DMC – Fellowship Night Sponsorship

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

It’s almost that time.

Believe it or not, the annual Grand Lodge and Rebekah Assembly Sessions is coming up in just three months – May 15-18 in Visalia. A fair amount of business will be transacted, elections will be held, appointments will be made, acquaintances will be renewed, and there may even be some time for a bit of fun. And one of those fun activities will be the annual DMC Thursday Evening event. Please mark your calendars. That evening will be Thursday, May 16 at the Convention Center next to the Visalia Marriott Hotel. Details regarding the menu, the specific room location at the Convention Center and start time will be announced in the coming weeks. I can tell you that there will be a sumptuous display of good eats, a no-host bar, and lots of live entertainment. It’s the place to be on Thursday evening.

We keep the price tag on this event quite low because a number of generous Lodges contribute money as Sponsors of the event. Because of their sponsorship the expenses are subsidized and the cost to individual Odd Fellows, Rebekahs and their guests is reduced. The actual “admission fee” will be announced in the next few weeks as soon as we determine how much the sponsoring Lodges have contributed – but our plan is to keep it very, very low.

If YOUR Lodge wishes to be listed and recognized as a Sponsor of this fun event, and help reduce the cost for your brothers and sisters, please let me know in response to this e-mail. And mail your Lodge’s sponsorship check, payable to “Grand Lodge of California” to:

Dave Rosenberg, PGM
Odd Fellows Lodge
415 2nd Street
Davis CA 95616

Also, we wish to feature the musical talents of our members during the Thursday DMC evening. So if YOU wish to provide some musical entertainment during the event (either on your own or with your band-mates, please let me know!

We welcome the sponsorship of your Lodge, and the musical talents of members.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Odd Fellows 200th Anniversary

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

This year – 2019 – is a significant and important year in the history of Odd Fellowship. This is the year generally recognized that Odd Fellowship began in North America, through the work of Thomas Wildey and his associates. So, it’s the 200th year of the founding of our Order. It’s also a unique opportunity to celebrate our Three-Links Fraternity, and to further expose your Lodge to your community. Shame on you if you let this opportunity slip by.

One of the best ways to increase the membership of your Lodge is to increase the visibility of your Lodge in the community. If your Lodge is invisible and inactive, then chances are you will not attract new applicants. On the other hand, if your Lodge is visible and active, the odds of new membership increase significantly. And our Bicentennial Anniversary as a fraternal Order is a unique opportunity to create some community visibility and interest.

Every Lodge should have at least one community event in commemoration of our fraternal bicentennial. The simplest and easiest such event is to have an open house. Invite the community into your Lodge for tours, and perhaps a brief historical presentation about the Order and the Lodge. Don’t be afraid to open your doors and windows to your community. Some Lodges have been in their communities for over a century, but are still virtually invisible to that community. It’s long overdue time to change that perspective.

But don’t stop there. Use your imagination to develop other ways to commemorate the milestone. Let me give you just one example to help get your creative juices flowing.

My own Lodge in Davis, California, has launched an imaginative way to commemorate this anniversary. We have started our “Walk the World” project. A committee of Lodge members has invited the brothers and sisters, the applicants for membership, and their families, to participate in the “Walk the World” project. Our intent is to collectively walk the circumference of the Earth. That circumference, at the equator, is 24,901 miles, which translates into 131,477,280 feet (at 5,280 feet to the mile). The average step by the average person covers 2.5 feet so that means it will take 65,740,092 steps to “walk the world”. The Lodge has created a spreadsheet to keep track of each participant’s steps, and an online link where participants can record their steps – it’s a very easy process where participants input just three things every time they use the link: their name, the week in which they walked, and the steps that they walked in that week.

We hope to have at least 50 people signed up to undertake the project, but could have over many more – perhaps as many as 200 (which would be a nice touch as it is our 200th anniversary). Clearly, it will take us a year, or more, to complete the effort. But it’s worth it. We will focus on our fraternal anniversary all year long, we will engage in serious walking which is a very healthy project for the participants, we will launch a project that has great appeal to younger members and applicants, and we will generate a fair amount of community visibility through press releases and social media.

