All Praise Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge, Lynsie Winstead

The Milwaukie-Portland Elks Lodge has been open for 108 years, which is 108 years longer than Lynsie Winstead has been alive. The 26-year-old woman, however, has lately become the lodge’s youngest-ever Exalted Ruler.

In the last century, males have predominated among the Exalted Rulers, while a few women have held the position. Winstead is the second youngest person ever to hold the position of Exalted Ruler of an Elks Lodge in the United States.

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“I think it’s really cool that we’re expanding from an older to a younger generation,” she said. β€œWomen didn’t get to vote, or didn’t get to join the Elks Lodge until 1995.” At the Elks Lodge, she first encountered the organization when volunteering at a haunted house as a teenager.

β€œI wanted to be an Elk member, and they go, β€˜Well, you’re not 21. You can’t join.’ I was 19,” she said. β€œBut they said, β€˜We can start a program called the Antlers, which is between the ages of 13 and 20.”

She did that! She brought around thirty-five others to the Antlers with her. At the age of twenty-one, she changed into an Elk. Her high throne rule began on April 1 and will end on March 30 of the following year, 2024. As Exalted Ruler, she volunteers 30–40 hours per week at the lodge without pay.

All Praise Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge, Lynsie Winstead

She also keeps the lodge’s Facebook page and Elks Lodge app up-to-date. “I’m excited I’m a part of the social media aspect and also the public relations, helping other lodges get their content out there so people can see what they’re doing,” Winstead said.

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Attracting younger families to the lodge with the expectation that they will feel as welcome and supported there as she does is her primary objective. β€œOne big Elk family,” she continued, “we call this a home because we are always here.”


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