CONGRATULATIONS, FSEA, FOR A FABULOUS YEAR!
Once again, our association and our order showed the resilience that has been a trait of the Elks since inception. After the huge challenges of a significant loss in membership and revenues created by COVID-19, we responded and exceeded expectations. The Florida State Elks Association finished third in the nation for membership growth. The Harry-Anna Trust Fund donations hit and exceeded our goals to assist the children of Florida. It was outstanding work from all of you who participated. This landmark truly exemplifies “Loud, Proud and Visible.”
We all owe a special thanks to State President Suzi Simonelli and her officers for leading the state association this year. They did an outstanding job! VPAL Mark Thompson and his slate of officers have a big challenge ahead, and all of us need to help achieve greatness.
What an exciting time it is to be a Florida Elk. Our Therapy Services Director, Colleen Gallant, and her staff, which includes 30 therapists, are treating almost 600 children per week. Our Camp Director, Nick Miller, and his staff hosted approximately 8,000 children at the camp this past year. The Smith Conference Center had its best year ever thanks to Shannan Wilburn, SCC Sales and Marketing, and Jen Scott, Event Services Manager. We are also fortunate to have a dynamic publication produced by Rachael King, Editor and Publications Manager. Our COO/State Secretary, Carl Seibert, and his staff handle the daily challenges of maintaining the best state association in our order. It’s great to be a Florida Elk!
I hope you have already confirmed your plans to attend our state convention at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, May 26-28. There are many events planned to enhance your lodge and to grow as Elks. Come join us in the fun, information and friendships. Make sure you have made plans to attend our installation of officers where you can welcome our new leaders and give thanks to those who served our order this past year.
On another note, please plan to attend the Elks national convention in Atlanta, Georgia, July 3-6. Due to the large hotel sites available in Atlanta, we will only be using four hotels, which should make it very accommodating to visit the various states’ hospitality suites. I want to thank many of you who are assisting our neighboring state by volunteering to help the Georgia Elks host this convention.
Bob Grafton, PNP and Sandra and I wish all of you peace, good health and happiness. We hope to see you at our state and national conventions. May God bless us all!
Michael F. Smith, PNP
Florida State Elks Association