Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you had a safe and happy holiday. It is hard to believe that 2024 is here. The Florida Ladies of Elks have had a great end to 2023 and we have some fun things planned for 2024 and would love to see you participate.
This past November, FLOE held our meeting during the Florida State Elks Association midyear convention. The ladies activity was met with challenges, as our talented Vice President, Shelly Fuller, and Felicia Vuletich, PSP-FLOE were unable to attend, leaving the activity in the hands of Laura Sardella, PSP-FLOE and myself. Let it be known that neither Laura nor I had ever made a wreath of any kind, but with the help of YouTube and Joyce Ludwick, the event was a success. Seventeen ladies made beautiful fall wreaths. A photo can be seen on the FLOE Facebook page. Special thanks go to Laura and Joyce for stepping up to make this activity a success. During our meeting, we recognized the success of the 60th annual FLOE conference, held this past September in Daytona Beach Shores. One great accomplishment was that Laura Sardella was able to present Colleen Gallant, Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services Director, with a donation of $3,000 for holiday gift cards to support Therapy Services families in need. On Friday night, several ladies took the trolley to St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 for dinner, where we attempted to sing and dance to “We Are Family.” I’ve suggested this be the theme song of FLOE (“We are family. I got all my sisters with me.”) but I’m not so sure everyone is on board with that idea. Over the years we have demonstrated we truly are sisters in FLOE.
Our goal this year is to increase awareness and visibility of FLOE throughout Florida, as we share information on who we are and all the great things we do for the Florida State Elks major projects. All our fundraising efforts are used to benefit the Florida Elks Youth Camp and Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Monthly articles promoting what we are doing in FLOE are being sent to lodges for inclusion in their monthly newsletter. I have heard some lodges have published the article and hope all lodges will soon follow. In December, I attended the State President visit to the Southwest Central District. Arcadia Lodge hosted a delicious dinner and I had a great time meeting people from the lodges in the district.
In September, I was installed as the FLOE President and I made a promise to assist our lodge Ladies’ organizations, attend their events and represent FLOE as much as possible throughout the state. I am doing my best to do that. There was a large music festival in Live Oak Oct. 26-29, known as Hulaween. The organizers use volunteers from nonprofit organizations to staff their beverage booths and in exchange, a donation and any tips generated are given to the organization. Thanks to Felicia Vuletich, the Lake City Elk-Mates and FLOE were given the opportunity to staff a booth. On Oct. 26 I was happy to volunteer at the booth to benefit the Elk-Mates. On Friday and Saturday, the booth was hosted by FLOE, with proceeds to offset food costs at the 61st annual FLOE conference in September 2024. Thanks to Elk-Mates Stephanie Durrance and Felicia Vuletich, we were able to get enough volunteers to raise $4,399 to be used to subsidize meal costs at the 2024 FLOE conference. This should allow us to provide better meal options for the Friday dinner and Saturday luncheon. I look forward to supporting more events hosted by the ladies in their home lodges.
The third annual Ladies Weekend, being held April 12-14, 2024, at the Florida Elks Youth Camp, will soon be open for registration at floridaelks.org. The cost is $280 single occupancy or $180 double occupancy. The price includes meals and accommodation. A massage therapist will be there for those interested (additional fee applies). This will be a fun-filled, meeting-free weekend for all ladies to enjoy. You are guaranteed to make a new friend while enjoying the company of those you already know.
The second annual FLOE RV Rally (Camping for the Kids), benefiting the Florida Elks Youth Camp, is May 31 through June 2, 2024. If you don’t have an RV/trailer, you should consider renting one. This is a fun weekend for the entire family at the North Ocala RV Resort that you don’t want to miss. More information will be available at floridaelks.org.
We are preparing for our next meeting to be held during the FSEA February quarterly meeting. The FLOE meeting is Friday afternoon. Please check the agenda for the location and time. We will be discussing the upcoming Ladies Weekend and RV Rally. Packets for our events for the Florida Elks state convention will also be available. The FLOE Angel Reverse Draw tickets will be available with a donation of $20 each. This program benefits Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Come to the meeting and learn more about all the wonderful things we do to support the major projects. We would love to see new faces at our meeting and we look forward to a great year.
Just a reminder, EVERY female Elk, wife of an Elk and widow of an Elk is a member of FLOE. There is no application to complete nor dues to pay. How active a lady chooses to be is completely up to her, but she remains a member of FLOE.