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HOW TO ORGANIZE LODGE ACTIVITIES
SECTION 15 - HIRAM'S HANDBOOK
Activities are at the core of a successful lodge. If a member finds it interesting and enjoyable to attend lodge, no one will have to solicit his attendance. He will come because he wants to. Non-Masons should be encouraged to come to pubic lodge functions. Programs can be planned that will attract members as well as non-members. Every meeting of your lodge is, and should be, thought of as an activity. This is true whether it is a Stated Meeting, or a Special Meeting, such as an installation, a degree, a visit with another lodge, an official visit from a Grand Lodge officer, or a time set aside for a special activity or program.
Our Grand Lodge encourages Masonic Education. The Master should implement this by scheduling educational programs. Few men ever learned much about Masonry simply by taking degrees. The Research Lodges are able to give you much valuable assistance in this regard. It is hoped and expected that the Research Lodges will be able to stimulate a spirit of inquiry among lodge members throughout this Jurisdiction. Research means education, particularly Masonic Education, and you as Master should promote Masonic education in your Lodge.
There are no hard and fast rules to follow when considering and planning an activity. For example, there may be times when your lodge may wish to limit attendance at an activity to Master Masons only; while at others, you may enthusiastically welcome friends and families who are non-Masons.
Meetings and activities are most effective when planned and scheduled well in advance so as to encourage members to invite friends and neighbors. Be sure to get the word out so people can plan their schedules to include lodge functions. Create interest in coming events by using your trestleboard, mailers, announcements, reports at meetings, and your telephone committee. Unfortunately, many members don’t read very much of the trestleboard, so one proven way of attracting their attention towards your coming event is to include an insert in the trestleboard highlighting the important features of the coming event.
Not all activities need to be held at the Lodge. Some outstanding functions are held at an outside location - a railroad ride, a bus trip, a Ladies Night at a restaurant, or a picnic. Just to name a few. Be creative! Your local Chamber of Commerce can probably suggest many activities you never thought of.
One approach to scheduling interesting activities is to survey the interests of your lodge members. Note their hobbies and don’t overlook those members with interesting or unusual professions. Consider your own interests; if you are interested in a subject, chances are good that you will approach an activity related to that interest with enthusiasm. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious.
Some program suggestions for consideration are presented in the following list. These are general categories presented as suggestions for brain-storming sessions. From these general categories it is hoped that specific ideas will develop. Some of the suggestions may assist your Lodge in improving interest and attendance: others are listed for non- members to come into contact with the Lodge through your programs. Don’t overlook the possibility of combining ideas. Some sample programs follow:
Youth Night - join with the local DeMolay Chapter and go to a baseball game.
Theater Night - Plan a theater party for family and friends and escort the widows.
Movie Night - Show a major studio preview, slides from a members latest trip, studio “out takes”, travelogues, etc.
Grand Lodge Night - Invite a Grand Lodge officer to attend one of your meetings and have him speak on a subject familiar to him.
Historical Site Visitation - Visit the Cornthin Hall at Grand Lodge, The Scottish Rite Museum at Lexington or some other historical site.
Research Lodge Speakers - Masonic History, clandestine lodges, women in Masonry, the development of Masonry in Maine. Sports Events - Football, baseball and basketball games, visit your local high school, college or pro-team.
Christmas/Hanukkah Party - Celebrate these holidays with your Masonic Affiliated Youth Groups, needy children or convalescent hospitals.
Volunteer Work Parties for Lodge Visibility - Sekct a modest home needing clean-up and paint (perhaps a Masonic widow’s home); clean up a local park, etc.
Picnic - Encourage your members to bring their friends and neighbors.
Potluck Dinners - Have them before your Family Night programs and invite your friends and neighbors. Note: theme dinners make the evening seem less ordinary.
Mystery Trip - Pick a location and keep it a secret; if going by public transportation or chartered bus, don’t tell anyone until you arrive; if going by private auto, you may want to have two or three rendezvous points where additional directions are distributed at each stop.
Golf Tournament - Scotch “eightsome”, include the ladies.
Laymen’s Night Program - Make sure that your members know to invite their non-Masonic friends and neighbors. Give them ample notice.
Mason of the Year Award Take advantage of this night to also invite your non-Masonic friends and neighbors.
Family Night Programs:
Local school concert or play
Shrine Bands, Chanters, or Shrine Club Visitations
“Oldies but Goodies” program
Public recognition for key people in the community
Hopefully, this chapter has presented some ideas which will help you to start the task of planning your programs. Many activities are available; only you can decide those that will best serve your lodge’s needs. Naturally, a Handbook such as this cannot outline complete and detailed programs - nor should it. To do so would encourage a stereotyped set of activities among Lodges which would tend to dilute the richness of quality, unique to each Lodge. Pick and choose, use your Grand Lodge Committees or local library for other ideas, but most of all, THINK about programs which will help stimulate participation and interest in the Craft.
Finally, let your District Officer and other Presiding Masters know of your progress. If you have other suggestions which should be included, or if you have tried something and it didn’t work, let them know so they can benefit from your experience
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Last modified: March 22, 2014