State Sponsor Message
- Written by Michael F. Smith, PNP
What a great time to be a member of the Florida State Elks Association!
We had a gain in our membership this last Elk year, and with all our membership staying focused on new members and reducing the number of delinquent members, we can again have a gain. As a bonus, states with a gain in membership are seated in the front of the convention hall at the national convention’s Grand Lodge sessions. We are “Proud, Loud and Visible.”
We are so fortunate to be a part of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. We have an opportunity of which each lodge needs to take advantage. The Harry-Anna Investment Fund has provided funds for your lodge to rent a bus to come visit our award-winning Florida Elks Youth Camp. You will have a chance to meet with our Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services staff along with a guided tour of the camp. Plan your trip and make a few stops at lodges on your way. The purpose for the funding is to allow your newer members to see our major projects firsthand.
Your FSEA staff navigated by our COO/State Secretary, Carl Seibert, continues to raise the bar for efficiency and courtesy. Nick Miller, Camp Director, and his staff continue to raise our standards of your youth camp beyond all expectations. I think it is heartwarming to witness how much the staff cares about your camp; many of the staff were campers. Colleen Gallant, Therapy Services Director, and her staff set the benchmark for helping our children of Florida. YOUR FECTS major project provides needed therapy services for children who cannot afford treatments (over 500 children per week in your neighborhood).
Our Florida Ladies of Elks (FLOE) celebrated their 56th annual conference in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sept.20-21. They provide support to the FSEA with unselfish dedication. They are a major asset to the FSEA and I encourage all lodges to promote participation and support for FLOE. Thank you, ladies!
Recently I had the opportunity to have Rick Gathen, Public Relations/Membership Director, provide me with your lodges’ charitable donations over the past several years. We have sent each lodge banners to be displayed outside your lodge in a very visible place where you and the membership can be proud. It is so great to be a part of our order.
Come and reacquaint yourself with friends and make some new friends at our midyear convention in Tampa Nov. 15-17. We will have a guest speaker, Jim O’Kelley, Director of the Elks National Foundation, from the Grand Lodge.
In February, we will have the honor to host our Grand Exalted Ruler, Robert “Bob” Duitsman and his wife, Beth, at our camp. We will show them St. Augustine Wednesday and head to the camp Thursday, Feb. 6. The February quarterly meeting of the FSEA begins Friday and our major projects meeting with our GER’s address is Saturday. On Friday evening, you are invited to join us in the pavilion to meet our GER and his wife while enjoying a meal and entertainment by Re-Creation.
Mark your calendars. The Elks national convention is in Baltimore next July, and after a recent site visit, I can attest that you will enjoy Baltimore and really enjoy the Florida hotel. We will be right on the Baltimore Inner Harbor and there are shops and restaurants everywhere within walking distance.
Bob Grafton, Sandra and I thank you all for being in the Elk family. We wish you and your family a special Thanksgiving and holiday season and a terrific 2020.
Michael F. Smith, PNP
Florida State Elks Association