|It's not easy keeping track of 25 free throws! Good thing
Elks scholars Macy and Isaac attended
the Region 8 Hoop Shoot contest to help out!
The Elks Hoop Shoot competition has held a special place in my heart over these past few years, and this past month has been no different. I have had the opportunity to be involved with various activities centered around the Hoop Shoot during March. It started off with my interview for episode 7 of the Midday with the ENF podcast. ENF staff members Jim, Debbie, and Anne were all on air with me as we discussed my experiences with the Hoop Shoot and how I was preparing to attend the National Finals for the fourth year in the row. It is always a good time with the four of us involved, and this conversation was no different. Feel free to listen in to that episode here!
A day after being featured on Midday, I left for Denver with some of my fellow Kansas Elks to attend the Region 8 Hoop Shoot. Seven hours and a few antelope sightings later, we arrived. From the introductory pizza party to the ending awards banquet, the weekend was full of excitement. I especially loved attending the actual Hoop Shoot competition, watching six amazing contestants (three from Kansas...woohoo!) qualify for the National Finals. I had the opportunity to serve as a scorekeeper on the girls’ side of the competition alongside my fellow Elks scholar, Isaac Baldwin, who is originally from Kansas as well. Let me tell you, counting to 25 is not always easy when keeping score at a Hoop Shoot contest, but thankfully we Elks scholars made it happen.
One of my greatest memories from the Region 8 Hoop Shoot was the awards banquet held at the conclusion of the weekend. As I took a seat at my table, I realized that there were two Getty Powell award winners sitting on either side of me—Tommi Olson and Taylor Robertson. Both of these former Hoop Shoot contestants are now playing basketball in high school and continuing to work hard to achieve their dreams. Even better, they both served as rebounders for that weekend’s contest! Shout out to these gals for not only inspiring me but for also giving me reasons to smile and laugh throughout the banquet.
A short 24 hours after arriving back in Manhattan, Kansas, I was under the lights and looking good for the camera as I debuted in my acting career. That might be a bit dramatic, but I actually was filmed for this year’s Hoop Shoot film. It was a wonderful experience getting to show people what my everyday life at Kansas State University is like and share why I am so passionate about the Hoop Shoot program. There were also a few funny moments that occurred that might have included me tripping, the wind blowing my scarf into my face, and some messed up words in my interview answers. If you are ever in need of some comic relief, feel free to ask the ENF for the blooper reel!
Overall, the past month has been a whirlwind with many great Hoop Shoot related experiences. I am so thankful to be a part of this organization and cannot wait for many more great memories. Now starts the countdown for the National Finals! See you soon, Springfield!
2010 Most Valuable Student Scholar and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member
Member of Junction City, Kan., Lodge No. 1037
A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. Through the Elks National Hoop Shoot Free Throw Program, the Elks National Foundation offers youth the opportunity to engage in healthy competition, connect with their families and community, and succeed both on and off the court. In 2015-16, the ENF allocated $924,070 to fund this program, which includes the exciting addition of a Hoop Shoot app for contestants. For videos, news from the court, and more information about the Hoop Shoot, visit www.elks.org/hoopshoot.