The turn of the year is a great time to look back on the previous year and to look forward to the coming year. This type of introspection gives us an idea of how far we’ve come and also reminds us of what is yet to be done.
In 2015, your Elks Officers, Trustees, and Staff began to take action on a number of projects and issues that will help position the club for better things in the future.
From a change in club management, to major updates in the heating and air system, to new tap beers in the upper and lower bar, to the start of a new dictionary program for area 3rd graders, volunteers and staff have been working hard to position the Elks for future growth and impact. The foundation we have laid in recent years will make us a much stronger and more resilient Lodge and Club in the years to come.
At the same time, it is with great regret for me to report that 2015 wasn’t the best year for membership numbers. Oh, we still have 4200-plus members! And our members are still the “Best People On Earth!” Unfortunately, at some point early in the year, the distinction, the badge of honor, and the tag line/slogan of being the “Largest Elks Lodge” in the United States slipped from our grasp. Lodge #1896 of Greater Wildwood, New Jersey took over and, as of this writing, has us topped by nearly 250 members.
Now, we can cite all sorts of reasons #1896 took over. Perhaps it’s because they’re in the middle of an entertainment district two blocks from the Jersey Shore, or they’ve suddenly become a destination for rich folk from the East Coast, or they’ve grown 23% in the past 5 years. None of that matters. What does matter is they’ve taken our crown. And now we want it back!
Therefore, we have devised a two-part plan to re-take what was ours and hold on to it for years to come. One part involves gaining new members, the other getting delinquent members to re-invest in the Elks.
In this newsletter, you will find a membership application. If you’re like me, you’ve probably talked to a half-dozen or more people about becoming a member, but just have never gotten around to completing an application. Don’t worry, now is your chance to redeem yourself. Members signed near the end of our fiscal year (March 31st) need only pay the $25 initiation fee and a small portion of the $84/year membership. It is important to note that any and all current and prospective members can pay via Credit Card. If you need more than one membership application (like me), you can print them from our web site at http://bismanelks.com/membership or grab a couple from the Elks office at 900 South Washington Street. For each qualified application, your name goes into a drawing for one of a number of $50 Elks Gift Cards. Sign-up 6 or more and you double your chances!
The second method by which we aim to reclaim our membership crown is to address those members who have not paid. By now, several letters have been sent to these members, reminding them of their past-due status. Perhaps their names or addresses have changed? Therefore, in the coming weeks, we will be posting these names in the Lodge. We encourage you to read the list. If you know someone on the list, let us know. Or better yet, remind them their membership dollars help sponsor Camp Grassick, Elks Scholarships, Veterans Programs, Children’s Christmas Party, and more than 50 area Social and Community Welfare programs and Charities. Together, we can reclaim our foothold as the Largest Elks Lodge in the U.S.!
It is my sad duty to announce the death of James McFall, John “Red” Jackson, Wallace Dockter and Ray Hoffman. May their virtues be written upon the tablets of love and memory.