The general public is invited to play Bingo at the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge Hall on Sunday, September 8, to benefit Unleashing the Possibilities, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) charitable corporation raising money to build a new animal shelter for all the real doggies and kitties and critters in Yolo County.
Doors open at 12 noon, and Bingo begins at 1 p.m. Bingo played at the Odd Fellows Hall is sanctioned gambling and so only adults may play. Cash prizes are awarded for winners of every game. Fifteen games are played and the cash prizes go up to $250 for the final “blackout Bingo” game. The Odd Fellows Lodge Hall is located at 415 2nd Street in Downtown Davis. The Odd Fellows run Bingo every second Sunday of every month on behalf of charitable and community organizations, and have been doing so for 11 years. It is estimated that the Odd Fellows have provided some $75,000 to these organizations. All proceeds raised by Bingo are paid to the beneficiaries after winners are paid.
In addition to Bingo, the public enjoys a snack bar with hot dogs, nachos, candy, soft drinks, wine and beer.
Unleashing the Possibilities, Inc. (UTP) was formed several years ago to encourage Yolo County Government to work with the cities to build a new animal shelter. The current shelter is old and worn out and does not serve the community, nor the animals, as well as it should. By raising private funds to help government build the new shelter, UTP has moved the process forward. Currently, county government is in discussions with the cities to form a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) as the future structure for animal services. UTP is committed to bring private monies to the table to help local governments build the new shelter and improve animal services.
On July 24, 2019, the Davis Odd Fellows Lodge initiated 8 new members into the Order. The membership now stands at 313. Attached is a photo of our new members taken at last evening’s initiation:
Left to right front row: Karen Friss, Chris Perry, Noble Grand Kevin Sitz, Maria Contreras Tebbutt, David Fortune. Back row: Alex Haider-Winnett, Samer Alassaad, Nicholas Lundgren, Carl Treseder.
The initiation brings the membership of Davis Lodge #169 to 313 members, according to Membership and Initiation Committee Chairman Dave Rosenberg. In addition, the Lodge has 15 applicants pending for membership.
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Attached is a document you may not have seen before. It is the 5-year Plan adopted by the Sovereign Grand Lodge (SGL). If you have never seen this 5-year Plan, you might rightfully and righteously wonder: Why haven’t I seen this plan before? But putting that rather basic question aside, let’s explore what this Plan says, and what it doesn’t say.
By way of preface, let me say that it is perfectly appropriate that a Plan was developed. An organization as large and sprawling as SGL should have a plan. And I commend SGL for the foresight to have one.
But, I must also say that I am immediately struck by the vagueness and generalizations contained in the plan. Take a look at the plan yourself, and see if you agree. In most respects it is as plain as vanilla and as nourishing to the Order as tapioca. A plan that says “Improve Communications” doesn’t tell us much. And very little is added by saying we must improve communications both “within the order” and “outside the order”. Well, yes. That’s a good thing. But saying we must improve communications gives us little insight into how. And the only suggestion ventured by SGL is to “foster public awareness of the order.” OK. And again, how?
“Apply positive action to contribute to the quality of the order.” What does that really mean? How does that translate into action? It’s almost as if SGL hired a facilitator who sat with some SGL leaders in a room and asked folks to throw out some good words that the facilitator could put on a sheets of butcher paper stuck to the wall with blue tape. How about “action”? No, let’s make it “positive action.” Well what about positive action? Someone else suggested we should “apply” it. To what, someone else asked? Let’s apply it so that it can “contribute” to something, someone else suggested. How about “the order”. Gee, guys, I like quality. Good, good. Let’s apply it to the quality of the order. No, not quite. Let’s apply it to contribute to the quality of the order. Hey, that’s great. Let’s go with that. And we should encourage the member of the order to “active participation.” Yes, agreed. We don’t want inactive participation. Members should participate, but it should be active.
Ultimately, in the 21st Century, no 5-year Plan can avoid technology, and the SGL 5-year Plan does make the obligatory reference to it. The plan encourages the use of social networking. Good plan. But how? Again, the Plan offers little in the way of clues. To be fair, the Plan does says we should employ the latest technology in communications. But this Plan was in effect in 2011-16 and here we are three years later in 2019 with any number of Lodges that have no technology, no presence on social media, and minimal use of email. And why do most Lodges still use minutes that are handwritten in a book, and then read verbatim at meetings? That’s the way it was done in the 19th and 20th Centuries. How have we not progressed in our 200th year?
Toward the end of the SGL 5-year Plan, I read a line that stumped me. I actually read this line several times: “Involve all ages and life issues.” Why does the Plan speak in tongues? I certainly can understand the desire to “involve all ages”. (Although the plan leaves us guessing as to “how” we accomplish this all-age involvement.) But what is meant by “life issues”? Does this mean the SGL urges the Lodges to include members who are gay or transgender, or members who are not Christian or Jewish, or members who are poor or homeless? Does this mean that SGL wants us to reach out to those who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, poor and homeless? Does this mean that SGL will finally raise the red flag on Odd Fellows Lodges that have not yet admitted even one woman some two decades after Odd Fellows Lodges opened membership to women? A little explanation would go a long way.
