Happy New Year to everyone! I hope this new year will be a great one for everyone.
This past November we held our midyear FLOE meeting at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. Unfortunately, the meeting was met with another hurricane. With consideration for safety, we canceled the scheduled Friday morning Ladies activity. I would like to apologize to everyone who registered for the event. Vice President, Pauline Talbott, worked hard preparing the creation of fantastic fall centerpieces. Thank you, Pauline, for all your hard work. During our FLOE meeting, we recognized the successes of our 49th annual FLOE conference, held this past September at the Daytona Beach Hard Rock Hotel, and the tremendous accomplishments of Felicia Vuletich, PSP-FLOE and all the fantastic volunteers for the FLOE year. One great accomplishment was presenting Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services (FECTS) Director, Colleen Gallant, with a donation of $3,000. Felicia Vuletich directed the funds to go toward Thanksgiving and Christmas support for Therapy Services families in need. This donation was made possible through our Angel Program Reverse Draw.
This year our FLOE goals are to ensure we communicate who we are and what we do as the Florida Ladies of Elks. We come together during the year at Florida State Elks Association statewide meetings and our own September FLOE conference. We are female Elks members, spouses of Elks members or widows of Elks in good standing. FLOE is open to ALL ladies within our state association. Our mission is to support our state major projects through fundraising and donations. Some of our past donations for our Florida Elks Youth Camp (FEYC) purchased the electronic registration system, the camp PA system and so much more. Our Angel Program, chaired by Adella Ashton, PSP-FLOE, benefits FECTS. FLOE conducts a reverse draw, limited to 300 tickets, which provides a dedicated donation to FECTS. Through fundraising events and donations from our statewide Ladies organizations, FLOE presents donations to both FEYC and FECTS at our September conference and state association quarterly meeting.
We are improving communication through updates to our FLOE website, blast email capabilities and a new Facebook group. Our website is being updated with information, online sales for the Angel Program Reverse Draw and presented workshop information. The goal of the new Florida Ladies of Elks Facebook group is to increase our communication and help promote our lodge’s Ladies organizations’ events. We encourage our statewide Ladies organizations to post their events and activities to the Facebook group. I know I would like to go and support our different Ladies’ events across our state! I would like to thank Davina Watercutter for all her work on the Facebook site. Consider joining the Facebook group and supporting your local Ladies organizations and the great work that they do.
Our Ladies work hard to support our home lodges, our local communities and our state major projects. In the FLOE articles this year, I would like to focus on the great works of our individual Ladies organizations. Here are some great accomplishments of our Ladies. The Sebastian El-Does presented a donation to the Sebastian Police for the Christmas Shop-with-a-Cop. The Tallahassee Elketts worked the Hulaween River Music Festival. The Winter Garden Ladies Auxiliary visited a local rehab/nursing center, handing out blankets, cookies and books for the holidays. The St. Petersburg Ladies purchased desserts for more than 200 Christmas baskets for families in need. The Plant City Ladies held a fundraiser to support local scholarships. The Merritt Island Ladies held a chance Christmas auction for the Harry-Anna Trust Fund. These are just a few of the great things our Florida Ladies organizations do. How could you not want to be a part of that?!
Becky Long, PSP-FLOE and Connie Kalel Poage, PSP-FLOE have been working with Suzi Simonelli, PSP planning our first RV rally, scheduled for June 2-4, 2023. The rally will be held at the Ocala North RV Resort and is open to all Ladies, Elks and guest RV’ers. Becky, Connie and Suzi have been working on the activities, 50/50s and raffles. It is guaranteed to be an awesome event. All proceeds will benefit our state major projects. If you RV, this should be a great event with your Elk family! I have heard that the response has been outstanding, and reservations are now being taken. More information is available on floridaelks.org.
VP Pauline Talbott and I are working on our second annual Ladies retreat, which will be held at the Smith Center Sept. 8-10, 2023. The first retreat was held this past September and was organized by Becky Long, Connie Kalel Poage and Adella Ashton. It was a great event where we were able to enjoy a nice weekend at our youth camp and enjoy the facilities at the Smith Center. We enjoyed each other’s company and wonderful meals prepared by the staff. There were great activities of bunko, wine tasting, card making, massages and time by the pool. If you ever wanted a “girls’ getaway,” add this event to your calendar. We will continue to update everyone as the registration date approaches.
We are preparing for our next meeting to be held during the February quarterly meeting. The FLOE meeting is Friday afternoon. Please make sure to check the posted FSEA agenda for the time and location. During the meeting, we will discuss the upcoming RV rally and Ladies retreat. Packets for our events for the FSEA convention will also be distributed. Come join us!
I hope this will be a great year! We have so much we can accomplish together. If you are interested in becoming involved with FLOE, our events or one of our committees, please reach out to us. If you would like to learn more about FLOE, I encourage you to attend our meetings. Please consider joining our Florida Ladies of Elks Facebook group or visiting our website. We would love to see new faces at our meetings!