Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cornell is Gorges

By 2013 Most Valuable Student scholar and Elks Scholar Advisory Board member Nate Baker
Nate Baker, 2013 MVS scholar sponsored by Tyrone, Pa., Lodge No. 212, is the freshman representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board and new to college life. Throughout his first year of college, we’ll be following Nate through monthly blog posts. Check back each month to see what new adventures Nate encounters during this first year at Cornell!
Reno, NV—the site of the
2013 Elks National Convention...
...and an awesome time!

After returning home from a wonderful Elks National Convention in Reno, having one last hurrah with my friends, filling out forms for what seemed to be years, and trying to decide what was essential to bring with me to college, I finally made the trip to Cornell University! As I and many other Elks scholars like me (I’m looking at the freshmen) begin their collegiate careers equipped with the gifts, well-wishes, and advice of more-experienced friends and family, we all realize the crazy whirlwind of opportunity that we have been thrown into.

For me, I finally feel like I’ve gained my footing and have become part of a new community. Before move-in, I went backpacking through the Finger Lakes area of New York, learned a lot about the great outdoors, and made an awesome group of friends! After meeting my roommate and moving in, I started to get acclimated to the campus and explored the beautiful natural gorges and waterfalls surrounding Cornell. As I’m sure many other Elks scholars dealt with, a small scheduling dilemma added to the stress and initiation of the first few weeks of school.

Me and a few friends
at Taughannock Falls—
the tallest waterfall in New York state!
Since being at Cornell, I’ve joined the Big Red Marching Band, Model UN, political groups, quiz bowl, and made the men’s volleyball team! Being involved really is the best way to meet people and have a great time in college. Finding the balance between school, activities, socializing, studying and sleep has proved to be almost natural. Next weekend, mom and dad will be coming to visit for homecoming and reload my supply of snacks. The following weekend, I’ll be traveling to Yale (home to fellow Elks Scholar Advisory Board member Olivia Valdes) to witness Cornell win its first Ivy League football game this year! College has been good to me so far and I hope fellow Elks scholars are having a similar experience. Until my next post, good luck to everyone and thanks for reading!

Nate Baker
Freshman Elks Scholar Advisory Board Representative
Cornell University

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Elks


By 2011 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Maryann Slater
Though Elks may know about all the great work Lodges do across the country, Elks scholars are not as familiar with the Order. We asked Elks Scholar Advisory Board member and Legacy Awards recipient Maryann Slater to share a few facts about the Elks that scholars might be surprised to know! 

My name is Maryann Slater and I’m the President and Junior Representative of the Elks National Foundation Scholar Advisory Board, a board comprised of Elks scholars charged with sharing ideas to shape the future of the Elks scholar experience. I’m a Junior at Rutgers, majoring in Spanish and Communication. I’m a Legacy Awards scholarship recipient and both of my parents are Elks! Since I’ve grown up in the organization I’d love to share some of my knowledge with you to hopefully give you a better understanding of the organization that gave you your scholarship.

Ten things you didn’t know about the Elks…until now!

1.    The Elks have almost 2,000 Lodges all over the country and nearly 826,000 members!
Maryann and her parents—members of
South Plainfield, N.J., Lodge No. 2298



2.    The organization was originally founded in 1868 in New York City by a group of actors who called themselves the Jolly Corks.

3.    The Elks National Foundation is the charitable arm of the Elks. Founded in 1928, the ENF has contributed more than $324.6 million toward Elks' charitable projects nationwide.
Maryann collects food for military families
through the N.J. State Army of Hope

4.    The Elks have their own magazine!

5.    Each Elks Lodge has its own local community service projects. In addition, each Elks State Association has its own project that it manages for the whole state.

6.    The Elks are huge supporters of our country’s veterans and hold many events and programs throughout the year to show their appreciation. 

7.    If you become a member of an Elks Lodge, you can visit any other Lodge in the country when you’re traveling. If you move, you have the option to transfer your membership.
Maryann and MVS scholar Macy Warburton
volunteer at the Hoop Shoot National Finals


8.    The Elks National Foundation fully funds the Hoop Shoot and Drug Awareness Programs for children throughout the country—meaning you don’t have to wait to apply for a scholarship to feel the generosity of this organization!

9.    Each Lodge has its own leadership—the Lodge President is called the Exalted Ruler.

10.    The Elks have both State Conventions and National Conventions where members from all over come together to meet, attend meetings, share meals and make connections!

While this is a very brief introduction to the Elks, I hope that it opened your eyes to some facts you may not have known! Check out www.elks.org for more information, and email scholarship@elks.org if you’re interested in connecting with a Lodge near your home or college campus. I wish you all the best for this academic year!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Anniston, Ala., Lodge No. 189

While art enthusiasts around the world are lining up to see the newly authenticated Vincent Van Gogh painting, the Elks prefer to support local artists in need. Using an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, Anniston, Ala., Lodge No. 189 partnered with The Arc—an organization that serves people with special needs—to provide group art classes.

The arts program at the local Arc was suffering due to funding cuts. Thanks to the Gratitude Grant, Elks provided frames, paint, canvases and other supplies and immediately put them to good use as they assisted the artists in their weekly classes.

After mastering the art of painting, the Elks and the artists took ceramics classes and produced more museum-worthy pieces. To see where their art may one day hang, the Elks took the art class to the Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“This project was a great opportunity for all,” says Project Manager Cathy Benton. “The word got out about how much the Elks helped these wonderful people through the parents and employees of The Arc and local newspaper publications.”

The Elks National Foundation helps Lodges serve their communities by offering $2,000 Gratitude Grants. Lodges are eligible to apply for Gratitude Grants after meeting the National President’s per-member goal for giving to the Foundation. To find out more about Gratitude Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.