Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Pam Martin

Boulder Elks launch capital campaign


January 28, 2017

Courtesy photo Ringing in the New Year, Boulder Elks Lodge #566 held a popular casino night, which brought out the old and the young.

National fraternal organizations, including the Freemasons and Kiwanis International, are experiencing a decline in their memberships—with older members dying off and difficulty convincing younger recruits of the relevance of these long-standing institutions.

Founded on community-and-civic-minded fun in 1900, the Boulder Elks Lodge #566 is no exception. Also known as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the lodge at 3975 28th St. once had a thriving 4,000-person membership 30 years ago, but it’s dwindled to about 400, according to Niwot resident and Elks club member, Kim Hawksworth.

“The facility’s not going to last at this rate,” Hawksworth said, adding that membership sales are what make the lodge financially sustainable. “And it’s such an asset to the community.”

In response to sagging memberships, Hawksworth recently launched a Gofundme campaign aimed to raise $125,000. Funds are slated to provide a new roof on the Youth Activity Building (where Boy Scout Troop #77 meets), outdoor swimming pool upgrades (along with repairs to the Snack Shack), and exterior and interior upgrades to the lodge, including energy efficiency improvements.

Updates will provide the minimum to keep the compound “holding up,” said Hawksworth. “It’s got that 70s vintage vibe,” she continued, and the plan is to keep that look, while providing enough upgrades to lighten and brighten the facility. “But the pool was resurfaced recently” to the tune of $50,000, she said. “None of [these upgrades] come cheap.”

The lodge offers a place where people of all ages can mingle, “network, hold parties and weddings, develop lasting friendships and spend time with the family,” wrote Hawksworth in a press release. “We’re looking for the community’s help in appealing to the greater Boulder area population.”

Currently the lodge offers a 30,000 square-foot community center and a 25-meter pool that’s open to the public (and includes lap lanes, a leisure area and dive well). Hawksworth’s husband, Geoff, is the pool manager and this summer will serve his second season as the coach for the Elks’ swim league team.

The lodge offers large event and meeting space for rent, a full bar, and on the grounds, the Elks provide Friday night poolside barbecues throughout the summer. “About 100 to 200 people come out,” Hawksworth said. “It’s this unknown secret, and yet it’s so great for young families.”

The lodge also loans out medical equipment—such as walkers and wheel chairs—and provides scholarships for local public school students, in addition to sponsoring the Boulder Elks Summer Swim League Team (all available and open to the public, including non-members). For non-member families, summer pool memberships cost $320 (for up to five people), while members pay $270. The daily pool drop-in rate is $7.

The Elks are not a religious-pushing organization, according to Hawksworth, but the membership oath mentions a belief in God. “But you don’t have to say what God you believe in,” she said, adding that while it may feel restrictive to some, she respects the spirit of the original tenets of the organization.

For more information visit http://www.boulderelks.com, or to make a tax-deductible contribution visit http://www.gofundme.com/bouldercommunityservicesandelkspool (Boulder Elks Youth Services, 501(c)3, tax ID 93-1332925), or stop by the lodge between 9:30 am – 4 pm Tuesday or Thursday, or 10 am – 2:30 pm Wednesday or Friday.


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