Skip to main content

Scary Spooky Scholars

 by Grace Roebuck, Elks Scholar Fellow 

Grace at the 2016 MVS Leadership Weekend
You know, when I first heard about the Elks Lodge, I just thought it was a restaurant in my town with a really bopping bingo night. Little did I know, bingo nights like those would soon be the reason I attended the college of my dreams debt-free and recently accepted a dream job, even after graduating into a pandemic-ravaged world.

While I’ve enjoyed every experience I’ve had with my Elks Family, I have to say my love for the Elks really boils down to the scholars I’ve met and connected with throughout the years. In my new role as the Elks Scholar Fellow, I’m tasked with figuring out how to adapt to our new virtual world, which is sadly devoid of scholar service trips. In their place, thanks to the help of our scholars and the ENF, I’ve started to organize events for our Elks scholars to convene and have fun together.

In my favorite event so far, our Spooky Scholar Halloween Party, we had scholars join us from across the country to connect, play games, and enjoy a safe study break. We had five scholar leaders, who helped facilitate games, lead the ice breaker, and guide discussion. Every scholar enjoyed dinner on the ENF and received a special care package with a little pumpkin and some Halloween treats.

Image of Elks scholars wearing Halloween costumes at Zoom event
Elks scholars showed up to the Spooky Scholar Halloween Party in style!

Each scholar was essential to making this event incredibly unique and special. Every time I get to speak with a scholar, I’m continually amazed at their intelligence, accomplishments, and passion for service, all while still being incredibly humble and grateful. Many scholars came with great costumes and funky Zoom backgrounds, setting a terrific tone for the evening. Some scholars emerged as super engaging and charismatic leaders, making sure everyone was comfortable and having fun, while others exhibited great sportsmanship and empathy. Scholars were able to move around virtual breakout rooms and join different games. The night ended an hour past the expected time, and scholars took the opportunity to connect with their Elks Family, new and old.

The virtual programming series is an evolving process. It will grow based on scholar feedback and continue to ebb and flow to best fit our scholars’ needs. If you have any ideas on how to improve scholar engagement and our virtual events, I’d love for you to reach out to me at GraceR@elks.org.

So, I guess in retrospect, the Elks is a little more than a restaurant, but I’m not playing bingo anymore and still feel like I hit the jackpot. I am so grateful for each and every scholar I have the pleasure of interacting with, for the Elks National Foundation, and for my local Elks Lodge (shout out to South Kingstown, R.I., Lodge No. 1899). I hope, in time, I can help our Elks scholars feel the same.

Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation Zoom--It's like the Brady Bunch , but without Jan. (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 we

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.  Normally, the second floor at the ENF is a hub. 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 sta

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 s