Florida Elks News Editor:
Rachael King
Entire contents copyright 2023 by the
Florida State Elks Association Inc.
P.O. Box 49
Umatilla, FL 32784-0049

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Miller Nick preferred

Let me start by welcoming all the new officers for the 2024-2025 lodge year! Congratulations and thank you for committing to actively participate in our mission as the Florida State Elks. I know most of you were at the Officer Training seminar in Orlando in March, but for those of you who were not, I’d advise you to go to the FSEA website and review the presentations from that seminar. Here is the link: floridaelks.org/officer-training/presentations.

I encourage you to review all the presentations — it is an incredible wealth of knowledge — but in particular, please look at my presentation for the youth camp. It is a very short PDF that will break down everything you need to know about sending kids to summer camp. In fact, you might just want to print it and leave it by the phone at your lodge. That way, when parents call with questions about camp, anyone who answers the phone can help them out.

I would also recommend checking out my last article for the Florida Elks Magazine, as it lists the specific dates and cost and has links to find your district director for the youth camp. These are invaluable resources to help you navigate supporting this major project throughout the year. The link is floridaelks.org/magazine.

Here are some of the highlights from my Officer Training presentation. To begin, there are four requirements for children who want to attend summer camp with us. First, they must be between 9 and 13 years old. They must be 9 at the time of check-in, and they cannot turn 14 while at camp. Second, children attending the Florida Elks Youth Camp must be from the state of Florida. However, if a Florida Elk has family outside of Florida with children who meet the other criteria, we will allow the child to attend. Third, campers do not have to be related to an Elk. They simply need to be sponsored by an Elk. In order for FEYC to remain a private camp, we must ensure that kids attending are granted specific permission by a Florida Elk for them to do so. Finally, our summer camp program is designed for typically-abled children. Because our staff is not trained to handle special needs cases, our campers must be able to do the following: handle a ratio of one staff member to seven campers; play and be active outside in the Florida heat; and dress, feed and bathe themselves without support. If parents are unsure whether their child meets these criteria, they should reach out to us. We will then put them in touch with our nursing staff for evaluation.

Next, we went into more detail about remaining a private camp and why our Elk sponsors were so important. Maintaining our private status is critical because as a private camp, we are in full control of who attends, what programs we run and how we run them. If we were no longer private, we would have a hard time restricting attendance to Florida kids, and we may even have to fight to maintain activities such as morning and evening flag ceremonies. To remain private, only those acknowledged and approved (sponsored) by Florida Elks may attend this camp. After explaining this, I usually get a question like, “Okay, so can’t the camp just sponsor the kids directly and not bother the lodges about it?” I always answer, “sure we could. But that would be a huge detriment to your lodge.” By requiring parents in your area to contact you, we ensure that the people in your community view you and your lodge as the reason their kids can attend camp. We ensure that you have a chance to introduce these families to what you do as Elks and potentially gain new members. We ensure that if transportation is needed, it’s organized from the best possible place — where you are.

To wrap up my presentation, I briefly covered the process for getting kids signed up for camp. There are several steps to the process.

  1. Families must go to floridaelks. org/camp and click “Sign Up For Camp!”
  2. Parents/guardians will then complete the camp application.
  3. During this process, they will be asked for their Florida Elks sponsor. To sponsor a camper, you must give them your name, Elk member number, and lodge name and number.
  4. Families will then be asked for payment.

          a. The cost is $220 per child per week. If this is a burden to the family, there are other options.

          b. Each lodge received 10 camp scholarships to provide to families in need. You can provide the family with

              one of these certificates that will tell them how to use it. Please use these for families in need.

          c. The lodge can pay for the family from their charity account.

          d. If none of these are an option, the family can select “request assistance.” The camp will then reach out to

              Elks who can help.

5. They will then submit this information. This concludes the application process, but they are not enrolled yet.

6. The next step is on us. Jen Scott, our registrar, will review the information, contact you or your lodge as needed, and assign the camper a week of camp.

At this point the camper is registered and ready for camp! If you or the families have questions or problems at any time during this process, contact Jen Scott at jen@feyc.org.

I hope this helps you understand what kids can attend camp and how they get signed up. Again, I would recommend going to the FSEA website, downloading my presentation, and printing it to post next to the phone at the bar of your lodge and to hand out to members who are interested. Feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions that weren’t answered.

Thank you for all you do as Elks, and thank you for getting kids to camp.

Nick Miller
Florida Elks Youth Camp