Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 12 Days of ENF

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!

Finals are done, grades are in, and the semester is over. If you've been keeping up with me, my extracurricular endeavors, sports, two jobs, social life, and, oh yeah, that Cornell curriculum have been keeping me more than busy. Coming home was bittersweet. I said goodbye to all the incredible experiences and opportunities up on the hill, but welcomed my family, girlfriend, my new kitten, old friends, and the Christmas season back into my life. So, for my last post of 2013, I thought I'd leave readers with something a bit lighter.

Without further ado, I present you with The 12 Days of Christmas, an ENF version.

On the 12th day of Christmas, the ENF gave to me:

12 months of service,
11 states' stickers
10 Awesome stories
9 Youth programs
8 Scholars Advising
7 Trustees Leading
6 Hoop Shoot Winners
5 Ways to Give
4 Years in school
3 Cool pens
2 Top Awards
And a loving, caring Elks family!!

And for the last time in 2013, Happy Holidays to the Elks and let's have an even better 2014!!

Nate Baker
Freshman Elks Scholar Advisory Board Representative
2013 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Cornell University

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Viera, Fla., Lodge No. 2817


While elves in Santa’s workshop build toys, Santa’s elves from Viera, Fla., Lodge No. 2817 spread Christmas spirit to community members in need. Using an Elks National Foundation Promise Grant, the Viera Elks partnered with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren to hold a Christmas party for 52 children and their grandparents. The party—full of food, face painting, crafts and fellowship—was fun for all ages.


The children had the chance to meet the Elks’ special guest—Santa Claus! After telling Santa their Christmas lists, each child received a gift. Their grandparents’ Christmas wishes came true too—they received meals to take home, family time, and new friends in the Elks.

“My granddaughters and I would like to thank you for everything,” says a grandmother who benefitted from the Promise Grant. “If we didn’t receive help from the Elks, my granddaughters wouldn’t have had any gifts this Christmas.”

The Elks National Foundation awards $2,000 Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of local youth. To find out more about Promise Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Putnam, Conn., Lodge No. 574

From roasted turkey to fruitcake, Christmas is often celebrated by sharing meals with loved ones. Elks look out for those in need to ensure that all community members have enough to eat while celebrating the season.

Using an Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant, Elks from Putnam, Conn., Lodge No. 574, purchased, packed and delivered meals to 93 families, providing them with fresh food and the best Christmas gift of all—the knowledge they have the support of the Elks.


This Beacon Grant project allows the Lodge to connect with other community organizations. To determine those in need, Elks partnered with the Housing Authority and local schools. Elks also work closely with a Putnam grocery store, which provides the food and helps prepare it for delivery.

“We served 390 people turkey, sides, fresh veggies, fruit, dessert and more,” says ENF Grant Project Manager Lysa Molnar. “Our community partners rely on the Elks to help those in need each year.”

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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meet the ENF Staff

Kate Keating Edsey
Development Manager

How long have you worked at the ENF?
I’ve been with the ENF for just over 5 years.

What projects are you/your department working on right now?
We’re in the middle of planning for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which means a lot of meetings and budgeting. In
Kate shows off posters from previous National Convention
ENF Major Donor events. What will the theme be in 2014?
addition to planning for the Development department, I’m also managing the logistics for upcoming ENF events. The biggest thing on my to-do list right now is planning for the ENF presence at the 2014 Elks National Convention—visit our new and improved ENF booth in New Orleans!

What’s your favorite part of working at the ENF?
Working with the ENF Fundraising Chairs is the best thing about my role at the ENF. The passion and commitment these volunteers have for the ENF and their community is inspiring.

Describe your average day at the ENF.
I don’t think there is an average day at ENF! Typically my day is spent “changing hats” between checking in every morning with my Fundraising team colleague, Lindsay Hurth, assisting ENF Fundraising Chairs, and managing projects within our Development Plan. I’m also checking in regularly on our upcoming events—the Most Valuable Student Interview Weekend in Chicago and the Elks Hoop Shoot National Finals in Springfield, Mass.—which require a lot of collaboration with key programs staff.

What’s on your Christmas list this year?
Christmas came early in my house—all I wanted was a trip to the 2014 Rose Bowl for my Michigan State University Spartans. Go Green!

