Wednesday, 30 November 2016 06:29

Swift Current Elks Lodge No. 8 lends a final helping hand

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Swift Current Elks Lodge members address cadets during their participation in the parade at the Lt. Colonel Clifton Centre, Nov. 9. From left to right, Air Cadets Capt. Jason Tangen, Elks members Barry Watson, Clint Terlson and Stan Aikens, Navy League Sub-Lieutenant Mike Koethler and Navy Lieutenant Jeff Giesbrecht. Swift Current Elks Lodge members address cadets during their participation in the parade at the Lt. Colonel Clifton Centre, Nov. 9. From left to right, Air Cadets Capt. Jason Tangen, Elks members Barry Watson, Clint Terlson and Stan Aikens, Navy League Sub-Lieutenant Mike Koethler and Navy Lieutenant Jeff Giesbrecht. Matthew Liebenberg

Swift Current Elks Lodge No. 8 is handing in its charter after serving the community of Swift Current and area for more than 95 years.


The Elks of Canada was founded in 1912. The Swift Current lodge was the eighth lodge instituted on Aug. 6, 1913. The lodge went defunct in 1916 as a number of members joined the armed forces during the First World War.
The charter was temporarily suspended and held in abeyance until Nov. 12, 1924. On this date the Swift Current Lodge was re-instituted by Moose Jaw Lodge No. 7.
Meetings were held in different locations until 1928. At that time, the Swift Current Lodge obtained a permanent home in a building they called the Old Princess Royal Theatre, located at 215 1st Ave. N.E.
The Elks hosted many functions throughout the years. The early New Year dance, which they called the Rose Dance, brings back many memories to the older members. This was the night everyone dressed to the nines.
Disaster struck on March 6, 1951. The building was destroyed by fire along with a number of records. Rebuilding took place on the same site immediately, and on April 29, 1960 the fire alarm went again, destroying the building, some records and damaging others.
Elks’ administration members still have some old damaged records, such as per capita tax forms, membership forms, and should you remove some of the paneling in the basement, you can still see the charred timbers and old black concrete pillars.
The building was reconstructed again on the same site, which happens to be the present site of the Elks building.
A number of renovations have occurred since reconstruction in 1960.
The mortgage to the Elks building was burned in 1978. However, they were forced to lease their auditorium in 1985 and the lounge was closed in 1993 as they could not make ends meet.
The lodge membership peaked in the 1970s at 460 members.
Today, the membership is 21 with six active members and an average age of 75 years.
The Elks national charity is The Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children and support a charity in each province.
Saskatchewan’s charity is called Saskatchewan Pediatric Auditory Rehabilitation Centre (SPARC), a speech and hearing facility located in the Saskatchewan University Hospital in Saskatoon. Parents of young children from birth to 19 years of age can apply to the fund through the local Elk lodges for help with medical expenses, travel, motels, meals, etc.
The Swift Current Elks have assisted many families in the Swift Current area.
The Swift Current Lodge is associated and supports the Saskatchewan Elks Association/Foundation.
The Foundation has established and sponsor homes in eight communities throughout Saskatchewan, which they call The Elks Senior Homes, a total of 131 units in all.
The Swift Current Elks Lodge No. 8 has supported and donated to many local charities, clubs, teams, organizations, foundations, etc. throughout the 95 years of service to Swift Current community and area, such as 23 years sponsorship of free swimming and skating for 12 and under; furnishing a room in the new Cypress Regional Hospital; furnishing the Meadows community centre; sponsoring bands, choirs, music festivals, etc.; supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association, Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Salvation Army, Red Cross, and many other requests as received.
In preparation for handing in its charter, the Swift Current Elks Lodge No. 8 has recently made a number of generous donations to various organizations.
One is a donation of $5,000 to the Functionally Integrated Program at the Swift Current Comprehensive High School.
This donation will be used to purchase Snoezelen items, which are multi-sensory products that help to create relaxing spaces to reduce agitation and anxiety while encouraging learning, communication and social interaction.
A donation of $1,500 to the Swift Current Music Festival, will assist winners of the festival’s awards program to further their music education.
A donation of $300 towards the activity department at the Meadows long-term care centre will be used to enhance the programs provided by the department.
A donation of $1,000 to the Swift Current Oratorio Choir will be directed to the spring performance of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins and assist in the rental of the visual imagery used during the performance.
A cheque of $5,000 to the national president of the Elks of Canada, Denis Ellingboe, will be put towards the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children.
A donation of $2,000 to the Swift Current SPCA will be used for the care of animals at the shelter.
A cheque of $5,000 to the Elks provincial representative Kyle Stevenson will be forwarded to the provincial SPARC program.
A donation of $5,000 to the Swift Current Community Youth Initiative will support youth activities at The Centre.
A donation of $5,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association Swift Current Branch will be used to fund programming and to purchase a barbecue for the meal program.
A donation of $5,000 to the Saskatchewan Abilities Council Swift Current Branch will support a new program for youth, the Youth Employment Program.
A donation of $4,000 to the City of Swift Current will be used for free swimming and skating for youth ages 12 and younger.
There was also a total donation of $7,500 to the  cadet program in Swift Current, consisting of three individual donations of $2,500 each to the 605 Tarry Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets, the 259 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Drylander and the 128 Navy League Cadet Corps Prairie Schooner.

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