Together we make a profound difference

BEST PRACTICE: Community relations

HOW-TO: Plan for Make a Difference Day

Find it on freemason.org

Your August checklist

Trestleboard and more

Question of the month

 

Printable Version

_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

BEST PRACTICE: Community relations

Situated in the bucolic Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, Windsor Lodge No. 181 is part of a community that’s known for its family-friendly environment. These days, the lodge is going to extra lengths to contribute. Secretary Jon Powasnick explains.

Background: Our lodge is small – just 70 members. For a long time, there was a sense that we should not be too open about Masonry in the public. But in recent years, we’ve had a series of progressive-minded masters who put a focus on community relations. Grand Lodge’s leadership retreats have reinforced that, and more and more, we’re initiating young men who want to be active in the community. As a result of all these aspects, the lodge has been seeking out new ways to engage with our neighbors.

The efforts

  • We have hosted several open houses at the lodge, where we invite the public to talk with us about Masonry. One of these was an all-day webcast of the 2015 International Conference on Freemasonry at UCLA. About 20 guests and brothers attended. Many took notes and came prepared with questions.
  • We’re also hosting community events that are just for fun; for example, this year we had a Cinco de Mayo barbecue, and a family day with food vendors and a bounce house for kids.
  • We invite the public into our lodge library anytime the lodge is open. Each week, a few people come in – often, local high school students.
  • We donate to the Masonic youth orders, and give them the opportunity to earn extra money by serving at lodge dinners. During their summer break, we’ve begun inviting youth clubs from the high school to take their spot. Right now the girls basketball team is serving, and seems to really enjoy interacting with the lodge.
  • Three years ago we put out a letter to the Board of Education asking how the lodge could best serve local schools. One elementary school came forward and asked if we could renovate their teachers’ lounge. Over the Christmas break, a group of brothers completely refurbished the room: repainted the walls, steamed the carpets, repaired the windows, built new cabinets, installed a water heater, and more. The school was thrilled.
  • During the holidays, we now support the Parks and Recreation Department by sponsoring a Christmas tree in a local park. We partner with a public school on this: We help donate supplies, and the students decorate the tree.
  • We’re looking for new ways to give back to local organizations. We recently donated a new stove to the Boys & Girls Club. We made a donation to the senior center in memory of a brother. For several years, we’ve sponsored a Little League team, and hosted an annual barbecue for the players and families.
  • We also donate to a town police department fund to help travelers who are lost and need assistance

Open and engaging

  • Our new, younger brothers lead many of these initiatives and are cultivating a more open culture. They’re active in the community and very open about their Masonic involvement. That pride and openness helps put the lodge in the public eye.
  • I wear my ring everywhere, and carry lodge business cards. If someone wants to learn more about Masonry, I sign my name on the back of a card, give it to him with my home phone number, and offer to send him a packet about Masonry. Finally, I invite him and a guest to lodge for a free dinner. Most people take you up on that.

There’s been a gradual change in the attitude of our brothers; a warming to the idea of doing more in the community – and doing it openly. We’ve become more generous with our lodge funds. We’re doing a better job of getting our name out there and showing that we care about the town. Openness will only further the lodge. We’re already seeing the results.

Contact: Jon Powasnick

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

HOW-TO: Plan for Make a Difference Day

On October 3, lodges and Masonic youth orders will work side by side on service projects for their communities. With just two months to go, here’s how to prepare for an impactful event.

Reach out to Masonic youth

  • Ask for lodge volunteers to lead event planning
  • Schedule a meeting between lodge volunteers and youth leaders
  • Ask the youth leaders to set the meeting agenda, and share it in advance so your lodge volunteers can prepare
  • Encourage the youth leaders to take charge of the meeting

At the planning meeting

  • Bring your own suggestions, but be prepared to embrace the ideas of the youth orders
  • Establish your event budget
  • Assign program responsibilities: fliers/posters, invitations, supplies, and refreshments
  • Determine if you will publicize the event in local media, and who will be responsible
  • Set assignments, deadlines, and a follow-up meeting or means for checking in
  • Invite the youth orders to prepare articles for the September and October Trestleboards, explaining the event and encouraging attendance

Program suggestions

  • If possible, focus on supporting public schools: Ask local schools to identify a meaningful project such as tutoring, renovating a playground, or planting a garden
  • Host a 5K walk/run to benefit a local cause
  • Plan a neighborhood cleanup or preservation project
  • Arrange a group volunteer day at a retirement home or hospital
  • Organize volunteers for a meal-delivery service for elderly and ill residents
  • Approach the local Boys & Girls Club, animal shelter, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen and ask how you can help

Rally the lodge

  • Publicize Make a Difference Day in the September and October Trestleboards
  • Mark the lodge calendar for October 3 and ask members to mark theirs
  • Announce the Make a Difference Day event soon via email and social media, and plan a schedule of reminders
  • A few weeks and then a few days before the event, tap a few brothers to send out attendance encouragement via text, email, phone, and social media
  • Order Make a Difference Day T-shirts – designed by a California Masonic youth and benefitting all the California Masonic youth orders. (Look for more information about T- shirts in the coming weeks.)

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Find it on freemason.org

Ready to further your knowledge of Freemasonry? Visit the new Masonic Education Events page for a complete listing of upcoming Masonic education opportunities near you.

Upcoming opportunities include the 15th Annual California Masonic Symposium; 2015 Enriching History Colloquium; and XIV World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges. Plus, purchase tickets for Annual Communication special events!

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Your August checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your August checklist:

Executive Committee

  • Remind members to celebrate Come to Lodge Month
  • Attend a 2015 Lodge Management Certification class
  • Along with the senior warden, identify and approach members for 2016 open elected and appointed officer positions
  • Urge prospective officers to answer the junior warden, senior warden, and master questions early
  • Along with the senior warden, identify and approach members for the 2016 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees
  • Set calendar for 2016 and identify event leaders

Senior Warden

  • Along with the Executive Committee, identify and approach members for 2016 open elected and appointed officer positions
  • Along with the Executive Committee, identify and approach members for the 2016 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees
  • Set calendar for 2016 and identify event leaders
  • Continue preparing 2016 budget
  • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement

Secretary

  • Present semiannual report of membership activity
  • Present per capita invoice to treasurer for payment

Treasurer

  • Pay lodge per capita
  • Present semiannual financial report

Hall Association

  • Present semiannual report

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or (415) 776-7000.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Trestleboard and more

Huntington Beach Lodge No. 380 and Masonic Outreach Services partnered to help a family get back on its feet. Share this story with your lodge to raise awareness of outreach services and to reflect on the good you do by supporting Masonic Assistance.

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. To make a gift in support of Masonic charities, visit freemason.org/contribute.

Download: Beyond Obligation: The Journey Home
Publish in your Trestleboard, email to your membership, or print out and post at the lodge.

[Back to Top]

 

____________________________________________________________

Question of the month

Last month we asked how many of you partnered with an allied Masonic group for an event or project last year. Of those who responded:

70% - yes
28% - no
2% - don’t know

Of those who responded yes, 62 percent say their lodge partners with allied groups several times a year.

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