Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

I believe that virtually every Lodge in North America can refresh itself and can grow. We simply need to think outside the box of our own Lodge Halls.

There is good news on the horizon for our Lodges, and the 2016 California statistics prove it. For one thing, 2016 was the first year in a looooooong time that California experienced a net GAIN in membership, rather than a net LOSS. In 2016, our membership increased (gains over losses) by 90 brothers and sisters. Interestingly, our net gain of male members was 2, and our net gain of female members was 88. Those few Lodges that continue to have no women members need to re-think that “status” and make sure that their doors are truly open to 50% of our population.

In other good news, the following Lodges are in the Top 10 showing the largest number of initiations in 2016. Here are the Lodges and the number of new members each initiated:

California #1 (San Francisco) – 32
Davis #169 (Davis) – 28
Oustomah #16 (Nevada City) – 23
St. Helena #167 (St. Helena) -23
Yerba Buena # 15 (San Francisco) – 18
La Fayette Historical #65 (La Grange) – 18
Morse #257 (San Francisco) – 16
San Pablo #43 (Vallejo) – 13
Bay City #71 (San Francisco) – 13
Golden West #322 (San Francisco) – 13

And in 2016, the following Lodges were in the Top 10 of dues-paying members. Here are the Lodges and the number of dues-paying members as of December 31, 2016:

California #1 (San Francisco) – 262
Davis #169 (Davis) – 260
Yerba Buena #15 (San Francisco) – 235
Apollo #123 (San Francisco) – 226
Lodi #269 (Lodi) – 124
Golden West #322 (San Francisco) – 115
Mt. Brow #82 (Los Banos) – 95
Franco-America #207 (San Francisco) – 93
Vacaville #83 (Vacaville) – 83
Bay City #71 (San Francisco) – 70

How can YOUR Lodge join these Lodge in a path to stability and growth? I recently received an e-mail from Santa Rosa that shows what can be achieved if your Lodge is open to trying new things. And that’s what we have to do to survive in the 21st Century. A quote often attributed to Albert Einstein probably says it best: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result.” What most Lodges have been doing year after year after year does not work and most are losing members faster than they can replace them. The “same thing” isn’t working. Let’s be open to evolution and change in our Lodges and in our Order. In this regard, I’m very pleased to forward to you that e-mail from Santa Rosa. Thinking outside the box has brought our brothers and sisters in Santa Rosa some healthy fraternal fun and will inevitably increase the membership of the Lodges in that community.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master


Dear Brother Dave,

I’ve been receiving your emails for over a year now and wanted to say thank you and let you know how much your messages have helped me.

I am the Vice Grand for the Santa Rosa Oak Leaf Rebekah Lodge #74. I am also the Hall Manager for the Santa Rosa Odd Fellows Hall so I see, and interact with, many members of both the Rebekah and the Odd Fellows Lodge #53. I have a high level of respect for these lodge members and have grown very close to many of them over the years. They have become my second family. I began to realize that although I was building friendships with members of both lodges, they didn’t all have that opportunity to get to know one another very well. I have always felt more could be done to encourage more member involvement. I thought there had to be something exciting we could do. I remembered the ideas you talked about and so I turned to some of your past emails for inspiration.

I met with the Noble Grand of the Odd Fellows Lodge #53 at the time, Sonny Arroyo, at the end of last year and asked him for his support. We both went back to our respective lodges with our idea. I wanted to combine our socials into a joint monthly social for both lodges and open them to all family members, friends, grandkids, neighbors, etc. My vision was that anyone would be welcome. A committee was formed and soon fliers would be emailed and posted on our website and the Neighborhood app., and a robo call would go out to all members to remind them of the upcoming social.

Previously, both lodges had separate socials averaging 25 members. Our first joint social dinner attracted around 45-50 people. The following month we planned a home made meal, created “trivia” games, set up crafts tables for the kids, and booked an Irish dance school to perform. Roughly 70 people attended. Word got out that something fun was happening at the Santa Rosa Odd Fellows Hall, so the next month we planned another home made meal and booked a singing barbershop quartet. We counted roughly 95 people. Last month, at the end of May, it was Polynesian Night with Polynesian dancers, a band, and authentic Polynesian food. Members, their families, friends, neighbor lodges, along with our neighborhood totaled almost 150 people. Each social we have had numerous applications for membership for both the Rebekahs and the Odd Fellow Lodges. I noticed the “nay-sayers” were even enjoying themselves. It made me smile!

We started with the desire to come together. My main goal was to simply get the Rebekahs and Odd Fellows together to give everyone a chance to make new friendships and rekindle old ones. It was an unexpected surprise to see more of our neighbors join in on the fun and want to learn about Odd Fellowship. This has been an amazing opportunity for us to grow our lodges and have fun doing it.

So, I wanted to thank you for your emails and on-going dialogue of how important it is to take action. Not one thing may work for all lodges, but trying something is the first step. Success will come with perseverance and creativity. I think it’s important to encourage and foster the friendships between members first, and then reach out to our families, friends, and our community in which we live to share the stories of FLT.

Again, thank you for your guidance and wonderful ideas. I always look forward to them.


Karen Amandoli
Vice Grand, Oak Leaf Rebekah Lodge #74
Santa Rosa Hall Manager

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