Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Past Grand Master Rick Boyles is both a founding member of DMC and currently serves as Chair of the Grand Lodge DMC Committee as well as a member of the Grand Lodge Board of Directors. Below is another article from Rick in the DMC spirit. DMC has from its very inception in 2010, stressed one major theme: The need to bring in new members to ensure the survival of this great fraternity. DMC Newsletters have, over the course of the last five years, provided many suggestions and techniques to achieve the ultimate goal of how to grow our Lodges and our Order. Rick’s article carries on the theme.

Ultimately, the responsibility to bring in new members is YOUR responsibility. Your Lodge has been a fixture in your community for over a Century. Don’t let it fail under your watch.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

The Art of Just Having Fun

In my year as Grand Master, I chose a term password which conveyed the idea that having some fun is something to strive for as Odd Fellows. Even though it may have seemed a bit whimsical I meant it to convey what I feel is one of the best and easiest ways in which we may get new members. Most of us have worked hard in life, carried heavy loads, cared for loved ones, and had our share of ups and downs, so to me it seems imperative to send a message that says never mind the hard times, have some fun with where you are right now. As I have mentioned before, our installation documents have a passage about the lodge hall being a refuge from day-to-day life, and I believe that this is one of the best statements in our lexicon of literature. To put it succinctly, what is the point of a lodge hall, if we make it identical to our outside world, replete with paranoia, rampant with distrust, rife with boredom, complete with bullies and perfectionists? The world is an imperfect place, to be sure, but our lodge hall can be better by admitting all the best qualities of life and denying all the worst ones.

If we are to have fun, we first need to do the following…

1) Make sure that turmoil is not allowed within our four walls. Leave the discord outside.

2) Only invite happy people, those who can get along with others. It should be obvious that not every person is psychologically fit for a fraternal group, particularly one in which its core principles are friendship, love and truth.

3) Find out what would make you and your fellow members happy. Successful lodges often have interesting and unique committees and events, which tend to draw members on their own merits.

4) Some older members have stored up bitterness and resentment. Let it go. Lodges often fail because members have harbored resentment and bitterness against fellow members.

5) Celebrate diversity. I have visited lodges that are almost exclusively White Male Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And yet, in many of these lodges’ vicinities are areas of considerable diversity, yet while the lodge itself seems dumbfounded as to their own reason for failure, it’s often painfully obvious to all onlookers why their failure is imminent.

6) Go outside and/or allow the outside in. What do I mean? Some lodges almost seem foreboding. Most lodges are closed up tight 90% of the time. The odds of someone dropping by and finding someone there, and welcoming, is remote. Think of ways in which your lodge may meld with the outside world. Perhaps your lodge can serve as a meeting place within your own community.

7) Serve dinner. Some lodges have gotten so downtrodden, so disparate that they come to a meeting, and then go home, offering nothing, receiving nothing, praising nothing, and ultimately meaning nothing. Most lodges meet at the dinner hour. It is silly and counter-productive to expect strangers to attend where they get nothing for their attendance. If your lodge can’t afford to serve dinner, ask yourselves how long the lodge will last at the present rate. When you attempt to get new members, you are actually trying to sell your lodge. Make sure you have something to offer the onlooker.

These are just a few of the myriad methods by which a lodge may try and grow. To do nothing is giving up. Don’t give up. Realize that giving up can often accentuate the boredom and failure that your lodge feels. Lighten up, open up, and have fun.

Happy Holidays!

In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles

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