From Your Exalted Ruler

Greetings to all Members of BPOE Lodge 1291.

I hope that all of you had a wonderful and event filled summer! Autumn is here, football season has begun, hockey is just around the corner and baseball is winding down to the playoffs. We can all look forward to rooting for our favorite teams and having a fun time tailgating when we can find the time. Along with great sports, fall is hurricane season, so I urge you all to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Our hearts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina. PLEASE take the time to prepare just in case we here in Central Florida have a repeat of last year. Bottled water, prepared food and an escape plan are vital at this time of year.

Speaking of our northern neighbors, this is also the season where Elks from the colder states begin to come down to take advantage of our sunny weather. When you see faces you don’t immediately recognize, please be friendly and say hello. Odds are these are visiting members down for the season, or possibly members of OUR lodge who summer up north and have come home for the winter. Make them feel welcome, as you would like to be made to feel welcome if you were visiting an Elks Lodge. A warm smile and a fraternal hello go a long way.

We recently hosted the Brotherhood Ride as they made their way across the state on yet another long, hot ride to raise money for the families of fallen first responders. A big  thank you goes to all the volunteers who stepped up to make their stay comfortable and fun. To all those who cooked, served, helped set up and break down, your efforts were  very much appreciated by the riders. These men and women are truly the best of us, and I am proud that they have chosen our Lodge to be their home lodge.

Lastly, I would like every member who has sponsored a friend or relative to become and Elk to think back to the last time that person was at our Lodge. While our overall membership is continually climbing (third overall in membership gains in the entire state of Florida), we sadly have a number of members who have chosen not to renew their membership. If you know of someone who let their membership lapse, reach out to them.

Sometimes people just get busy with their lives and forget to renew. Take a moment and remind them. If they have made the choice to not renew, ask them why. Perhaps there is something we as a Lodge can do to improve their experience at the Lodge. Gaining new members is a worthy goal, but keeping the members we already have is vital. Hopefully the enthusiasm and warm spirit that makes our Lodge special will bring back those who have wandered away.

Thank you for a wonderful summer and I have no doubt autumn will be even better!


Vicki Baker