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Showing posts from March, 2020

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.

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…

Here for You, if Not There for You

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation
I can’t get Jon Bon Jovi out of my head. Specifically, I’m stuck on the five words he swore to all of us: “I’ll be there for you.”

Alas, we cannot be there for you--there being our offices in the Elks Veterans Memorial. Illinois currently is under a mandate from the Governor to shelter in place through April 7, at least. But we are here for you.

The ENF began transitioning to a remote workplace last week. As of today, all 18 of us are out of the office and working normal business hours from home. We’re as passionate about helping you build stronger communities as we ever were. As my colleague Debbie Kahler Doles says, “The office may be closed, but the mission continues.”

If you need to reach us, email or a phone call are your best bets. We do have a solution for old-fashioned mail, but it will be a few days at least before that solution is up to speed.

Although they’re no longer working together in our converted lunchroom, the G…

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…

Sometimes You Miss Your First Shot

by Jacobi Lafferty
2017 Hoop Shoot National Champion
Jacobi is a 2017 Hoop Shoot National Champion sponsored by Burlington, Vt., Lodge No. 916. He won a Frank Hise National Championship in the 10-11 boys division. Jacobi is part of the new Hoop Shoot alumni group, the Rebounders. Too old to compete and too young to serve on the BackBoard, these alumni are staying involved by serving at their local, state and regional contests.


My grandparents, who were long-time Elks members, first told me about the Hoop Shoot when I was 9 years old. They took me to it one day while my parents were working. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew if it had anything to do with basketball, I was willing to give it a try. I participated for the next five years. I overcame some big hurdles along the way, like having to shoot while I had the flu or with a broken thumb, which I broke the night before we left for the regional contest, and I had to withdraw another year because of a neck injury due to a medica…

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