Lake Sammamish Elks Lodge #1843
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This information, gathered to help new members, but also helpful to long-standing members, gives an insight into our organization, its programs, and its purpose.

The Levels of Elkdom

Grand Lodge – This is the national level of our Order, and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.  The national president is known as the Grand Exalted Ruler, and the officer structure is the same as for Lodges.  There is also a Grand Board of Trustees, which is the general fiscal agent, and a Grand Forum, which is the judicial portion.  A national convention is held in July of each year, known as “Grand Lodge”, at which reports are made, and awards are given.  The Exalted Ruler from each Lodge attends this Convention, and reports on it when he/she returns.  There are over 1.1 million members in more than 2100 Lodges.

Washington State Elks Association – Instituted in 1905, the State Association has its offices in Tacoma, WA, and its officers include the President and four Vice Presidents.  It administers the State level of Grand Lodge Programs, as well as its own programs.  It maintains, as its Major Project, the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children, Inc., a non-profit organization which provides free in-home physical therapy to any child in need in Washington State, with a budget of $1.2 million.

Subordinate Lodge – The local Lodges are chartered (established and recognized) by Grand Lodge, and are subject to all its rules and regulations.  Each Lodge is independent, but receives non-monetary support and guidance from both Grand Lodge and the State Association.


Americanism – The Elks are a truly patriotic organization, and were the originators of Flag Day.  Each year, at the June Lodge meeting closest to Flag Day (or on Flag Day), each Lodge performs a beautiful Flag Day ceremony which shows and explains the many flags from our history.  Grand Lodge sponsors an Americanism essay contest for youth each year, and the State Association promotes Americanism projects and programs throughout the State.

Audit & Accounting – Each Lodge has its own Audit & Accounting Committee, which ensures that the financial records of the Lodge are properly kept, and that periodic and annual reports are made on time.  They engage an accountant to review and/or audit the books of the Lodge, and prepare and maintain the Lodge’s budget.  See also District Deputy Team.

BUCKS – This acronym stands for Birthday Utopian Crippled Kiddies Service, and was established in July, 1924, in support of the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital (now known simply as Children’s Hospital) in Seattle.  We have been one of their major contributors and supporters ever since.

Convention – There are three conventions each year, one national and two state.  The national convention, known as “Grand Lodge” is held in July each year, in different cities.  The state conventions are held twice each year, in January (known as “Mid-Winter”) during which elections are held for the coming year’s officers, and June (known as “Summer”) during which Installation of new officers is performed.  The Exalted Ruler is required to attend all three Conventions, and the Esteemed Leading Knight, Secretary, and Chairman of the Board are required to attend the State Conventions.  The Mid-Winter is generally held in the Seattle metropolitan area, and the Summer is generally held in Eastern Washington.

Disaster & Relief—The WSEA Disaster and Relief Committee functions as a two-part committee.  The first portion is a disaster portion, which operates when it is notified of a need.  This portion of the committee is to evaluate the nature of the disaster, and determine if involvement is warranted.  The second, as a relief portion, will assist in specific needs of the disaster victims or communities affected.

District Deputy Team—The District Deputy (DD) is appointed by the Grand Exalted Ruler as his representative, and serves a one-year term from Grand Lodge to Grand Lodge.  The Team consists of the DD, his/her Esquire, and his/her Auditor.  They are directed to visit each Lodge in their District, and to examine all the books and records (including separate corporations controlled and/or maintained by the Lodge), verify the amount and adequacy of insurance coverage, grade the performance of the Lodge Officers in their Ritual of initiation, inspect, examine, and report upon the physical and safety conditions of the Lodge, and make recommendations relative to those conditions.  Most of this is done during a pre-visit, or Audit, then the Team returns for the official visit on a Lodge night.  The DD also conducts Clinics three times per year, which are to be attended by the Exalted Ruler, Leading Knight, Secretary, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  Any member can attend these Clinics, which are extremely informative.  The Clinics are held in August, January, and April.

