I'm a State Person. What About You?
The holidays are over, and as Elks we now enter into some of the busiest months of the year, not only in the lodge but also throughout the state, for those who wish to extend their participation and camaraderie beyond just their local lodge. A statement I hear often, and one that couldn’t be further from the truth, is that participation in state events is just for the “state people.” State people, they say. So just who are these so-called “state people?” It’s not a term we commonly use, but let me venture a guess.
Perhaps a “state person” is a member who wishes to grow their leadership skills and agrees to work on one of the many district or state association committees or boards of directors or who agrees to become a state officer. Yes, these are “state people,” and we see them at almost every state meeting:
February Quarterly — Feb. 8-10, 2024 — Florida Elks Youth Camp
State Convention — May 23-25, 2024 — Rosen Centre, Orlando
Midyear Convention — Nov. 14-16, 2024 — Hilton St. Pete Bayfront
These dedicated and hardworking Elks are the brains and the brawn that keep our organization operating, and without them we would not have an association. They thrive on Elkdom and the great work we do throughout our state for children, veterans and those less fortunate than ourselves. It is at these state meetings that we oversee the work of our major projects, hear reports on our projects, build pride in our membership and often meet some of the people we support and help!
Another “state person” might be a member of a lodge’s Ladies organization. Our state organization, the Florida Ladies of Elks (FLOE), holds an annual state conference each year:
FLOE Conference — Sep. 19-21, 2024 — Shores Resort — Daytona
Many ladies and their spouses from across the state attend this conference to represent their local auxiliaries. While attending, they sharpen their fundraising skills, and they work to coordinate their statewide efforts to support our lodges and our state major projects. So yes, these members too are indeed “state people!”
How about the golfers, RVers, MLB fans and NHL fans? Can’t these be “state people?”
Elks Night at the Lightning — Feb. 19, 2024 vs Senators — Tampa
Elks State Golf Tournament — Apr. 6-7, 2024 — Sun ‘N Lake Golf Club — Sebring
FLOE RV Rally — May 31-Jun. 2, 2024 — Ocala North RV Resort
Elks Day at the Rays — Aug. 18, 2024 vs. AZ — St. Petersburg
These Elks-faithful travel the state to make and renew friendships with their fellow Elks. They enjoy friendly competitions and on occasion get to see a pretty decent professional sports matchup. Always with these types of events there is something in it for our major projects, but isn’t that almost everything Elks? Without a doubt, these members too are “state people.”
And finally, what about EVERY individual Florida Elk, the nearly 55,000 of us?! We, who each year pay $3 through our lodge dues to support the Florida State Elks Association, aren’t each of us tried and true “state people?”
So, I guess the members are right. Our state events are just for “state people,” and when you rationalize it, we ARE all “state people,” and our statewide events ARE just for “state people!” Take a look at what you are missing if you do not consider yourself a “state person.” Go on our website at floridaelks.org and explore the many opportunities that exist for “state people.” Stand up and be proud to be a “state person” and enjoy the benefits of membership that exist outside of the lodge’s four walls! There is a whole Elks world out there just waiting to be discovered! Attend a state function and be proud to be a “state person.”
Now, on a more somewhat somber note, next month we will hold elections for our lodge leaders for the coming year. So much has been written about what to look for in an officer and what leadership qualities they should possess, but let’s face it, sometimes we do not have the luxury of a deep bench to choose from, or, more often than not, it is sad to say, we have no one at all! About the only thing I can say, and I say it every year, is our state association puts on a very good officer training seminar each year.
Officer Training Seminar — Mar. 15-17, 2024 — Rosen Centre, Orlando
Do your lodge a favor and send your new officers (at least the Exalted Ruler, Leading Knight, Secretary and Treasurer) to this all-important training. Have a spaghetti dinner to raise the funds if you have to and show your faith in the newly elected. Encourage them to attend and help them be the best they can be! Registration opens on our website Feb. 1. Best of luck in your elections and let’s fill those chairs! Here’s to an election process that is held to the highest of standards and one that attracts the best of the best! Our lodges provide members a unique environment within which members can perfect and polish their leadership skills, all while serving our members and our communities.
I want to hear from our “state people.” What do you consider to be your favorite state activity? What do you most enjoy about our state activities? If you are new and haven’t ventured too far from your lodge yet, what is keeping you from becoming a “state person?” Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share! I look forward to hearing from you!
Carl T. Seibert, COO/State Secretary
Florida State Elks Association