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Youth programs are a primary focus of the Elks. Bayonne Lodge sponsors an Explorer Scout Troop, A Little League team, PAL Basketball team, Pop Warner Football, and now for the first time a Soccer team. Each year we honor the City of Bayonne's newest Eagle Scouts. The goal of the Bayonne Lodge of Elks is simply:

Plan and carry out a sound, well balanced and year round youth program that touches the lives of as many of the youths of Bayonne as possible.
Conduct expanded Student and Teenager of the month programs, with proper recognition to those who are selected to be honored for their outstanding achievements.
Encourage good citizenship among the young people of Bayonne through programs designed to increase knowledge of an appreciation for law enforcement.
Expand an on going Scouting program.
Launch a city wide elementary school boys and girls "Elks Soccer Shootout."
Continue to improve on an already National Award winning Youth Week Program.

As a major part of our Youth Program, our Grand Exalted Ruler each year requests all Subordinate Lodges in the Order to set aside and dedicate the first week in May - commencing with May 1st, to the Youth of our Country. Planning special ceremonies, celebrations and events that will be attractive, interesting and beneficial to the youth of Bayonne.

Proclamations from the Governor of New Jersey, Hudson County government, and City of Bayonne Council & Mayor are each year presented to proclaim the first week in May as Elks Youth Week.

Seniors from the various City High Schools are chosen, with the top scholastic achiever being proclaimed "Youth Mayor" of the City of Bayonne.


The Elks National "Elks Soccer Shoot" Program is on the way to your community. Are you ready for it? It doesn't make any difference what area your Lodge jurisdiction covers, there is soccer growing there. Let's grow with it. The heart of this program is cooperation with the local soccer associations, to be an extension of their existing programs, to add recognition for the dedication they have provided to the children they support and coach. Winners progress through Lodge, District, State and Regional Contests up to the National Finals.

Five Goal Contest
This contest is designed for the two youngest competing categories: 7 year-olds & under (U-8) and 8 & 9 year-olds (U10) and consists of a series of five goals. Points are awarded as follows: 1 point per successful goal at the 48" goal; 2 points per successful goal at the 40" goal; 3 points per successful goal at the 34" goal; 4 points per successful goal at the 26" goal and 5 points per successful goal at the 17" goal. The contest proceeds from the largest to the smallest goal from a kick line 15' from the goals with three kicks at each goal. (Details of contest found in Rules of Competition.)

Grid Goal Contest
This contest is designed for the two older competing categories: 10 & 11 year-olds (U-12) and 12 & 13 year-olds (U14) and consists of a grid attached to a full size 24' soccer goal. Points are awarded as follows: 1 point for the center bottom area; 2 points for the bottom left corner and bottom right corner: 3 points for the top center area and 5 points for the top left corner and top right corner. The contest proceeds with 15 kicks from the penalty kick spot located 36' from the center of the goal. (Details of contest found in Rules of Competition.)

What's Your Part?
It is necessary that an active member of your Lodge be appointed as Director (Chairman). Select a member who is interested in promoting the sport of soccer, promoting the B. P 0. Elks and above all promoting the welfare of our youth. Contact your local Youth Soccer Association and offer this program as a reward to their hard work. Rules of Competition are available from your State Soccer Shoot Chairman, State Youth Activities Chairman or Regional Soccer Shoot Chairman.

Elks National "Hoop Shoot" Program
The Elks "Hoop Shoot" Free Throw Contest is the largest and most visible of the many youth activities sponsored by Elks Lodges. More than three million boys and girls, ages 8-13, will participate this year. The Elks "Hoop Shoot" highlights the Elks commitment to America's youth. From the millions of youngsters who participate and advance through local, district, state and regional competition, six national champions are named one boy and one girl in each of three categories: ages 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13. The winners each receive a trophy and their names are inscribed on a plaque at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Parents accompany contestants throughout the competition. The parents of finalists at the state, regional and national levels attend the competitions as guests of the Elks.

How Will the "Hoop Shoot" Benefit Our School and the Children Who Participate? The Elks desire, through their "Hoop Shoot" program, to provide an interesting, character-building, competitive program for all girls and boys in the contest regardless of their previous athletic competition or abilities. This nationwide, sanctioned program gives these youngsters an opportunity for spirited competition, fine relationships with their peers, and travel statewide, regionally and nationally at no expense to their parents or school. Not only are the participants involved in this wholesome, individual-effort program, but parents, classmates, teachers and community are included.

