Skip to main content

The Nitty-Gritty on 
All in the Elks Family

by Jim O'Kelley, Director
Elks National Foundation

At the outset of this series, I mentioned that we didn't have time to talk with all 72 families during the busy finals weekend. Instead, we chose families that either had an interesting angle, such as the Holcers or the Abramses, or could provide insight on one of the volunteers we were following for the feature film.

The latter was the case with McKinley Fitzgerald and her mom, Jennifer. McKinley provided us with a good sound bite about Lynn Rutherford-Snow, Virginia's state director, that we used in the film.

McKinley (center) takes aim during the party at the Hall of Fame.

But we repurposed their interviews for the #TrueGritTuesdays series, because they both spoke to the role we as Elks play in developing grit (beyond the obvious contribution of the Hoop Shoot as a means).

Grit is the courage and resolve to keep going in the face of hardship. You can't force that. You can't force people to be tenacious. You can't force them to persevere. That comes from within.

We don't teach grit, they develop it.

The participants have to learn our program's lessons for themselves. But as volunteers working with kids through the Hoop Shoot program, there are things we can do to help them become grittier.

  1. We can help them set goals.
  2. We can make the experience fun.
  3. We can be supportive.
  4. We can provide encouragement.
Do those four things, and the rest will take care of itself.

In her first year in the program, McKinley reached the Virginia state contest. It was quite a run, but defeat there crushed her spirit. She was ready to quit. Lynn Rutherford-Snow wouldn't let her. The state director who had treated her like family, who had made her feel special, urged her to keep trying.

And she did.

She kept setting goals. She kept working hard. She kept having fun. Because she knew that Lynn and all the Virginia Elks were behind her, the way families are.

And all the while, without even really knowing it, McKinley was becoming grittier.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's All in the Elks Family.

Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation

(This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant.)

Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom.
If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals.
In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that Boonton, N.J., Lodge No. 1405 had installed its new c…

Hope in the Time of Coronavirus

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation What a difference a few weeks make. As I’m sure is the case with you, COVID-19 has upended things around here.

I’d like to take a few minutes to update you on how the pandemic has affected our staff and programs. I’ll start with the staff.

On Monday, there were 18 of us in the office. Yesterday, only five. Everyone else is working remotely from home. We’re all communicating with one another using wonderful technology. And the people at home have access to the network via work-issued laptops, as well as their work phones and email. Contacting us should be seamless for you. 

The skeleton crew in the office should shrink to four at some point this week. We are here to deal with the aspects of our work that do not lend themselves to working remotely.

You can help us further reduce our numbers. If you are a Lodge officer or ENF Fundraising Chair who has been sitting on a stack of donations, please send those in today. The faster we c…

See you at the Julebukking

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation
(Earlier this week, I started a series of posts on the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation. This is the second post in the series—technically, the series became a series when I posted this. Anyway, read the first post here. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant.)
Humans have a fundamental need to connect. Scientists, psychologists, therapists, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Our culture may celebrate individualism, but we are wired to be around other people.
How else can you explain the existence of organizations like the Elks? It’s certainly not the dated titles or the jewels of office that go along with them. It’s not the many meetings that demand so much of our time if we want to rise through the ranks. It’s not even the desire to serve our communities.
The Elks have been around for 152 years because people need other people in our lives. Local Lodges satisfy that need.