I have been reflecting on the first half of my year as Florida Ladies of Elks (FLOE) President, and I am truly amazed at how fast the time has gone. We have completed a successful quarterly meeting, and it was good to see a lot of new faces in attendance. The luncheon with First Lady Stacy Ryan was well attended and enjoyed by all who were there. The donations presented at the major projects meeting reinforced the generosity of Florida Elks even during these depressing months. It was heartwarming to see the donations at the major projects meeting from FLOE and the many Ladies organizations from across the state.
In keeping with my theme this year of “Helping Children to Soar,” I am so happy to see continued support to children’s activities from the lodges and Ladies organizations. During these difficult times, it is extremely important to remember that our children, now more than ever, need our support and encouragement to achieve their dreams. I know that some lodges cannot be fully operational and that some school districts are not fully opened yet for in-house education, but even virtual and remote school and library activities can be helpful. The struggle to maintain basic necessities sometimes overshadows their dreams and as adults we need to make sure these dreams are not lost.
Each year, FLOE collects items to be presented to Nick Miller, Florida Elks Youth Camp Director, for the camp and the children. This year Nick has asked for stationery and relevant supplies for children attending camp to write personal notes to friends and family. The camp will be encouraging children to break away from electronic communication and return to handwriting. Supplies needed include pens, stamps, stationery (notecards, etc.) and envelopes. Nick has asked that when you donate, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope in your donation so a child can thank you. Donations brought to the FLOE meeting during the state convention will be given to the camp to be used by the children this summer. Donations will also be collected at the FLOE conference in September for next year’s use. As always, your generosity and support for the children are greatly appreciated. He is also asking for cash donations to purchase an audio system to facilitate communication in the dining pavilion. This will improve the camp staff’s ability to speak to the children during mealtimes.
Most everyone knows that the new Elk year began April 1, and I have a question for all the incoming Exalted Rulers. Do you have a Ladies organization within your lodge? If not, why not? Ladies groups can be very supportive to an Exalted Ruler and a lodge. Please make sure your lodge bylaws will support a Ladies organization, and encourage some ladies to become organized, write a set of laws and elect a slate of officers. The Florida Ladies of Elks is a state organization of ladies made up of delegates from the state with its own slate of officers that raises funds to support the state major projects. Consider joining us today.
We have the Florida Elks state convention May 27 and it will be great to see as many people as possible in attendance. COVID-19 is slowly decreasing and with more people being able to get vaccinated, hopefully more people will feel comfortable leaving their isolation. FLOE, as always, will be very busy. We will again conduct the chance (formerly Chinese) auction with the drawings being held Friday, following the FLOE lunch. We are asking for donations from everyone, hopefully before Thursday evening, to allow buyers time to shop Friday morning before lunch. Please complete the donation forms online and mail to Diane Sharp as soon as possible. Also, prior to lunch will be a fashion show by Tiffany from Resort Wear by Tiffany. Tiffany donates a portion of all her clothing sales to FLOE to help our support of the state major projects. Please shop early and often to help support FLOE and help the children. Most importantly, remember the FLOE meeting Saturday at 9 a.m. All lady Elks, Elk wives and Elk widows are invited to attend, and as always, bring someone with you.
During the convention weekend, look for a FLOE table set up in or near the marketplace and chance auction ticket sale (area D & E of the Grand Ballroom). We will be selling reverse draw raffle tickets for our second FLOE Angel project, in which we send one of the therapy services patients and their family on a weekend vacation. To support this endeavor, we will again hold the reverse draw raffle during our annual conference in September. Please purchase a ticket and possibly be our next $2,000 winner. We are also selling 50/50 drawing tickets, FLOE president motto face masks and FLOE logo shirts at the convention’s FLOE table to raise charity funds. Please stop by and say hello and make a purchase.
We are planning on having a hospitality room this year and will again have a signature frozen drink. There will be a daily 50/50 drawing and ticket sales for a one-time basket drawing, to be drawn Saturday evening. FLOE will always accept any and all donations at any time.
I would also like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to join us Sept. 24-25 for the 58th annual FLOE conference. This year’s conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Resort on St. Augustine Beach. Registration information will be online at floridaelks.org in the FLOE section following the state convention. Please mark your calendars and come enjoy beautiful St. Augustine Beach. As always, we will have entertainment following Friday evening’s banquet. Our business meeting will be held Saturday morning and will be followed by lunch, the memorial service and the installation of the 2021-2022 officers.