Americanism Committee seeks greater participation
The IEA Americanism Committee is working on a plan to coordinate with Regional Offices of Education in Illinois to get more schools to participate in the Americanism essay contest.
The idea for the plan emerged from a committee discussion at the IEA Fall Meeting in September.
Chairman Bill Adams said a committee member, who also works at one of the regional offices, recommended contacting the offices for who to contact at schools to initiate Americanism essay contests. “The regional offices can provide us with a list of schools in our area, the people to contact (their names, phone numbers and email addresses).
“In fact, we should be able to do everything electronically, including receiving the student essays.”
Adams said the committee hopes to have a step-by-step system on how to participate in the contest for presentation at the Mid-Winter Meeting in January.
“If you are an Americanism chair, please try to attend the meeting,” Adams said. “Your feedback is important. We will also discuss Americanism programs that have proved successful in some of our lodges.”
Golf tourney attracts 267, raises $1,000 for CCC
The two-day IEA Golf Tournament in July attracted 267 entries from 12 lodges, and more than $1,000 was raised from the charity hole for the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation.
In addition, a check was presented to the IEA Athletic Commission for the junior golf program, and the shotgun start to tournament was met with golfers’ approval.
Tom Hendrickson of Springfield Lodge listed the tournament highlights in his report to the commission at the Mid-Winter Meeting.
Commission Chairman Dave Cassens said the 2019 tournament is scheduled July 25-27 at Green Hills Country Club, Mt. Vernon. Tim Bain of Mt. Vernon Lodge 819 said an information booth will be set up at the Mid-Winter Meeting.
Cassens also capped results of the junior golf tournament, which attracted 75 participants. He said Dixon Lodge is considering moving its tournament to a golf course in Byron, which should significantly increase participation.
Two other lodges – Paris and Herrin – have expressed interest in hosting tournaments in 2019, Cassens said.
Barringtons of Fairview Heights win IEA Family of the Year
Mike and Teresa Barrington of Fairview Heights Lodge 664 can be excused for not be present to receive their 2017-18 IEA Family of the Year Award at the dinner highlighting the IEA Fall Meeting in September. They were too busy doing the kind of behind-the-scenes work that earned them the honor.
“Sorry we were not at the banquet,” Teresa said in an email weeks after the IEA Fall Meeting. “We did not know (we were receiving the award. We were setting up the hospitality room for West Central District.”
The couple’s help in the hospitality room underscores Fairview Heights Lodge Exalted Ruler Michael Morris’ reasons for nominating the Barringtons for IEA Family of the Year.
“The Barrington family of Michael, Teresa and daughter Jennifer is truly what Elkdom is about,” Morris said in his nomination letter. “With their many hours of devotion volunteering, chairmanships, committee participation and endless lodge functions, this family always finds ways to be a part our lodge actively or simply just attending.”
Michael finds time with a full time job to participate in and attend most lodge functions. He takes on side jobs around the lodge and helps in the kitchen or where he is needed.
“He always has a smile and never a negative outlook,” Morris said.
Daughter Jennifer, a grade school teacher with two children, is a past lodge ladies president. She is active in lodge functions and helps in the kitchen and serving. She’s chaired the lodge Drug Awareness Program the last three years.
“With her direction and help our lodge passed out coloring books and information during Fairview Heights’ homecoming parade,” Morris said.
Jennifer’s husband Paul, also a past lodge officer, volunteers many hours and helps with the lodge meat shoots.
Even the Barrington grand children, Brook and Evan, are involved in Elkdom, raising money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
But it’s the family matriarch, Teresa, whose name is familiar in West Central District circles as junior trustee. In the lodge, her many titles include chair of trustees. In her second year as trustee she helped the lodge cut food costs.
“She is very alert and attentive,” Morris said, citing Teresa’s efforts as kitchen manager, in which she keeps the kitchen organized, helps book catering jobs and generates positive cash flow.
“For this our lodge is better today financially and more stable, Morris said.
The Barringtons also are instrumental in marketing Fairview Heights Lodge to the community.
