March 2024:
Supporting the Youth Orders

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    Supporting the Youth Orders

    March 2024 is Masonic Youth Orders Month, a time dedicated to renewing our commitment as Masons to serving as role models to young men and women, and to celebrating these important and historic organizations. There are lots of ways for Masons and lodges to recognize the youth orders, but if you really want to make an impact in these young people’s lives, consider taking a more active role. That’s what Ralph Shelton did more than 40 years ago. Now, four decades of service later, he looks back on the impact DeMolay and other youth orders have had on his life and Masonic career.

    Just Show Up

    The members of Job’s Daughters, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay International are the future leaders of tomorrow—and in many cases, the Masons of tomorrow. That was certainly the case for Shelton. “Soon after maturing out of the program, I became a Mason and haven’t looked back since,” he says. Today, Shelton is one of the most active and highly decorated Masons in the state; he’s a past master of Orange Grove No. 293, a founding member of Ye Olde Cup & Ball No. 878, an inspector at large for Division IX, and a past grand chaplain of the state. On top of that, he’s a trustee of the California Masonic Foundation and the chair of the Youth Orders Committee for the Grand Lodge—proof, in other words, that many of the young people involved in Masonic youth orders tend to make their way into leadership positions within the fraternity. “It’s not an understatement to say these young people are a major part of our fraternity’s future,” he says.

    So, what can individual members do to help support their local youth orders? Simple, according to Shelton: “Just show up.” Attend their meetings, go to their installations, and above all talk to them. “Show up and strike up a conversation with one of the young people,” he says. “You’ll be surprised how much you’ll both get out of the conversation.” That works the other way round, too: Shelton says he routinely asks members of the youth orders what the fraternity can do for them. The number one answer is always that: just show up.

    That works on both an individual and lodge level. Many groups already lease or donate their space to the youth orders. “But that’s not enough,” Shelton says. “It’s important to make them feel welcome, not like they’re an imposition.” Do this by inviting those groups to a shared meal, keeping in regular contact with them, and making the lodge calendar more open to host their events—yes, even if that means forgoing a rental! Lodges can also encourage their new members to take on advisory roles in the youth orders in lieu of directing them immediately into a lodge leadership position. “Take that guy from the third-degree you just did and get them involved with the kids,” Shelton says.

    The benefits cut both ways. “These young people really look up to [Masons] and respect them, and that makes you more aware of how important it is to model what we preach in the fraternity,” Shelton says. Not only does that make you a better Mason, it makes you a better person. “Working with these young men in DeMolay has certainly changed my life.”

    Ideas for Engaging Youth Orders

    Here are some of the ways lodges can show their support for the Masonic youth orders. For an even more comprehensive list, check out PGM Russ Charvonia’s list of 99 Ways to Support the Youth Orders.

    Easy to Implement:

    1. Attend a youth order meeting and conduct a “walk-about” or offer a Q-and-A about Freemasonry
    2. Reverse service, in which Masons serve dinner to the youth orders
    3. Have the three youth orders in your area present the Shield of Unity at your lodge
    4. Invite a youth order member to present during officers’ schools of instruction
    5. Invite a youth order member to present at your next lodge event
    6. Invite the young people (child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc.) in your life to the next youth orders event in your area
    7. Dedicate your next Trestleboard to the youth orders
    8. Share Masonic scholarships with your local youth orders
    9. Offer a Masonic trivia quiz with small prizes to youth order members
    10. Look for ways to spotlight our youth orders and their members
    11. Issue a check to support your youth orders

    Higher Impact:

    1. Joint community service project
    2. Incorporate the youth orders in lodge ceremonies such as anniversaries, installations, Hiram awards, etc.
    3. Joint fundraiser (pancake breakfast, car wash, yard sale) at the lodge
    4. Volunteer for Raising-a-Reader or other school events and talk about the Masonic youth orders
    5. Outdoor movie night, including the community
    6. Issue a check to support your youth orders

    Highest Impact:

    1. Essay contest or scholarships or awarding bikes, iPads, or other prizes
    2. Host a Youth Order of the Year award or event
    3. Host a mini-golf, bowling, picnic, or other event for the entire Masonic family
    4. Host a youth order festive board
    5. And issue a check to support your youth orders.

    Each of these suggestions can be implemented at any time of the year, but we suggest your lodge select one or two to implement for youth order observance month in March.

    For Your Trestleboard

    Use this content to spread the word about resources provided by the California Masonic Foundation, the Masonic Homes of California, and more.

    Masonic Health Services:

    Services at MCYAF Across the Lifespan

    The Pavilion at the Masonic Homes

    Masonic Homes of California Resources

    Masonic Value Network

    Masonic Philanthropy:

    Masonic Youth Order Resources Library

    California Masonic Foundation Cornerstone Society

    March Officers' Checklist

    Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your March checklist. 

     Executive Committee

    • Schedule inspector’s official visit and examination of the books, due by end of the month.
    • Attend or make plans to attend the Master & Wardens Retreat. Register now.

     Senior Warden

    • Begin preparing 2025 program plan.
    • Begin preparing 2025 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance
    • Begin preparing 2025 officer appointments.
    • Begin preparing 2025 installation of officers.
    • Review all candidates’ progress toward advancement.

    Junior Warden

    • Begin tracking 100 percent officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs. Do your part and give today!


    • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1).
    • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee.
    • Send any suspension notices.
    • Charity Committee considers remissions.
    • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).


    • If your lodge has employees, file W-3 with IRS along with copies of all W-2 forms.
    • File financial reports with Grand Lodge (unless your lodge uses Intacct, in which case you do not need to submit anything).

     Audit Committee

    • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of April.

    Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

    Question of the Month

    Last month, we asked which of the following social media channels does your lodge utilize? See the results here.

    • 92% - Facebook
    • 51% - Instagram
    • 8% -  Twitter 
    • 3% - TikTok
    • 3% - Reddit
    • 3% - Linkedin
    •  Other Channels - BandApp, Viper, Youtube, WhatsApp, Email, Bulletins, Trestle Board, Local Public TV Station, Wire and Discord

    Here's your next survey question