It’s Halloween season, and the Zombies are traipsing in hoards! At least that’s what it looks like in Western Washington, where Bremerton, Wash., Lodge No. 1181 used their Beacon Grant to host, facilitate and CIPport the Great Cascadia Zombie Survival Challenge for their local Girl Scout troops.
In an effort to make emergency preparedness fun and accessible for younger generations, Lodge No. 1181 teamed up with the Girl Scouts to devise a spook-tacular curriculum that taught Scouts how to keep their “Zombie” (i.e., themselves and their families) safe during a natural disaster. Through this program, the Scouts were taught—in part by Elks—different survival skills like pet safety, shelter formation, food preparation and cooking, water safety, mutual aid, communication, first aid, and creating and sustaining fires. Because, after all, what does a Zombie need in order to survive and thrive in a natural disaster? Brains!
One of the most successful survival stations was the completely Elks-run Great ShakeOut activity, which provided Scouts with the information and protocol necessary to stay safe during an earthquake. The Elks taught the 115 Scouts who attended the Survival Challenge safety techniques to employ during real earthquakes, and they participated in two full-length drills to put those skills to use.
As Lodge No. 1181 lies directly on the path of two significant fault lines, this activity was integral in providing disaster preparedness education to Girl Scouts and their families. Heather Beal, the Grants Coordinator, described the importance of the program by reiterating the unique community need.
“Disaster preparedness needs to be our focus if we are to help build a resilient community,” Beal said. “Programs like this one enable the Elks to be a relevant and front-leading organization driving community resiliency building.”
All in all, the first-ever Great Cascadia Zombie Survival Challenge was an incredible success and will certainly not be the last. The Elks were able to impart onto their local Girl Scouts that above all, they need to “be prepared, not scared” in the face of natural disasters and use their learned leadership skills to help not only themselves, but others.
To host a disaster preparedness seminar for your community, consider applying for a Beacon Grant! To further your impact, eligible Lodges can always supersize this grant with a Gratitude Grant. Don’t zom-beat around the bush—the deadline to apply for CIP grants is December 31, so apply today!
The Elks National Foundation allocated $13.7 million this year to fund the Community Investments Program. Lodges meet local needs through grants that offer Elks opportunities to serve their community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit elks.org/CIP.