Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Shrine Circus Kick-off

Well tonight was the Shrine Circus Kick-off and it was an exciting evening with lots of good information. It is hard to believe that just 4 years ago we were trying to determine if continuing the circus as our fund raiser for Antioch was a viable solution. Our profits had dwindled down to the point were it seemed like everyone was making more money than us on the circus. So we decided to throw caution and "we've always done it that way" to the wind and try something new. A winter circus... it will never work. Moving from he last weekend of the month to the first weekend of the month will make no difference. We can't charge for things we've never charged for even if everyone else does. Three changes and what do you know a world of difference. This year our goal is 4 times what it was just four years ago. And as with all changes, some worked better than others, some where more painful on the membership than others, and some took more work than in the past; but overall they have been worth it. I once ask a brother who was really disappointed in his lodge and concerned they might not survive much longer when was the brotherhood and fellowship the best in his lodge. When he thought about it, the answer was surprising even to him. He answered the last time our lodge had some big financial problems, no officers and it looked like our building was going to fall down was one of the best times I can remember. We all banded together and worked hard to solve the problems to make sure we survived....it actually energized the lodge members. Often a tough time is just an opportunity waiting to be seized.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cabiri Picnic

Tonight was our annual Cabiri Picnic by the Springfield Shrine Club. They have a wonderful facility and we are lucky that they allow us to us it. John Bull was back out as was most of the Divan and a few of the widows of our Past Potentates. It was also nice to see Hank Gladney back out as he hasn't been feeling well lately. We enjoyed lots of fellowship and good food but before we left for home, a couple of ice bucket challenges added to the entertainment of the evening.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grand Chapter of Michigan

Last night, Pam and I headed north to Grand Rapids Michigan to attend the Grand Chapter of Michigan where their Grand High Priest James M. Kiefer presided. While the drive was wet for most of the way, including one portion in which it was a torrential downpour, we really had very little delay due to road construction. Early this morning, Our Grand High Priest - Robert Thomas, Grand King - Keith O'Dell, Grand Scribe - Robert Blankenhorn, Grand Marshal - Tom Johnson, Grand Principal Sojourner - Keith Green and myself represented Ohio at the session. The session was fairly similar to our session but in Michigan all the Chapter, Council and Commandery meet at the same location in the same week. After the session, we stopped by my sister-in-laws house in Lansing to have dinner with her before heading back to home. Unfortunately on the way home once we hit Ohio around Toledo the road construction started and basically didn't end until we got home. So much for getting home at an early hour.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Funeral Service

Normally, I stick to writing about my thoughts and Masonic related activities but tonight I want to write about a funeral I attended for another fraternal non-Masonic group I belong. The lesson here that I will talk about though is also something important we should all remember in our Masonic organization. My father-in-law (who died around 8 years ago) was a lifetime member of this group and he was an officer with the gentleman we had the service for this evening. When my father-in-law was alive if there was an old time member who couldn't pay his dues, if the Lodge couldn't afford to help the member out, my father-in-law would pay his dues. When he passed away since Pam took over the job my father-in-law had for many years as the Secretary, we decided it would be our duty to carry on the tradition my father-in-law had started. Unfortunately this year this gentleman's family felt that since he had Alzheimer's they wouldn't pay his dues. Since he was a 65 year member and Past Presiding officer we helped him out. Not to brag but rather to say when he passed away this evening and we did the service for him, I think it meant as much to our members to get to do the service as it did to the family members and his friends who attended. It would have really been a shame to not be able to perform the service this evening on someone who the organization had meant more to him than anything outside of his family.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Scottish Rite/Shrine Picnic

Today was the Scottish Rite/Shrine Picnic in Dayton. While each have had separate events over the past few years, this year they once again went together and held a nice event on the grounds of the Dayton Masonic Center. They worked together to provide games for the kids along with food and entertainment for all. Our DeMolay Executive Officer, Martin Woodworth, was also present as were many DeMolay members. In addition, Laura received one of 12 Abbott Scholarships provided by the Scottish Rite. It was good to see them working together again and the event probably drew around 200 present in total.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Grotto State Meeting and Where's Waldo (Jeff)

Yesterday, I headed to Columbus for the State Grotto Convention. We heard from the Supreme Monarch and covered most all the business of the Association. After the meeting, I then had to leave for another non-Masonic Convention where I was staying but planned to return back for the second half of the meeting this morning. When I got up today, I felt terrible. My head was so stopped up and if I tried to get up I was having trouble with my balance so I decided to go back to sleep for a while. When I woke up the second time I felt a little better but decided since it was now too late to make the second part of the Grotto meeting I would head out for my normal daily 2 hour walk before heading home. I ended up walking by a field where I saw a Where's Waldo (Jeff) moment. Can you guess where I am at?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jesters Picnic

