Skip to main content

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 meeting before, it was inspiring to see how quickly everyone connected and bonded with each other,” says the brilliant Elks Scholar Fellow and my meeting leader, Grace Roebuck. “From the first moment programming started, the SAB seemed like old friends, even with many new faces. I am very optimistic that this year’s SAB will feel even more like an Elks family.”

Friday started with a tour of the Elks HQ, service projects, and an opportunity to be interviewed on camera about their SAB experience. The team made blankets for the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center with the help of the Hoop Shoot’s fearless leader, Makenna Cannon. Once everyone had landed in the city, we finished the day with a board dinner and bowling.

Saturday was meeting day. With a focus on teambuilding and goal setting, the SAB met in an elegant board room at the Hilton on South Michigan for most of the day. Did we break into groups and hone our teambuilding skills to construct a shelter for Elroy the Elk? Did we talk about how best to communicate our engagement opportunities so even more of our Elks family participates? Did we set goals for the board and focus on planning events to bring together our diverse group of service-minded scholars? Again, the answer to all of these questions is an overwhelming, enthusiastic “yes!”

The SAB took a midday break to enjoy the unusually mild November weather. They visited the iconic Bean and ate at one of downtown’s numerous food halls. Saturday night was a chance for the SAB to take in an improv show at one of Chicago’s greatest institutions—The Second City. And of course, a quintessential Chicago experience would not be complete without pizza.

Two days in Chicago with the SAB flew by, and I consider myself very lucky to have a front-row seat to what makes the Elks family so special. There is nothing quite like the magic of getting a group of Elks scholars together.

In 2021-22, the Elks National Foundation will award $4.6 million in college scholarships, ensuring a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important members of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and one another. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit




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

The Experience Was a Revelation

by Garrett Schumacher 2011 Legacy Scholar, University of Colorado-Boulder   Prior to this trip of service in Chicago, I had always admired the individuals who gave of their time and talents with the purpose of bettering someone else’s life. I wanted to be like them but for the wrong, selfish reasons. After feeling inadequate in this regard for some time, I decided to take the leap and apply for the opportunity that only an incredible organization could provide. My background with the Elks has shown me that they are a communal group that profoundly affects the lives of many people on a national scale every day; being one of those people through scholarships, I felt I owed something to the F oundation and the people they serve. The experience was a revelation for me. I am a proud member of the Elks family and will continue my work and participation in the organization. I did not owe anyone anything other than gratitude, and I could give of myself for the sole purpose of be

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