Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Kinderhook, N.Y., Lodge No. 2530

“What kind of dress should I buy? How much will a limousine cost? Who will be my date?” This is only the beginning of the long list of worries of students attending their high school prom.

The Elks at Kinderhook, N.Y., Lodge No. 2530 know how hectic prom season can be for teens. To create a stress-free night for local youth, the Lodge used an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to host a prom for developmentally disabled teens.

With the Elks as party leaders, the prom was a night to remember! Elks prepared and served dinner for 100 guests, then cleared the floor for a night of dancing and socializing.

The Beacon Grant allowed the Kinderhook Elks to reach out beyond their Lodge and serve others in the community.

“The prom was a tremendous success,” says Project Manager Jerry Shook. “Our guests and their families couldn’t express enough gratitude for giving the teens a night to enjoy themselves.”

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $2,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Serving Up Some Hoops

By 2010 Most Valuable Student Scholar Macy Warburton

In the late afternoon of March 8, 2013, I began the seven-hour drive from Kansas State University to Denver, Colo., despite all the news reports about Winter Storm Triton. There was nothing that would have stopped me from making this trip. Why? I was headed to the 2013 Region 8 Hoop Shoot Contest.

I first learned about the Hoop Shoot program after winning a Most Valuable Student scholarship in 2010. Fast forward two years and five Hoop Shoot contests later, and you will find that I have fallen in love with the program. I am always amazed at the skills of the participants and the love and care shown by the Elks.

This contest proved to be no different. I drove into the hotel parking lot at 12:30 a.m., and Regional Director Randy Gragg was waiting to make sure I arrived safely. Even with a hectic weekend ahead of him, he showed his caring Elks spirit by making a point to welcome me with open arms.

The next day I was able to greet all the contestants, their families and supporters as they arrived at the hotel full of excitement. The best moment of the registration process was being able to help surprise one of the contestants, whose grandparents had flown in from New Orleans without him or the rest of the family knowing!    

After registration, we were all expecting to relax and practice before the contest the next day. Reports of the incoming storm, though, caused the contest to be held that very night! Nobody saw the schedule change coming, but with the guidance of Regional Director Gragg and the help of many others, the contest went off that night without a hitch.

During the contest, I served as a ball retriever with two other Elks scholars, Kelsey Moore and Brittany Earle, who made it to Denver at a last minute’s notice. It was such a blessing to meet these two amazing women, but an even greater blessing to give back to an organization that has greatly invested in us.

Before leaving Denver, I attended the awards banquet, where I was recognized by the Elks and given a basketball signed by all the contestants…what a great keepsake! It then came time for me to say my goodbyes to everyone. Little did I know that I would be stuck in Limon, Colo., with 15 Kansas Elks as Winter Storm Triton kept us from driving. But the bad weather was outweighed by the meal and great conversation we shared.

The memories made during my time at the Region 8 Hoop Shoot are endless, and the basketball I received serves as a reminder of them every time I look at it. More memories are on their way, though, as I will be attending the National Hoop Shoot in April!  Here is to counting down the days until I am reunited with all the amazing Elks and the Hoop Shoot contestants.    

Through the Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program, the Elks National Foundation offers youth the opportunity to engage in healthy competition, connect with their families and community, and succeed both on and off the court. In 2013-14, the ENF allocated $692,750 to fund this program. For more information on the Hoop Shoot, visit www.elks.org/hoopshoot.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Elks Community Builder of the Week

South Hillsborough, Fla., Lodge No. 2672
 
It might sound like American Idol is taping a new episode, but the singers you hear on Fridays at South Hillsborough, Fla., Lodge No. 2672 aren’t competing for a recording contract. It’s the Lodge’s karaoke night with the James Haley Veterans Hospital. Veterans in the transition program come to the Lodge every other Friday for fellowship, food, and a turn at the microphone. The Lodge used an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant to expand the event to twice a month, and to provide these veterans with personal items they need.

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $1,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.