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Manistique Memories

by Programs Relationship Associate Anne Stretz
 
Elks scholars now have the opportunity to come together in service with their Elks scholar peers. These trips will offer the opportunity to learn about societal issues, serve those in need in the name of the Elks, and the chance for Elks scholars and Elks to connect with their Elks Family across the country. To read more posts about the service trips, click here.  

I recently embarked on the first-ever Elks Scholar Service Trip. On Sunday, August 9, five members of the ENF staff and six Elks scholars departed Chicago and drove up to Manistique, Michigan to serve with Habitat for Humanity HiawathaLand for a week. It took me a while to narrow it down, but here are my top ten memories from the inaugural Elks Scholar Service Trip:

ENF staff and scholars level a floor.
10. Eating lunch together! Andi Wedegartner and other members of Manistique, Mich., Lodge No. 632, provided our lunches each day. After a long morning of work, Andi became the smiling face we looked forward to seeing every day at noon. The outpouring of support from Andi and the local Elks members was overwhelming.

9. Teaching the Elks scholars about Bruce Springsteen. (Seriously, we had to have a lesson about the Boss and his iconic songs.)


8. Reflecting on the boardwalk by the waters of Lake Michigan. One evening, we ventured out to the local boardwalk and were led in a reflection by Maryann Slater. It was a beautiful, almost unreal setting to reflect upon our service together.

7. The wonder of cheese curds. Being a Wisconsin gal, I was so excited that our first pit stop was a Culver’s in Manitowoc, WI where all the Elks scholars could try our fantastic fried cheese curds. The scholars gave nothing but rave reviews, of course.

ENF Staff, scholars, and members of Manistique Lodge at the Lodge.
6. The gorgeous Manistique Elks Lodge. We were told all week how beautiful the Lodge is, and we got to see for ourselves on Thursday night. The Lodge hosted us for dinner and we were treated to a full tour of the beautiful building temple—along with wonderful conversation.

5. Everything is Awesome. Every morning on our ride to the work site we cranked this song up. (Fair warning, if you listen to it, it will get stuck in your head.)

4. Elks scholar teamwork! The Elks scholars jumped in immediately to help restore the 100-year-old home. One of my favorite moments was when Danny, Tyler and Jon used their combined math skills to level a floor. The project was no easy task, but they handled it with talent and teamwork. Seeing their pride afterwards was so special. #WeAreTheChampions

The Pictured Rocks.

3. The beauty of the Pictured Rocks and the Big Springs at Kitchitikipi. You’ll have to check out our pictures because I can’t describe how beautiful the U.P. scenery is.

2. #ElksFamily. From our morning breakfast chats, to our six-hour long car ride. From connecting with the local Elks members, to learning how to hammer. We truly became a close-knit Elks family.

1. Hearing several of the Elks scholars describe the service trip as the best week of their life. #EverythingIsAwesome.

Anne Stretz
Programs Relationship Associate


In 2015-16, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.16 million to fund the ENF scholarship program, which provides college scholarships, ensuring a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important parts of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and each other. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

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