Drug Awareness—The Drug Awareness program educates and informs individuals of all ages on the effects of substance abuse through the use of Grand Lodge program and materials.  The Drug Awareness Committee is active throughout the State and provides assistance to Lodges in establishing an active program with the aid of Grand Lodge materials and funds.  Funds for the state program are received from the Elks National Foundation.

Elks National Foundation—With a grant of $100,000 in 1927, the Elks National Foundation was established in 1928 as the charitable arm of the Elks.  Today, the Foundation has a market value of more than $320 million.  The Foundation is a public, non-profit, tax-exempt corporation (501(c)(3)).  Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible, and can be made through the Lodge, or on-line at  In 2003-2004, the Foundation will distribute more than $14.8 million for Americanism, scholarships, Drug Awareness, Hoop Shoot, Soccer Shoot, Veterans, and the National Home.  For Washington, the funds are administered by the State Association, and the average return for our donations is $1.29 for every dollar donated.

Elks National Home—The Elks National Home is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwest Virginia, on 200 acres of rolling farmland.  Bedford is located on U.S. 460, midway between Roanoke and Lynchburg.  The Home is available for members in good standing who are at least 62 years of age, and have been Elks for at least five years.

Flag Day—One June 14 of each year, or on a Lodge night closest to that date, the Lodge holds “Flag Day Services”, in accordance with standard Ritual.  During this program, the Lodge may conduct public programs which may include a parade of the various flags of our history, and the narrated History of the Flag.

Float Sub-Committee—The State Association maintains a self-propelled parade float, which may be used by Lodges in local parades.  There is a nominal fee for its use, and application must be made well in advance.  Members and their families, as well as local dignitaries, are encouraged to participate in the parade with or on the float.

Government Relations—The purpose of this committee is to protect the fundamental American right of free association and preserve the social and economic future of all private, voluntary associations of individuals.  To protect our constitutional right of private assembly, private association, and the exercise of free choice with regard to these rights.  Its scope is to establish within the State Association a network of informed members who will monitor, analyze, and report on all legislative, regulatory and legal matters in areas of concern; to keep all legislators and local government officials informed of the purpose and programs of the B.P.O.E.; and to advise their district and state leaders of political developments in their local community.

Hoop Shoot—The Hoop Shoot Program, also known as the Elks National Free Throw Contest, involves boys and girls eight to thirteen years of age, in three age groups, 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13.  It begins with contests within the schools, to determine who will compete for each Lodge.  The shooter with the most “made” baskets, out of 25 attempts, is the winner.  If there is a tie, there are shoot-offs of 5 attempts each, until a winner can be determined.  The Lodge winners then compete in District contests, then State, then Regional.  Regional winners are sponsored to the National Contest in Springfield, MA, home of the National Basketball Hall of Fame.  National Winners have their names engraved on a plaque which hangs in the Hall of Fame, and are guests of Grand Lodge at the annual Convention.

Lodge Activities—The purpose of this committee is to assist Lodges in establishing a strong Lodge Activities Program which will encourage Lodge membership participation.  It also promotes participation by Lodges in Grand Lodge and State Association Contests.  Lodge Activities includes all functions which foster fellowship and promote good will amongst the membership.  Grand Lodge and State Association Contests encourage Lodge participation in sponsored programs and recognize individual and group efforts.

Long Range Planning—The Lodge’s Long Range Planning Committee works to determine methods of attaining our goals, and includes/has included the remodeling of the building. 

Membership—This is one of the most important committees any Lodge, or organization, can have.  We must ensure that we not only obtain new members, but retain and involve our current members.  It is important that we continually strive to keep our members active and interested in our activities, and our Lodge as a whole.

Memorial Day Committee—The Elks celebrate Elks Memorial Day on the first Sunday in December of each year, and hold Memorial Services.  Since Lodges are usually not open on Sundays, the Service may be conducted on a Lodge Night.

Most Valuable Student—Scholarships are a major focus of the Elks, who provide more than $4 million to deserving students nationwide each year.  Locally, our Scholarship Chairman solicits applications from all local high schools, organizes a team to judge them, and then submits the top three boys and top three girls to the District level for judging.  District winners are then forwarded to the State Association, where they have a guarantee of a scholarship of at least $1,000.  The top six boys and the top six girls are then sent to National, where they may be awarded at least $1,000.  In addition to these scholarships, the Elks also offer Legacy Awards to children and grandchildren of Elks, and Vocational Grants to those who are seeking certification in a trade.

