Carl's Corner
Carl T. Seibert
COO / State Secretary

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Carl's Corner

Its Time to Rededicate Yourself to Your Lodge

Spring 2023

It’s Time to Rededicate Yourself to Your Lodge

Over the years, as I have penned my messages, I have tended to focus much of my encouragement and support on the active members of our lodges — namely those members operating our lodges, hosting the events, supporting the events, and doing most of the work. In this message, however, I would like to speak openly to another important constituency in our lodges, an often overlooked constituency, a group of members we know exist but whom we tend to write off, and a contingency we obviously need but one we make it all too easy to ignore. Those members are our CCMs, also known as our card-carrying members!

This special group is due our respect and has a rightful place in our organization, regardless of their reasons for belonging to this esteemed group. In fact, when you think about it, we all became members of this elite group the night we became Elks! The question we must ask, then, is why someone remains a member of this group when we have so much more to offer!

There are clearly legitimate and worthy reasons one might be a member of this group and it is not by choice. Our members who are homebound or otherwise unable to attend events at the lodge would be one. Members who are still adjusting to a post-pandemic lifestyle or those with weakened immune systems are two more. These members deserve to be CCMs as they could easily drop their membership, yet despite their challenges, they derive honor from being Elks and choose to remain members. If my message was being directed at the lodge leadership, here is where I would give suggestions about ways to engage this group. But this is not one of those messages. Our lodges are already very caring for these types of members and do everything they can to engage them and let them know we care about them and their well-being.

Another group of CCMs are those who are not always members by choice but more by circumstance, members who may have ventured into the world of being more than just a CCM but who had to fall back due to a change in the demands of their families or work.

Yet another group would be those who ventured but had to retreat, lest they become lost to us forever. They are those who got cycled out because of regime change in the lodge, those who are still committed to our causes and who do not desire complete separation from the order, and those who might be burned out and who need a sabbatical to recharge their batteries. We all know this happens and this is OK. I was one of these a long time ago, maybe a little more for work-related reasons, and this was before going to work for the Elks, but nonetheless I was a CCM for almost four years! It was during that time I was able to recharge my batteries, so to speak, and when I was able to come back, I proceeded to become a District VP and a DD! To our members who find themselves at this stage in their membership, rest assured, it’s OK! We miss you but we respect you and your reasons! We know you are doing everything you can to remain supportive of your lodge and the Elks. We will wait patiently for you in hopes that your circumstances might change. We truly miss you!

So, you find yourself a CCM. Believe me, there are many of you! In fact, if I had to venture a guess, it would be that you don’t represent a percentage of your lodge but rather a number. My guess is regardless of the size of your lodge’s membership, subtract about 75 to 80 from that number and that’s the number of card-carrying members your lodge has! Yes, that number is sometimes staggering! In smaller lodges that have less than 300 members (21 of our 90 Florida lodges, to be exact), your 75 to 80 might be closer to 25 to 30! My intent here is not to cast shade on our lodges because of the relatively small number of members doing all the work and attending the events. Rather, my intent is to draw attention to the immense opportunity we have here, the opportunity to reengage members who do not need to be sold on the benefits of an Elks membership. Again, because this is a message to this elite group of card-carrying members, I invoke words famously spoken by the late John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address — Ask not what your lodge can do for you. Ask what you can do for your lodge!

So here is the ask. I ask every card-carrying member to consider rededicating yourself to your lodge. There is no action you can take that would be too small. Membership in the Elks is personal to every member and the level of participation you choose is unique to you. Our lodges need you in whatever capacity and level of engagement you can afford, and we owe it to you to place more value on your participation! The growth plan of the average lodge includes retaining you, our dues-paying card-carrying members, but most of our resources and attention are focused on obtaining new members. There is a price to pay for this strategy, no different than a business will tell you that it costs a lot less to retain a current employee as opposed to having to hire and train a new employee. The same could be said for our members. If our members were paid a salary, it would in most cases be better to give them a raise rather than lose them and have to recruit and train someone new to fill the void. The compensation we provide is not monetary in form but is still quite tangible. We provide a deep network for fellowship, avenues to volunteerism and service, and opportunities to learn and grow leadership skills.

There are many ways you can support your lodge from afar and become more than just a CCM. You can support events monetarily or provide donations in-kind that will support the cause. Members who craft, knit, quilt or do needlepoint could create something special for your lodge that can be used to adorn the property or be donated for a raffle. Maybe you are a retired painter or builder and still have influence with the local paint store or home improvement store. Give the proprietor a call and see if they will honor your years of support with a donation of paint for a lodge painting project for a local veteran’s home or lumber to build a wheelchair ramp for an elderly member or member of the community. Become involved in the lodge’s phone tree campaign and send text messages to a group of members on upcoming activities, or call them, if that’s their preference, or simply reach out to them in a gesture of goodwill and caring.

For those who might have become inactive for reasons of conflict or otherwise, make your lodge a better place by letting them know why you walked or what led up to your walking away. Enlighten them of the situation, ask what they have done to prevent this from happening again, and hold them to account for action and not just lip service.

Being a CCM is not shameful and is sometimes a necessity, but for those who desire to become more active, you must let it be known. Contact your lodge and let them know your capabilities, desires and the time you have to become more active. Desire to do more if you can and I feel certain the rewards will follow. In our teachings of charity, we are reminded that we are strengthened when we help others, that sharing is better than having, and that we benefit others when we give of our treasures and not just save them. 

Our lodges have become the place people go to volunteer for the betterment of our communities. There are so many ways you can become involved in support of the efforts or the volunteers themselves. You just can’t wait to be asked. Become that person in your lodge doing the asking! We promise to take active and supportive membership more seriously if you will!

Share with me your ideas on improving lodge participation! Email me at I look forward to hearing from you!

Carl Seibert


Carl Seibert, COO
State Secretary
Florida State Elks Association




# Ginny Young 2023-05-02 13:24
WOW. Nothing more to say-you've said it all. If only the right ones would read this through, what a difference our Lodges would be. With preparing for Convention and everything else you do-I remain in awe of your position. Thank you for all you do. Ginny

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