Members of the Elks from this province will get an opportunity to have a say in some changes being brought in at the national level during the Elks/Royal Purple provincial conference in Corner Brook this weekend.
The conference is being hosted by the Corner Brook Elks Lodge 505 and Royal Purple Lodge 330.
National president Jim McLeod will be at the conference. McLeod is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He’s been an Elk for 32 years and is the final months of his one-year term as president.
“Right now we’re looking at redoing our vision and our mission statement for the order,” McLeod said from Grand Falls-Windsor on Wednesday. “So that’s one of the big discussions.”
McLeod said the Elks want to modernize the mission statement and vision. “And bring them a little bit up to date to the way society is today.”
For example, the current mission statement describes the Elks as a national, fraternal and charitable organization promoting and serving community needs through local lodge volunteers. The proposed new one will be to describe it as a Canadian volunteer organization of men and women serving communities.
“I’ll be getting their input, making sure that they’re OK with them ... is there any wording changes they want,” said McLeod.
And he’ll take what he hears from the Newfoundland members to the national convention in July.
There are five lodges in Newfoundland and McLeod visited the one in Grand Falls-Windsor on Monday night. He’s travelling to Corner Brook today for the conference which starts tonight and that’s where he’ll get the opportunity to connect with the other lodges.
When asked how groups are doing in terms of membership, he said they could all use support.
“Unfortunately, volunteerism is changing. So, today people don’t get quite as involved as they did in the past.”
McLeod said communities have to realize the significant contributions Elks lodges make.
He didn’t have numbers for Corner Brook, but said over 10 years the Grand Falls-Windsor lodge put $75,000 into the community.
“Without the Elks there those are funds that would not be available to the community and supporting the charities that are there,” he said.
McLeod said while some lodges have people knocking of their doors to join, others are having to find ways to boost membership.
He said one way of doing that is connecting with the community.
“We’ve got to make sure that the lodges are doing something, that they’re doing projects and they’re getting their faces out in the public so that people realize that yes, the Elks are here in our community and we have to support them as well,” McLeod said.