Hello, Florida Elks.
We recently concluded the Florida State Elks Association annual state convention in Orlando, Florida, and I wish to thank everyone who was so supportive of the Florida Ladies of Elks (FLOE) activities. The Friday FLOE luncheon attendance was the highest ever, the chance auction raised the most ever, the 50/50 drawing during Friday’s lunch was a record-breaker, and your support of the hospitality room and the nightly 50/50 drawings exceeded all expectations. I would like to congratulate Past State President Vinny Como, who won the summer beach wagon basket. FLOE Secretary, Laura Sardella, and her husband, Donn, spent many hours organizing the basket, selling tickets and transporting it to the convention. Thank you, all, for your support of our fundraising to support the Florida Elks major projects.
Also during the FLOE meeting Saturday, we presented Nick Miller, Camp Director, with several boxes filled with stationery and related supplies, including a check for $300 for stamps, to kick off his request for writing materials for the campers. Supplies will also be collected during the 58th FLOE annual conference in September and will be presented to Nick at the business meeting. These supplies will assist the camp personnel with encouraging children to write notes to family and friends. There will be a collection area at the conference registration to collect your donations.
I want to remind everyone that the Angel program reverse draw tickets are still available for sale. The drawing will be held during the annual FLOE conference in September. The grand prize is $2,000. Proceeds will be used to send a client of Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services and their family on a weekend vacation. FLOE Past State President Adella Ashton will be working with Colleen Gallant, Director, and the therapists to select a child for this opportunity. As some of you are aware, last year’s family has not been able to use their vacation package yet because of the pandemic, so FLOE is looking forward to treating the two families to a well-deserved vacation weekend. FLOE could not do this without your support; thank you, all.
FLOE thanks Tom Moran for all his support during his tenure as Florida State Elks Association Ladies Organizations State Chair last year, and we wish him well as the new District Vice President for the West Central District. It is my pleasure to welcome PER Bonnie Barnes from the West Central District as the new State Ladies Organizations Chair. I am looking forward to working with her and her Vice Chair, Rhonda Smith, for the remainder of my year.
We are working to promote FLOE and increase membership participation. I am asking each of you to please encourage every person affiliated with Florida Elkdom to work toward this accomplishment. Remember, ladies, the FLOE bylaws state that all lady Elks and spouses/widows of Elks are members of FLOE. Ladies, you are asked to attend the FLOE meetings, which are held in conjunction with Florida State Elks Association meetings — midyear convention in November, quarterly meeting at the Florida Elks Youth Camp in February and the annual convention in May. We also meet in September for our own annual conference. Please join us Sept. 23-25 at Embassy Suites at St. Augustine Beach. This is your opportunity to reunite with past friends and build new friendships. Networking is one of the strongest forms of information dissemination. Elks members, look into how much the ladies organizations support your lodges and help them organize their efforts. As an organization, they will be able to do so much more for you. Check the Grand Lodge Constitution, Article III Section 18 for guidance.
I hope all the dads in Florida Elkdom had a happy Father’s Day. Thinking about my Dad, I am reminded that he was constantly saying, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” It doesn’t matter what ”it” is; what matters is how we approach “it” and accomplish what we start out to do. Most of us have to reach far back in our lives to remember our dads’ little quotes, but we should all reflect on what we learned back then. As a teenager with a new driver’s license, I thought I knew all there was about getting behind the wheel of a car and driving. Before I was allowed to take the family car for the first time, my dad made me go out in the driveway and change a tire on the car. I may not be able to loosen a lug nut now, but I have never forgotten how to change a tire. These life lessons help us every day in looking at a seemingly impossible task and successfully accomplishing a positive result. Revitalizing our ladies organizations is like loosening that lug nut. A group of like-minded people in the lodge need to get together and jump on that wrench until the nut is loosened; then the process of change can begin. Talk about the positive accomplishments that can be derived from having a ladies organization and then work toward making it a reality.
I look forward to seeing everyone in St. Augustine Sept. 24. Please come enjoy our beach, water, hospitality and networking. St. Augustine Lodge #829 has informed me that they are planning an evening event at the lodge, which is a few miles from Embassy Suites, for the early arrivals Thursday evening. Check floridaelks.org for additional information to come.