Each year every Elks Lodge in the United States can apply for one of many grants to be used to serve and better their surrounding community. Last year, Lake Oconee Lodge No. 2849 applied for the Beacon Grant for Greene County’s 4-H to maintain its competitive and informative nature during the pandemic. The local Elks lodge is the largest in the state of Georgia (500-plus members). The local Elks were awarded this grant along with the $3,500 for 4-H. As Greene County’s 4-H is held by the same strict COVID-19 social distancing guidelines as local schools, after-school activities and face-to-face competitions were halted, and all things 4-H transformed to virtual sessions. Without the proper technology, 4-H’ers would have been unable to prepare and compete with other 4-H’ers in their respective project areas. The Beacon Grant for the Elks Lodge was used to purchase video cameras, computer equipment for video editing, lighting, microphones, Zoom & Google Classroom connectivity and even “green screen” production studio settings. The combination of this equipment enabled the 4-H’ers to demonstrate their projects that they have worked on since the start of the pandemic. Utilization of this technology also allowed the 4-H’ers to compete in team competitions against other 4-H counties in our state. The 4-H’ers have grasped the technology and are looking to start a photography and videography club that will pay benefits for years to come. To be a part of an organization that gives back to the community call the Lake Oconee Elks Lodge at 706-991-1499 after 3 p.m.