Redgie Fleeman was recently elected Grand Warden of California, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has submitted the following article to the Dedicated Members for Change (DMC) Newsletter. An issue of concern to Brother Redgie is to keep our fraternal focus on membership. We appreciate the article and the focus, Brother Redgie.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

It’s a cool morning in my town. I live in a town not so different from yours. Sitting at an outdoor restaurant the other day, looking at folks passing by, I see people enjoying the day. Dozens and dozens of young adults.

Everyone looks happy, eager and energetic! I ask myself, why are they not members of my Lodge! Is it as simple as asking?

Among the 60 or more people that I see, only two of them are using their phones. That’s nice to see. They are talking to each other the “old-fashioned” way, face-to-face and verbally, the way people did before cell phones took over. They all seem to enjoy the interaction, person to person.

I don’t have the answer. I only pose the question. Why is membership dropping in some Odd Fellow Lodges, while it increases in others?

Every town is different, but every town has young adults with new ideas. I imagine many young men and women are looking for an organization that is composed of congenial people, who are outgoing and like to have some good social times together – whether it’s a meal together, or a hike, or enjoying some music. I also imagine that many young people are looking for an organization that cares about the community – that helps frail seniors who need help, that cares about the environment, that works with foster kids. The attitude for wanting to help others starts at an early age. Odd Fellowship can provide the vehicle to deliver that help to others. Because, bottom line, people want a sense of belonging. They want to be part of a greater good – a group that welcomes them, that accepts them for who they are, that values their ideas and suggestions. Those Odd Fellow Lodges that have recognized these realities are Lodges that thrive and grow.

So, to answer my original question: Yes, it may very well be as simple as asking. If you don’t ask, you will never know.

In F.L.&T.

Redgie Fleeman
Grand Warden
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows

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