Go Elk? young man?
December 2, 2009 8:06 PM   Subscribe

I have been invited to become an Elk! At 30 years of age, I feel like this one achievement, however dubious, finally signals my movement into adulthood. But there must be better, more awesome, and my own-age groups to join. Tell me what they are!
posted by parmanparman to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
I'm not sure why you consider this dubious. If your only purpose in joining an organization like Elks is for social standing or career enhancement, don't bother. On the other hand, if you truly want to join a group of people who enjoy serving the community, go for it.

I was invited to join Rotary at a relatively young age, Most of my fellow Rotarians were much older than me. It didn't take long for me to realize that these guys were a fount of knowledge, genuinely wanted to make a difference and had resources I could only imagine.

I ended up being President of our local Rotary Club.

OTOH, you could hang out with a bunch of guys your own age and talk football.
posted by Old Geezer at 8:15 PM on December 2, 2009 [5 favorites]

Great answer! I am totally going to join up. Thanks for the clarity.
posted by parmanparman at 8:26 PM on December 2, 2009

You are in a weird spot, too old to join a frat and seemingly a bit young for a lodge. I agree, just join up and maybe try and get some of your friends to join up too. (Not sure how that works)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:44 PM on December 2, 2009

I don't know if it matters to you but the Elks are Christian as far as I understand. From Wikipedia: Membership was opened to African Americans in the 1970s and women in the mid-1990s, and currently excludes atheists. The opening of membership to women was mandated by the Oregon Public Accommodations Act, which was found by an appeals court to apply to the BPOE, and it has been speculated that the religious restriction might be litigated on the same basis.[3] A year after the national organization changed its policy to allow women to join, the Vermont Supreme Court ordered punitive damages of $5,000 for each of seven women whom a local chapter had rejected citing other reasons.[4] Current members are required to be U.S. citizens over the age of 21 and believe in God.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:02 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

Yeah, it raises a good question: do atheists need secret societies?
posted by parmanparman at 9:09 PM on December 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

I belong to a barbershop style chorus. At 46, I'm the youngest by a few years. Our oldest member is 94- and he knows ALL the words to every song. Yes, it's kind of weird to mention Metafilter and have them ask if it's a new car model or something, but the sound we make? Amazing.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 9:16 PM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

If you believe in god I don't think there is an issue. Us atheists have many clubs/organizations/societies to join. I just don't think that I would want to be part of a group that discriminates either way--you might not have an issue with it. Are the Elks a secret society?
posted by fieldtrip at 9:43 PM on December 2, 2009

do atheists need secret societies?

Why do Christians need them?

But join. The only reason the people in them are older is because they haven't been good at targeting younger members, maybe you joining up signals an end to that...or perhaps you have a more hands-on role to play in reshaping the membership ahead of you.
posted by inturnaround at 9:53 PM on December 2, 2009

Definitely join and give it a whirl. You can always unjoin, or simply let your membership expire, if you don't like it or don't feel comfortable. Fraternal organizations are very happy to attract younger members, and they can be a lot of fun. Most of them do good works in their communities that are not tied to religious or political affiliations. As an added bonus, most fraternal organizations' lodges have full-service bars/restaurants where you can go hang out.
posted by amyms at 10:10 PM on December 2, 2009

What about the Jaycees? Membership is open to people ages 18-40, so you're right in the target age group.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:32 PM on December 2, 2009

You could organize a local chapter of Ac├ęphale.
posted by past at 2:49 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Similarly to flowerofhighrank, I sing in a chorus where I am the youngest member by a margin of some thirty or forty years. It's fun to partake in an activity that's so out of my usual demographic, and everyone dotes on me all the time (add to this the fact that I'm a foreigner, and they basically treat me like a coveted stuffed animal).
posted by threeants at 3:36 AM on December 3, 2009

A note on Elks and religion:

"The Order questions no man's religion; nor bars him an account of his creed. It is not concerned with one's political affiliations. And it does not permit either religion or politics to be injected into, or to have any effect upon, its fraternal deliberations, national or local." (from elks.org)

Fieldtrip, believing in God \ = \ Christianity.
posted by charmcityblues at 4:28 AM on December 3, 2009

But elks.org still says "To be eligible for membership in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, you must be a citizen of the United States over the age of 21 who believes in God."

That's pretty much barring a person on account of their creed as an official policy, regardless of whether or not it's enforced on the local level.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:53 PM on December 3, 2009

Why don't you look into leading a group of Scouts? You'll get the service element, meet some cool (if young) people, and won't have to put up with the type of people who join service groups to network their businesses.
posted by Pomo at 7:03 PM on December 3, 2009

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