Let’s not let this opportunity slip away. Happy 200th Birthday, Odd Fellows!

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

Odd Fellows to Sponsor Natalie Corona Memorial Scholarship

The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge announced today that they are creating one or more scholarships to honor the spirit of fallen Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona.

Donations should be made payable to the Davis Odd Fellows Helping Hands, Inc. at 415 Second Street, Davis CA 95616. Helping Hands is a 501(c)(3) organization, so donations may be deductible. Donors are asked to write “Natalie Corona Scholarship” in the memo section of the check.

Depending on the level of contributions, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge may create scholarships in both Yolo County (where Officer Corona served) and Colusa County (where she was born and raised). Additional fundraising events are being planned.

For more information, contact Jim Bledsoe at jbledsoe@geovera.com .The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge was instituted and chartered in 1870, and currently has over 300 members.

DMC – Did your Odd Fellows Lodge skip a generation?

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

At the next meeting of your Lodge, take a moment to look around the room. What do you see?

Do you see a small group of members in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s? If that is the view, then your Lodge is in trouble. Not today, perhaps. Not even next year. But, mark my words, your Lodge is in its death spiral. Why? Because your Lodge has skipped a generation. Where are the members in their 50’s, 40’s, 30’s and 20’s? In fact, if everyone in the room is in the 60-89 age bracket, your Lodge has actually skipped two generations. And fraternal orders can’t afford to do that. As Lodge members age, it is imperative that the Lodge “back-fill” with younger members to keep the Lodge going. Otherwise, those 60-year-old members will become septuagenarians, and those 70-year-old members will become octogenarians, and so on. No one lives forever. If you don’t have children, your line will eventually perish. If a Lodge doesn’t bring in younger members, it too will perish.

And your Lodge won’t bring in new members if your Lodge is not relevant to them.

Following is an article I wrote on September 2, 2012, which is as pertinent today as it was six years ago.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

On the front page of one of my morning papers this morning – the Sacramento Bee – is an article entitled, “Band of brothers is fading with age.” I’m an active-duty US Army veteran myself, so it caught my interest. The gist of the article is that the established veterans organizations in America are losing membership because younger veterans just aren’t joining. These groups reached their peaks at the end of World War II and since then have found their numbers diminishing. Respected groups like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars are rapidly dropping in their membership counts. Here’s a quote from a veteran in the article: “Younger veterans don’t want to join an organization with a bunch of older guys.”

Sound familiar?

What’s happening to the veterans’ organizations is the same phenomenon that is happening to fraternal orders – including the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The generations born in the 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s have different interests and different perspectives that the prior generations. Here’s another quote from the article: “Rather than hanging out . . . with their buddies and reminisce, younger veterans prefer family-friendly amenities, an emphasis on community service . . . . free Wi-Fi at the halls might help, too.” In fact, it struck me that as I am reading this article in the newspaper, the folks in their 20’s and 30’s and 40’s are probably reading the same article on line, and probably on their smart phones.

It’s just different now.

For example, ancient Odd Fellows admonitions from the 1700’s and 1800’s like “educate the orphan” and “bury the dead” have great significance in the history of Odd Fellowship, and historically were remarkable achievements in past ages when society had many orphans and many folks who died who had no way to be respectfully buried. But let’s face it. Today there are very, very few orphans in America, and virtually every county has a public guardian who provides for indigent burials. We need to “evolve” these ancient admonitions to the present age – for example, society is filled with foster children (and young adults who have recently “graduated” from the foster system) – we can “evolve” the concept of “educate the orphan” to “help foster children and children in need.” This is just one example (of many) of the modernization in which our Order must engage. If we have the courage to talk about it and actually deal with it.