Tonight was the Picnic for the Jesters. This year we were at a new venue and tried a few different items from what has been done in the past. Some seemed to work while others maybe not so much. The good thing is that they were willing to try something new. While it often easier and "safer" to just do the same as was done last time, over time people will get tired of the same thing and attendance will start to fall off. In many cases I have seen a huge event actually disappear because no one was willing to take a chance to change something. Hat's off to our Director Stan Brookins for trying something a little different.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Greeters Picnic

Today was the picnic for the Shrine Greeters. We had a really good attendance including most of the Shrine Officers. Dwayne Jones called bingo as normal and many of the ladies took home a flower for winning a game. Rick and Theresa Maynard provided a great lunch for us and we then all headed home. (Though I kept going after I got home and ended up in Nashville...since I am going there from Sunday-Wednesday for work.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Grand Family Meeting

Today was our day to meet the new DDGHPs and DEO. It was also training for the new DDGHPs, an opportunity to hear about next year, the accomplishments of the last year and to discuss planning beyond next yeast. As always this was a good working session in which lots of communication  is done in relationship to Chapter business. It also gives the Grand Body the opportunity to prepare to make Grand Chapter annual session to run as smooth as possible.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chapter Planning Meeting

Tonight we had a very productive meeting. The Past Grand High Priests and District Deputy Grand High Priests from the 3rd Capitular District got together to discuss how to get increased participation within events and to improve communications. We were able to identify a potential issue and have decided to change a long standing tradition in our district on the order of a couple of events. We are hoping this will improve participation at both events. We also discussed incentives programs and some potential new activities to give the companions more family oriented activities to participate. We then had Jim Potts, District Membership Chairman (a new position I have started), join us as we started to design the responsibilities for this new position. We are going to focus on using the new portion of the membership manual and trying to get all chapters to understand and use it. At the end of the night, I was really excited (as I think everyone else was) that this new position may be able to pumps some new life into our membership program and will give our members more tools to take a more active role to ensure the long term survival of their own chapters. I'll talk more about this position as we finalize the detail of the position,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grotto Stated Meeting

While most groups are dark in the summer, we meet and take off January and February. Tonight we got our new name badge and new shirts. They will definitely show Ormus Grotto is in the house!!! We also discussed the arrangements for the Ohio Grotto Winter Zone Conference which we are going to host. This will be the first time in probably over 20 years we have hosted. Hopefully, we will get some additional direction at the upcoming annual meeting for the Ohio Grotto in regards to specifics of the meetings and meals. We also confirmed the information for our joint ceremonial and Monarch's Ball with Khana Shahar. We might be small in number but we are ready to start showing that a small number of people can accomplish lots.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Working Dragons Game

Last night was my final shift helping out working at the Dragons game. While the chance for rain was supposedly 0% and radar originally showed no possibility of rain, the game ended up being delayed for 1.5 hrs due to rain. From what I understand it just dumped on Dayton as south of town where I live got no rain. This made for a loooong night. When I got off I was really tired and very glad I could just come home and go straight to bed. Hoepfully, I was able to help make Marty Trent some money for his potetnial year in the future in Grand Commandery a success.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two Activities at the Ohio Masonic Home

This morning we meet at the Ohio Masoinc Home for the York Rite Cooperation meeting. It was a very productive meeting as we got the opportunity to discuss several changes to help accomidate those persons participating in various activies including Grand Sessions and to also help reduce costs for all Masonic bodies. After the meeting we attended a devotional service and picnic with the residence at the Ohio Masonic Home. At the devotional service MEC Charles E. Karth was presented witha service pin by the Grand Council. In addition to most of the Grand Chapter Officers in attendance, we also had several Past Grand High Priest's attending as well.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Busy Day

The morning started out with the Royal Arch School in Troy at Franklin Chapter. While the attendance was way down this year, those in attendance did receive the information needed to do their jobs, It was also possible with the smaller crowd to discuss individual issues and how they might be resolved. All the presenters did a nice job and the host Chapter, Franklin, did a nice job on the breakfast.Afterwards, I headed south to Middletown for the Council OKI Day. Every year Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana get together and put on the three degrees of Council. This year it was in Ohio with Ohio putting on the SEM degree. Luckily since I had indicated I was not sure if I would be able to get there in time, they had enlisted the aid of Marty Trent to do the Nebuchadnezzar part I do at our council in the SEM, so I was finally just able to sit and watch. Unfortunately, as the first part ended on the exit Wing Fun Chow fell and hit his head very hard and had to be taken to the hospital. We are all hoping for his speedy recovery.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Shrine Hospital Fund Drive

Today I did my annual shift at the Hospital Fund Drive collection. This is actually a very fun and enjoyable time. You get to meet lots of folks who knew someone who was helped by the Shrine Hospitals and you also get a chance to met many widows who still are proud of the fact their husbands were members. It did, however, make the legs tired standing for a few hours after I pushed myself this morning on my walk and did 7.2 miles. Good thing I have a hot tub to rest and relax those weary legs!