Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
In a typical month, I am asked two or three times about the Lodge Committees that we have in my home Lodge, Davis Lodge #169.
It is certainly something that makes us absolutely unique among Odd Fellows Lodges in California and throughout North America. Some of these committees are internal and relate to the administration and operation of the Lodge, many of the committees are external and relate to our community and charitable work, and quite a few are just social committees so that we can have some fun as members of a fraternal order. We are truly a three-dimensional Lodge. And, yes indeed, we actually do have 44 Committees in this Lodge. We create committees when members have ideas on how to serve the community. We also create committees for the social enjoyment of members – even if the committee only serves a handful of members. In our Lodge, if a member wants to try something new, we tend to say “yes”. Unfortunately, I have been to too many meetings in other Lodges where I have seen some members say “no” when someone ventures a suggestion to try something new. And I have been to too many meetings in other Lodges when the time comes in the meeting for “committee reports” and there is silence in the room, because the Lodge has none.
Committees can be the difference between an active and energetic Lodge on the one hand, and a boring and morose Lodge on the other. I write to encourage YOUR Lodge to develop committees of interest to your members. I am certainly not suggesting that your Lodge have 44 committees, nor am I suggesting that the committees of the Davis Lodge should be copied in your Lodge. I offer this article on committees simply to encourage your Lodge to have committees, and to give you examples of the sorts of committees that can exist. Simply put, I hope to get your Lodge to consider and talk about the benefits of committees. In this regard, I offer to you a list of the 44 Davis Lodge committees. It might give you some ideas.
Our five newest committees include:
Adopt-a-Highway Committee. We have adopted a 2-mile stretch of highway just north of Davis and will do environmental clean-up. We have posted a great sign with our name and the three-links logo which thousands of motorists see every single day. Thirty Lodge members have signed up to work on this committee.
Davis Chocolate Festival Committee. This committee has just started and will plan a community-wide chocolate festival at the Lodge in 2016. We hope it can become an annual event at the Lodge and in the community.
Needlework Committee. One of our new members suggested a committee for the needlework, stitchery, quilting, etc. aficionados. Eight members have already signed up and they plan to meet at the Lodge or in someone’s home once each month.
Odd Fellows Theater Committee. Thespians in the Lodge wanted a theater group. They are working on presenting the First Degree in costume with lines memorized. They are also planning to do storytelling for teens and adults at the Lodge in conjunction with the International “Tellabration”, which is currently done in 40 states and 9 countries.
Running with the Turkeys Committee. This committee is organizing a Davis Lodge run/walk team to participate in an annual 5K event held in Woodland, all to raise money for the County Food Bank.
I compiled the full list of our current committees, and here it is for your reading pleasure, and perhaps to give you some ideas for committees for your Lodge:
Breakfast with the Bunny
Breakfast with Santa
Classic Film Festival
Communications & Website
Davis Chocolate Festival
Giants Baseball Game
Grand Lodge Officer Reception
Installation & Awards Banquet
Membership & Initiation
Music & Concerts
New Year’s Eve Party
Odd Fellows Theater
Picnic Day Float
Picnic Day Breakfast
Relay for Life
Running with the Turkeys
Saturday Morning Breakfast
St. Patrick’s Day Party
Take a Hike
Taste of Davis
The unique committee structure that we have in the Davis Lodge is a structure that was begun during my terms as Noble Grand and has expanded since those days. In addition to the 44 committees we currently enjoy, we have also had some terrific committees in the past that have very successfully accomplished their one-time missions, and are no longer active committees. These include: Dogtoberfest, Hope for Haiti, Neighbors for Nepal, World’s Greatest Bicycle Parade, 145th Lodge Anniversary, Dancing, and Foster Families Dinner. There are committees we will form in future years, such as the 150th Lodge Anniversary Committee. And there is always room for more committees, if Lodge members have the interest and desire, and there are members willing to chair these new committees. Almost anything is possible. In fact, some of our newly admitted members have suggested even more committees that are of interest to them including a Youth Committee (for those under 18), a Singing Group, a Biking Committee, a Recreational Basketball Committee, and more!
These committees allow members of the Lodge (and applicants for membership) to involve themselves in fun activities for the enjoyment of Lodge members and applicants, and also involve themselves in community-serving projects. These are the things that young men and women in the 21st Century want to do – and indeed, my Lodge has many young men and women below the age of 50, and quite a few below the age of 30. And, as I have often said, a strong Lodge will foster a strong Encampment, and a strong Encampment will foster a strong Canton. In fact, because we have a strong Lodge, Davis has one of the two largest Encampments in California. And because we have a strong Encampment, Davis has one of the two largest Cantons in California.
Davis has implemented a vision for the growth and success of Odd Fellowship. My Lodge has grown over 1,000% over the last 10 years. This is because we are a three-dimensional Lodge: we follow the ritual that makes us unique as Odd Fellows, we have a fun and active social life in the Lodge, and we reach out and do good works in the community. Consider this to be a road map for the 21st Century, and it works. Again, I am not suggesting that every Lodge should have 44 committees, or 33 committees, or 22 committees, or 11 committees, or anything of the sort. Nor am I suggesting that the committees in the Davis Lodge should be replicated in other Lodges. The committee structure should be completely up to the members of each individual Lodge, based on the unique character of the members and the community. However, I am suggesting that Lodges form some committees, even two or three – based on the needs and desires of the members – to enhance the fraternal experience. Let’s get three-dimensional.
Give it a try. What have you got to lose?
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California