On August 2, 2017, Davis Encampment #21, at a special meeting, conferred all Encampment Degrees on eight new Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Receiving the Patriarchal Degree, the Golden Rule Degree and the Royal Purple Degree were:
Supervised by Chief Patriarch Tony Pruitt, the Davis Encampment Degree Team was headed by Past Chief Patriarch Dave Rosenberg, who was joined by Encampment members Cathy Aubill, Dennis Corcoran, Juelie Roggli, Kurt Roggli, Arun Sen and Kevin Sitz.
With the addition of these 8 new Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Davis Encampment #21 has 49 members, making it one of the two largest Encampments in the State of California. The 49 members of the Davis Encampment comprise about 20% of the total Encampment membership in the state.
The Davis Encampment is part of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge #169
Where have all Our New Members Gone?
Many times, I have visited lodges throughout our state and I have heard good news about new members joining a lodge. Often, if I return to that lodge, I ask about the new members and I hear similar responses; they stopped attending, they couldn’t attend on their meeting night, they’re too busy, or any of a myriad of other excuses. Eventually, many, if not most, of the new members discontinue attending, and our lodges tend to continue much as they always have, with the same “tired old faces”, (to quote a long-time member), and bereft of the new and fresh faces we should all be in search of. This then illustrates the other facet of the membership issue; the problem is not solely obtaining new members but also retaining them.
Why is retention of members in a lodge an issue?
Of course, the answer does not fit every lodge, but every lodge in an age where membership is problematical should at least pose the question. In my view, lodges on the downward trajectory tend to be boring, filled with ponderous individuals reciting passages from our ritual with little or no feeling. Conversely, if a new or fresh face appears, the same tired old face tends to brighten measurably, and what just seemed ponderous, can look suddenly new. Consider this sobering fact: our order gets hundreds of new members every year in our state alone, yet, hundreds more fall off the membership rolls as well. This tends to illustrate that this problem is more than an isolated problem in a lodge far from your own. In fact, many, if not most, of our lodges, are symptomatic of this issue. In many lodges, there is a core attending continually, of 5 to 15 individuals who not only rarely change, but apparently find a great deal of comfort in remaining static. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it is clearly one of the reasons for the problem itself. Eventually, this group becomes almost impenetrable, quite evidently reluctant to change in any significant way. In other words, while they may claim they want new members, they want only those who are philosophically and idealistically identical to the group itself.
How do we solve this issue?
Simple. We listen to those who fail to attend and then leave. Why did they leave? In many lodges, the reason for this is painfully obvious. In some lodges, they meet at an obscure time or place, inconvenient in some way. In other lodges, the old-timers are not friendly or welcoming of new members. And in other lodges, there is either unrest between members, genuinely mean people who seem to decide all rules, or simply other methods by which they tend to constrict growth. Brother Rosenberg is correct – some lodges simply don’t want new members, in fact, they show it in all their actions.
We need to practice a little self-examination. If we fear new members for one reason or another, then there is something basically wrong with our lodge. If we can fix this problem, not only can we move on unencumbered, we can exhibit our lodge as something all members may be proud of.
In Friendship, Love, and Truth, Rick Boyles
August 2017 Davis Odd Fellows Event Listing
Note: Many of our Committees (including Music and Concerts, Wine Club, Golf, Odd Bowling, etc.) take July and/or August off, so the events over the summer months are reduced. Rest assured, they will be back with vigor in September.
As a convenience to Members and Pledges, here is a calendar of meetings and events for August 2017. This list contains meetings and events that have been brought to my attention at email@example.com. For a complete list of activities, please refer to our website at http://davislodge.org. Here is the upcoming calendar for August:
Tuesday, August 1 – Davis Encampment Special Meeting to confer Encampment degrees, 7 p.m. in the Lounge
Wednesday, August 2 – “Mysteries of the IOOF” presented by Dave Rosenberg in the Lounge, 7 p.m. All Odd Fellows, Pledges and Guests are welcome. No RSVP necessary.
Thursday, August 3 – Club Night at the Lodge, Lower Hall, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (Pork Ribs, Veggie Beans, Cole Slaw, Hawaiian Rolls) served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Master is Matthew Elliott.
Friday, August 5 – Cave Degree weekend in Yreka. Contact Dave Reed for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, August 6 – Odd Fellows Sports Committee goes to a SF Giants baseball game, 1:05 p.m. Contact Kevin Sitz for times and travel info at email@example.com.
Monday, August 7 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets – Mah Jongg Night, Lounge, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 10 – Club Night at the Lodge, Lower Hall, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (Chili – both Veggie and Meat – Corn Bread, Green Salad)) is served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Master Kevin Sitz.
