Together we make a profound difference

Leading our lodges in 2010

BEST PRACTICE: Partnering with the community

RESOURCE: Countdown to Coming Home

Share your expertise

Mark your calendar

Scholarship applications due Feb. 15

Question of the month

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Leading our lodges in 2010

Congratulations on your recent or upcoming installation for 2010, and welcome to those who are stepping into officer roles for the first time. If you are new to the line, this is your first issue of The Leader, a monthly e-newsletter for California lodge officers.

The Leader delivers useful and timely information directly applicable to your role as a Masonic leader. Each issue shares lodge successes, resources, how-to information, and reminders to keep you informed and involved.

Please send us feedback, share your lodge’s best practices, and take advantage of our question of the month to share your experiences with other California officers. The Leader is your publication, and your participation will develop it into a stronger and more relevant voice for California lodge leaders.

 

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BEST PRACTICE: Partnering with the community

In just one season, Tehachapi Lodge’s community garden has provided 1,600 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables for needy families. It’s also mobilized lodge members and the community in a common cause.

Past Master George Roberts, one of the driving forces behind Emmaleigh’s Cornucopia, reports on the garden’s success, its ambitious future, and what every lodge in the state can learn from the project.

Background: For awhile we didn’t have many community programs. Our old lodge building was falling down, and we were feeling kind of sorry for ourselves. When I became master in 2007, Secretary Jerry Saville and I began building a community focus. We all realized that there’s more to being a Mason than just coming to a meeting once a month.

Thanks to the generosity of local patrons J. R. and Claire Smead, the lodge purchased a new building with six acres of farm land. A few of us have farming experience, so we decided to plant cherry trees. That’s grown into a major cause to fight hunger in the area.

Emmaleigh’s Cornucopia

  • How it began: In the old days there were a number of pick-your-own cherry orchards in the area, so we had the idea to plant our own. At first, it was just going to be a way to fundraise for our scholarship program.
  • Building on a good idea: After we planted the 250 cherry trees, we realized we were capable of much more. Our lodge helps with Meals on Wheels, so we knew there was a local need for food assistance. The lodge secretary and I discussed how many families in the area – including Masonic families – would benefit from fresh produce, not just canned food. Our lodge decided to plant a garden.
  • Answering a need: Our Eastern Star chapter volunteers at Sharing and Caring, a local non-profit that accepts food donations. They referred us to the organization. We donated 1,600 pounds to them this season – our first year. We grew corn, squash, tomatoes, beans, pumpkins, and watermelons.
  • Plans for expansion: We just became a licensed California nonprofit. We’re building raised beds, which minimize weeds and conserve labor and water. We’ve begun fundraising for and designing a greenhouse, so we can produce fresh vegetables year-round. We need $200,000 to do it, and we’re on our way.
  • The inspiration: The project means a lot to our lodge and community. The garden is dedicated to Emmaleigh, the daughter of lodge master Matt Ross and his wife, Kimberly. Emmaleigh passed away earlier this year. Her memory motivates us all.

Team Emmaleigh

  • Secretary Jerry Saville, Brother Jimmy Gilliland, and I did most of the research and planting. Jimmy Gilliland is a retired farmer, and I grew up on my parents’ farm.
  • A core group of dedicated Masons and Eastern Star members maintain the gardens, and area lodges are starting to get involved. We picked produce every day during the harvest season this year.
  • A separate board was formed about two months ago to oversee Emmaleigh’s Cornucopia: four Tehachapi Masons and one Eastern Star member.

Power through partnerships
The project is so successful because of support from the Masonic community and the Tehachapi area:

  • A local, non-Masonic builder has been so moved by the project that he and his seven-man crew want to donate one day a week to building the greenhouse.
  • The local Scottish Rite just donated $30,000 towards the greenhouse, and are getting very involved with the garden.
  • Masons on the California Cherry Advisory Board went out of their way to provide assistance with the orchard.
  • A Mason outside our lodge guided us through a recent application process to become a licensed California nonprofit corporation.
  • The Future Farmers of America at Tehachapi High School want to help with the greenhouse as an educational tool.
  • We have a strong relationship with all the other lodges in our county. The momentum is really building, and I keep getting phone calls from lodges offering support.

