Dear Dedicated Members for Change,
Many of you are aware that my own home Lodge – Davis Lodge #169 – has developed a committee structure over the past 10 years where we now have over 50 committees. I am not proposing, of course, that Lodges have 50, 40, 30, or any particular number of committees. But I am proposing that having Lodge committees is a very important component of the successful 21st Century Lodge. And the committees that your Lodge develops – whether it be 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 committees – can and should be uniquely reflective of your own Lodge.
Now, let’s start with the proposition that having committees is nothing particularly revolutionary in Odd Fellowship. All Lodges already have committees. Every single Lodge in California has (or should have) three committees from the get-go. Your Lodge has a Finance Committee, a Visiting Committee, and a Bylaws Committee, correct? All I am suggesting is that you consider adding a few committees to that mix. Nothing particularly radical to that concept. If you have building issues, I imagine you have (or could have) a Building Committee. If you engage in a regular dinner or potluck at the Lodge, you may already have a Dinner Committee or a Potluck Committee. But don’t stop now. Whether your Lodge has 20 members or 40 members, you should consider other committees you can form to coordinate events or to reflect members’ interests. This is very important to the future of your Lodge. Active Lodges retain and bring in new members. Inactive Lodges do not. It’s that simple. If you want to keep your membership engaged and viable, and bring in new members, you should consider the creation of Lodge committees.
So, have a brainstorming session at your next Lodge meeting. Perhaps dedicate a couple of meetings to the subject. And decide, collectively, what committees you wish to form. These committees will reflect the character, interests, and personality of your Lodge and its members. Now, there are three types of committees: (1) Administrative committees. These are typically committees that you already have like the Finance Committee, Visiting Committee, and Bylaws Committee. But they can include other committees that relate to the functioning of the Lodge such as a Building Committee, a Lodge Newsletter Committee, Historical Committee and the like. (2) Social Committees. These are committees that focus on the interests of the membership of the Lodge and particularly, on making sure that the Lodge members have a fun and enjoyable fraternal experience. There is no end to the possibilities. For example, your members might like to form a Wine Tasting Committee (to plan wine tasting gatherings every month or two in a member’s home or at the Lodge), or an OddtoberFest Committee (to plan an Oktoberfest for the Lodge members, family and friends), etc. (3) Community-Serving Committees. These are committees that reach out into the community to do good works. It is essential to the 21st Century Lodge that we, as Odd Fellows, be more visible in our communities. And frankly, the prospective members out there want to be active in good community works. Again, there is no end to the possibilities here – just let your imagination be your guide. For example, your members might wish to form an Adopt-a-Highway Committee (working with CalTrans adopt a section of California roadway, post your Lodge sign on the highway, and start doing some environmental cleanup), or an Anniversary Committee (to host a community open house at your Lodge on the anniversary of your charter), or a Music Committee (to open your Lodge to the community in free concerts featuring local musicians and bands), or a Social Services Committee (to work with those in the community who have mental illness or disability issues), or a Senior Project Committee (to help frail seniors with small projects in their homes).
Let me give you five more examples of committees – just to get the mental juices flowing. These are committees recently formed in my own Lodge. Again, these are examples only. The committees you consider and form should be unique to your Lodge, and unique to the interests and desires of your membership. If there is an idea that interests 3 or 4 members of your Lodge – then go with it. Don’t be afraid of it. And don’t say “no” to it. Be willing to say “yes”. Let those 3 or 4 members explore and develop the concept, and form the committee. What do you have to lose? Here are five very recent committees formed in my own Lodge: (1) Odd Needle Workers Committee. This is a group of about a dozen Lodge members who enjoy getting together once or twice a month to do needlework such as knitting, crocheting, and the like. They get together at the Lodge Hall or in homes of members. While they do needlework, they discuss a wide range of subjects and the affairs of the day. (2) Odd Theater Group Committee. This is a group of aspiring thespians who have put on performances at the Lodge, and also go out together to local theater presentations and dinner. They are working on presenting the first degree, in full costume and scenery, with parts memorized. (3) Odd Bowlers. A group of members, and potential members, go bowling once a month at local bowling lanes. They bowl, bond, and often have lunch together. One of the members happens to be a bowler with a 240 average, and he has given pointers to those who have a 100 average. (4) Odd Matinee Committee. A group of five of our members wanted to attend a matinee movie once a month, and then adjourn to a local coffee house, or the Lodge, to discuss the movie. They have done this twice now and really enjoy it. (5) Chocolate Festival Committee. The Lodge has formed a committee to plan the first ever “Davis Odd Fellows Chocolate Festival” this coming winter. It is hoped that it will become an annual event, at the Lodge, featuring all things chocolate, including the making of chocolate, baking demonstrations, music, art and community baking contests featuring chocolate. This event will be open to the public.
Let your imagination guide you here. I urge you to embrace the committee concept. It is essential to the continued viability of this Order.
F – L – T
Jurisdiction of California