Florida Elks Support Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts
Recently our state was hit hard by Hurricane Ian. We lost lodge facilities, many of our members were affected by the hurricane, and the toll of destruction continues to rise. True to form, the Elks were on the ground and providing relief almost as quickly as the storm passed. Two days post-Ian’s landfall in Florida, Bill Dryburgh in southwest Florida and Russ Smith in central Florida had been deputized by the Florida Elks Disaster Relief Committee as relief coordinators and already had funds in hand from the Grand Lodge Disaster Relief Fund to begin distributing to Elks in the affected areas. Also that day, Elks in Florida began receiving an email from the Florida Elks soliciting their donations to the relief efforts and informing those affected how to file an application for relief. At this writing, donations continue to flow in, and the response has been heartwarming, to say the least.
Alone Is No Way to Run a Committee!
There is a saying that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. This belief has driven organizations for decades and is especially relevant to the Elks and our use of committees to conduct a great deal of our work in both our lodges and communities. Committees provide for an efficient way to get things done. Committees facilitate cooperation and encourage collaboration. They allow members to gain new knowledge and skills, and they serve as a pathway to greater leadership opportunities within the organization. One thing that distinguishes the Elks from other less-structured organizations is the support we provide to our committee work on a district, state and even national level. This structure provides continuity to our efforts and prevents us from having to continually reinvent the wheel. If members are adventurous and seek the many resources that exist to support most all the committees of the Elks, they will see how fulfilling committee work can be, and it will make the entire membership experience more gratifying. However, as the title above implies, no committee can be effective when it is comprised of a party of one! Read on for a revealing fact I recently discovered about our Florida lodges.
Those of you who have followed my articles over the years know that I have opined often on the dangers of having a “but that’s the way we have always done it” mentality. I believe it to be counterproductive to finding new ways to do things and I believe it turns new members away from wanting to help. I realize that the way something has always been done may be a tested and true model for an activity, or that the PER batter for the fish fry fish might be heralded by many as the best thing ever, but what if people aren’t coming to the fish fry because they really don’t like the batter and they just don’t have the heart to tell someone, or maybe they did tell someone and got that dreaded response? We often judge our performance on what it is instead of what it could be or might have been! Do we really know it is the best? Or because it produces the expected 45 dinners sold each fish fry, is that reason enough to not try a new batter or allow a new member to try something new? Author Sean-Paul Thomas is quoted as saying, “It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all.” That is good advice to heed when mentoring a new Elk or a new officer or committee person! But, this is not going to be an article about why we need to support new ideas and let others try new things in the lodge. Rather, this is an article about why, in some cases, it is OK to do things the way we have always done them!
With Humble Thanks!
I start my message this issue with a bit of a disclaimer. Since the inception of the Florida Elks Magazine, our very talented editor, Rachael King, has been given free rein to select each edition’s cover story topics and subjects. I feel compelled to share this with you, especially since this edition’s cover story subject is me. I am both honored and humbled that she chose me when I am sure there were many more worthy topics. And it is in this spirit I wish to share the honor with you, the many Elks, both past and present, the men and women who have given me the stage upon which to practice and develop leadership skills, and who have inspired me over many years to give back and serve an organization I am passionate about, especially as we do so much good! Thank you for the opportunities and support, and here’s to continued success as together we improve our world!
The cover story for this issue of the Florida Elks Magazine explores a topic that has been near and dear to my heart for many years. That topic is Lodge Officer Training and its importance to the overall success of our lodges and even the order. But, before we even think about officer training, we must first conduct officer selection, and this might prove to be equally as important as officer training.