Skip to main content

A Proud Member of the Elks Family

By 2009 Elks Legacy Scholar Lauren Kuhn
2015 Miss America 4th runner-up Lauren Kuhn
speaking to Hoop Shoot Finalists at the 2015 National Finals
Springfield, Massachusetts—the birthplace of basketball. Believe it or not, my time as Miss Massachusetts had not yet taken me to Springfield for an event surrounding basketball. I jumped at the opportunity to be the keynote speaker and National Anthem performer for the Elks Hoop Shoot National Finals. As a 2009 Elks Legacy scholar, I looked forward to the chance to reunite with my Elks family but what I didn’t know was that I’d be reuniting with some of my biological family too! When I stepped through the elevators in my downtown hotel in Springfield, I was stunned to see my grandmother and grandfather waiting for me. They live more than two hours from Seattle, Washington, so they had a long way to travel! The Elks National Foundation surprised me with their attendance. Why was this so meaningful? Let me share.

Lauren taking a selfie with her grandparents!
My grandfather Melvin Thompson is a life-long Elk and ran the Hoop Shoot at Hoquiam, Wash., Lodge No. 1082 for many years. My mom, sister, and I all participated. Then, when it came time to apply for college, my grandpa was there to sponsor my application to become an Elks Legacy scholar. He not only helped me, he helped many young people in the community by being an involved member of his Lodge for so long.


When the athletes and their regional Elks leaders came onto the court, I could see the pride radiating from all of the Elks involved. These Elks weren’t even related to the athletes, but they were still proud. This type of mentorship and support was showed their contagiously selfless attitudes. Then, I watched the Hoop Shoot stars and immediately noticed the excitement in their eyes as they planned each shot. I saw the pride they had in what they were accomplishing—they knew they’d made it very far. When it was time to narrow the field, I couldn’t help but feel my heart break as I knew that every athlete was impressive and was deserving of the national title. After meeting athletes that did not win the contest, I could relate to their mixed feelings of excitement and disappointment. The maturity that these young people show is impressive, because many adults still struggle with these feelings and have a tough time feeling proud of their accomplishments when they aren’t the ultimate “winner.” So, what can we learn from these impressive young athletes?

1. There’s always next year! Whether it is a sporting event, scholarship opportunity or job opportunity, there is no reason we can’t try again for the same or a similar opportunity in the future. Perseverance is the key to success.

2. Sportsmanship is the name of the game. When I placed 5th in the Miss America 2015 pageant, I was still thrilled for the four women who finished above me—just as the young athletes at the Hoop Shoot congratulated those who received awards.

3. Sometimes we gain more by not winning. It’s true that winners learn from their mistakes and channel their determination to help them improve! Each time a competitor doesn’t finish at the top, he or she has the opportunity to evaluate ways to improve ultimately helping them learn valuable life skills. The trip to success isn’t always direct… there might be a few layovers along the way.


I am incredibly proud of all the athletes. Regardless of their placement in the contest, they are a success and they earned their way to the top! Congratulations!

Lauren Kuhn 2017
Doctor of Dental Medicine candidate, Harvard University
2015 Miss America 4th runner-up
2009 Elks Legacy scholar


In 2015-16, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.16 million to fund the ENF scholarship program, which provides college scholarships, ensuring a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important parts of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and each other. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars. For more information about the Hoop Shoot, including videos and news from the court, visit www.elks.org/hoopshoot.

Comments

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

Finding a Place in the #ElksFamily

by Aleah Hahn, Most Valuable Student Scholar Aleah Hahn received a second place Most Valuable Student scholarship in 2018. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2021 with degrees in Biosystem Engineering and German. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State. In her free time, she likes to cycle, forage and hike. Over my spring break I was able to partake in the 2022 Spring Elks Scholar Service Trip in Chicago! In 2018, I attended the 150 for 150 Service Trip in San Antonio, where we celebrated the Elks 150th anniversary through service. Both were amazing experiences to serve in the name of the Elks. They were alike but also different in many ways.  In San Antonio, I connected with Elks state leadership from my home state of Michigan since the trip was at the Elks National Convention!  I served with 149 other scholars and met many of them. It was a great opportunity to connect with other scholars. The majority of our service was at Haven

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation Zoom--It's like the Brady Bunch , but without Jan. (This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom. If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals. In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation. A couple of we

Where has the SAB Bean? Chicago!

by Colleen Conrad, Scholarships Manager The Elks Scholar Advisory Board (SAB) is a group of Elks scholars—current and alumni—who advise the ENF on its scholar relation efforts. When I presented the idea of getting together in Chicago for our first in-person Scholar Advisory Board meeting in two years, I was prepared for some trepidation. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in traveling and gathering for everyone, and finding time during the busy fall semester for our scholars is always difficult. However, the response I received from our SAB was an overwhelming, enthusiastic “yes!”  That enthusiasm never dissipated throughout our whirlwind SAB weekend together at the start of November. Eight of the 10 2021-22 SAB members visited the Elks National Memorial and Headquarters, participated in some fun bonding activities, explored Chicago, and of course, put in some real work during the day-long board meeting. “While I’ve never been to an in-person SAB me