The great teachings of our Order – exemplified in our degrees – are timeless. But beyond that, I submit that very, very few new members join this Order because they want to wear regalia or learn the secret grip and passwords. The vast majority of new members (and potential new members) want to join because this Order is a fraternity that offers social contact and friendships, and because our Lodges can do good works in our society and in our communities. Accordingly, those Lodges that actively develop social activities and functions for the membership, and those Lodges that are active in helping local charities and community groups (as well as Odd Fellows’ charities) will attract the young blood we need and will flourish and grow. Those Lodges that continue to sit behind closed doors and do little more than conduct formal meetings (with an occasional potluck) will continue to diminish as members pass on. Quoting another veteran from the article this morning: “We don’t have time to sit in three meetings every month.”

Food for thought.

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg

Davis Odd Fellows raise over $43,000

The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge, a fixture in Davis since 1870, has ended the 2018 year contributing over $43,000 to various community and charitable groups and individuals in need, the Lodge announced today. “This year continues a long history and tradition of good community works by the Odd Fellows in Davis,” said long-time Odd Fellow, Trustee of the Odd Fellows Lodge, and President of the Hall Association Dave Rosenberg.

“The Lodge has 300 members, making it the largest Odd Fellows Lodge in California and the United States, and the members dedicate themselves to community support and service, as well as fostering a convivial social atmosphere in the Lodge for members”, said Rosenberg. The Lodge primarily does its work through 50 committees, many of which are dedicated to community and charitable support. Said 2018 Noble Grand of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge James Bledsoe, “We are proud to do our part to support the charitable and community groups that make Davis such a special place.”

In 2018, the following Committees made contributions:

  • Odd Fellows Bingo Committee donated $8,857 to 12 community groups: Team Davis, Pioneer School, Davis Parent Nursery School (DPNS), Davis Encampment, NAMI-Yolo, Yolo Hospice, Community and Employment Services, Foster and Kinship Care Program, Yolo County Healthy Aging Alliance, Soroptimists of Davis, Unleashing the Possibilities, and Yolo County SPCA.
  • Odd Fellows Community Support Committee donated $4,700 to 13 charitable and community groups: Yolo County Crisis Nursery, Yolo County Elections (Youth Summit), CASA, YCCC, the Mexican-American Concilio, Davis Phoenix Coalition (anti-bullying campaign), Davis Community Meals and Housing, Pine Tree Gardens, Newspapers in Education, Davis FFA Boosters, NAMI Homestead House, Soups On, Huntsman Cancer Foundation. In addition, the Community Support Committee co-hosted events at the Lodge on behalf of Patwin PTA, Birch Lane PTA, Korematsu PTO, the Davis Music Fest and the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance.
  • Team Bald-Fellows raised and contributed $4,524 for research combating children’s cancer.
  • The Breakfast with Santa Committee contributed $3,325 to scholarships at King High School in Davis, and to provide support to young adults who have aged out of the foster care support system.
  • The Odd Fellows Theatre Committee contributed $2,500 to support CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to assist children in court.
  • Odd Fellow Music Committee through its monthly “Thursday Live!” concerts contributed $1,200 to the Davis Encampment to send kids to summer camp or another summer experience, and another $1,000 to KDRT, the UCD campus radio station.
  • Odd Fellows Chocolate Festival contributed $1,000 to the Davis Encampment.
  • Odd Fellows Taste of Davis contributed $1,000 to Meals on Wheels.
  • Davis Odd Fellows Charities, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) entity of the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge) funded two scholarships totaling $15,000, benefiting two young adults who were formerly foster children.

The Davis Odd Fellows Lodge was instituted and chartered in 1870, and is presently located at 415 Second Street, in Downtown Davis. It is a fraternal order which traces its history back to England. The Odd Fellows (known officially as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows) is identified by its three intertwined links: Friendship, Love, Truth. The Davis Lodge membership is almost equally divided between men and women, and members range in age from 17 to 97. The Lodge is known for organizing and hosting major community events such as Taste of Davis, Breakfast with Santa, Breakfast with the Bunny, Second Sunday Bingo at the Lodge, the Davis Chocolate Festival, the Odd Fellows New Year’s Eve Party, Thursday Live music at the Lodge, the Picnic Day Pancake Breakfast, and many more. Information on the Davis Lodge can be obtained at www.davislodge.org.