Saturday, August 12 – 2nd Saturday Breakfast Meeting of the Odd Fellows Lodge, Lower Hall. Breakfast served at 8:45 a.m. and social meeting begins at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, August 12 – Davis Encampment meeting starts after Odd Fellows meeting around 11:00 a.m. Contact Tony Pruitt for more information email@example.com.
Sunday, August 13 – 2nd Sunday Odd Fellows Bingo, Lower Hall, doors open at 12 noon, and Bingo begins at 1 p.m. The beneficiary this month is NAMI. For information, contact Dawn Coder at DawnCoder@gmail.com.
Monday, August 14 – Hall Board Association meets in the Committee Room, 5:00 p.m. For more information, contact Dave Rosenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 14 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets at the Lodge. Times and locations may vary. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at email@example.com.
Monday, August 14 – Odd Needlecrafters meets from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Lounge. All welcome – experienced or novice. Contact Kathy Hemness at firstname.lastname@example.org..
Thursday, August 17 – Club Night at the Lodge, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (Meatloaf and Falafel, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans) is served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Night with Trivia Master Lea Rosenberg.
Friday, August 18 – Gourmet Dinner Night with Premium Wine Pairings, in the Lounge. Reservations required. Contact Allison Vickrey at email@example.com.
Monday, August 21 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets at the Lodge. Times and locations may vary. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, August 22 – Odd Fellows Tuesday Movie Matinee group will meet at a local theater to enjoy a movie. To join or for more information contact Diane Steele at email@example.com.
Wednesday, August 23 – Canton Davis #7 meets in the Committee Room, 5:45 p.m. Contact Sheryl Cambron for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, August 23 – 4th Wednesday evening meeting of the Odd Fellows Lodge. Social hour at 6:15 p.m. in the Lower Hall. Meeting (members only) at 7:00 p.m. in the Upper Hall.
Thursday, August 24 – Club Night at the Lodge, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Dinner (BBQ Chicken, Grilled Portobellos, Corn on the Cob, Green Salad)) is served around 6:00 p.m. Trivia Night with Trivia Master Dave Rosenberg.
Saturday, August 26 – Odd Fellows Sports Committee goes to an Oakland A’s baseball game, 1:05 p.m. Contact Kevin Sitz for times and travel info at email@example.com.
Sunday, August 27 – Odd Fellows Cigar Lounge Committee meets at Westfield Park, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Contact Dave Rosenberg for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, August 28 – Odd Fellows Gaming Committee meets at the Lodge. Times and locations may vary. Contact Jean-Paul Montreuil for information and details at email@example.com.
Monday, August 28 – Davis Rebekah Lodge meets, 7 p.m. Contact Diana Schmiegel for more information firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, August 31 – Club Night at the Lodge, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tonight is Potluck Night – everyone invited to bring a dish to share. This will be a relaxing social evening.
F – L – T
Long range Major Events calendar dates:
September 3 – Odd Fellows Children’s Sunday Movie Matinee – “Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”
September 17 – Annual visit to the Historic Volcano Lodge.
September 17 – Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival – “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”.
September 24 – Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival – “The Philadelphia Story”.
September 30 – Wine Club Trip to Clarksburg Wineries.
October 1 – Odd Fellows Classic Film Festival – “Bell, Book & Candle”.
October 8 – OddtoberFest.
October 15 – Grand Encampment and Military Council meets in Fresno.
October 15 – Davis Storytelling Festival.
October 25 – Initiation of the Fall 2017 Pledge Class.
November 5 – Davis Odd Fellows Chocolate Festival.
November 19 – Tellebration.
December 16 – Breakfast with Santa.
January 5-7 – Member Educational Seminar in Reno
January 20 – Davis Odd Fellows Lodge Installation and Awards Dinner.
Open to the Public – All Vegetarian Dinner with Wine Pairings – Reservations Required
The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge is now accepting reservations for a unique, delicious, healthy All-Vegetarian Gourmet Dinner with Wine Pairings, to be offered on Friday, August 18, in the Odd Fellows Lounge. This is a multi-course dinner with wines paired for each course. Wine is provided by the folks at Steele Winery.
Dinner will be prepared by our talented in-house Chefs Sarun and Michael. The hosting winemaker from Steele is extremely knowledgeable about wine and will join us for dinner to explain each of the several wines that are offered.
Appetizer – Baked Brie with Local Honey and Fresh Fruit paired with Shooting star Sauvignon Blanc 2016
First Course – Waldorf Salad filled Endives paired with Steele Pinot Blanc 2015
Entrée – Ratatouille with House-made Pesto paired with Steele Pinot Noir Carneros 2013
Dessert – Opera Cake with Fresh Peaches paired with Steele Touriga Nacional
The multi-course dinner, including wines, is priced at a reasonable $45 per person, but seating is limited so we suggests you RSVP soon and reserve your seats. Checks payable to “The Lodge”.
