Elks set to get special guest
Grand Exalted Ruler coming Jan. 21
Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 06:00 am
The local chapter of the nation’s largest fraternal organization is counting down the days. Jim McLeod, the Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks of Canada, is coming to the St. Albert Elks No. 585 for a special visit soon. He’ll be spreading the word about changes to the organization and catching up with the group and its activities.
“I’m coming to visit and talk about our new mission and vision statements, and some of the other issues that Elks Canada is facing,” he explained in advance of his visit on January 21. “In a way, it’s to visit them and see what they’re doing and see how they support St. Albert as a community.”
The 32-year member said that it’s important for people to realize that the Elks are not a male-exclusive club.
“We are an organization of men and women. Up until about 10 years ago, we were an all men organization. We changed our constitution. We’re open to women.”
The mission and vision statements still need to be changed to make it official. That will occur during the Elks’ annual general meeting in July. That’s also when McLeod’s one-year term as Grand Exalted Ruler ends.
To promote the visit, he also took the opportunity to tout the Elks’ main charity efforts. Tabs for Tots is a program that encourages people to collect pop and beer can tabs that will be recycled in exchange for cash. That money is then used to buy medical equipment for neonatal intensive care units in hospitals across Alberta. To date, more than $120,000 worth of medical equipment has been made available because of it.
Elks Alberta also supports ISTAR, a world-renowned stuttering research and treatment facility based out of the University of Alberta.
“We do try and support the communities surrounding our areas as much as we can. Our main goal is to support the communities and meet their needs.
McLeod added that the St. Albert chapter has a wonderful program of its own called the Cruisin' Clubhouse. Every summer, the Elks drive a van around to various city parks and bring sporting goods and games with them. Playground leaders take the kids on site through fun activities such as tag, dodge ball or parachute games. The children can also make crafts to take home.
Ralph Shockey, the president of the St. Albert Elks, added that they also had a hand in helping a town north of the city to recover from a devastating disaster.
“We helped out the Morinville Library last year when they were helping to restock the Slave Lake Library. We really can’t afford to give out too much money. We donate what we can and when we can,” he said.
The St. Albert Elks meet every third Tuesday of the month starting at 8 p.m. The St. Albert Hall is located at 31A Rowland Crescent. Call 780-460-7519 or visit www.elks-canada.org for more information.