise Grants, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.