STATE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
I want to thank all of you for allowing me the honor of serving as your President for the year 2013-2014. Thank you to all the officers who have agreed to serve with me and also all those who have agreed to serve on our state and district committees. Carolyn and I are looking forward to meeting all Virginia Elks during the year. We will proudly represent Virginia as your ambassadors when we meet Elks from other states.
My motto for this year is “DRIVE TO SERVE”. With membership and resources declining, we must “drive” harder to maintain the level of service expected of us as ELKS.
I once saw a shirt with the message “Don’t blame me, I am just a volunteer”. Think about that for a moment. Either someone is not receiving the service that is expected or heaven forbid the volunteer does not know what he/she has volunteered to do! As ELKS, we cannot afford to be “just a volunteer”!
How do we prevent being “just a volunteer”? We begin to be ELK volunteers through the knowledge of who we are as ELKS. Our knowledge begins at our indoctrination. Next is the knowledge we gain through an impressive initiation ritual. Once initiated, new members should be urged to become involved in the lodge, on committees and in our lodge activities.
During the initiation ritual we learned that we are governed by statutes, rules and regulations which guide and direct us in the work that ELKS are sworn to do. Becoming involved usually means that we work on a committee or on a project. Whether as a chairperson or member of a committee, there are specific instructions of what is expected of the committee as well as instructions on how to do the work expected of us. How can we find the information we need to know as an ELK volunteer? In the not so distant past, that question was not easily answered. But we now have computers and the Internet! Through virginiaelks.org or elks.org, we can access a wealth of information that is available to help us in performing our task as volunteers.
I would like to emphasize a specific program that will send money directly to the lodges for use in the local community. That program is the Community Investments Program (CIP). When utilized, this program will without a doubt, allow each of our lodges to be a beacon in our community. We can find the specifics of all the CIP’s as well as many other programs, manuals and much more through the web. This information will help us with our volunteerism in our communities. Knowledge obtained from the web and used in our lodges will assure that ELKS do not become “just volunteers”!
Richard F. Stroop