“We stay active and in the public eye because of people like the Barrington family. (Teresa) takes great pride in making sure our lodge is recognized in the community,” Morris said, citing the lodge’s active participation in the annual Fairview Heights homecoming, barbecues and many other community events.”
“These reasons and others I haven’t put into words, are why the Barrington family should be recognized and awarded Family of the Year.”
CCC honors top scholars
at IEA Fall Meeting dinner
The Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation announced its top scholars for 2018-19 at the IEA Fall Meeting in Springfield.
Addison Lagemann of Milton, representing Beardstown Lodge 1009, won the Kenny Beltz Award; Rhiannon Pearse of West Union, representing Robinson Lodge 1188, the Mike Manning Award; Christopher Dietrich of Quincy, the Bill Leas Award; and Madaline Hartke of Teutopolis, representing Effingham Lodge 1016, the Pete Matson Award.
IECCC Area 2 Director Sharon Kay Dirck read thumbnail sketches of each of the four honorees at the dinner highlighting the meeting.
As a graduate student attending Maryville University in St. Louis, Lagemann currently has a GPA 3.955.
One of her professors wrote: “She continues to perform above and beyond expectations. She is dedicated and dependable as observed on many occasions when she volunteers her time on and off campus. Examples of her conscientious involvements include her participation as a volunteer for falls prevention and health promotion for the elderly and serving as activities director for children with disabilities.”
Another wrote: “In her pursuit of knowledge she goes beyond simple understanding and acceptance of information & asks ‘why?’.”
Addison said she has chosen physical therapy so she can have a positive impact on the children in this world.
The Washington University-St. Louis graduate student, with a GPA of 3.956, grew up the daughter of a special education teacher. She was able to spend time with many children with disabilities, thus guiding her to her path of physical therapy. She wants to change the lives of children with disabilities and encourage them to be all they can be.
Rhiannon possesses kindness, intelligence, positivity and determination. Throughout her life, when she resolved to do something, she does her very best to make it happen even if it takes some outside-the-box thinking.
The Maryville University-St. Louis graduate student in physical therapy has a 3.90 GPA, which demonstrates his high level of performance in the classroom while maintaining other extracurricular activities.
One of his professors said, “I believe he has both the academic ability and compassion to make significant contributions to the physical therapy profession.”
Another described Christopher as a creative thinker with strong leadership skills.
Christopher says of himself that he has grown a lot professionally and is gaining experience everyday, which will allow him to grow and develop the skills needed to be proficient in his work in the future.
The Maryville University-St. Louis doctoral student in physical therapy has a current GPA of 4.0.
A professor wrote of Hartke: “She possesses the intellect, disposition, self-discipline, leadership and interpersonal skills to make her a successful physical therapist. One area that separates her from the others is her initiative and commitment to work with others. She is a resourceful, creative and solution-oriented person who was able to come up with new and innovative approaches to her assigned projects.”
One of her references wrote:“She has a beautiful smile and has the unique ability to make everyone feel special” –– an asset when helping patients during a difficult time in their lives.
IEA 24th nationally in charitable giving
The IEA ranked 24th nationally in the 2017-18 Grand Lodge Survey of Volunteer, Youth Charitable and Community Service program, amassing $4.19 million of the $676 million collected throughout Elkdom.
“While our numbers continue to rise,” IEA Government Relations Chair Ali Orr said, “lodges are still only reporting about 45 percent of all the charitable and volunteer hours that members and non-members perform within their local lodges.
“Every lodge needs to be keeping track of their charitable reports on at least a monthly basis on the Grand Lodge website and submitting their reports for the year no later than May 1 every year.”
In her report at the IEA fall meeting, Orr said Grand Lodge suggests that each lodge compile their statistics quarterly and post them on their lodge bulletin boards, monthly newsletters and email blasts.
“Another good place to share this is with your local elected officials. Let them know what the Elks are doing. Invite them to one of your charitable events or a lodge function.”