Organ Donor Program—The purpose is to assist LifeCenter Northwest (LCNW) in presenting the Organ Donor program to all Elks in Washington State at open Lodge meetings where the program can be discussed with members and their families.  To assist LCNW in spreading the Organ Donor program throughout the communities we serve by helping gain access to various community organization meetings, by setting up displays at various community events (i.e. fairs, etc), and by assisting LCNW in their programs.  To provide LCNW any other assistance as may be deemed appropriate by the WSEA Executive Committee.  The scope is to establish within the WSEA a network of informed members who will assist LCNW in its endeavors to obtain an increase in the number of organs available for transplant throughout Washington State.

Past Exalted Rulers Association—All those who have served our Lodge as Exalted Rulers (Presidents) automatically belong to this group, and are responsible for mentoring other Lodge Officers, and providing guidance and other services to the Lodge.

Public Relations—The Public Relations Committee, through effective communications, will relate to the public our purpose, aims, and goals and to publicize the good deeds of our Order.  It will maintain a program that will inform the public about special events within the State Association and local lodges; to educate the public to the work being done by the State Association and the local Lodges; to urge the public to assist the Lodges in these undertakings.

Ritual—The Elks care deeply about the Ritual performed in our Lodges.  This includes the opening and closing “ceremonies”, the Initiation of new Members, as well as other programs, such as Flag Day, Memorial Day, and Mother’s Day.  Each year, Lodges compete in a Ritual Contest in which they perform the Initiation Ritual, all of which must be memorized.  Competition begins at the District Level, with winners advancing to the State Level, and the State Winner performs at the National Convention.

Student Hosting—If a Lodge is fortunate to have a State or National winner of Scholarships, Hoop Shoot, Soccer Shoot, or other Grand Lodge Program, they are responsible for the hosting of that winner at the State Convention.  Special, dedicated funds are raised for that purpose.

Therapy Program—The Washington State Elks Association’s Major Project is the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children, Inc. (WETP), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing physical and occupational therapy to children, in their homes, at no cost to the families.  The Program is also known as “Tall Elks” or “Tall Ladies”, a term derived from the program’s motto:  “An Elk never stands so TALL as when he reaches to help a child in need.”  The Program’s existence and success depends on contributions from Tall Elks, Tall Ladies, Coin Boxes (small milk-carton-shaped boxes to collect your loose change to contribute to the program), Memorials, Honor Gifts, and Bequests.  Only with the support of Washington Elks and other Friends of the Program can they continue to make a difference in the lives of these young people.

Training—Each year, the State Association provides training to officers, and any interested members, at one of the Lodges.  It is an extremely informative session, and everyone is encouraged to attend.  Originally termed “Leading Knight’s Training”, it became “Officers’ Training” to include everyone.

Veterans—The Elks have always been proud supporters of our Veterans, and declare that “So long as there are Veterans, the Elks will never forget them”.  On the fifth Tuesday (usually once a quarter), a group from our Lodge goes to the Veterans’ Hospital in Seattle, and provides sandwiches, fruit, punch, and coffee to the Veterans, and play Bingo with them, giving script as prizes.  We also have the Adopt-a-Vet program, where we focus on one particular Veteran, and attend to his/her needs, such as clothing, or batteries for an electric wheelchair. 

Vocational Grants—A part of the Scholarship program, these Grants allow students to attend a vocational or technical college, to receive certification in a trade.

Youth Activities—This vital Committee prepares, supervises, and conducts programs for the youth of the community, and has charge, supervision, and responsibility for all youth programs of the Lodge.   


PER—Past Exalted Ruler

Wet-Pea—pronunciation of the initials of the Washington Elks Therapy Program (WETP) 

Officers (in order of rank)

Exalted Ruler

Esteemed Leading Knight

Esteemed Loyal Knight

Esteemed Lecturing Knight





Inner Guard






Let us know if there are any events or updates you would like to share with fellow members.