The Grand Lodge Activities Committee announced the 2021-2022 National Champions in the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks National Soccer Shoot competition. Emily Collins sponsored by the Presque Isle Lodge #1954 earned the top spot in the U-12 Girls division with a score of 50 points, which was the highest score in country in the U-12 Division (10–11-year-olds). Collins edged out her closest competitor, winning by only one point. She and her family have been invited to attend the Maine Elks Association State Convention, and will receive her recognition on Saturday, April 30, 2022.
To become the National Champion, Collins competed head-to-head against others of her age group at the local, district, state, and regional soccer shoot contests. Her winning score at the regional contest held this past November was compared to the winners of other regions and with the highest score, she was declared the National Champion for the U-12 Girls Division. This year, tens of thousands of participants competed in the program throughout the country.
The Soccer Shoot has been a program of the Elks since 1999 and consists of two skill contests: a 5-goal contest and a grid-goal contest. In the 5-goal contest, competitors under the age of eight shoot at five small goals ranging from 48 inches wide down to 17 inches wide. Competitors shoot three shots at each goal with points varying from 1 point for each successful shot at the 48-inch goal to 5 points each for the 17-inch goal. In the Grid-Goal contest, a full-size soccer goal is used. Points are scored based on which area of the grid the ball entered the goal. Points range from 1 point each at the bottom to 5 points each in the top corners of the goal. The highest cumulative scores in each contest are declared the winner.
The Soccer Shoot is one of many youth programs supported by the Maine Elks Association and the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks. Other programs include the Dictionary Project, Antlers, JROTC recognition, Scouting, the Hoop Shoot, an Americanism Essay Contest, Drug Awareness Coloring and Poster Contests, and Scholarships for seniors in high school. The Maine Elks Association is comprised of 20 Elk Lodges from across the State of Maine and has a membership of nearly 11,000 members. The Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks is a fraternal organization that supports not only our youth, but our veterans, communities, and charities. For more information on the Elks, take a look around our Maine Elks Association website.