Skip to main content

See You Later Decatur

by Youth Programs Associate Billy Donnelly

To read more posts about the Hoop Shoot, click here
 
My last blog post was about my experience at my very first Hoop Shoot contest at my Lodge, Chicago North Shore, Ill, Lodge No. 1316. I had such an amazing experience at my Lodge contest that I decided to keep the ball rolling (pun intended) all the way down to the Illinois State Hoop Shoot Contest in Decatur, Illinois. Who knew I would have to leave Chicago in order to get back on the road to the 2016 Hoop Shoot National Finals in Chicago.

The very first thing that I need to talk about when discussing my time in Decatur was the incredible team effort made by Illinois State Hoop Shoot Director Jim Swisher and the Illinois Elks Hoop Shoot volunteers. I was in great company. Illinois Elks Association representatives, Lodge and District Hoop Shoot Directors, ENF staff members, Lodge Secretaries, and Elks from all across Illinois brought their talents to Decatur. Together they put on a magnificent event for all of those involved.

From my very first encounter with Director Swisher and his volunteer “Dream Team”, I knew that I was in the big leagues. This contest was one to remember for the contestants and their families. It certainly was for me.

There were 48 families that attended the Illinois State Hoop Shoot contest. Only six contestants and their families advanced to the North Central Region 3 Contest. All 48 families however, were treated like champions. From the moment these families walked into the room for registration there was something to do. Meals were being provided, volunteers were engaging, the Drug Awareness activities were out for all to see, and of course, the pool was open.

During registration, some kids were more outgoing than others. By the time the awards banquet started, you could see all of the friendships that had developed over the weekend. The contestants, their families and the Elk volunteers—old friendships from previous contestants had been rekindled and new ones had formed. It was a wonderful sight to see.

The contest may take place on one Saturday in February, but attending the Illinois State Hoop Shoot in Decatur really helped me remember that the Elks Hoop Shoot is more than just a day. It is an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships and that can last a lifetime. It is with this in mind that I leave Decatur and continue on the road to Chicago, both literally and figuratively. My next literal stop will be a gas station, my next figurative stop will be in Iowa City, Iowa for the North Central Region 3 Hoop Shoot on Saturday, March 19, 2016. I was live tweeting the Illinois State Contest in Decatur and will be tweeting throughout my trip to the regional contest Iowa City. If you would like to follow along on Twitter, my handle is @ElksBilly. If you’re attending a contest, remember to post about it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #hoopshoot.

Billy Donnelly
Youth Programs Associate

The Elks have been developing gritty kids through the Hoop Shoot program for more than 40 years. In 2015-16, the Elks National Foundation allocated $924,070 to fund the program. For videos, news from the court, and more information about the Hoop Shoot, 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