In 1867 a young musician arrived in NYC from England. He found his way to a local pub and was able to find success as a singer. He also found himself surrounded by a group of like-minded friends who enjoyed their music and camaraderie. Since all business was closed on Sundays, they took to secretly meeting in attics and warehouses to play their music and enjoy each other’s company. The sessions grew in popularity and purpose.
Those times were hard. At one point the original group sensed that some “members” were not attending. It appeared that sickness and poverty was impacting their friends. It hit closest to home when one of the founding members died unexpectedly, leaving a wife and family penniless. The group started by bringing leftover food and collecting monies for his widow.
Then they expanded their efforts for raising funds and awareness for the community through their music and other performances.
As the group became more formal in nature, they took on the name of Benevolent and Protective Order. At first it was suggested they adopt the title of Buffaloes like a similar English men’s group. That was not well received by many of the immigrants. So, they choose the Elk which researched had found to be:
PROUD, COURAGEOUS, PATIENT, WITH STAMINA, STRENGTH, ENDURANCE AND A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY
To this day we celebrate the focus and rituals of the original BPOE founding fathers. This National Organization is built on four cardinal virtues: Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity. Patriotism and a commitment to community are always at the forefront of the Elks mission.
While the Deale Elks Lodge still hosts social events and daily gatherings for their members, they also support a variety of community service programs. This includes supporting our local Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. Various nationally sponsored grants have gone to Community Health Centers, Animal Rescue Programs and Cultural Organizations like Captain Avery Museum. There are programs for youth that include Grants to Boy Scouts, Annual Youth Hoop Shoot, and our various contests like Americanism poster and essay contests. One of the most popular youth programs is a summer Elkie Artist Saturday series for Photography where students are loaned a camera and taught by professionals to shoot, digitally modify, and prepare their pictures for sale. In addition, the Lodge sponsors at least four scholarships to graduating High School Seniors, including a Trade School Scholarship. Community support can be seen throughout the year like hosting the Covid Testing Center that uses our parking lot. Another example is the SCAN Food Bank that receives trunk loads of donated food from our members. The Lodge also supports needy families and individuals that are brought to our attention by members.
Our Drug Awareness program includes recognition of local Police and Fire Department efforts, Drug Take Back days, Information booths at local events such as the Deale Fire Department annual carnival. A new and exciting drug awareness program is an on-line series elksteenzone.org, that has articles, videos, and contest to highlight teen awareness relevant to drug and alcohol misuse. Included in this series is information that parents, and teacher can use for issues like vaping, marijuana, and other risky behavior.
Southern District’s Corporal Brookman receives the State Enrique Camarena Award
Camp Barrett is a State program sponsored by 37 area Lodges. The camp is in rural forest area in Annapolis with an Olympic size swimming pool, baseball field and much more. The project provides year-round programs including weeklong summer camps for kids 9-13, Special Camp for Kids with Cancer from John Hopkins Medical Center and an annual BBQ and game day, which is free for first responders and their families. In addition, the Camp sponsors Red Ribbon day to acknowledge the Drug Awareness support of all lodges. See more at elkscampbarrett.org
You can find more current information about our local Lodge on Facebook or visit elks.org for insight regarding our National Grand Lodge program.