March is Youth Orders Month, the perfect opportunity to establish a relationship with a local youth order near you. While it may feel daunting to seek out and launch a new partnership, the fact is that youth orders are more than eager for any help a lodge can offer. “They will do anything in their power to make the process as easy as possible,” Barr says. Here are 10 ways you can establish and maintain a relationship to a local youth order.
Show up: Being present at youth order meetings and events demonstrates that you are interested in and supportive of Masonic youth.
Become an adult leader: Offer to help lead a youth order in your area, and share your expertise with the next generation of Masonic family members.
Invite youth to lodge events: Whether it’s stated meeting dinners, cookouts, or ice cream socials, let the youth orders know they’re welcome. This gives them a chance to connect with the lodge and members’ families in a relaxed, social environment.
Involve youth in a philanthropic project: Whether your lodge is hosting a clothing drive, manning a booth at a community event, or volunteering at a local hospital, involve Masonic youth to build relationships and strengthen your impact.
Start a local chapter, bethel, or assembly: If your area isn’t already served by a youth order, consider starting your own chapter, bethel, or assembly to help give local youth a chance to access Masonic fellowship and leadership development opportunities.
Partner with another lodge: If your lodge doesn’t have the resources to support a youth order on its own, partner with another one to combine resources.
Create scholarships for Masonic youth: Recognize Masonic youth for academic achievements with a scholarship that can be used to pay for higher education. The California Masonic Foundation also hands out several Masonic youth scholarships—help direct your local chapter members toward them and help them apply for these generous gifts.
Hold an essay contest: Ask youth to participate in an essay contest. Themes like “How do Masonic values apply today?” or “Why does civility matter?” work well. Ask the top three winners to present their paper at the lodge.
Invite youth on lodge outings: The next time your lodge plans to visit another local lodge or jurisdiction, invite Masonic youth and youth leaders to participate in your event to help bring the connections to another generation.
Involve youth in outreach efforts: Masonic youth can offer special value to outreach visits. View a guide for involving Masonic youth in outreach.