Skip to main content

Elks Family Dinner

By Programs Assistant Brianne Menges

I have a confession to make: I don’t really listen to country music. It’s not that I don’t like it; I’m just more of a Glee fan myself. So after landing in the country music capital of Nashville, Tenn., I was a little apprehensive about how much I would have in common with everyone there.

Thankfully, our dissimilarities began and ended with our taste in music.

Assistant Director Debbie Kahler Doles and I recently traveled to Nashville to attend the National Scholarship Providers Association’s annual conference. While taking a break from various informational sessions, we were able to meet with some local Elks and Elks scholars for dinner.

In the months leading up to our trip, this dinner is what I had been looking forward to the most. After working for the ENF for two years, this was going to be my first opportunity to meet Elks and Elks scholars in person. I couldn’t wait!

For me, this was a chance to put faces with names, and meet the people who make our work possible and those who benefit from our programs.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, Tennessee State Veteran’s Chair Dalton Jordan, and Tennessee State Scholarship Chair Jim Birdsong and his wife, Paulette, were already waiting for us. My first Elks!

While we waited for our other guests to arrive, we had the chance to talk. I heard about the various projects my new friends were doing at their Lodges and throughout Tennessee. It was amazing to hear all of the outreach projects going on in their communities. These Elks are doing impressive things!

As our Elks scholars began arriving and introducing themselves, it was wonderful to see such a variety of backgrounds, from an alumna working on her Ph.D., to freshmen experiencing their first midterms. They were all excited to meet the Elks who helped make their scholarships possible; for many of them, this was their first time meeting Elks too.

It was such a joy to not only meet the Elks and Elks scholars, but to see them meet each other and swap stories of their times in school. That night, we were all members of the Elks family hanging out and sharing a meal. 

And like most families, we ate a little, we laughed a lot, and we have very different taste in music.

The Elks National Foundation provides more than $3.6 million in college scholarships each year. For more information about our scholarship programs, including eligibility and deadlines, please visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation Zoom--It's like the Brady Bunch , but without Jan. (This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom. If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals. In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation. A couple of we

See you at the Julebukking

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation (Earlier this week, I started a series of posts on the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation. This is the second post in the series—technically, the series became a series when I posted this. Anyway, read the first post here . To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Humans have a fundamental need to connect. Scientists, psychologists, therapists, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Our culture may celebrate individualism, but we are wired to be around other people. How else can you explain the existence of organizations like the Elks? It’s certainly not the dated titles or the jewels of office that go along with them. It’s not the many meetings that demand so much of our time if we want to rise through the ranks. It’s not even the desire to serve our communities. The Elks have been around for 152 years because people need other people in our lives. Local Lodges s

Are We Having Fun Yet?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation (This is the fifth in a series of posts about the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation.  To find all posts in the series, click here:  #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Many of us have been mostly staying at home for two months now, which begs the question, “Are we having fun yet?” In answering that question, I can’t speak for everyone, but after crashing one of their virtual happy hours, I can speak confidently for the folks at Ferndale, Michigan, Lodge No. 1588. That crew is having a ball. Ferndale is a suburb of about 20,000 people, just across the Eight Mile from Detroit. A bedroom community in the 1920s and ’30s, Ferndale boomed along with the auto industry in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. In fact, today, it still derives its nickname from a catchy 1960s advertising campaign that caught: Fashionable Ferndale. Sarah Ignash leads the T-Rex Walking Club to fame, if not fortune. As the economy wen