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Candidate coaching and mentorship

Customize coaching

Your May checklist

For your Trestleboard

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Question of the month


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Candidate coaching and mentorship

In Southern California’s coastal city of Oxnard, Anacapa Lodge No. 710 is known for being an active, tight-knit fraternal family. It leads a busy calendar of fellowship and community programs, including a broadly supported public schools program, a much-loved Filipiniana event, lodge camping trips, and annual participation in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

Through their approach to coaching and mentorship, the brothers groom their newest Masons to embrace this vibrant lodge culture, and to honor the lessons underpinning every fraternal experience.

Past master and current officer’s coach Ronald Andaya explains.

Coaching program

  • We assign at least four regular coaches who meet as a group before every degree rehearsal. We go over coaching goals and expectations, and talk about the importance of coaching – not just for the ritual, but also for a deeper understanding of what Freemasonry is all about.
  • Coaches receive the Candidate Coach Handbook as a reference. We provide additional written explanations on terms that often cause confusion, such as the meaning of the cable tow, the difference between Joppa and Jeptha, and the importance of the golden fleece or the Roman eagle.
  • We encourage all our coaches and candidates to use the online Candidate Learning Center. The candidates gain greater knowledge of the fraternity, and tend to approach past masters and older members more with questions.
  • The senior warden and assistant coach act as preliminary qualifiers before each candidate goes for his proficiency examination.


  • After every initiation ceremony, before the closing of the lodge, a past master conducts a walkabout presentation. He introduces the new Entered Apprentice to all the officers and briefly explains their responsibilities. He also overviews the basic etiquette and protocols of a tiled meeting. The Entered Apprentice’s education begins with this walkabout. It also re-educates lodge brethren who do not regularly attend meetings.
  • After the third degree conferral, a past master presents a Masonic lapel pin to the new Master Mason and recites a poem about its significance. The poem underscores what it means to become a true Mason, in thought and in deed. (When visiting brothers are present, they often ask for a copy to bring back to their own lodges.)

Continuing education

  • Mentorship, like Masonic education, never ends.
  • At the close of each tiled meeting, we dedicate at least five minutes to Masonic education. Topics include practices of different jurisdictions, often drawing on the experience of traveling brothers. This educates everyone, candidates included, on the ways of the worldwide fraternity.
  • After the candidate is raised to Master Mason, we encourage him to attend lodge frequently and bring his family. We encourage him to talk to the master about what he can do for the lodge – how he can contribute beyond paying dues and sitting on the sidelines during degree work.

Our lodge’s coaching and mentorship programs were already in place when I became a Mason in 1983. We value our longstanding traditions, but we also update our techniques as new technologies like the Candidate Learning Center become available. Our goal remains the same: to inspire each member to learn the craft, to become a good Mason, and most of all, to become a better man.

Contact: Ron Andaya

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Customize coaching

Coaching sets the stage for a candidate’s Masonic journey. It’s important to tailor your approach to his abilities and passions. Here are six strategies.

  • Before coaching begins, interview the candidate about his learning style, personality, and interests. Use the information to pair him with the right coach.
  • Identify your candidate’s learning style – visual, aural, verbal, physical, social, or solitary – and find ways to accommodate it. If he enjoys writing, arrange for him to present a research paper to the lodge. If he thrives on discussion, organize group study sessions with other candidates and coaches.
  • Pay attention to what topics interest your candidate most – for example, history, philosophy, or a specific symbol – and devote additional time to them. Bring supplemental materials to fuel his interest, such as an article or a favorite book, or create a recommended reading list so he can do his own research.
  • When memorizing the ritual, have your candidate create his own mnemonic devices for difficult words or transitions. Ask him to try emphasizing different words and pausing in different places until he feels confident about the ritual’s message.
  • Ask your candidate how he thinks the ritual relates to his life, and share a little bit about how it’s impacted you. Designate older brothers to meet with your candidate to discuss how Masonic lessons can be applied to daily life.
  • Use the Candidate Learning Center, which tracks candidate progress and provides additional resources such as photos, video interviews, interactive games, online articles, and journaling exercises.

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Your May checklist

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

Executive Committee

Senior Warden

  • Along with the Executive Committee, identify and approach members for 2017 open elected and appointed officer positions
  • Identify and approach members for the 2017 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees
  • Set calendar for 2017 and identify event leaders
  • Continue preparing 2017 budget
  • Set installation date and approach installing officer, master of ceremonies, and chaplain
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement


  • Send list of members with late dues to the Retention Committee
  • Send any suspension notices via certified mail
  • Provide necessary information so Charity Committee can consider remissions
  • Begin reviewing roster for accuracy in preparation for the end of the Grand Lodge membership year, June 30


  • By May 15, submit IRS form 990 and FTB form 199 (unless your lodge has previously agreed to have Grand Lodge prepare these forms)

Hall Association

  • By May 15, submit IRS form 990 and FTB form 199
  • By May 15, submit form 200 to Grand Lodge by May 15
  • Pay insurance premium

Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

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For your Trestleboard

On May 20, 1916, thousands of men, women, and children lined the avenues of Covina to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone for the new California Masonic Home. Next month, the fraternity will celebrate the 100th anniversary as a special highlight of the Covina Home’s annual Masonic Family SummerFest. Every fraternal family is encouraged to attend. Use this ad to spread the word.

This month: You're Invited: Covina Centennial Celebration
Publish in your Trestleboard, email to your membership, or print out and post at the lodge.

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Find it on

Get free, CMC-compliant tips with the online Lodge Investment Program.

The program, developed by the Grand Lodge Investment Committee, lays out comprehensive, step-by-step guidelines to help you prudently manage lodge funds – whether you’re just starting an investment program or already have a sizable portfolio.

Log in to the Member Center on, then go to the Reports & Features section and select the Lodge Investment Program.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge awards student scholarships. Of those who responded:

44% - Yes
52% - No
4% - Don't know

According to respondents, about 20 percent of the lodge scholarship programs were created just within the past five years.

Here's your next question.



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

p: (415) 776-7000