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Lodge 2444 > Lodge Activities > Run-A-Ways Campers

Run-A-Ways Campers

47th annual Elks Rally for Handicapped Children
October 8-11, 2015

The Run-A-Ways campers from Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge #2444 joined with other campers from southern California at the 47th annual Elks Rally for Handicapped Children. PER Pat Martino & wife Barbara served as trailbosses and did their usual great job of organizing the campout for the twenty-four campers from the local Lodge. One hundred twenty-nine Elk RVers journeyed to the beautiful Golden Village Palms RV Resort in Hemet CA. for a long weekend of fundraising for the Elks Major Project, affectionately known as the “Purple Pig.” Food courts, crafts, & games along with raffles, music & dancing were the order of business at this yearly fun filled four day event. Rally officers were still counting the money raised when the weekend came to a close. Proceeds were expected to exceed the previous year’s total of $25,000.

Funds raised at the Rally are sent to the California-Hawaii Elks Major Project Inc. (CHEMPI). It is the 501c(3) fundraising arm of the Association within the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). In 1950, California and Hawaii created this organization between the states to help children with disabilities. It is considered a "last resort" charity for people with children who are turned down by other charitable organizations, including government. California & Hawaii Elk member’s annual contributions to this worthy charity are presented to the CHEMPI Trustees at the annual convention held in May of each year. Contributions last year were in excess of $3,400,000. These funds are used to staff CHEMPI with 32 therapists who go into the homes of the disabled children that the Elks take care of from the time they enter the program until they reach eighteen years of age. The program also has 10 pediatric vision screeners who go into the day care centers and preschools to provide free screenings for amblyopia and other vision problems. The annual Elks Rally in Hemet is the biggest single fundraising event contributing to the Major Project, and each year the Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley Elks Run-A-Ways camping club is one of the major contributors to the Rally.


Wagon Master PER Pat Martino receives a grateful handshake from Rally Secretary Joyce Claussen after presenting her with the fundraising proceeds from the Run-A-Ways game booth.

March 2015

Donna Wild & Mike Cline with assistants Jim and Jinnae Wessling led the 24 Run-A-Ways to the Chula Vista Marina & RV Resort for a casual & fun filled March camp out. The spirit of St Pats Day was never more evident than at Friday night’s cocktail party as campers dressed in an assortment of Irish outfits with every shade of green imaginable. After the party Donna held a unique version of the fink fines with campers donating a dollar for charity for an opportunity to say something nice or not so nice about a fellow camper. It was quite different and lots of fun. The small group still managed to come up with a goodly amount for charity.

On Sat the campers were treated to a St Pats Day Corned Beef & Cabbage dinner hosted by the Resort. Still can't believe it! The dinner was a special treat provided by the resort for the campers who usually provide their own potluck dinner on Saturday night. Linda Eilers was the proud recipient of the March Space Cadet award for making everyone look for her lost purse only to find it later next to the front seat of her car.

After Saturday night dinner, the temperature was a pleasant seventy-five degrees. Some of the campers strolled over to the oceanfront to see a magnificent sunset over the water. Later the group formed a circle around a pretend campfire telling tall tales and gazing at a sky full of stars. Camping with the Run-A-Ways doesn't get much better than that.

Assistant Wagon Master Jim Lapierre officiated over the Sat morning meeting in the absence of Wagon Master Pat Martino. The ballot of the club member's nominees for office was finalized and will be mailed to all club members. Next month's Campout will be at the Pechanga Casino and RV Resort, with Rick and Helen Wilson as trailbosses.

February 2015  Run A Ways at Chula Vista Marina & RV Resort

One of the Run A Ways favorite campgrounds, the Chula Vista Marina & RV Resort was the destination for 26 campers in February. Jim and Carol Lapierre were trailbosses assisted by Steve & Marian Zannella. The oceanfront weather was perfect with ocean breezes just cool enough to give the campers pleasant afternoons and balmy nights.

Wagonmaster Pat Martino conducted the Saturday morning meeting and announced that election ballots will be emailed as new club officers will be elected next month. The afternoon found the Run A Ways scampering from RV to RV on a scavenger hunt. The game was cleverly themed around Valentine’ Day, and Chuck and Jean Chapman were the first place scavengers.

The Valentine’s Day theme at dinner was a colorful display of hearts and flowers “Gourmet Soups & Salads from around the World” was the delightful change of pace dinner, proving once again that the Run A Ways are some of the best cooks on the planet. The sumptuous dinner was surpassed only by the feast of decadent desserts that followed. Mark “the Godfather” and Kathy “Queen of Hearts” Furlan did an outstanding job as Sheriffs. Kathy passed out valentines and lovingly collected the fines from the naughty but willing campers. Mark played the “Godfather” right down to the dark suit & tie and violin case. Without as much as a smile, he announced he was celebrating the Valentine’s Day massacre and was there to set the record straight. He had his victims laughing so hard they hardly noticed their wallets emptying. The weekend was a great success, and big thanks go out to the Lapierres and Zannellas.

The March Campout will again be at the Chula Vista Marina with Donna Wild and Mike Cline as Trailbosses.

Andy Costello, Publicity

anuary 2015 Mission Viejo Elks Lodge 2444 Run-A-Ways Camping

First time Trailbosses Steve and Barbara Darke welcomed the Run-A-Ways to the Sands Golf and RV Park in Desert Hot Springs. The rain stayed away until Sunday when all were leaving, and the temp was in the pleasant mid 70’s. Assisting the Darkes were Deb & Howard Dyson. The highlight of the weekend was the annual “Dave Cooper Golf Tournament.” Sixteen campers participated in this year’s fun golf event. The first place trophy went to the team of Jim Wessling and Wagonmaster Pat Martino. Sharing second place trophies were the teams of Chuck Chapman & Linda Hauxhurst and the team of Jean Chapman and Herb Rikelman.

(above) Winners of the Annual Dave Cooper Golf Tournament

(below) Wagonmaster Pat Martino and OC Outreach  Director of Operations Renee Stevenson.

Wagonmaster Pat conducted the Sat morning meeting and announced that a few days before Christmas he and Frank Gunning and Andy Costello visited the South County Outreach facility in Lake Forest where they delivered $420.00 in fifteen dollar gift cards on behalf of the club. Outreach Director of Operations Renee Stevenson expressed her gratitude to the Run-A-Ways and said she would definitely honor our request that the cards be used as Christmas gifts for teenage boys and girls. The Christmas donation by the Run-A-Ways takes place at the club’s Christmas party each year and is in lieu of a member’s gift exchange. Wagonmaster Pat said that the Clubs annual contributions to charities totaled $5,300. He thanked the group for their outstanding generosity throughout the year.
February campout will be at Chula Vista Marina with Jim and Carol Lapierre as trailbosses.
Andy Costello, publicity