Together we make a profound difference

Prepare to Make a Difference

BEST PRACTICE: Connecting with the youth orders

HOW-TO: Plan for Make a Difference Day

Living our fraternal values

Trestleboard and more

Question of the month

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Prepare to Make a Difference

In partnership with the Masonic youth orders, the month of October will be recognized by California lodges as Make a Difference Month, and October 5 is Make a Difference Day.

This annual observance has dual goals: supporting Masonic youth and fulfilling the fraternal obligation of relief.

Throughout the month, and especially on October 5, California lodges are encouraged to work with DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, and Job’s Daughters to plan and execute a community service project.

As you work together, you will have the opportunity to empower and mentor our Masonic youth, to reinforce fraternal values, and to learn from their enthusiasm and insight. And by combining your lodge’s time and talents with theirs, you’ll make an even greater difference for the community.

Read on for ideas and resources.

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BEST PRACTICE: Connecting with the youth orders

Supporting DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, and Rainbow for Girls has been a fraternity-wide priority in recent years – and one that will be especially visible this month and next, as California lodges join with Masonic youth for Make a Difference Day.

But the youth orders need support year-round, not just during special observances. From the Northern California towns of Napa and St. Helena, here’s an example of two lodges working together to provide it.

Napa Valley Lodge treasurer and 25-year Napa DeMolay chairman P. Craig Harris explains.

Background

When I was a DeMolay in Napa in the 1950s, the chapter was sponsored by brothers of Yount Lodge No. 12. Decades later, by the time my son had joined, Napa Valley Lodge No. 93 was involved, too. Today, there is also a Job’s Daughters bethel and a Rainbow Girls assembly here in Napa County.

The lodges

  • Tag-team: Yount Lodge and Napa Valley Lodge are both relatively small lodges, located less than 15 miles apart. We each support the youth orders in the ways we can manage, knowing that one will supplement the other’s efforts.
  • Opportunities for earning: We set up a rotating schedule for the three orders to serve at lodge dinners, which is an important fundraiser for them.
  • Scholarships: We make room in the budget for annual scholarships.
  • Lodge presence: One of the most important ways our lodges show support is simply by showing up. We make a special effort to attend major youth events like installations. It means the world to the youth – they really feel like part of the fraternal family.

The youth orders

  • Call it a comeback: The Napa youth orders dwindled for many years, but they’re slowly regaining numbers. For example, we currently have 24 members in DeMolay, with another six to eight in the pipeline.
  • Activities: We focus on social events, community service, and fundraisers. Youth orders don’t have annual dues, so fundraisers are crucial to stay ahead of expenses.
  • Adult advisors: The youth orders couldn’t exist without dedicated adults. Fraternal family from both lodges serve as advisors. In the DeMolay chapter, eight of our 12 adult advisors are Masons.
  • Getting involved: Talk to your local youth orders, or visit masons4youth.org for information on becoming an adult leader or starting a local group. You’ll need to go through training and certification to become an adult leader. It’s a time commitment, but it’s worth it.

The overlap

  • Welcome to the worldwide fraternity: The youth orders are a good way to introduce the new generation to Masonry and allied fraternal organizations.
  • From chapter to lodge: A lot of the boys out of the DeMolay chapter have affiliated with Yount Lodge and Napa Valley Lodge. A couple have gone on to become masters of their lodges.
  • Between us brothers: Local youth orders can be a bridge between lodges: a common cause. Brothers who serve together on advisory councils may find yet another opportunity for fellowship.
  • For adult advisors: It’s a joy to work with young people. And it’s an inspiration: These kids will knock your socks off.

When we first meet these kids at age 12, they’re still figuring out who they are. Some come from single-parent families. The youth orders can’t take the place of a parent, but they can give young people a safe environment to grow into confident, responsible adults. We help them build leadership skills and teach them how to interact socially. We can give them the experience of standing up and speaking in front of a room full of people. Such experiences are life-changing. As Masons, we must work together to ensure they can continue.

To learn more, contact:
Craig Harris, chairman, Napa chapter of DeMolay

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HOW-TO: Plan for Make a Difference Day

On October 5, lodges and Masonic youth orders will work side-by-side on service projects for their communities.

The more prepared your lodge is, the bigger difference you’ll make. Here’s a rundown for getting ready.

Rally the lodge

  • Read the Make a Difference Day message aloud at stated meeting, publish it in the Trestleboard, and link to it in a special email announcement
  • Mark the lodge calendar for October 5 and ask members to mark theirs
  • A few weeks and then a few days before the event, tap a few brothers to send out lodge-wide attendance reminders via text, email, phone, and Facebook
  • Ask for lodge volunteers to lead event planning

Wear your support on your sleeve

  • Order Make a Difference Day t-shirts – designed by a California Masonic youth – by the September 17 deadline
  • Net proceeds will be divided among the California youth orders
  • Buy a number of shirts for the lodge, and urge members to buy their own
  • Wear your shirt to your October 5 event to show your fraternal family pride

Reach out to Masonic youth

  • 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
  • Ask the youth leaders if one or more of them would be willing to lead the meeting

At the meeting

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

Program suggestions

  • If possible and practical, 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 and girls club, animal shelter, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen and ask how you can help

Let Grand Lodge know about your event, so they can help you publicize the event as well. Email communications@freemason.org.

Have we forgotten something? Email suggestions to communications@freemason.org.

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Living our fraternal values

Last year as a California Mason, you rescued an elder brother from more than a decade of homelessness. You sent a brave young woman to college so she can someday return to Africa and spare others’ suffering. You gave children – up and down California – the gift of literacy, and families the precious experience of shared reading. You did all this while challenging yourself with new leadership, education, and membership initiatives.

As the fraternity approaches Make a Difference Month in October, it is appropriate to reflect on the good work that California Masons have already begun. It’s all in the pages of the 2012-2013 Annual Report to Members.

Download and read the annual report now, and share it with your lodges and families.

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Trestleboard and more

The more members and families who show up to Make a Difference Day on October 5, the greater impact you’ll have. So for this month’s “Prepare to Make a Difference” issue, we’re providing an ad to motivate your lodge.

Once you have specific event details, be sure to post them nearby. And don’t forget to order your Make a Difference Day t-shirts by September 17. Proceeds will be divided among the California youth orders.

Download: Make a Difference Day ad
Publish in your trestleboard, post at lodge, and include in a special email reminder.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge has a created a new Masonic education program or expanded an existing one in the past year. Of those who responded:

40% - Yes
51% - No
9% - Not sure

Among those lodges with a new or expanded program, more than 70 percent said their program involves presentations by visiting experts.

Here's your next question.

 

 

 

 

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Please email questions to communications@freemason.org.

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