Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:42

Shaunavon Elks member is new provincial leader

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Shaunavon resident Andy Cox is the new president of the Saskatchewan Elks Association for 2012-13.

He was installed in his new position during the 83rd annual Saskatchewan Elks Association conference that took place in conjunction with the 18th Royal Purple provincial conference in Swift Current from June 7-9.
Cox, who has been an Elks member for 26 years, is currently the secretary of the Elks Lodge in Shaunavon.
“Two years before you come in as president you approach a lodge you’d like to have it host for you,” he said. “I approached Swift Current to see if they could host it because in Shaunavon we just don’t have the hotel rooms, especially not with the oil boom.”
He considers the Elks to be an important organization because many programs are focused on helping children. Their national charity, the Elks and Royal Purple Fund for Children, provides financial assistance to children in need and also provides support to charitable programs that address the needs of children with hearing and speech disorders.
Within the province, the Saskatchewan Pediatric Auditory Rehabilitation Centre (SPARC) provides auditory-verbal therapy and rehabilitation services to children. The Elks and Royal Purple’s annual fall walk-a-thon helps to raise funds for SPARC, which is located at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
“As the president of the province, I’d say my role is to be a facilitator, a figure head, but not a boss or a dictator,” Cox said. “None of us are that. We all work together, we come to a consensus on what we need to do.”
There was a lot of discussion during the conference proceedings, as the two organizations made plans for the coming year.
“At every convention or conference we always have a lot of things to talk over,” said outgoing president Ron Potter. “Some of it is money, some of it is just regulations that we need to adhere to. Everything changes and evolves, so you have to keep up with the times.”
Potter, who is a member of the Moosomin Elks lodge, enjoyed the opportunity to interact with members across the province during his term.
“We do have a lot of fun, but we make it that way so our members enjoy what they’re doing,” he said. “The gratifying part of it is to be able to see a child that we have helped or a family.”
There are around 62 Elks lodges in Saskatchewan with about 2,400 members.
“We’re trying to retain those, but some of those communities are getting smaller and smaller and the bigger centres are getting bigger,” Potter said.
Colleen MacDonald from Choiceland is the outgoing president of the Saskatchewan Royal Purple. They have approximately 38 lodges in the province with around 2,000 members.
“Probably the biggest challenge right now is getting new members,” she said.”It seems like the folks nowadays don’t want to commit themselves to organizations as much ... but we’re working hard to get new members and we’ve done pretty good this past year.”
Grand Leading Knight Robert Larsen came from Grande Prairie, Alta., to represent the Elks of Canada at the meeting. He said the provincial meetings are important events for members to celebrate victories and to share problems.
In addition to finding new and younger members, he felt the organization is facing a challenge to educate people about what it is doing because a lot of their work is done quietly.
“We respect those who we help,” he said. “If they got a problem, they don’t want people to know about it. The Elks and Royal Purple will help them unconditionally.”

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