Is it just me or does it seem like our American way of life has been under increasing attack as of late? Just this week alone, we continue to reel from the antics of the NFL and their players demonstrating against honoring our flag and those who sacrifice(d) for it and now the politicization of the horrific murders in Las Vegas! When will the insanity end?
As an optimist, I am always on the lookout for us as Elks to turn misfortune into opportunity and believe it or not, I think there is gold to be mined in these turns of events!
Do we expect too much of too few when it comes to the operation of our lodges? Is there any wonder why we burn people out? This concept changed in our lodges about 20 years ago as membership dropped and we pivoted toward an all-volunteer business model, but is this model sustainable? It might be sustainable if we have a steady supply of new members to run things, but what happens when we the boomers are played out (the youngest are now 51) and we must then seek new members from Generation Y, the millennials? I guess we will have our answer in about 10 years, won’t we? So, do we just ride out what we are doing today and hope for the best, or do we plan, posture our lodges for the next generation, control what happens and have a say so? The latter will require a little work and the former a bit less. Will we watch what happens and be proud or will we watch what happens and then wonder what happened?
So, the lodge elections are done, the chairs are filled, the new officers attended the officer training seminar and the lodge is off to a rousing start! Whew! Now comes filling committees and seeing to the business of running a member-centric Elks lodge! Before we move on, though, let’s examine how we filled the chairs and committees. In the process, did you have to twist a few arms and did you possibly even have to recruit a new member or two just to get a position filled? In doing so, we asked not what was in it for them (what the lodge could do for them).
I have written often about our organization’s ongoing pivot toward membership for the reason of volunteerism and more specifically about our need to redefine ourselves as the “Elks – The Premier Patriotic and Volunteer Organization for the 21st Century.” To that end, I will share a few thoughts about managing our volunteers and our volunteer activities and I will end with a very exciting announcement about a new volunteer opportunity for our members with our state association and our state charitable projects!