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
I’ve been to more countries that states. Working for the ENF has taken me around the country, so that will change soon when I surpass twenty states. 

What TV show do you never miss?
Homeland—it’s the best show on television. The season just ended though, so I’ll need to find something else to watch on Sunday nights this winter. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Elks Community Builder of the Week

De Soto, Mo., Lodge No. 689


What’s Santa’s favorite breakfast cereal? Frosted Flakes!

Using an Elks National Foundation Promise Grant, Elks from De Soto, Mo., Lodge No. 689 hosted Christmas breakfast for community members with special needs. Even though Frosted Flakes wasn’t on the menu, Santa still came to celebrate, play games, and give gifts to each guest.

The breakfast allowed the Lodge to connect with those in need in the community and share the gift of friendship.

“We were able to increase awareness about the good things the Lodge does for the community throughout the year thanks to the Promise Grant,” says ENF Grant Project Manager Mike Thurmond.

The Elks National Foundation awards $2,000 Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an event that helps build the character and competence of local youth. To find out more about Promise Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Monday, December 9, 2013

All Mocking Aside...

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!

Order in the Cornell court!
I like to act like someone I’m not. Someone quite possibly guilty of a horrible crime. Arguing with overzealous attorneys is my idea of a good time. If I were to get selected for jury duty, I’d probably be pretty pleased. I'm not some weird, punishment-loving person (well, I do go to Cornell...), I just love mock trial!

Over the past month, I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit reading affidavits, revising direct examinations, and listening to opening/closing statements. I’ve been in a suit so much that you’d think I was a walking Brooks Brothers advertisement. I’ve skipped dinner, told friends “another time,” stayed up way past my bedtime, and forwent Halloween (my favorite holiday) so that I could talk about fake people's fake problems in their fake world. But to my teammates, mockers across America, and me, it’s all very real. We signed up for the sweaty palms and way-too-long weekends voluntarily. And, surprisingly, we have a blast doing it.

This fall, our team went to two invitational tournaments at Columbia University and Brandeis University.

Nate wakes up bright and early to prepare
for a day in court.
Columbia commenced with a bus ride into the city. After schlepping our bags through the streets, we arrived at a teammate’s apartment where we would be staying for the weekend. Late nights of practicing and “team bonding” melded into bright and early mornings hailing a cab from the Upper East Side to Columbia’s campus. Our rounds sped by as we patched our arguments between trials. Columbia's tournament was a learning experience for us new kids on the block, and gave us something to build on with advice from the judges.

The turn-around to our next tournament was quick; just one week. So we buckled down and sold our souls
to the law school. And completely changed everything that I had memorized about my character, as is customary in mock trial.

We roadtripped it up to Boston for Brandeis with experience on our side. We must have learned something, for we exited the bracket with a 7-1 record! At the awards ceremony, we were saddened to find out that we tied for first place, but received second due to a technicality in scoring. Nevertheless, we returned home with the radio blaring and our pride well-intact.

Nate and his mock trial team show off
their well-deserved trophy!
All of that preparation and stress for two weekends of competition. Now that the invitational season is over, we can all let out a collective sigh. With relatively so much more time on my hands, I felt like a void had been left in my life. Looking back, I ask myself, why did I do that? Why did I spend so much time secluded from real life in cramped classrooms? The glory? I can assure you there is zero glory in mock trial. In reality, I did it for the snarky giggles that I can share with my teammates about what opposing council is wearing. I did it for the stories about how that attorney tried to impeach me, but looked like an idiot scrambling though exhibits and decided to just give up. I did it for the team dinners and backseat sing-alongs. I did it for the people and the friendships.

Mock trial has been a part of me since high school. I was on the fence about whether or not to even try out for the team once I got to college. In retrospect, I’m glad I went for it and devoted so much time to this organization. I've had some of my best experiences and made some of my best friends through mock trial so far in my short undergraduate career.

Here’s my monthly (cheesy) advice to you, dear reader: The next time that someone tries to badger you into coming to watch them argue a fake case, don’t object. The evidence goes to show that you might “witness” something surprisingly interesting.

Thanks!

Nate Baker
Freshman Elks Scholar Advisory Board Representative
2013 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Cornell University