What Are Our School's Obligations in Having a "Hoop Shoot" Program? In most cases schools conduct their own contest under the direction of the physical education instructor, using "Hoop Shoot" rules and school helpers, declaring winners in each of the girls and boys divisions. These school champions then enter the sponsoring Elks Lodge contest to compete with champions from neighboring schools. Your sponsoring Elks Lodge will furnish the necessary materials and assistance for you to conduct your school contest.

Who Organizes and Runs the "Hoop Shoot" Program? Your sponsoring Elks Lodge will assist you in organizing and running your school contest. The Elks will also see that your school winners are notified of their next level of competition, from the local level right up to the national finals.

Who Can Participate in the "Hoop Shoot" Program? The Elks National Free Throw Program is open to all boys and girls, ages 8 through 13, regardless of race or creed.

What Rewards Do the "Hoop Shoot" Winners Receive? The "Hoop Shoot" program provides a constructive, character-building experience for young people who participate. The program allows competition with peers, free from outside influence of parents, coaches, or teammates. It teach young people the importance of developing individual skills. In addition to the mental and physical benefits provided by competing in the "Hoop Shoot" program, all contestants at every level of competition receive certificates of participation and achievement. Winners receive trophies and plaques. The names of national champions are displayed at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

What Is the Cost of Conducting a "Hoop Shoot" Contest, and Who Is Responsible for it? Most schools are equipped with the recess facilities to conduct a "Hoop Shoot" program. School physical education personnel, often assisted by Elks volunteers, normally conduct the school's contest. For district contests and beyond, all costs for materials, transportation, food, and housing are borne by the Order of Elks. The "Hoop Shoot" program is funded by the Elks National Foundation, which is supported by individual and group contributions of members of the Elks.

How Do the Elks Benefit from the "Hoop Shoot" Program?  The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks has always considered the youth of our nation its most treasured natural resource. By affording America's children an opportunity to sharpen individual athletic talents through the largest noncommercial youth coeducational sports program in the nation, we are teaching them lessons of self-discipline, respect, dedication, loyalty and individual responsibility. The contestants are better prepared for the challenges of today's world and tomorrow's productive opportunities.

Youth, Veteran Volunteers
With the decentralization of veterans health care and the decrease in warehousing of veterans at VAMCs, the methods of care we extend to these deserving individuals is fast becoming obsolete. The days of ice cream socials and bingos are just about over.

The challenge facing the Elks National Veterans Service Commission and our volunteers is, "How do we continue Serving Our Nation's Veterans?"

One way that we can continue to enhance the level of comfort for the ailing veterans of our Armed Forces is to involve our youth. For years, the Order of Elks has run programs for our youth - ENF Most Valuable Student Scholarship - Vocational Grants - Emergency Grants for Children of Deceased Elks - Eagle Scout Scholarships - Girl Scout Scholarships - Hoop Shoot - Soccer Shootout. We have always given to our youth never expecting anything in return.

Now is the time to involve our youth - to ask them to give something back to the Community. This challenge is not as difficult to achieve as one might think.

The goals set by the April 1997 Presidential Summit held in Philadelphia were for the Elks to provide after-school programs and one on one mentoring for students.

One of the results of the Presidential Summit held in Philadelphia in Spring 1997 was that students entering high school in Fall 1998 would be expected to become involved in community service. These students would be required to have a specific amount of hours of community service before being allowed to graduate with their class.

We, as Elks, have now established a program for our youth with a new twist. Instead of giving something to them, we are asking them to give something back to the community by working with and for those who helped secure the comforts they enjoy today, our nation's veterans. We will meet the goals established at the Presidential Summit and continue to meet our commitment to serving our nation's veterans.

The Elks National Veterans Service Commission and the Grand Lodge Youth Activities Committee have formed a partnership in this endeavor which will add a new, glorious chapter to the history of Elkdom. We just might instill in these young men and women the spirit of volunteerism that we grew up with. We might even sow the seeds that will encourage them to join the Elks when they turn twenty-one.