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Showing posts from March, 2015

Elks Scholar Alum of the Year: A Reflection

By Gunther & Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarship Recipient and 2014 Elks Scholar Alum of the Year Kelly Ryan Murphy
Being the Elks Scholar Alum of the Year has been a wonderful experience. I was able to attend the Elks National Convention in New Orleans, meet incredible members of the Elks community, and expand a service project that is near and dear to my heart.

Although initially I was hesitant to apply, I am so glad that I ended up doing so. Out of all the many talented Elks scholars, I did not think that I could possibly be considered. But as an Elks scholar and a Gunther & Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarship recipient, my connection to Elks had been reaffirmed over the years and I knew I had made the ideals of the Elks National Foundation a part of my daily life. Once I applied, I was completely shocked that I had received the honor. I was also excited that I would finally get a chance to put a face to the names of the many people working behind the scenes of the Elks…

Forget the Beaver State, Oregon is the Elk State: Part 2

 by Youth Programs Associate Colleen Muszynski

When your boss asks in the middle of yet another brutal Chicago winter if you’d be interested in traveling to Oregon, the only acceptable answer is YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES! It didn’t take much convincing to get me on a plane to Portland. I was ecstatic to be on my way to visit the Coos Bay Lodge No. 1160 Impact Grant project and the Northwest Region 1 Hoop Shoot contest. You’ve already heard from my co-worker Mary Morgan about the front end of our trip to the Northwest, so I’ll pick up where she left off. 
The Elks (people) in Coos Bay recommended we check out the elks (animals) in Reedsport on our drive back to Portland. Living in a city like Chicago, where the wildest animal I’ve ever seen is a stray cat, I was skeptical that we’d even get a chance to see any real live elks. Sure enough, not even a half-hour into our drive, Mary and I pulled off Highway 38 to see about a dozen huge elks just hanging out by the side of the road. Defi…

Forget the Beaver State, Oregon is the Elk State: Part 1

 by Senior Programs Associate Mary Morgan
Elks National Foundation Programs Associate Colleen Muszynski and I recently had the chance to visit with some Elks on the West Coast. Here’s a recap of Part 1 of our trip.

As Colleen and I flew out of Chicago early on a Thursday morning, I dreamed of fresh mountain air, sunshine and temperatures above 15 degrees. I was not disappointed, as we lucked into a warm and sunny Oregon weekend. Locals kept insisting that the weather was like this all the time, but something about the way they said it left me suspicious of their claim. 

We landed in Portland, and immediately shook off our winter coats. We picked up a rental car at the airport and cruised into the city for lunch. We enjoyed sandwiches on the patio, stopped in Powell’s Books for some reading material and wandered in the sunshine for a bit. Then, with sustenance for our bodies and minds, we began our journey to Coos Bay, Oregon.

We were headed there to check out the Coos Bay Elks’ lon…

Elks Hoop Shoot

By Most Valuable Student Scholar Eric Kim I finally got the chance to volunteer at the Alabama Elks State Hoop Shoot Contest. Full of tests and deadlines, the week leading up to it had been demanding, but the Hoop Shoot had been marked in my calendar for more than a month, and I was excited to attend. Representing various Lodges from across the state, hopeful participants and their families traveled hours to gather at Birmingham Southern College for the contest. It was nice to see how the Hoop Shoot brought the community together to support the hard work and persistence of the contestants.

Walking into the gymnasium, I spotted familiar faces from my sponsoring Lodge, Bessemer, Ala., Lodge No. 721, and several others I had met at the Elks National Convention in New Orleans over the summer. With wide smiles and open arms, they approached me and asked me about my family, my first year in college, and so on. As registration came to a close, everyone squeezed together in the bleachers, wai…

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Nicolette Brannan
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Stanford University—Biology Major

Sponsored by San Diego, Calif., Lodge No. 168


Just like their Elks family, Elks scholars share the values of education, community service, and having a positive impact on their communities. Nicolette Brannan is a perfect example.

She was active in high school, serving as president of the Science Olympiad and Academic League at her school, while also founding and leading a Spanish Literature Club after the AP Spanish Program was cancelled.

“I wanted to continue my studies and to allow others to continue theirs despite the elimination of the program,” says Nicolette.

Her desire to help students and promote education translated well into her community service. Each summer, Nicolette served as the volunteer ambassador for her local library’s summer reading program. She also tutored fellow students and became the tutoring coordinator for her school’s chapter of the California Scholarship Federation.

Nicolet…

Kentucky Hoop Shoot

By Emergency Educational Grant Recipient Reed Tabor

When I was first asked by Terry McMichael to come to the Kentucky State Hoop Shoot Contest my first thought was—what is the Elks Hoop Shoot contest? I had no idea what I was getting into but I agreed to come anyway. As soon as I entered the gym I knew this was something serious. You could see the nervousness on the contestants with every shot they took. It was unlike any competition I had seen before, and to these kids it meant everything. That’s when I found out about how the Hoop Shoot works and that these kids weren’t just trying to be the best in the state of Kentucky—they were trying to become the best in the country. 

It was amazing to see the contestants, some of which were half my age, stand at the free throw line and knock down 95 percent of the shots they took. It was a great experience for me to be able to a part of such a great Elks program. It was nice to meet all the Elks volunteers that give so much of their time to mak…

THON

By 2014 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Anji Radakrishnan
Anji Radakrishnan, 2014 Legacy scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshmen. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Penn State. 


I had heard for months from the upperclassmen that THON weekend would be the most life-changing experience that I would have at Penn State. Even though my expectations were set so incredibly high, THON bypassed all of them. THON is a 46 hour no-sitting, no-sleeping dance marathon that raises money for the treatment of pediatric cancer. All of the funds go to the Four Diamonds Fund at Hershey Children’s Hospital. Each organization sponsors a THON child from a Four Diamonds family who has defeated or is battling cancer.

Months of preparation go into this celebratory weekend. During the year, there are three canning trips, during which all the membe…