Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Engaging fraternal family

HOW-TO: Involve family members

The tools for family engagement

Six weeks to pitch in

Resources

Question of the month

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

BEST PRACTICE: Engaging fraternal family

For a brother to have a positive membership experience, it’s important for Masonry to fit into his daily life. That’s why family engagement is among the fraternity’s strategic objectives. By creating a family-centered culture, the lodge can become a place for a brother to grow closer to his loved ones as well as strengthening fraternal bonds.

That’s the case at Temescal Palms Lodge No. 314 in Corona. Jim Nighswonger, secretary and past master, explains.

Background

Lodges go through peaks and valleys. Not that long ago, Temescal Palms Lodge was close to handing in its charter. But in the past few years, largely thanks to the Internet and social media, we’ve rebounded. We’ve got a lot of new blood: Talented young guys are turning in applications and stepping into the officer line.

Children

  • We’re having a baby boom. Many of our new members have young children, and for the first time I can remember, we have little ones running around the lodge.
  • We bought booster chairs so the younger children can sit with their parents at dinner.
  • We keep a big plastic tub stocked with coloring books, crayons, and other odds and ends.
  • Several times a year we have a family fun night. Members and families come down to the lodge and play video games, ping pong, and other games.
  • It can be hard for members and their wives to come to lodge events if they can’t find a sitter. During a recent public service appreciation night, we provided babysitting services right at the lodge.
  • Our members’ children get involved with Masonic youth orders. One of our past masters is starting a new DeMolay chapter, and his son is the master councilor. Many of the girls in our local Job’s Daughters bethel have a father or grandfather in the lodge.

Spouses and partners

  • We used to review all of our calendar and lodge announcements in the stated meeting, but we recently started sharing these right at dinner. It shortens the stated meeting, and the spouses and partners help us remember the information!
  • There are about 10 ladies of the lodge, or “LOL,” who are very active. They took over the kitchen: gave it a top-to-bottom cleaning and reorganized and labeled everything. They’re preparing to host a bazaar, where they’ll sell handmade items to raise money for kitchen supplies. They’re inviting all the lodges in the area.
  • Our master’s wife is extremely dedicated and leads a number of activities for public education. Our spouses and partners collect box tops for local elementary schools, and raise money for RAR and other causes by collecting cans and bottles.
  • A past master’s wife decorates the lodge for stated meeting every month.
  • Families get involved in Child ID events. Our lodge hosts several a year, reaching as many as 300 children in one afternoon.

Sweethearts

  • Many of our sweethearts attend the stated meeting dinner and participate in partner and spouse activities.
  • This year our master started a Widows’ Day program. One Saturday a month, members get together and visit lodge sweethearts. Some days they just sit and talk with the sweethearts; other times they fix things around the house or yard.

Benefits

  • Our spouses, partners, and children improve the lodge and the community through their hard work.
  • Freemasonry is more fulfilling when it includes family. The more children, spouses, partners, and sweethearts we see regularly, the healthier the lodge.
  • We’re always looking for more ways to get involved in the community. Having our families there beside us demonstrates our values and our commitment.

When the lodge gets out in the community and shows that Masonry is alive and well, it attracts more members. When it shows that Masonry is something positive for the whole family, that’s even better.

For more information, contact Jim Nighswonger.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

HOW-TO: Involve family members

Masonry is a lifelong commitment for every brother. And this commitment is strengthened – and more fulfilling – when members can share their Masonic experiences with loved ones. Active families engage members and create a more vibrant lodge culture.

Here are 22 ways for your lodge to involve family members.

For all lodge families

  • Encourage members’ families and friends to attend stated meeting dinners
  • Invite members’ families to officer installations, cornerstone ceremonies, holiday parties, and other lodge events
  • Ask for family participation in volunteer projects and at community events
  • Include family members in lodge trips to Annual Communication and Masonic education events
  • Schedule social events outside the lodge
  • Once a quarter, schedule a get-together just for new members and their families
  • Hold an annual On The Level night for members’ spouses, partners, and/or children

For members with children

  • Host a family night with kid-friendly activities
  • Offer babysitting at the lodge during open meetings and events
  • Ask members to donate games, art and craft supplies, children’s books, and video games and create a children’s entertainment corner
  • Ask members’ children to draw fliers and posters to publicize lodge events
  • Enlist families to paint a mural, create a welcome sign, or personalize another area of the lodge
  • Provide Masonic scholarship information to older children and offer help with applying

For spouses and partners

  • Invite lodge spouses and partners to lead their own community service project or fundraiser
  • Encourage special spouse and partner activities such as day trips, lunches, book clubs, etc.
  • Ask members’ spouses and partners to participate on the lodge’s Facebook and other social media pages

For older fraternal family members

  • Include daylight activities in lodge programming
  • Organize transportation to lodge
  • Maintain an active sweethearts program; ask for ideas and leadership from widows and lodge spouses and partners
  • Create an outreach committee to check in regularly with older fraternal family members

Information and reminders

  • Inform families about the three Masonic youth orders, and post youth order brochures and fliers at the lodge (Read the May 2013 issue of The Leader for more tips on supporting Masonic youth.)
  • Remind families about Masonic Assistance services with this month’s Resource downloads

Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to communications@freemason.org with How-To: Involve family members in the subject line.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

The tools for family engagement

The simple act of reading together is one of the most important things a parent can do for his or her child. When families are engaged in a child’s education, particularly from kindergarten through third grade, they close achievement gaps that could otherwise last a lifetime.

But many families can’t afford to buy books for the home. Others may not realize the importance of shared reading. Some may not even know how to begin.

The fraternity’s partnership with Raising A Reader (RAR) is providing deserving families statewide with the books, training, and support they need to build shared reading habits. Parents who have been through RAR’s parent training programs spend significantly more time reading with their children and building literacy skills at home. As a result, their children show remarkable gains at school.

By engaging parents in shared reading, California Masons are not only improving literacy in the state. We are strengthening families. And stronger families help children read, learn, and succeed.

Support Raising A Reader.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Six weeks to pitch in

Using baseball, the Junior Giants provides safety, health, and character-building skills for underprivileged youth ages 5 to 18. Every year through Masons4Mitts, regional teams of California lodges race to donate mitts to the program, $20 at a time.

California Masons have helped more than 9,500 kids so far. This year, our goal is to provide mitts to 4,000 more.

The 2013 Masons4Mitts campaign ends Sept. 6 at noon. Support your team and show the boys and girls of the Junior Giants that Masons care: Make a donation at Masons4Mitts.org.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Resources

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

This month, educate lodge families about Masonic Family Outreach Services and the Masonic Center for Youth and Families.

MFOS Q&A | MCYAF ads

Print and post at lodge and/or include in your lodge Trestleboard.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge connects members with the worldwide fraternity. Of the 91 who responded:

55% - Coordinate visits to other California lodges
47% - Cosponsor events with other lodges and/or Masonic organizations
42% - Organize trips to Annual Communication

Other popular techniques included hosting visiting Masonic scholars and interacting on social media with out-of-state and international lodges.

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

View past issues


Please email 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