Winchester Elks Lodge hosts basketball event

Winchester Elks Lodge hosted a Hoop Shoot event Sunday at College Park Gym.

The kids were separated by age group into divisions of ages eight to nine, 10 to 11 and 12 to 13.

Each participant had the opportunity to win certificates, awards and prizes.

The kids shot free throws and, depending on how much were made, were rewarded with a prize or certificate.

Exalted Ruler of Winchester Elks Lodge Don Aldridge thought the event was a big success.

“I thought the event went extremely well,” he said. “Everybody has a busy schedule, but we had around 30 participants. I seen everyone enjoying themselves.”

Aldridge said the event gave the kids a taste of learning how to deal with pressure and performing in front of a crowd.

“It is a lot of pressure on the kids doing this,” he said. “It helps them build character and it is a stage in your life where you have to speak or perform in front of a group. The kids showed a great deal of sportsmanship, too. The ones that didn’t win were still clapping and cheering on the ones who were shooting. Everything was in good sportsmanship.”

Aldridge said the event was formed because of its sponsorship.

“This is one event that the National Elks Lodge sponsors,” he said. “They have done it for as long as the Elks have been an organization. Our Lodge used to participate in it, but it kind of fell through the cracks the last six or seven years. We decided to pick it back up this year. What we had hoped to to accomplish out of it was to allow our Lodge to be visible in the community. We met Saturday and fed breakfast for the Beacon of Hope and we raised over $900 to give to them. Our organization’s slogan is ‘Elks cares, Elks shares’ so we just try to give back to the community and keep getting them involved.”

Aldridge said the benefit of having kids participate in these events are to help them keep their head steady as they mature.

“These children are participating in basketball, sporting events or doing something in a group, they are less likely to get out and make bad decisions as they become teenagers and adults. Our goal is to encourage them to be good citizens.”

Aldridge thought the event was such a success that he hopes to make it annual.

Aldridge and the Elks Lodge host a variety of other events for the community.

“We hope to make it annual,” he said. “It used to be until it fell through the cracks. We have not done it in four or five years. The leadership fell through and it just didn’t work. We sponsor the Bike and Rodeo for the Parks and Recreation. We helped raise over $2,000 for that. We feed the veterans twice a year on Thanksgiving and Christmas at our lodge. They bus them in here from Leestown and we feed them dinner. We feed the veterans here in Winchester around the Fourth of July. We try to stay active and be visible. We also do bingo every Thursday out at Rainbow Bingo Hall and out of that, we probably get around $130,000 a year in donations.”