Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Engaging the family

HOW-TO: Cultivate lodge leaders

Updated Member's Guide

Questions on lodge finance?

Resources

Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Engaging the family

In the Masons of California strategic plan for 2010-2015, one key priority is to enhance the overall quality of the membership experience.

One tactic is to create more opportunities for members to get involved, especially Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts. Another is to engage their family members.

Chico-Leland Stanford Lodge No. 111 can testify to both tactics. When Brother Chris Teschan was still a Fellow Craft, he and his teenage son took an interest in the local DeMolay chapter. With the lodge’s help, the father-son duo stepped into leadership roles.

A year later, Chico DeMolay has doubled in size and tripled in activity. It’s also provided a meaningful way for Teschan, other lodge members, and their families to get involved.

Teschan, now junior deacon, explains:

Background
The Chico DeMolay chapter was formed about 50 years ago. In recent years, chapter membership and activity had all but died off.

When I was still going through my blue lodge degrees, I told my son, Jordan, about DeMolay. He thought it would be fun to do some Masonic functions with his dad. Now, I’m chairman of the DeMolay advisory committee, and Jordan is master councilor.

Steps to success

  • Build youth membership: My son, who’s 16, has held leadership positions in Boy Scouts. When he stepped into DeMolay, there were just three members showing up regularly. He was elected master councilor and started talking about DeMolay to his friends. Now, there are 12 members on the rolls and nine who are very active. We expect to receive three more petitions any day now.
  • Recruit lodge leaders: Last year, the chapter council consisted of only three people: a chairman, chapter dad, and treasurer. Now there are seven of us. One is a mother, and the rest are lodge members.
  • Raise awareness in the lodge: I get up and speak about DeMolay at every blue lodge meeting. I remind guys to have their sons, grandsons, and nephews come see me. Word of mouth is spreading.
  • Increase community presence: If there’s a Masonic activity, the DeMolays are there to help: installations for concordant bodies; the flag ceremony at the grand master’s visit; the Shriners barbecue. They hold carwashes in the community. The Chico Police Department recently asked them to host a booth for a national event promoting safety in the community. As other boys see DeMolay out in the public eye, they start joining.

Activities

  • Chapter commitment: Our chapter meets twice a month, plus occasional planning sessions.
  • Extracurriculars: The DeMolays see each other at least once a week. During the weeks they don’t meet, they go to the lodge to set up and break down the Eastern Star meeting. They have video game nights. They meet and take inventory for their carwash fundraisers. They’re working right now on creating a competition rifle team, and getting other chapters to develop teams.
  • Lodge lock-in: Last month the boys did a lock-in night in the lodge’s spare room. They brought TV sets, video games, and a pool table. After, as a thank you, they spent three hours cleaning the lodge. When you walked in, you could smell the lemon oil.
  • Beyond the chapter: We’re strengthening our relationship with the local Job’s Daughters and Rainbow Girls. The three youth groups take turns serving at lodge stated meeting dinners. Our DeMolays have been showing up every month just to help the girls.

Lodge involvement

  • Solicit support: When I rally the lodge for support, one of my tag lines is: “This is our farm team. This is our minor league. It’s your job to make sure they know they’re welcome. Come out and support them.”
  • Merit visits: Lodge members attend DeMolay installations and meetings. As extra motivation, when two Masons attend a meeting, the boys earn a “Masonic visitation” merit bar.
  • Attend activities: Lodge members come out to support DeMolay activities, and find creative ways to help. The lodge secretary happened to be moving out of his house around the same time as a DeMolay rummage sale. He paid the boys to help him move heavy furniture, then donated extra pieces.
  • Financial support: One young man wanted to attend DeMolay leadership camp, but wasn’t financially able. The lodge made sure he could go.

Benefits to lodge members

  • Meaningful involvement: Leading the chapter has helped me jump into Masonry with both feet. It’s also been a great way for other lodge members, especially those who joined the chapter council, to get involved.
  • Family ties: Our DeMolay ritual advisor is just 25 years old, and grew up as a DeMolay. He relates really well to the boys, which is a strong point of the program. His father is the chapter dad. It’s a big family affair.
  • Sharing the journey: It’s been nice to share Masonic activities and values with my son. In a way, my Masonic journey has been his, too.

Benefits to DeMolay members

  • Masonic values: Our DeMolays take pride in being the service branch of the lodge. They assist at every Masonic function. They’re practicing the Masonic values of helpfulness and charity, and also giving back to the lodge.
  • Self-confidence: I’ve seen a lot of boys come out of their shells. Initially, some couldn’t give a speech in front of their families without getting embarrassed. But a few months ago, when the grand master came to our lodge, they stood in front of a couple hundred people to do the flag ceremony. I sat at the back of the room grinning.
  • Leadership skills: We’re teaching these young men to be themselves, but still act like gentlemen. The boy with baggy jeans and a backward hat listening to his iPod is now wearing a suit and a tie, leading a meeting.

Closing remarks
There is a young man in the area who suffers from severe combined immunodeficiency, more commonly known as the “bubble boy” disease. Our DeMolays wanted to help him. They held ticket sales through a local pizza parlor, hosted a big yard sale, and raised $1,000 to help him attend a camp for youths with the same disease.

That young man was so moved that he submitted a petition to the chapter. When he was installed as a junior officer, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

For more information, contact: Chris Teschan, crashdog@sbcglobal.net.

