Nearly 150 years ago, in 1867, a group of actors and entertainers joined to create a group known as the Jolly Corks. Within a few months, a few members of this group lead by Charles Vivian, created a spin off group with the primary intent to serve the community by supporting other service organization and individuals such as Scouting, Veterans, and even educational scholarships.
They did this with the foundations of Brotherly Love, Justice, Charity, and Fidelity. Known as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, members worked hard to ensure the well-being of families, friends, and associates.
Like many organizations, they created a rite of passage through an initiation that spoke to the four virtues as well as patriotism, all of which served as the ground work for their efforts and ethics.
With a flair for the dramatic and to inspire the hearts of the new initiates, each premise of Brother Love, Justice, Charity and Fidelity has been presented in such a way as to create a lasting impression on the new member.
Today, there are still lodges whose dedications to these principals fire the imagination with the initiation process. Moreover, no small amount of practice is devoted to the Ritual Contest event. Once a year, the lodges that still hold this process in high regard, compete within their district and awards are presented based on the abilities to execute, deliver, and inspire both as an individual (each officer may be awarded high marks based on their performance) and as a team. As in many other competitions, the winning team then proceeds to their state association to compete and finally, a National Champion is awarded during the Grand Lodge Convention.
With busy schedules and demanding lives, the time that each officer devotes to memorizing their charge and learning to work as a team regardless of their competition placement, is worthy of commendation (yes, there are many elements involved including enunciation of specific words, body angles and synchronization – think Olympics and you’ll be on the right track :)). Should you happen to be privileged to observe this event – I hope you will take the time to consider what transpired to create this hour of honor and renewed sense of purpose.
This year West Central Coast District would like to congratulate the Ritual Team from the Metropolitan District, Santa Clarita Elks Lodge #2379 for their well-deserved 5th Place National finish.
Seated: All-State, Gerald Strohm Award Winner, Exalted Ruler Tina Jackson with CHEA President Lance Erickson
Standing Left to Right:
- All-State Coach, PDDGER Jay Larkins, CHEMPI Trustee /
- All-State Coach, PDDGER Kelvin Swanson /
- All-American, All-State Lodge Chaplain, John Rivetti, PER /
- All-State Lodge Esquire, Rick Veiga /
- Esteemed Loyal Knight Roger Lowe /
- All-American, All-State Esteemed Lecturing Knight Gary Keener /
- All-American, All-State Candidate Michael Lowrance /
- Esteemed Leading Knight Maurice Hamilton /
- Lodge Tiler Don Greenwood /
- Lodge Inner Guard Richard Snyder