HANDICAPPED CHILDREN COMMITTEE
" .... For handicapped children under the age of nineteen, who are lame or who have lost, totally or partially, or who do not or who have never enjoyed the use of their limb or limbs, or by reason of some other physical disability, have lost, totally or partially, or who do not or who have never enjoyed the use of their limb or limbs, or who are otherwise physically infirm or mentally retarded."
New Jersey State Elks Association
Handicapped Children Committee
Articles Of Incorporation
What a wealth of meaning there are in those words. We, as Elks, have continually taken a great deal of pride in talking about our Handicapped Children Committee's work. However deeds are always better than words. Our work means sacrifice of time, patience, understanding, love of neighbor, and a deep respect of our beloved Order. We can do this best by seeing that any handicapped child needing assistance in any community in our state is cared for by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. Our aim is to help them become self-sustaining and useful citizens so that in the future they may enjoy a happy normal life.
The Elk Lodges of New Jersey provide advise and assistance for the caring of Handicapped Children of every race, color, and creed. More than 100 Handicapped Children have received college scholarships. Over 2400 children participate in the annual Poster Contest each year. The Elks maintain clinics, hiring competent nurses, therapists, pediatricians, psychologists, and teachers to help restore children with disabilities. Operations are provided where necessary, crutches, wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, are furnished at no charge. Artificial limbs, braces, special shoes, glasses, hearing aids, are also furnished.
Each year the Committee awards two Scholarships to Handicapped Seniors in High School based on scholarship need. One scholarship each for a boy and girl for $1,500.00 per year for four years. Each year a total of $12,000.00 is awarded in scholarships to handicapped students by the New Jersey State Elks Association Handicapped Children Committee.
Each year the Committee selects four Poster Children from the different areas of the State of New Jersey. Each child is sponsored by a local Elks Lodge. The New Jersey State Elks Association honors these Poster Children by bringing them to fund-raisers, and to further the objectives of the Committee. An escort is provided for the Poster Child and the family. Upon then end of the year as Poster Children, each is presented with a series "EE" United States Savings Bond in the face value amount of $1,000.00.
Each year throughout the State of New Jersey, the Committee sponsors a Poster Contest to handicapped children with the cooperation of the many special education teachers throughout the State. The prizes are divided into five categories so as to give each handicapped child an equal chance of winning, but more important, participation in the contest. Physically handicapped, handicapped, educable mentally retarded, trainable mentally retarded, multiple handicapped. A total of 21 winners in each district contest and 21 winners in the state contest, as well as Lodge contests annually award over $10,000.00 in prizes to the handicapped in our Poster Contest.
ELKS CAMP MOORE
In 1971, while the New Jersey State Elks Association was looking for a site for a camp, the Trustees of Camp Moore - a camp for underprivileged children that shut down in the 1930's, were looking for someone to carry on their work. The camp was donated with the stipulation that the name of A. Harry Moore, former governor of New Jersey (and PER of Jersey City Lodge 211 & Past State President of the New Jersey State Elks Association) be carried in perpetuity.
Now more than thirty years later, due to the hard work and dedication of many thousands of NJ Elks, Elks Camp Moore - the New Jersey State Elks Major Project, has grown to great proportions. The camp is composed of over 18 modern buildings which are air conditioned and handicapped accessible. Among the buildings stand three modern camper dormitories, a two story dining hall, fully equipped kitchen, arts and crafts room, and a large fully equipped infirmary. The camp also contains a large heated pool that is completely wheelchair accessible.
At the camp each child is challenged to try new things or to improve on what he or she already knows. We encourage each child to do as much as he can for himself and by himself. the guidance of a friendly and understanding counselor is always nearby.
Camp Moore accepts handicapped individuals who are between the ages of 7 and 18 years old. Elks Camp Moore provides for 700-800 camperships each summer with the cost fully paid for by the sponsoring Lodge. There is absolutely no cost to the families.
The director of the camp is selected from the field of Special Education and holds a degree in this area. The counseling and support staff are hired by the director from the United States and other countries around the world. Over 27 countries have been represented at Camp Moore over the years. The staff is fully trained before camp with ongoing training throughout the season. A large majority of the staff return from previous years and are therefore very familiar with the campers and camp life in general. The usual ratio of counselors to campers is 1:2 or many times 1:1.
THE MIRACLE ON THE MOUNTAIN
The description of Elks Camp Moore as "The Miracle on the Mountain" was first coined by Diron "Step" Avedisian, Elks National Service Director, in his nominating speech on behalf of Ed Van Vooren for Grand Esteemed Lecturing Knight at the Grand Lodge Session in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 1990. Ed Van Vooren, who with George W. Schultz, Obie Stetter, and Bill Valentine were on the original Board of Trustees back in 1970 when Camp A. Harry Moore became Elks Camp Moore.
But how did a hilltop collection of tired, worn out buildings in the Ramapo Mountains become what is now considered as a "resort quality summer retreat for handicapped children"? The answer is found in what Elks do best - THEY GIVE. This has been a prime mandate for Elks ever since our benevolent organization was first chartered. And it applies to us in New Jersey specifically, because giving has been a concern to members of the New Jersey Elks Handicapped Children Committee since 1970, when the Elks officially took over administration of Camp Moore for use as a summer encampment for handicapped children.
It remains today, a monument to the dedication and caring of the visionaries who started our camp over 30 years ago, and to those who continue to meet the challenges and needs of our handicapped children.
You can share the vision by becoming a subscriber to our "Miracle On The Mountain Fund." Your tribute to the beloved memory of a relative, friend or associate will live eternally. Your gift will give hope and help to our very Special Children. Every penny of your gift will be used to provide services to those in need. Anyone can take a subscription, they need not be an Elk - just someone who cares and wants to help bring a smile to a handicapped child. Just download the registration form from the link below, and send in your first payment of $10.00. You will receive a reminder each year to make additional payments until you pledge of $100.00 is complete. Ten dollars a year will help us reach the goal where no handicapped child will be denied treatment or a vacation at Camp Moore.