Skip to main content

The 5 Stages of an Elks Scholar Service Trip

by Elizabeth Schaff
2012 Legacy Scholar


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 returned from Oakland, California, where I had the opportunity to serve alongside 18 of my Elks scholar peers and two wonderful ENF staff members as we delved into the issues of hunger and homelessness plaguing the San Francisco Bay area. Throughout the trip I experienced a whirlwind of emotions, and I gained more from my experience than I ever dreamed possible. Although these are only a handful of the many feelings I had during my trip, any Elks scholar considering attending an Elks scholar service trip can count on experiencing the following:

Curiosity
As an Elks scholar, I had always been interested in serving my campus and community. However, my involvement with the Elks had been limited, since there is no active Lodge near my university. When I received the application for the service trip I was curious about the Elks as a whole, as well as what types of service we might be performing. This was my first time participating in a service trip, so I truly didn’t know what to expect. This trip gave me great insight into the activities and service of the Elks, as well as an entirely new view of the issues facing the San Francisco area.
 
Anticipation
When I received my acceptance letter for the trip, I could barely contain my excitement. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to learn more about the Elks and my fellow Elks scholars from across the nation. I was also excited to dive into the issues of hunger and homelessness and how they affect the areas we served. Having grown up and attended college in North Dakota, I was eager to experience a new part of the country while having a meaningful impact on the Oakland community.  

Serving
Service is the cornerstone of the Elks scholar trips­–as such, our team spent four full days volunteering with different organizations around the Oakland area. We learned so much every day, and we had the opportunity to serve a wide variety of causes. From sorting cans and serving lunch at a shelter, to sorting more than 16,000 pounds of fresh produce at a county food bank, to interacting with low-income elementary school students in an after school program, to planting more than 6,000 marsh plants in an effort to restore the wetlands around the San Francisco Bay, there was definitely something for every participant. Through our service we learned about the issues facing the San Francisco Bay area, as well as about each other and ourselves.

Exploration
Our service trip included both figurative and literal aspects of exploration. On our final day in the San Francisco area we were able to visit several of the popular Bay Area attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and AT&T Park. Perhaps even more meaningful, however, was the personal exploration that each participant experienced throughout the week. During our nightly reflections we were able to learn about the experiences and viewpoints of our fellow Elks scholars, and we formed meaningful and lasting bonds with one another. I experienced more personal growth through my participation in the service trip than I ever imagined possible.

Gratitude
As an ENF scholarship recipient, I already felt a strong sense of gratitude to the Elks for helping to make my education possible; however, through my participation in the service trip, I gained a deeper sense of gratitude for all that the Elks have done for me and do for their communities.  By seeing firsthand the devastating effects of hunger and homelessness, I also gained insight into my own privilege, and am very thankful for all of the opportunities and blessings I have been given.

The trip was a truly eye-opening experience, and I learned an incredible amount about the issues we served, my fellow Elks scholars, and especially about myself. I feel extremely blessed to be part of the Elks family, and I would definitely encourage any Elks scholar to consider participating in a future service trip!

Elizabeth Schaff
2012 Legacy Scholar

Elizabeth Schaff is a 2012 Legacy Scholar and a recent graduate from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, where she earned a degree in biology with a minor in music. She currently lives in Saint Paul, MN, and plans to apply to medical school this summer.

We know Elks scholars are dedicated to service. Elks scholars now have the opportunity to come together in service with their Elks scholar peers. In 2015-16, the Elks National Foundation will offer three Elks Scholar Service Trips for up to 20 Elks scholars each. They are scheduled for the summer, winter and spring in locations from coast to coast. These trips provide scholars the opportunity to learn about societal issues, serve those in need in the name of the Elks, and connect with their Elks Family from across the country. For more information about the trips, click here.

Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

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…

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation

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 class of officers through a virtual Lodge meeting and installation ceremony on Zoom. That post stuck with me as an example of some solid problem solving in this new environ…

Katie Gets Acquainted with the ENF

by Katie Graves
Lodge Grants Programs Coordinator
Hello! My name is Katie Graves, and I am excited to be one of the new Programs Coordinators in the Community Investments Program office.

I graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in English and Secondary Education with a minor in Social Work in December 2018. I spent the next six months building and growing my small online vintage clothing business, working retail at a Swedish furniture store (any guesses?), and searching for a purposeful job that I could fall in love with that would also allow me to move from southeastern Wisconsin to Chicago. When I landed the Programs Coordinator position at the Elks National Foundation, I was ecstatic to begin this journey both professionally and personally. I was moving to my dream city, and I was going to be doing a job with purpose focused on helping passionate groups of wonderful Elks do good in their communities with CIP grants.

I became a part of the ENF family at an exciting time of…