Orr added that Elks need to speak up and show the government just how powerful and benevolent the Elks are nationwide, and especially in Illinois.
“The main way we can do this is by keeping detailed records of all the awesome things that we are doing for our community,” she said. “We need each and every lodge in Illinois to report their charitable hours, both accurately and on time.”
IEA Hoop Shoot set for Feb. 23 in Decatur
The 2018-19 IEA Hoop Shoot is scheduled for Feb. 23, headquartered in Decatur Conference Center and Hotel.
The Shoot will be at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, 4735 E. Cantrell St, Decatur, pending school board approval.
Hoop Shoot Director Jim Swisher, in his report at the Fall Meeting, called on lodges to get more youths involved in Hoop Shoot.
“I’m asking all would you help out your lodge and your Elks to keep this program moving forward,” he said.
Swisher also asked lodge Hoop Shoot directors to let him know the dates and times of their lodge events. He may be emailed at email@example.com.
Please guard against sexual bias in lodge
The IEA Judiciary Committee is stressing to local lodges the importance of making sure sexual harassment is not occurring in their lodges or at their events.
“Please talk to your officers and let it be known that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any way,” IEA Judiciary Chair Ali Orr said in her Fall Meeting report. “It is important that we are educating both members and employees on existing laws and regulations in your respective communities as well as the laws of Illinois so we do not subject ourselves to lawsuits or fines that put our lodges, state association and Grand Lodge in jeopardy.”
(For reference, consult the Discrimination and Harassment Guidelines for Local Lodges,which is posted on the Grand Lodge website at https://www.elks.org/grandlodge/manuals/)
In another note of caution, Orr said that while the state of Illinois does not prohibit selling Queen of Hearts tickets to the public, it does cause an issue with outside income and lodges’ 501 tax status.
“This is why Queen of Hearts tickets must only be sold to members and members’ guests,” she said.
Also separately, Orr advised lodges and members to be careful in using social media to avoid negative comments and photos that can cast the Elks in a negative light. People increasingly get their news from Facebook than all other sources of news, so be careful with what is put out there.
“Always show a positive image of your lodge and the Order,” she said. “Please consider putting the use of the internet in your house rules.”
IEA membership gain possible for 2017-18
The IEA is on pace to post its first membership gain in decades.
“If we keep up our current pace,” IEA lapsation chairman Merle Evans, said, “Illinois could see a membership gain this year (in 2017-18).
“Let us all go forth and do our best to recapture the delinquent members in our respective lodges.”
The IEA was poised for a membership resurgence in 2016-17 when it finished in the top half of state associations in fewest delinquencies from being among the worst three state associations the previous year.
That statistic came from Grand Lodge Membership and Public Relations Manager Rick Gathen who addressed both the IEA Membership and Lapsation Committees at the IEA Fall Meeting.
Gathen emphasized getting new initiates involved in the lodge to keep them as members.
Gathen reacquainted meeting attendees with the Grand Lodge membership tool kit posted at https://www.elks.org/grandlodge/membership/, which can be used to contact and work with delinquent members.
IEA Membership Co-Chairmen Chris Ord and Robin Lemay also touted the benefits of the membership toolkit in boosting lodge membership.
“All lodges should visit this website and take advantage of the free material that can be downloaded and printed” in an effort gain and retain members, Ord and Lemay said.
“If any lodge needs some help, or wants to share ideas, please feel free to contact us. We all need to work together to bring in new members.”
2 heads better than 1 in public relations effort
Two heads are better than one in boosting Illinois Elks lodges’ efforts to promote themselves to the public.
IEA Public Relations Chairman Michael Slape made that point in his committee report at the IEA Fall Meeting in Springfield.
“Why should district chairs forward their information to the state,” he asked, rhetorically. “All lodge community activity that is receiving or should receive public notice, should be related to other lodges as examples of what can be copied.
“By reporting their successes at state, all lodges are aware of the good works of Elkdom,” which can be employed in the public relations strategies of other lodges, Slape said.
His plea is bearing fruit.
