Last Monday, the Sparks Chapter of the Moose had a special guest visitor to encourage them as they work towards meeting a goal of 100 members, up from their current 85 members. Supreme Governor, Terry L. Walls, had been traveling through Central California making numerous stops with the Sparks Chapter pep talk being the last on his journey before he returned to his home base of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Walls’ stopover in the area was more than just about delivering another canned speech or charity organization rhetoric, his was more of an impassioned commentary about what it means to be a Moose. According to the Supreme Governor, the night was so important, the timing right on track, because the Sparks Moose would be looking for their own lodge shortly, as soon as they meet the 100 member goal, they are eligible to have their own meeting space, providing they can pay for it.
What exactly is a Moose?
The Moose organization began in 1888 as a social group for men, as a form of community and social gathering place and a place to celebrate life together. Through the years, though, the Moose have expanded their vision and mission to focus on family, children, and supporting the elderly. Through Mooseheart Child City and School, a residential childcare facility and school, and Moosehaven, a retirement community, members are assured they will have a place to go when they retire, should they so desire, and there is a place to go for children and families for certain circumstances where everything will be handled for them, all through the fundraisers and donations of the Moose.
Besides donations to their own charitable organizations, Moose members, upwards of 1,000,000, contribute between $75 – $100 million worth of community service each year, including monetary donations, community service, and driving hours. One of their most notable programs is Tommy Moose, a plush moose given to emergency personnel for use in crisis situations when a child is involved, the cuddly stuffed toy is sometimes just what is needed to relieve the anxiety of a youngster.
Supreme Governor Walls, a Moose since 1980, now a Lifetime Member, could not help from smiling as he went on about all it means to be a moose. He talked about benefits to being a member, Moosehaven, Mooseheart, camaraderie, fundraising, but when asked if he could use only one word to describe the organization, what would that word be, he responded quickly. “Family,” he declared, “we are what I call a chosen family.”
Why did the Supreme Governor come for a visit?
Since the men in this chapter have been meeting, they have been using a hall at the Elks’ Lodge; while the Elks have been hospitable, the Moose would prefer to have their own private space to meet, plan charitable events, and spend time with their families and friends. Sparks has been without a lodge for 17 years making this an exciting challenge to members, including Sparks Moose Governor, Ron Rehn, who had a few words to say as well, “Reach out into our communities and help out and have fun.”
Rehn did not let it go without saying the Women of the Moose are incredibly valuable to the organization and the Sparks members are working on their charter hoping to get enough members soon, while the men need 100, the women need 25. About the Moose women, Rehn remarked about how important they are and the ambience of the room, “They do so much, so often. If the women had been in charge of setting up the event tonight, there would be decorations on the walls and tablecloths.”
If you would like more information on becoming a Moose please contact Sparks Moose Governor, Ron Rehn at 775.624.1947 or go to www.mooseintl.org.