Well, the journey has begun! We are on the road to try to visit every Lodge in Canada but of course that is virtually impossible. We will however do our best to catch those that have needed a visit for a while. Debi and I are already enjoying this adventure and are relishing the time together seeing things we haven’t had the opportunity to see for many years.
We made it to the a’maze’ing Corn Maze near Cut Knife Sask on Sept 2nd for the opening of it and according to the landowner it was his best first day opening ever!! Over 400 people came to see it and there were some 35-40 Elk members (some in regalia). Even had a visit from a few from Fort Sask., Alberta who made the drive down! (Thanks Meghan).
My theme for this upcoming year is “Looking Back - Driving Forward”. I used a similar theme as President of Saskatchewan Elks and it fits with me and my ideas of moving the Elks forward and becoming stronger again. I am a super strong believer in what we do and the world is a better place with us in it, taking charge of community projects and helping children and seniors when needed.
“Looking back” at when “you” joined and why. What made you passionate about helping? Is that passion dwindling? The same needs are there now so what can we or you do to “Drive Forward” and renew that passion for helping our communities when we are needed as much now as we were 20-40 years ago or more. Without our involvement many community projects just don’t happen (ball parks, playgrounds, fundraisers, etc.).
Right now we are touring Northern Saskatchewan, then moving on into Manitoba before getting out west into Alberta and BC in October. We are going to stay in Western Canada till after New Year’s and then start touring east. (plans to be announced later in the year).
I want to meet with as many individual members and hear their thoughts and concerns about their Lodges and struggles or successes as possible on a one to one basis. So many ideas can come forward. If I can offer support or direct them in the right direction to get the help they need to improve their situation. The staff at Grand Lodge are more than willing to help with any questions that may arise and are very capable of handling any issue you may think you need help with. Please just ask them. There are too many things that can happen that are trivial that could become a contentious issue if not dealt with immediately. Then it is a stress on the Lodge members when it could be a simple fix with the right advice. A lot of our Lodges are having some issues with this sort of thing and not realizing there is a venue to help. People give up and then we are losing valuable members to simple things like communication. Even if you have 5 members or 100 I still would like to come and chat, whether it’s a full blown official meeting or a round table sit down. I love to listen and speak about the good things we can accomplish as a group. I truly believe we are still very viable and can lead the charge in our communities even if there are other charitable groups there. Maybe it’s time to join forces on a bigger project for your community.
At Grand Lodge convention in July we were very fortunate to have a fellow by the name of Rick Gathen who is the National Member Service and Marketing co-ordinator for the U.S Elks come and address the convention on the plans and strategies they are using and their membership is growing by leaps and bounds!! He has given us some tools to work with that are successful for them and our office staff is adapting it somewhat to fit our needs. You will be hearing more about it in the coming months. Everyone that was there and heard him speak was totally impressed with his address and his passion. I know of many who took him aside and talked at length about his ideas and see if it could work with them in their Lodge so it is becoming a force to the people who want to make sure their Lodge is successful for the next 100 years!! I hope to be in contact with Rick over the year and pick his brain if I run into an issue that he may be able to offer advice for me to spread to our Lodges if needed.
So I’m not going to ramble on here anymore but you will find once I sit down with the members one on one I like to talk and listen and if I can solve a problem or at least offer advice to help, then I’ve done my job. I encourage anyone to call or e-mail me if you have a question or want me to stop in and visit you. And another thing, please bring friends and family members to the visit or the meeting, as they could be future members or even just an extra hand at a project you are running.
So if we come riding through your community, please stop in and say Hi to Debi and I and we will be happy to talk to you about whatever it is you have on your mind.
Yours in Elkdom,
Grand Exalted Ruler
Elks of Canada