Written by Brother Cory Blair - Director, Member Services - Elks of Canada
After 11 years in the corporate world I decided to look for a different opportunity in my career journey. I have always wanted to gain experience working in a non-profit organization. Lots of people I talk to said I would be a great fit in a non-profit and I have always said I am just waiting for that opportunity.
I have been an Elks member since 2010 in my home community of Balgonie. I went to my first Elks meeting because my neighbor Darren asked me to come with him. His dad had been a member for a long time and they were looking for younger people to join. There were like 5 active members and those guys had been long serving Elks with 25 years plus. Well after listening in the meeting, having some food and a beer, I decided to join. It was really easy to join because not only was it an opportunity to hang out for a night a month with some new friends, it was an opportunity to give back and do something cool in my community.
Over the course of the next couple years, more and more people form our town and surrounding towns became members. Most of everyone joining were on the age scale of under 40. We all have busy jobs, running around with our kids and other commitments. I always hear people say they are really busy or I am too busy to do stuff or volunteer. Well, that does not fly in our lodge. Yes we are busy but we make a commitment to do great things that help our kids and family in the community. That’s the bottom line. Helping people. If you can’t make time to help someone in your life then we value different things and you do not fit our culture.
Our Elks Lodge has grown to over 35 members. The “old boys “as we call them, love seeing younger people join. The funny thing is this would have not happened without them. They saw the need to change. They realized what they had built could be lost if they did not reach out and ask for help. Every event we put on they are smiling because they see the value in change and guess what? All of us respect the heck out of those guys.
Our family travels a lot with our kid’s sports teams. I am amazed to see how much the Elks and other service organizations give back to communities. Rinks, ball diamonds, parks and pools are just the stuff I see on my travels. All in operation because of fundraising and time by volunteering. I think people do not realize just how much service organizations help our kids and communities. For example, The Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children assists with medical issues of kids primarily with hearing and speech issues. ACROSS EVERY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY…. HUNDREDS OF TIMES A YEAR!!!!! It’s awesome. But we take it for granted. We need to understand that without these organizations and volunteers that a lot of the things we have in our communities would be extinct.
So that is WHY I decided to work for the Elks. The opportunity presented itself and with some thinking and talking with my family I made the switch. Our organization does awesome things for people. Everyday. I now can have a direct impact on growing more of those awesome things and also telling the hundreds of stories of serving communities and families. We have an opportunity to grow our organization with new people and perspectives. We have the platform created to innovate our brand with #ELKSPROUD. I encourage everyone to stop and think about their community and what they have built. I bet volunteering has played a significant role and service groups have made a giant impact. My goal is for more people to join our organization and for our current members to tell their stories….This is just a small piece of my story. I made the career switch to make more of an impact with an organization I care deeply about. I am #ELKSPROUD.