I am writing to make you aware of some things going on in your town that you and your neighbors may know nothing about; something that makes your town a better place in which to live and raise a family. It is that Elks Lodge that goes, for the most part, unnoticed. That Lodge is one of approximately 2,000 across the United States and 15 in Alaska. The one in your town may have 50 members or 900 members. No matter the size, it is going about its business doing good deeds within your community. One of our mottos is “We raise money to give it away.” Let’s just take a minute to see a few things being done each year.
Elks are second among organizations in the number of scholarships given annually in the US. The US government is first. This year, the Alaska State Elks Association gave out many scholarships plus those given by the local lodges. As adults, we realize the real future lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren. Our first priority should be the nurturing and education of America’s youth.
One of the many youth activities sponsored by Elks each year attracts over three million participants. It is the annual Elks Basketball Free Throw Hoop Shoot Contest. The contest starts on the local level, and goes through four more levels, finally reaching the national finals where the 72 best (36 boys and 36 girls) compete in Chicago, Illinois. There are eventually three boys and three girls who become champions and have their names forever recorded on the wall at the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Just imagine the time kids put in practicing and competing, which keeps them in a positive environment. There is a similar program for Soccer as well.
Another motto the Elks pledge is, “As long as there are veterans, we will never forget them.” Elks work to support Veteran’s Nursing Homes, and to aid veterans who are patients in the many VA hospitals across our nation as well as assisting veterans within the local communities. In the past years, Elks Lodges within Alaska have taken numerous returning wounded veterans from the Warrior Transition Units of Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Eielson AFB and Ft. Wainwright on bear hunting trips, 4-wheeler excursions, and boating trips to name a few of the many.
Kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend a summer camp are able to thanks to the generosity of the Elks Lodge in your town. Each year up to 100 boys and 100 girls from all over Alaska attend the Elks Youth Summer Camp near Sutton, 80 acres and a private lake. There is no cost to them or their families; the Elks pay for all costs associated with travel and the camp.
This list could go on and on, but like everything else, a little information goes a long way. Every Lodge in this beautiful state of Alaska stands ready to help its community and its state. Just talk to them and you will understand what a treasure you have in your community! One last thing you may be asking. Who are Elks? They are your neighbors, teachers, loved ones, friends, and local community members you see each and every day that care and serve the people and communities who volunteer endless numbers of hours and monetary donations to make this happen!! Demonstrating that Elks Care and Elks Share.
Elks Lodges bring so much more to their communities than just an annual event, building, golf course or pool. They are places where neighbors come together, families share meals, and children grow up. Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life. To find a lodge near you, visit http://www.elks.org/lodges/.
Elk Member 13 years