“I am happy to report that I have been receiving emails and texts from members, chairs as well as state officers,” Slape said. “Hopefully, this is the start of a communication chain.”
That chain centers on district PR chairs communicating with their lodge counterparts, “and back and forth.”
“Then reporting would proceed from the district to the state.”
Newsette gets help with money problem
The Illinois Elks Publication Corporation is asking IEA officers the IEA’s eight district sponsors to intervene on its behalf to appeal to local lodges to update their mailing lists.
The corporation has been plagued by more than a decade-old problem of mailing the Newsette to bad addresses, which cost the corporation 58 cents apiece.
The problem is worse with some mailings more than others, but averages costing the corporation more than $100 per issue for the Post Office to notify the Illinois Elks Children’s Care Corporation of the bad addresses.
The CCC supplies the mailing list to mail the Newsette, but the Publication Corporation incurs the cost of the bad addresses.
“(From April through July), 31 lodges in the state have not sent any membership additions, changes or corrections to the CCC,” Publication Corporation Chairman Mark Bump said in his Fall Meeting report.
Copies of this report have been sent to each district sponsor and the four state officers in hoping that they can encourage the lodges in their district/areas to send these changes on a monthly basis.”
Benton, Centralia, Salem, McLeansboro and Jacksonville are the only lodges that have updated their mailing lists in each month from April through July.
Nine others have sent in updates in three of the four months, Galena, Elgin, Des Plaines, Joliet, Watseka, Champaign-Urbana, Fairfield, Beardstown and Carlinville.
IEA Veterans Service gets assist from Chicago
The IEA Veterans Service got a helping hand from Sylvia Holman of the Elks National Veterans Service Commission office at the IEA Fall Meeting.
“She gave some very good information on what all we can do to help our veterans. She also informed us what VAVS reps can and can’t spend our funds on,” IEA Veterans Service Chairman Bob Kane said in his fall report.
In other IEA Veterans Service news:
- Kane said his committee is in the process of adding a new facility, thanks to Murphysboro Lodge 572.
- Kane thanked Jerry Edwards for his many years of service as VAVS rep at Danville. Edwards is stepping down from the post to tend to family health issues. As a result, Kane said if anyone would like to take over for Edwards to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Re-Creation is to perform in the Chicago area in 2019. “If you have never been to one of their performances try to see one. They tour all of the United States giving shows to our veterans. Their time is donated and they do this for a year.” Details will be reported as they become available.
- Local lodges can be reimbursed up to $200 in eligible expenses to make Welcome Home Kits to give to veterans who needs help moving into a new place. Click on “Welcome Home” at https://www.elks.org/vets/programs.cfm for information.
Youth program needs more lodge participation
The IEA Youth Activities and Lodge Activities committees are calling on lodges to participate in the Grand Lodge Teen of the Month/Year program.
“This is a great way to introduce the Elks to our youth and to their parents,” Lodge Activities Chairman Dennis Bierman said in his Fall Meeting report.
IEA Youth Activities Chairman Gregg Collins, in his committee report, challenged districts to set a goal of three lodges per district to sponsor a program for 2018-19, which concludes in the spring.
Collins distributed the Grand Lodge Youth Activities Program manual and Teen of the Month/Year information at his committee meeting.
The manual also is available for download at https://www.elks.org/grandlodge/manuals/.
Teen of the Month/Year information is posted at https://www.elks.org/grandlodge/activities/ under the link titled “Student Recognition Programs,” which includes cover letters to both lodges and state associations from Grand Lodge Activities Chairman Doug Schiefer of the Grand Lodge Activities Committee, a brochure detailing the program, fillable certificates of achievement and promotional posters.
Lodge nominations are due to their respective districts by April 15. Contact information for district Youth Activities chairs is published on Page 65 of the 2018-19 IEA Directory.
District nominations are due to Collins at email@example.com by April 30.
Collins also suggested that lodges celebrate the end of school with a banquet, in which scholarship recipients, Scout participants and winners in both the Americanism essay contest and Teen of the Month/Year program honorees are recognized.