DMC – Happy Anniversary

Dear Dedicated Members for Change,

Happy anniversary, DMC. DMC was founded in December 2010. So, December 2018 marks the Eighth Anniversary of the start of “Dedicated Members for Change” and the eighth year for this DMC Newsletter. We are dedicated members who support a progressive, inclusive and modern vision for IOOF.

As regular readers of this newsletter know, the main purpose of DMC is to re-focus Odd Fellowship on the critical need for new members. A continuous flow of new members is the existential requirement of a fraternal order. With a steady influx of new members, a fraternal Lodge has the potential to continuous “life” for hundreds of years. On the other hand, if a generation of new members is skipped, the Lodge will find itself in trouble; and if two generations of new members are skipped, the Lodge will have essentially written out its death warrant.

So, “membership, membership, membership”, has been the refrain and rallying cry by DMC since its inception. And, we don’t just sound the alarm and blow the horn. We try to provide practical and proven methodologies to achieve membership growth. It doesn’t do much good to just talk the talk; we have to walk the walk. The constant drumbeat has worked in California and in a few other jurisdictions. These jurisdictions have reversed the trend of declines in membership, and they are showing growth. The fact that there are Lodges that are growing belies the notion that fraternal orders are no longer relevant in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, most Lodges in our Order have grown complacent and “satisfied” with the status quo. Those Lodges like things just the way they are. That attitude may be just dandy for the current members, but it is a mind-set that is fatal to the future of that Lodge. Well, DMC doesn’t give up.

In this week’s DMC Newsletter, I’m going to let you in on a little “secret”. I’m going to discuss one of the single best methods to bring new members into a Lodge.

We have used this method in my own Lodge – Davis #169 – and it works. I guarantee that, in some form, it will work for your Lodge. We call it “Club Night at the Lodge” and here’s how it works: Once a week, every week, we schedule “Club Night at the Lodge” at our Lodge Hall. We have chosen Thursdays. These gatherings are not Lodge meetings (we have two Lodge meetings each month, one formal and one social, which are separate and apart from our “Club Nights at the Lodge.” We start Club Night at 5:30 p.m. and we wrap it up at 8:00 p.m. Members are welcome to drop in and to bring family and friends, and potential new members. One of our members plays the piano to provide some background music, the bar is open (no host) with special reduced prices for participants, we have 100-piece jigsaw puzzles on the tables, and dinner is available after 6 p.m. for those who want it for $7 per person. Around 6:30 p.m. one of our members takes on the role of “trivia master” and we play 3 quick rounds of trivia (with prizes like cookies). Thursday nights are very well attended and very popular.

Club Night at the Lodge accomplishes the following purposes:

1. It is a great social event for the members and their families. Members often bring their spouses, and even children. There is plenty of time socialize and catch up with one another. A fraternal order, after all, should include a social element. Members really look forward to this event every week. Even trivia has a social element because we play by table and so the folks sitting around a table confer with each other in the game. From time to time, we will even celebrate a member’s birthday or anniversary.

2. There is essentially no cost to the Lodge for hosting this event because the attendees pay for the drinks and the dinner.

3. However, the most important element of this event is that it opens the Lodge up to potential new members. Members of the Lodge feel free to bring potential new members to “Club Night at the Lodge”. These potential applicants can meet Lodge members, tour the Lodge Hall, and speak to a member of the Membership Committee about Odd Fellowship and about what the Lodge does for the members and for the community. And it works. In our Lodge, literally dozens of applicants have come to us through the doorway of “Club Night at the Lodge.”

F – L – T

Dave Rosenberg
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California

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