Happy New Year, Florida Elks.
Much has transpired since my last message to you. The COVID-19 vaccine has been released and we look forward to our lives and our lodges getting back to normal. Please join Suzi, Joey, Dolly and me in congratulating and welcoming endorsed VPAL, Mark Thompson, and his wife, Barbara, to our team! They are new gifts that our team welcomes with joy. They will be traveling with us as we conduct our visits throughout the state.
We’ve enjoyed seeing and learning much from you during our first six visitations as you generously share with us how your local Elks in action pay it forward. Thanks go to the District Vice Presidents and volunteers who donated their time and talents to make these visits successful. We are excited to see and learn even more as we complete the final seven visitations leading to our homecoming in St. Petersburg April 16-17. One of the things we learned from attending the visitations is that Florida Elks are the same in wanting to be of service and help others by doing good works. We’ve also seen that each district is very creative and unique in the many ways they foster doing good. Frequently, I receive requests from members asking what they can do to help us have a successful year. After sharing our thanks, my first response is to ask the member to be active supporting their individual lodge, district and state programs. Warm, friendly and active local lodges are the yeast that causes all of Elkdom to rise. We are very proud of each of you and you should be proud!
I would like to take a moment to share some thoughts on leadership. Frequently I hear a member share that they do not consider themselves to be a leader. Regardless if you are elected or appointed to chair a committee or hold a position with the Elks, you are looked upon as a leader. Whether you admit it or not, members are looking up to you. They are expecting more from you and holding you accountable up, down and across our organization. Few of us are born natural leaders. We try, we learn from our mistakes, we forgive ourselves and others, and we move forward. An effective leader allows oneself to be mentored, acts with integrity, shares the credit, and strives to do right. Making the decision to do right is not always the easiest path, but in the long run it is the best path, as right wins!
In an effort to help us be better leaders, I’ve shared our 2020-2021 District Vice President’s culture statement in previous articles to you. I’ve advised that your leadership team made a pledge to practice these principles in our daily lives. If you want to be an effective leader, you can do so by doing your best to review the culture and live it with us.
We as FSEA District Vice Presidents are Successful because WE:
— Know it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t worry about who gets the credit.
— Communicate effectively and frequently.
— Have fun.
— Never forget to say thank you. Continue to give praise and show appreciation.
— Always remember we represent the Elks and our actions speak volumes.
— Work together as a TEAM — Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
— Accept constructive criticism and be willing to change.
— Make amends promptly and move on when wrong.
— Stay on task, keep calm and move forward.
— Delegate, trust and advise.
— Be innovative and provide good leadership.
— Lead by example, being Warm, Friendly and Active.
Let’s emphasize the last one to help recoup lapsed members. Be active and ask your lodge for the names of a few members to call with a warm and friendly invitation to renew their membership. Ask them to meet you at the lodge for an activity to celebrate their reinstatement.
Good news! Our list of sustaining donor members continues to grow as our enrolled donors have surpassed California’s total sustaining donors. If you are not yet a sustaining donor member, please consider joining us. Here is the link to enroll: https://floridaelks.org/donate. Thank you!
Our quarterly meeting will be taking place at the Florida Elks Youth Camp Feb. 4-6 in Umatilla. You will have the opportunity to meet our Grand Exalted Ruler, Paul Ryan, and his wife, Stacey. Re-Creation 46 will be performing “Encore” live Friday evening. Afterward we are going to have a fun, old-fashioned Elks hootenanny at our new outdoor terrace next to the Smith Conference Center. Please come and showcase your talents.
Our annual Autism awareness gala is being held in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 24. This year’s Unmasking Autism gala theme is “An Evening Under the Stars.” Everyone attending the 2019 event will share that it was fun and classy and a good time was had by all. See the link on our website, https://unmaskingautism.com/, for more details. Stay tuned for details on the Unmasking Autism gala to be held in south Florida Oct. 16.
2020 is behind us. Let’s embrace 2021 by waking up smiling, seizing every moment, trying new things, taking chances and being optimistic, as now is our time! PSP Frank Malatesta frequently quotes Frank Sinatra’s line, “The Best is Yet to Come.” I join both Frank M. and Frank S. agreeing that for Florida Elks and lodges living this year’s motto, “Florida Elks – Warm, Friendly & Active,” the best is yet to come!
Suzi, Joey, Mark, Barbara, Dolly and I very much appreciate your prayers and support as we represent Florida Elks. We look forward to seeing and sharing with everyone in our travels. May God bless you, smile upon you and bless our FSEA!
Rudy J. Masi Sr., PDD
Florida State Elks Association