Leadership Spotlight: In Marin, Looking Out, Looking In

At Marin No. 191, a new membership campaign is bringing three local lodges together.

By Ian A. Stewart

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For a lodge with such a celebrated past, Marin № 191 in San Rafael has been particularly forward-looking of late. This year, along with its sister lodges, Mill Valley № 356 and Ross Valley № 556, the group will launch a district-wide online membership campaign. The result, lodge leaders hope, will be a surge of interest in the historic lodge, not to mention a new model of cooperation between neighboring lodges. 

What’s the idea behind this district-wide social media campaign?

Barry Young, Master: The main credit goes to Michael Paynter, our district inspector. The idea goes back several years, in terms of reaching out, but with the Grand Lodge running its campaign the past two years, we finally had a program in place to get the word out in an organized fashion. So we’re working with Mill Valley and Ross Valley, and at the same time trying to coordinate more informal programs together, since they go hand in hand with the online program. 

What kinds of informal programs are you envisioning?

Our lodges have typically come together to do one big event during the year. Mill Valley for a couple of years hosted a big bocce night; we’ve also done a picnic. Right now, we’re planning on having a table lodge event together in June. 

Why is it important for your lodge to work with its neighbor lodges in Marin County?

Like many communities in the Bay Area, it’s very expensive here in Marin. So we’ve had a lot of people who’ve had to move elsewhere. It’s especially hard on younger folks, and that affects membership for all our lodges. Marin still has a small-town flavor to it, so we all want to broaden our horizons. 

What’s your vision for the future of the lodge?

The potential is here for more community involvement. We’re really trying to build that bridge and get established with more community groups in town. Another simple thing is having our stated meeting dinners at different restaurants around town, just getting our name out there. I want to have a really vibrant lodge. We want to have a nice mixture of members that reflects how the community really is populated and to be more ingrained with the community. 

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