History has been made at Scottsdale Elks Lodge #2148 with the election of its youngest woman as Exalted Leader for the first time in its 60-year history.
Anna Mineer elected as the 2021-2022 Exalted Ruler, becoming also the youngest woman to be elected to that position in the history of the entire West District, which consists of 12 lodges.
“It’s really exciting,” said Mineer, who has been a member of the Lodge for four years. “Our lodge is very progressive.”
Until 1995, the Elks had traditionally been an all-male fraternal order. But now, Scottsdale Elks Lodge #2148 welcomes an increasing number of female members.
“People don’t think of the Elks Lodge and think of me, a young female, being the ER,” she continued.
As ER, which is similar to the president of an organization, Mineer leads the lodge’s officers, committee chairs and members in supporting people and organizations in need.
Mineer’s goals include continuing to raise funds to support various local charities, particularly veterans’ and children’s charities.
“I am honored to serve this amazing organization and continue to raise funds to support our local charities,” Mineer said. “Our members are unbelievably generous and after the trials of 2020, I know we are all ready to get back out into the community. Our charitable efforts focus on veterans and children in need; however, Elks are here to assist the entire community.”
For Mother’s Day, the Lodge hosted an event where moms ate for free while others paid $10 for the meal. The money raised benefited Scottsdale nonprofit Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, which helps homeless families return to independence.
For Memorial Day, they’re working with the local chapter of PTSD Foundation of America, a residential program that provides whole-person treatment for combat veterans suffering from combat-related PTSD.
“Last year was obviously really difficult for everyone. We weren’t able to get out there. So, this year, we are doing a heavy focus on our charity work because now we’re able to get back to regular business. We can help these charities that have been shut down by COVID or have not received the donations they would normally get,” Mineer said.
The lodge also has a handful of events already scheduled for the rest of the year, including their annual Christmas shopping event for underprivileged Scottsdale school children, and their annual charity ball.
“We’re trying to keep it super-local to benefit our community and let people know who the Elks are,” Mineer said.
Established in 1868 in New York City, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a nonprofit organization that provides charitable services to help build stronger communities.
The Elks organization invests in local communities through programs that “help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life.”
In fact, the order spends more than $80 million every year on “educational and patriotic community-minded programs” that benefit children, veterans, and others in need.
Scottsdale Elks Lodge #2148 is one of nearly 2,000 lodges in the country.
It was established in 1960 and is dubbed “the original and still friendliest lodge in Arizona.”
Located off 64th and Oak streets, #2148 has volleyball courts, a kitchen, an outdoor patio with horseshoes, and a lounge with shuffleboard, a bar, pool tables, pinball machines, a dart board, large screen TVs, a jukebox and more.
Plus, it’s bursting with history: This particular Elks Lodge is the only one that was part of a former WWII POW Camp. It housed German prisoners of war, and it was reportedly responsible for the largest escape of German POWs during WWII.
“It’s very different than what people think of an Elks Lodge,” Mineer said.
For example, a common misconception about the Elks is members have to be a veteran.
“And you don’t,” Mineer said. “It’s a great community to be a part of. Our lodge also has the youngest average age in our district.”
One of Mineer’s responsibilities as ER is to ensure the Lodge welcomes new members, and so far, she’s done just that – and then some: In April, it added 32 new members.
“It is way more than is normal for us,” Mineer stressed. “We’ve actually done really well with recruitment.”
“We’re definitely seeing more younger females, and that’s why I wanted to get this story out,” Mineer said. “I wanted people to understand that it’s not what you would expect when you think of an Elks Lodge.”
Mineer credits the lodge’s growth to its many features and amenities, as well as their charitable efforts.
“When someone comes in, they’re shocked by what they see,” Mineer said. “It’s just a very young, fun crowd. We have a lot to offer when it comes to a place that is comfortable and you’re giving back to charity at the same time. “
Members widely range in age, from 21 to over 90.
“That’s what makes it such a great community is there’s every age, every interest,” Mineer said. “It’s a full mixing pot.”
The lodge is so well-received, they currently have more than 100 people who have applied that have yet to be initiated.
Information: elks.org; Facebook: Elks Lodge 2148