Bowling for Our Kids

Announcements, Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children

Sunday, October 1, 2023. As the sun dawned over the North Cascades and cast its rays over Skagit Valley, the area once again welcomed a herd of visitors. Historically; tulips, festivals, oysters, salmon, and Dungeness crab have been Skagit Valley’s prime attractions. However, on this particular Sunday, there was a distinct difference: the arriving herd seemed a tad prouder, a touch taller.

The reason? Riverside Lanes Bowling Alley had become the hotspot for Washington Elks, who gathered to support the Washington Elks Therapy Program for Children. It’s often said that Elks never stand taller than when they’re stooping to assist a child in need. And on this day, Elks stood in testament to this creed.

By 11 AM, Past Exalted Ruler LaVon Henson welcomed Benjamin and I into Mount Vernon Elks Lodge #1604, preparing the venue for the “After Party.” With the clock striking noon, over 120 Elks from 16 different lodges, along with a program participant, his mother, and other guests, began arriving over at the Bowling Alley. Esteemed Lecturing Knight Jody Peters and I managed the registration, ensuring every bowler was accounted for. Riverside Lanes generously offered their facility at a discount, with a portion of each fee directly benefiting the therapy program. By 1:30 PM, every lane, all 24 in the building, buzzed with enthusiastic bowlers.

The festivities didn’t stop at bowling. Past Exalted Ruler Kay Bell-Springer and Patty Kohler, among others from Anacortes Lodge #1204, took charge of the raffles, which included 50/50 tickets and a bowling ball generously donated by Riverside Lanes. By 4pm the bowling fun began winding down and it was time to shift on over to the Mount Vernon Lodge – right next door! At least 75 fun-loving Elks made their way over to the Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge for an After Party where Past Exalted Ruler Scott Knight, Burien Lodge #2143, helped bartend while his wife Patty sold raffle tickets for the 11 incredible raffle baskets and prizes.

I must give a nod here to Past Exalted Ruler Wendy Cook and her husband Dominic from Everett Lodge #479, who ensured every attendee had a hot slice of lodge cooked pizza in hand. Thank you both for making sure the crowd was well fed.

And speaking personally, this event would have been an uphill task without the unwavering support of my husband, North District Vice President Benjamin Braden. From planning to building trophies, to bartending, he did everything that was asked and more.

This event showcased the unity and strength of our Elks community. While we raised just over $4,000 for the Therapy Program, the event’s true success lay in the networking and bonding of Elks from diverse lodges across our state.

The high of the event? The accolades and feedback that poured in. Many relished the chance to interact with fellow Elks, sharing stories and ideas. It took a team to make this day a reality, and I’m forever grateful for every hand that pitched in. To Mount Vernon Lodge, a special thank you for opening your doors for us and letting us take over your lodge for a day, Thank you.

Our heartfelt gratitude extends to the Washington Elks office staff, whose dedication and continued effort ensures the Therapy Program’s success. Tammy, Patty & Steve, thank you from all of us.

Closing on a positive, the High Team Score Trophy was claimed by one of the teams from Forks Elks Lodge #2524. They’re now primed to host another big bowling fundraiser. Exciting times lie ahead!

– Jennifer Braden
North District Therapy Program Trustee


A breakdown of the day’s fundraising is below, all these funds are donations to the WA State Elks Therapy Program for Children:

  • Bowling Tournament Entry – $8 per player x 100 bowlers = $800
    • The entry funds will be attributed to each individual member getting credit for their donation. If the bowler is a spouse or guest then the $8 donation for that guest is designated from the Lodge they bowled with.
  • Bowling Score Guess Game raised $70
    • Bowlers were asked to guess what their final score would be – the winner guessed correctly, exactly correct.
  • Live Auction of a donated BBQ Basket raised $500
    • The Auction winner’s donation will be credited to them in the system.
  • “Pass the Hat” at the after party organized by members of Oak Harbor Elks raised $365.
    • These will be credited as a donation from the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge 2362
  • $40 Cash Donations from two Elks from Gig Harbor Lodge 2560 who drove up to spectate and enjoy the festivities.
    • These will be credited as individual donations from these members.
  • $378 raised by a 50/50 Raffle at the Bowling Alley
    • This donation will be coming in from Anacortes Elks Lodge 1204
  • $269 raised by a raffle of a new bowling ball (donated by Riverside Lanes)
    • This donation will be coming in from Anacortes Elks Lodge 1204
  • $1,054 raised by raffles baskets/prizes at the After Party
    • This donation will be coming in from Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge 1604
  • $455.75 raised in donations for the efforts of the volunteer bartenders at the After Party
    • This donation will be coming in from Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge 1604
  • $85.53 raised in donations (after food costs are reimbursed) for pizza served at the After Party
    • This donation will be coming in from Everett Elks Lodge 479

The Grand Total raised at this event = $4,017.28