Community connection: The architect designing the greenhouse is so impressed, he’s going to become a Mason.

The beneficiaries

  • We’ve already donated 1,600 pounds of fresh produce.
  • Thanks to fundraising through the cherry orchard, we’re forecasting $5,000 to $8,000 additional scholarship funds.
  • This year, we hosted a pumpkin patch for Cummings Valley Elementary School, which 40 children attended with their parents. We plan to host other community events.
  • We contacted the central food bank and kitchen for Kern County, and asked how much they spend on produce. This year, we alleviated that cost with donations from the garden. Next year, we’ll be able to cover all of it.

Every lodge has unique resources. Think about your strengths and resources, and how you can leverage them to make a difference. Then make your community a partner in the cause.

For more information, contact: George Roberts, lodge313@hotmail.com.

 

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RESOURCE: Countdown to Coming Home

For a complete Event planning timeline and checklist, refer to page 5 of the Coming Home Guide.pdf.

Already completed?

  • Appoint a Coming Home Committee
  • Assemble member phone contact information
  • Finalize event budget
  • Assign event responsibilities (refreshments, program, etc.)
  • Ad and/or article in Trestleboard
  • Play the Grand Master’s Coming Home video at the stated meeting (DVD mailed to 2009 senior warden)

In January

  • Coming Home Committee assigns phone calls inviting all lodge members to Coming Home; sets deadlines for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd attempts
  • Event plans finalized
  • Ad and/or article in Trestleboard
  • All members contacted, Call tracking forms submitted to Committee
  • Needs of returning members determined, including reasons for non-attendance
  • Transportation needs determined for returning members; assign drivers
  • Determine member skills and interests

IN THE MAIL: January resources
Lodges will receive a packet of special January materials within the next two weeks, designed to help with the important responsibility of Coming Home phone calls. The packet includes the following materials for every member with a phone call assignment:

  • Printouts of the Call tracking form
  • *NEW* Phone call script: Follow the script to get all the information you need: find out which members need rides, who may be in need of assistance, and other important information for lodge programming.
  • *NEW* Operation Greatest Gift referral form: Lodges are the best source for identifying veterans eligible for Operation Greatest Gift. As you’re reaching out to members for Coming Home, here’s a quick and easy way to refer them.
Not sure how to help? It’s a busy time for your fellow lodge leaders, including those heading up Coming Home. Check in with the 2010 lodge master to see how you can help make the event a success.

 

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Share your expertise

The Grand Lodge of California relies on members to provide volunteer leadership for the important work done by its committees and boards.

These positions are opportunities to share your expertise, enhance your leadership capabilities, and make a difference.

For information about the committees and boards, including a purpose statement and list of members, sign into the Member Center and select Roster.

If you are a warden, master, or past master who is interested in being considered for an appointment, please send an e-mail to communications@freemason.org.

 

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Save the dates 2010


February 5-7, San Ramon
February 26-28, Irvine

 


Junior Wardens
March 19-21, San Ramon
April 16-18, Ontario

Senior Wardens
April 30-May 2, Ontario
May 14-16, San Ramon

 

Lodge Management Certification Program
June 12, Newport Beach
June 19, San Diego
June 26, Sacramento
July 10, Pleasanton
July 31, Santa Rosa

 

10th Annual California Masonic Symposium
June 5, San Francisco

 

161st Annual Communication
September 24-26, San Francisco

 

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Scholarship applications due Feb. 15

Each year the California Masonic Foundation awards nearly $1 million in four-year college scholarships to high school students throughout the state.

Urge students in your lodge families, communities, and youth orders to submit the online application in the Scholarship Center on freemason.org.

Applications must be fully completed and submitted online by Feb. 15.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked what your lodges have traditionally done to bring back non-participants, and what special efforts you’re making for Coming Home. Of the 69 that responded:

Traditionally:

55% - planned family-friendly activities
42% - organized rides for members without transportation
40% - assigned active members to call non-participants
35% - planned community service events

For Coming Home:
Another 46% are assigning members to call non-participants, 43% are organizing transportation, and 37% are planning a family-friendly event.

 

Here’s your next question.

 

 

 

 

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






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