Finally, the 5-year Plan seeks to “Promote positive attitudes.” Well, who can argue with that. Positive attitudes are better than negative attitudes. Good is better than evil. Happiness is better than sadness. And, apparently, pablum is better than a real plan that addresses real issues facing our Order (e.g. how about a real plan to reverse the decline in our membership).
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Independent Order of Odd Fellows Five-Year Plan (2011)
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Please join me on a little trip in the Odd Fellows’ time machine.
Let’s visit America in 1919, 100 years ago. In 1919 you could get a dozen eggs for 34 cents, a quart of milk cost 9 cents, and a loaf of bread cost 6 cents. First class postage stamps cost 2 cents and a gallon of gas was only 12 cents. Typical yearly take-home pay was $687. Very few people had cars, but you could buy one for around $500. And an average house cost $3,500. On January 6, 1919, Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, died in his sleep at the age of 60. On January 16, the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, went into effect authorizing prohibition. In February, Oregon placed a 1 cent tax on gasoline, becoming the first state to do so. And Congress established the Grand Canyon as a national park. In May a race riot broke out in Charleston, South Carolina, and three black men died. UCLA was established in May, as well, becoming the southern branch of the University of California system. In June, the Congress approved the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing suffrage to women. In July, the US Army sent the first convoy of motor vehicles across the continental United States – the motorcade arrived in San Francisco in September
In 1919 social security didn’t exist and many elderly lived in poverty conditions. Americans in 1919 spent one-third of their income on food. And food wasn’t particularly good or healthy. The average American ate 11.5 pounds of lard and 14 pounds of chicken per year. (In 2019, Americans are expected to consume 57 pounds of chicken and 1.5 pounds of lard per year.) Half of all families lived in rural areas or in towns with populations less than 2,500. The average household was crowded, with more than four people (today it’s less than 2.5 people in a household). Owning homes was a rarity in 1919 – there were about four times as many renters as homeowners 100 years ago. (Today, more than 60% own their own home.) In 1919, only 100 million people lived in the USA and more than half were under 25. A century later, the population has more than tripled, and the share of people under 25 has fallen to one-third. Meanwhile, the share of people over 65 has tripled from 5% to 15%.
In 1919, hardly anyone drove cars. People generally walked, rode horses, and occasionally took the trolley. There was very little commuting. People generally lived close to their work and typically walked to work. Men wore blue serge suits to work, and women wore long dresses or long skirts. Entertainment was the player piano or the photograph. Fraternal Orders, including Odd Fellows, were flourishing across the country.
Now, let’s come back to reality in 2019. In 2019 America is a completely different place than it was in 1919. America in 2019 is a place that folks in 1919 could not even imagine: a place of airplanes, fast cars, computers, laptops, cell phones, smart watches, equal rights for women, credit and debit cars, maternity leave, movies, television, refrigerators, washers-dryers, bikinis, etc. etc. And yet, there are Odd Fellows who believe that if the Order would only go back to the way we operated in 1919, all would be well and we would grow again. That bit of whimsy makes no sense. To flourish and grow, Odd Fellowship needs to evolve and change. Only then will the men and women of the 21st Century be attracted to Odd Fellowship. The landscape of America is littered with the corpses of fraternal orders that rigidly refused to change. Odd Fellowship must evolve with the times.
One cannot attract the electric car generation to a horse-and-buggy Lodge.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
California Grand Lodge Sessions and Rebekah Assembly in Visalia begin in two weeks.
Please mark your calendars for a fun event coming up during California Grand Lodge and Rebekah Assembly Sessions. It’s the annual “Tacos, Tunes & Tales” on Thursday, May 17, organized and hosted by
“Dedicated Members for Change”. As in past years, we expect 125-150 attendees. You won’t want to miss it. Please see the attached updated flier for all the details. “Tacos, Tunes & Tales” will be the place to be on Thursday evening. We will have a wonderful taco bar buffet, there will be live music, there will be plenty of time to socialize with your brothers and and sisters from around the state, and we will hear brief comments from leaders of our order.
The taco bar buffet alone costs us $32 per person, BUT we are able to keep the price tag for this event quite low (only $20 per person) 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 substantially reduced. There are no advanced reservations or RSVP – we are keeping it simple – just pay at the door. If you plan to write checks, please make the checks payable to “Grand Lodge”.
