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Joining the Elks Lodge

Updated on May 19, 2011

Ready to Join the Elks Lodge?

This lens will guide you through the steps of becoming a member of an Elks Lodge. All lodges are a little different but the rules regarding membership are standard everywhere. It's as easy as one two three easy!

Why Should I Join Now?

Times Change

More than likely you have heard of the Elks Lodge. Perhaps your Dad or Grandpa was an Elk. What you may not know is that the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks or BPOE, has been changing.

This old fraternal order ain't what it used to be.

In 1996 the Order of Elks found itself shifting amidst swiftly changing times. In a bid to keep up it voted to allow women to join the organization. Since then many women have joined the ranks. Many were happy just to become loyal members of the order while many more have joined the ranks of Officers of the Lodge.

This big change opened a window of opportunity for many lodges and things are still changing. Now is the best time ever to join the Lodge and become part of the exciting changes that are about to take place.

Below is a brief FAQ to help get you started!

Exactly what is the process of applying for Membership?

1. Visit a Lodge near you.

2. Inquire about membership.

3. Fill out the application.

4. Turn in the application and fees.

5. Pass a simple back-ground check

5. Be voted on by the membership.

6. Be indoctrinated.

6. Be initiated.

It really is that simple!

Do I have to know an Elk?

Absolutely not. Once you show interest in your local lodge it will be easy to find a sponsor.

Is there an age requirement?

You must be 21 or over to join the Lodge.

Why is a back-ground check necessary?

No need for alarm. We simply look for the best in people and for the protection of all we make sure you are who you claim to be.

Do I have to be an American citizen?

Yes. You must currently be an American citizen to join the Order of Elks. Much of what the Order does is based upon a high regard for patriotism. If you are a born and bred American or naturalized citizen you may join.

I've heard that you must believe in God to become an Elk. Is this true?

Yes. The Order of Elks requires that you believe in a higher power.Most lodges now realize that this encompasses a wide array of beliefs. To become an Elk you need not state your personal beliefs but our Obligation reads that you must knowledge one. It is also stated in our Obligation that the Elks will not interfere with your personal religious doctrine.

I'm not sure I will 'fit' in.

As part of our obligation Elks agree to not interfere with your personal, political or religious opinions. As the door of awareness and tolerance opens wider across the globe, so it does within the Elks Lodge

I thought the Elks was a "men only" club.

Originally the Lodge was strictly male only. All that changed in 1996 when a rule was passed to allow women to join.

Is it expensive?

Each lodge is responsible for setting their own yearly dues. Most lodges keep dues at a very reasonable rate. At my lodge dues are $87.50. Many lodges have special programs that allow you to pay a smaller portion of your yearly dues at a time. Just ask.

What is Indoctrination?

Indoctrination will be held after you have been voted on and accepted by the Membership. There you will learn more about the organization and your particular lodge. You will most likely be introduced to some of the Officers and Committee people at that time. Indoctrination is your chance to ask questions, so take advantage of it!

I've heard Initiations are weird. What goes on there?

Yeah we've heard that too! Elks take Initiation into their organization very seriously. In a very solemn and touching Elks only ceremony, you will be instructed on the principals of our Order which are based on justice, charity, brotherly love and fidelity. You will then be introduced to your fellow lodge brothers and sisters. Nothing scary or creepy goes on there.

I don't really like meetings.

Of course we encourage all of our Members to attend lodge meetings but many don't. The only meeting you are required to attend is your Initiation meeting.

How 'involved' to I have to be?

There is no involvement requirement in the lodge. Many people choose first to enjoy only the social aspects of membership. This often evolves into more involvement as they learn their way around the Lodge. Keep in mind however that every nickel a lodge makes is poured into its charities so even if you only support your lodges social events you are still giving!

Is the Elks Lodge family oriented?

One of the biggest changes in the Elks is the realization that family matters. Most lodges are working to involve their families more and more. Many lodges now have 'playrooms' or 'game' rooms for children. A child over 12 can now join the Antlers program if the lodge has one. The Antlers are an auxiliary of sorts to the Elks Lodge. A large part of our Obligation specifically states that the lodge will never interfere with your obligation to your home and family.

I travel a lot. Where can I join?

If you have a home base, join the lodge closest to you. If not, join a lodge in the city to where you travel most. Your membership card will allow you to gain access to any Elks Lodge in the nation.

What if I move?

You can always demit to another lodge. Simply ask the Secretary of your current lodge to begin the proper paperwork. Once that is done you will be voted on at the new lodge.

What if I moved but I don't want to demit from my home lodge?

You don't have to. Simply ask for an Associate Membership application. For a small fee you will be issued a key card for the lodge you visit. This will allow you to become an active member of the lodge with the exception of voting on lodge issues at meetings.

What types of Charities do Elks do?

Needy children and adults

Veterans programs

Mentaly challenged adults and children

Food baskets

School support

Drug awareness programs


Are just a few of the projects that most Lodges participate in.

What kind of volunteer opportunities are there?

Deliver food baskets during the holidays. Participate in judging for scholarships. Offer up you special talent for a charitable event. The list is endless. Lodges always need help and you can do anything from working Bingo to janitorial services.

I was an Elk but dropped my dues. Can I rejoin?

Absolutely! We love getting you back. Simply contact your home lodge and ask for a reinstatement form. There will be a small fee involved and you will again be voted on. You will not need to be Initiated again.

Would You Like to Be an Elk?

We want your opinion!

Would you ever concider joining the Benevolent andProtective Order of Elks?

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