RSVP deadline is August 11.
RSVP to Allison at email@example.com or call (530) 758-4940.
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Odd Fellows Lodge members from throughout North America ask me for suggestions on how they can encourage membership development in their Odd Fellow Lodges. I commend these members for their interest and their desire to not only save their Lodges, but to find ways to strengthen and grow their Lodges. Here is an article that I first wrote in June of 2016 which addresses the question.
Evolution and change must be the hallmark for Odd Fellows going forward. If we continue to operate as we have for the last 50 years the results will be pretty much the same: membership losses and closed Lodges.
At present, I submit that there are three categories of Odd Fellows: (1) The progressive and energetic members who understand that Lodges can be transformed, and new members brought in, when the Lodge provides fun activities for members, their families, and prospective members, and also reaches out into the community to do good works. (2) Those members who, frankly, don’t really care about the future of their Lodge so long as it provides the same kind of experience that they have always enjoyed. Status quo is just fine for them. They care about the present, and not so much about the future. (3) Members who recognize the problem as their Lodge membership shrinks and as the Lodge members age, but don’t really know what to do about it.
This article is not written for the first category of Odd Fellows – those members are doing just fine, and their Lodges will, in time, experience a Renaissance. Nor is this article written for the second category of Odd Fellows. They live in their own bubble, and their Lodges will simply fade away in time. This article is written for the third category of Odd Fellow. For the members who care to reinvigorate their Lodges (but don’t know how), I provide ten tested, tried-and-true programs – pick one or two, and I guarantee the result will be rejuvenated Lodge members and new members who are interested in joining an active Lodge.
Here are ten methods you can take to the bank of membership development:
1. Every Lodge in North America has a date that it was instituted and given a charter. Spend at least three months preparing for a Lodge Community Open House to celebrate that date. Send out press releases, invite local elected officials, and plan an event open to the community. Make sure members invite their families and friends. Provide music, a cake, perhaps some historical tours of the Lodge Hall. You get the idea. This is an easy event and really opens your Lodge to the community.
2. Every community has local musicians, singers, and bands. Open your Lodge once a month to performances by these groups. Make it free to the public (donations accepted, of course). Set some chairs up for the audience. There is no reason you can’t use your Lodge Hall for such a music venue.
3. Plan and execute a spaghetti feed for a local charity or community group. If you don’t have a certified kitchen, then make it a catered event. Keep the cost low, charge admission to the members and the public and provide the donations to the local charity or community group. If you can line up at least 10 “sponsors” for the event – who will each donate $100 to the ultimate beneficiary – all the better. Put up some posters. Make sure you send a press release out before and after the event.
4. Rent a bus to take your members, friends and family on a day trip. Keep the cost down – you are not here to make a profit, just to cover your expenses. Visit local wineries, or breweries, or a cheese factory, and plan on either bringing lunch for a picnic, or visiting a restaurant for lunch.
5. Pick a community project, get some volunteers, do it, and make sure you get recognized for it in your local press. What community project? Let your imagination be your guide, and tailor your project to your community. Some examples of projects you could consider: A Downtown Clean Up Day. Volunteering at the local animal shelter. Adopt-a-highway. A social visit to the local convalescent or retirement home.
6. Plan a regular activity once a month for your Lodge members – and make it a regular feature. What activity? Again, let your imagination guide you, based on the ages and inclinations of the members. Some examples of activities you could consider: Bowling night. Poker night. Take a hike in a local park. Dinner and movie. Or show movies at the Lodge.
7. Carpool to an Odd Fellow/Rebekah facility and pay them a visit. Lots of options are available: The Meadows of Napa Valley. The Rebekah Children’s Home. The Saratoga Retirement Community. The Odd Fellow Museum housed at the historic San Francisco Odd Fellows Temple. Or visit another Lodge and take a tour. A phone call or two to coordinate the visit, and your members will be welcomed.
8. Sponsor a youth activity in your town. It can be a local Little League or Soccer team, or it could be a Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troop. The kids and their families will appreciate it. And having the three link logo on sport’s jerseys is an added benefit.
9. Create a unique event for the members of your Lodge, family members and potential members. Make it an annual affair. It can be as varied as the community your live in and the membership of your Lodge. Perhaps a Halloween Party. Or an Oktoberfest. Or a karaoke night at the Lodge. Or a chocolate chip cookie baking contest. Or a bicycle trip. The list could go on and on.
10. And one of the simplest techniques of all: When you get to the point of inviting a new member to apply, make sure to also invite that potential new member’s spouse, significant other, boyfriend or girlfriend. Why settle for one new member when you can have two.
What have you got to lose?
F – L – T
Past Grand Master