 

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HOW-TO: Cultivate lodge leaders

In the Masons of California strategic plan for 2010-2015, one key priority is to enhance the overall quality of the membership experience.

As a lodge officer, you know firsthand how a leadership position can enrich the Masonic experience: These positions are opportunities to share your expertise, enhance your leadership capabilities, and make a difference.

Help your members step into their own leadership roles, and watch them rise to the occasion. Here’s how.

Identify member talent

  • Interview new members. Set the stage for future involvement by asking what they anticipate getting out of lodge - and what they expect to give back.
  • Distribute and collect a member skills and interest survey with every new member, and once a year with the entire lodge. (Create your own or use the survey created by Grand Lodge.)
  • TIP: Use a free online service, such as SurveyMonkey. It’ll organize and save members’ responses, serving as a handy online database.
  • Notice and record members’ attendance at events. Look for trends in which types of events members attend.
  • Secretaries: Populate and update the iMember “occupation” field.
  • Refer to all of the above when planning:
    • Committees
    • Hall Association
    • Community service projects
    • Ritual teams
    • Social activities

Keep an open dialogue

  • Hold an informal general meeting to solicit volunteers and ask for input on future events.
  • Have a lodge vision and strategy. Share it with members and ask how they see themselves fitting in.
  • Encourage members to attend training programs such as the Lodge Management Certification Program). Ask those who attend to share their experiences and what they’ve learned at the next stated meeting.

Encourage leadership

  • If a new member has a viable idea for a community service activity or other event, let him coordinate the effort.
  • Promote special interest groups within the lodge: ritual teams, social groups, book clubs, movie nights, etc.
  • Assign short-term or one-time responsibilities, such as calling absentee members and widows, visiting sick members, or driving older Masons to lodge.
  • Rotate committee assignments and publicize which seats have become available in your Trestleboard and at stated meetings.

 

Have we forgotten something? Please e-mail suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Cultivate lodge leaders in the subject line.

 

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Updated Member's Guide

The Member’s Guide to Masonry in California was created to familiarize members with Masonry and provide information about how to fully participate.

It’s a comprehensive resource for every new member. And it’s been recently updated to include even more information.

Here’s a look at the contents:

Intro to Masonry

  • Your degree work: What to expect during degrees, and information about receiving degrees in other California and out-of-state lodges
  • Discussing Masonry with non-Masons: Helpful tips for how to share your fraternal experience
  • Your membership: Answers to common questions, including visiting other lodges, multiple memberships, and more

Masonic education

  • Masonic education: The California Masonic Symposium, research lodges, candidate education, and more

Relief

  • Fraternal support: Masonic Assistance services available to you and your family

Philanthropy

  • Our philanthropic work: Introduction to the California Masonic Foundation
  • Your charitable contributions: The important causes supported by the Annual Fund and charitable gift planning

Leadership

  • Get involved: Leadership opportunities at the lodge and Grand Lodge levels
  • Leadership and management training: From Wardens’ Retreats to LMCP, the leadership retreats and resources offered by Grand Lodge

Member resources

  • Communication and information sources: Ways to stay in touch with your fraternity, from California Freemason magazine to Facebook
  • Your Grand Lodge: A brief history, plus information about Annual Communication
  • Where to direct questions and comments: Who to contact for more information

Download the Member’s Guide to Masonry in California from freemason.org: Just select Member Resources from the Member Center dropdown menu.

 

 

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Questions on lodge finance?

At the 2011 Annual Communication, the Grand Lodge Investment Committee and Finance Committee are once again offering special sessions to discuss your lodge’s finances and investments.

These sessions are designed to answer your questions and provide advice and support. They’re open to all lodge officers, hall association officers, and lodge investment committee members and trustees.

All sessions will be held onsite at the California Masonic Memorial Temple on Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24.

Reserve your time slot
Meetings will take place on the EH Level in the California Conference Room A&B.

Friday, Sept. 23
8-8:30 a.m.
8:45-9:15 a.m.
9:30-10 a.m.
10:15-10:45 a.m.
11-11:30 a.m.
11:45 a.m-12:15 p.m.
12:15-12:45 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24
8-8:30 a.m.
8:45-9:15 a.m.
9:30-10 a.m.
10:15-10:45 a.m.
11-11:30 a.m.
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
12:15-12:45 p.m.
12:45-1:15 p.m.
1:15-1:45 p.m.
1:45- 2:15 p.m.

To reserve your session, e-mail srobinson@freemason.org with your requested time slot and the best way to reach you.

 

 

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Resources

Masonic Assistance offers support services for the whole family. But too often, members and widows don’t know about the services available to them.

This “Resources” section was created to help educate members about Masonic Assistance. Here, you can download flyers to use in your Trestleboard, in mailings to widows and homebound members, on your website, and in the lodge.

Because of you, our fraternal family will know where to turn for the support they need.

This month: Masonic Homes of California
The Masonic Homes of California, located in Union City and Covina, are continuing care retirement communities that offer a vibrant lifestyle and provide multiple levels of care for senior residents. This month’s download answers members’ most common questions about this support service.

 

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge has its own Facebook page. Of the 163 who responded:

40% - Yes
55% - No
5% - Don't know

 

Of those who said no, 45 percent said that if their lodge were to create a Facebook page, they would participate on it.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please e-mail questions to communications@freemason.org.

Contact Us

Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000

e: memberservices@freemason.org