I’m pleased to identify FIFTEEN generous Lodges that are subsidizing and sponsoring this event. Thank you! Here they are:
GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS
Odd Fellows District #47
SILVER LEVEL SPONSORS
America Lodge # 385
Berkeley Lodge # 270
Franco-American Lodge #207
Yerba Buena Lodge #15
BRONZE LEVEL SPONSORS
Garcia Lodge #240
Los Angeles – Golden Rule Lodge #35
Mountain View Lodge #244
Saratoga Lodge #428
Apollo Lodge #123
Bay City Lodge #71
See you in Visalia.
F – L – T
Past Grand Master
Jurisdiction of California
THE NEED TO PROMOTE THE ODD FELLOWS & REBEKAHS
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, as an entire Order must start promoting itself if it intends on a continued existence. Promotional campaigns bring attention to groups and awareness to various causes. Promotional events can bring pride to a membership and gain support from a community. Promotional ideas must continually evolve and fit the interests of those who view the Odd Fellows from the outside – the non-members.
Today, we look back on promotional programs the Order has used over the past decade or more. There is no doubt these were good ideas at the time, but our Order has fallen short in evolving with new ideas and new promotional events. We have the Arthritis Foundation, SOS Village in Cambodia, Visual Research, and a couple of others. That is all we have to promote ourselves from the promotional programs of the Sovereign Grand Lodge. There has been no new ideas presented, or at least accepted. Although these are very worthy causes, do you see these are good promotional programs to attract attention to our Order?
Right now, we have been threatened with having our dues increased – yes, threatened, as this is what the language of the resolution translates into, with regard to the increase of dues. If we do not show growth as a whole in this Order, our dues increase by $5.00 next year and again the following year. Call it what you wish, but this is a threat of a dues increase. Again, ask yourselves, “Are these good promotional programs to attract attention to our Order?” The increase in dues is not a good promotional plan for the Order.
Brothers and Sisters, not only do we need Sovereign Grand Lodge to give us the tools to meet its demand of increasing the membership by improving upon the promotional programs, we need our own Grand Lodges and Lodges to establish promotional events!
As businesses, which we are defined as by the Internal Revenue Service, as well as being 501c(8)s, having exempt statuses, we are permitted to conduct promotional events and programs to attract potential members and create support for our organization. A business must promote itself if it is to survive. Too many members refuse to recognize their lodges as businesses or know they may set promotional goals.
What kinds of promotional events or ideas are available to our lodges? There are numerous ideas. Off the top of one’s head: Support a youth team, and provide shirts that read, “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs.” Purchase promotional items with the name “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” on each items and give away at a local county fair, event, etc. Participate in a local county fair or march in a local town and city parade carrying a banner that reads, “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs;” these are promotional events.
Collaborate with other organizations, which are doing good works, such as Cancer Awareness, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and other charitable groups. Make the public aware that the “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” strongly support these kinds of groups – and you have a wonderful promotional. There are many ideas for promotional events.
A warning, stay away from political support groups, supporting candidates, and aligning with any religious groups, such as raising money for these kinds of entities, as our tax-exempt classification does not allow for these kinds of promotions.
Perhaps one of the best opportunities for a promotional event presented itself in late September, 2017, when two members of the Odd Fellows (brother Bo Huang of Yerba Buena Lodge #15), one who works for Samsung Development in Silicon Valley, listened to a guest speaker talk about his own accomplishments and the cause he supports. The speaker was the world renowned Robert Swan, who was the first man to walk to the North and South Poles. He was planning another trip and promoting renewable energy in his presentation.
Sister Bonnie Sellars, who attended this event with brother Bo, met Robert Swan after the presentation came up with an idea for a promotional for the entire Order. They spoke about the Odd Fellows. She asked if he could take a patch to the South Pole on his next expedition and in exchange, we would ask for support for his 2041 Foundation, Inc. from the lodges and members. He was happy to do it for the Order and offered to take a picture of himself with the “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” patch.
Subsequently, several articles shall be written of the event, postcards of the patch shall be printed, and sharing of the event with non-members are part of the promotional. Perhaps we have found a candidate for the SGL’s Honorary Member recognition, which it has not awarded for years.
We received limited support for the idea, but came up with an adequate amount of money to contribute to the 2041 Foundation, Inc. and its upcoming expedition to the South Pole. During this time, we discovered that far too many lodges do not have any promotional programs. Other lodges did not see the advantage of a promotional event or how it related to gaining the awareness of the public or creating potential members.
A special patch was embroidered adding the words, “South Pole” on the “Odd Fellows & Rebekahs” three-link patch, and then sent to Robert Swan, who shall carry this with him on the 600-mile trek across the Antarctica. Robert Swan has been received numerous awards and recognition, including being awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in 1995.
So, you see, ideas for promotional events may come from every place. The aforementioned idea is just one example of a promotional. We, as an Order, must embrace those promotional ideas that will shed a positive light upon our lodges. We need to make the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs more dynamic and appealing to our communities.
Peter V. Sellars
PGM / PGP