Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Brothers and Sisters from around the world write to me about our DMC Newsletters and the issues raised in our discussions. These issues are real and do not go away by being ignored. They can only be solved if they are brought to the light of day.

I recently received the email, below, from an officer in a Norwegian Lodge. For privacy, I have removed the references to the officer’s name and Lodge. Here is what the Brother said in his email:

Dear Sir !

I would like to receive DMC Newsletters. I’m a member of Odd Fellow in Norway.

We are facing the same problems as you have described so elegantly in your newsletter.

I’m also interested in more knowledge (if available) about why young people seem to leave all types of organizations.

With Brotherly Regards

A most interesting question: Why do young people seem to leave all types of organizations? This question is more than “interesting”. It may very well be “existential”. While it is certainly possible for organizations to survive without young members, the organizations will change – they ultimately become organizations of older people – essentially gathering places for retired folks.

So, what are the reasons that young people leave an organization? I suggest that there are three:

  1. Young people tend to be more mobile than older people. It’s a simple fact of life that people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s tend to move around much more than people in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. There may be much more mobility in the early years while people are getting a higher education or in the first years on the job market or developing their careers. As we age, we tend to lay down roots and become more more established in our communities. It should be noted that this reality may morph in the coming years as more and more people of all ages work remotely.
  2. What is of interest to “young people” may not be of interest to “older people.” Without over-generalizing, young people may be more physically active than older people. Going to a meeting where the members dress up and have a big meal and play cards afterwards may hold only marginal interest to a younger person who would rather take a hike, participate in an environmental clean-up of a river bank, or play in a pickle ball tournament.
  3. Unless the organization has other young people on the roster, the organization may hold declining interest to the few young people who remain. Ask an older person who “Khloe Kardashian” is and you may get a blank stare. Ask a young person who “Jens Stoltenberg” is and you may get a similar stare. The members of an organization must share a commonality of interest or they will become disconnected.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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