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Airdrie and Crossfield Elks to host convention

By: Andrew Szekeres

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 17, 2014 10:23 am

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The Elks of Canada (EoC) and Alberta Royal Purple Lodges Association (ARPLA) will be hosting their annual national convention from July 16 to 18 in Airdrie.

“The organizing community in Airdrie have done a great job,” The Grand Exalted Ruler of EoC Jim McLeod said. “We’re looking forward to a great convention.”

The history of the Elks is traced to the founding of the club in 1868 in New York City.

The Canadian outfit was founded on Sept. 6, 1912 in Vancouver, B.C. Since then the Elks have become Canada’s largest all-Canadian fraternal organization with more than 250 lodges and close to 15,000 members.

ARPLA began in Crossfield in 1914 and will be celebrating their 100th anniversary at the convention. Originally started as a women’s organization under the charter from EoC, ARPLA has grown into a province-wide organization.

“We’re looking at somewhere around 400 delegates coming to Airdrie,” Convention Chairperson Bill Ward said. “It’s great to see this many people come out.”

In 1998, the Elks became open for women to join as well. McLeod said one of the topics that will be discussed will be placing a focus on having more women as part of the EoC.

“We’re not going after half of the Canadian population as much as we should,” McLeod. “Couples are looking at something to do together for their community and that’s what we need to take a look at.”

In Rocky View County, the EoC and ARPLA have lodges located in Airdrie and Crossfield.

A meet-and-greet will be held before the convention begins at the Ron Ebbesen Arena on July 15.

On July 16, there will be an introduction for the various high-ranking members of the associations, before business will be dealt with. Some of the business that will be discussed includes audited 2013 financial statements, adoption of the agenda and the proposed 2015 Budget.

In the evening, there will be a western-themed barbecue provided by the Crossfield Elks lodge.

On July 17, there will be a children’s meeting to discuss community responsibilities and having fun with the EoC and ARPLA, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Following the children’s meeting at 10:30 a.m., the supreme lodge sessions will continue. During these lodge sessions the future and continuation of the ARPLA will be discussed as well as voting and election procedures for the organizations.

“At this convention (ARPLA) is looking at becoming a separate entity,” Ward said. “For the past 100 years, they’ve operated under the charter from the EoC and now they’re looking at going out on their own.”

An election to determine the supreme lodge officials will be held during this time. At the meeting, McLeod will have his beard and hair shaved off for charity.

“He’s had the beard for 30 years,” Ward said. “It’s all going to benefit the Elks Purple Cross Fund.”

The Elks Purple Cross Fund is a charity organized by the EoC to help benefit children through medication purchases and other assistance.

The final day, July 18, will feature the last lodge sessions that will be discussed, including any final reports given by the committees.

Juno Award-winning Albertan country musician, Brett Kissel will be performing that evening.

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