Together we make a profound difference

Lessons from the leadership retreats

Five steps for retreat takeaways

Your November checklist

For your Trestleboard

Find it on

Question of the month


Printable Version


Lessons from the leadership retreats

Huntington Beach Lodge No. 380 has been around since 1906, and for the better portion of those 112 years, it’s been revered for its ritual. But these days it’s no longer defined by ritual alone – a shift that has much to do with the leadership retreats. The lodge is committed to sending its leadership team every year.

Secretary (and Past Master) Glen West has attended the Master & Wardens Retreat three times and the Secretary & Treasurer Retreat twice… so far. He shares how the retreats have impacted the lodge.

Executive Committee

  • Inspired by the retreats, in 2016 we started a regular schedule of Executive Committee meetings for the first time anyone could remember. Now we keep monthly tabs on how various programs and initiatives are working, compare our projected budget against actual numbers, and ensure that we’re leading as a cohesive team.

Five-year plan

  • One of our first actions as an Executive Committee was to create a five-year plan, which upcoming officers have committed to follow. At every meeting we check on plan progress and make necessary tweaks.
  • We took a close look at lodge finances and made strategic decisions to limit expenditures that weren’t impactful. This process included projecting event budgets for the next five years.

Other major takeaways

  • After attending the Master & Wardens Retreats, our junior warden began inviting members to quarterly discussions about the lodge’s direction – what’s going right, what’s not. He asked past masters to share insights from a historical perspective
  • We looked at our membership trends and asked how we might raise awareness in the community and attract quality prospects. As one response, we introduced open houses at the lodge, which we cohost with concordant Masonic organizations.
  • We made it a priority to create meaningful connections with new members. For example, we now ask prospects to visit the lodge as many times as possible before applying.

Streamlining processes

  • This is only my second year as secretary, and the retreats have been invaluable for learning the ropes and getting advice to make the job easier. For instance, I’ve now organized all of my administrative deadlines in a Google calendar with reminders set well in advance, so I’m never caught by surprise.

Trading advice

  • A lot of valuable information is passed around at the retreats just by talking with other brothers. You hear what’s going on in Masonry and at other lodges; what’s working and what’s not. That’s a big benefit.

If there’s one thing our lodge has learned from the retreats, it’s that we want to be evolving to reflect what’s happening in our membership. We send our leaders to the retreats every year to learn about changes in the fraternity, and to bring back good advice to put into practice.

Contact: Glen West

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Five steps for retreat takeaways

You and your leadership team will come away from the 2019 Leadership Retreats with time-saving resources, inspiring examples, lifelong friendships – and actionable plans for making the changes you want to see at your lodge. All that’s left to do is implement them.

Here are five steps.

1. Schedule a meeting

  • Request the attendance of the full Executive Committee and all members who recently attended leadership retreats.
  • Encourage members who are being groomed for future leadership positions to attend.
  • Consider inviting key leaders such as past masters, and even the general membership.

2. Give individual presentations
Ask every member who attended leadership retreats to present his key takeaways.

  • This may include new ideas, best practices from other lodges, and resources to try, along with the actionable, practical takeaways he identified at the retreat.
  • If possible, ask members to frame these presentations within the four categories of the Strategic Plan: rewarding member experience, meaningful and memorable degrees, strong lodges and halls, and impact on society.

3. Discuss as a team
Reflecting on retreat experiences, discuss:

  • What you think your members want.
  • Where the lodge needs to go.
  • What may need to change.
  • Anticipated challenges and how you’ll address them as a team.
  • How key lodge activities engage members and support making true friends, learning and improving, etc.

4. Commit to a plan

  • Create a plan for implementing any desired changes.
  • Identify the steps you’ll take as a team and which brothers will lead.
  • Set a schedule to meet and check in on progress.

5. Engage the lodge

  • In the Trestleboard or at stated meeting, share a summary of key retreat takeaways and plans to implement them.
  • Ask for member support in specific, measurable ways. For example, if prospect experience is a priority, set a goal for member attendance at an event that’s open to prospects.
  • Share goal progress at stated meetings.

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Your November checklist

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

Executive Committee

Senior Warden, along with Executive Committee

  • Urge presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to perform their Master Mason’s proficiency soon, if not already completed.
  • Urge the presumptive master, wardens, and senior deacon to qualify early with the inspector in their office’s ritual.
  • Urge respective officers to answer the master, senior warden, and junior warden questions early.
  • Identify and approach members for the 2019 Audit, Membership Retention, and any other committees.
  • Set calendar for 2019 and identify event leaders.
  • Continue preparing 2019 budget.
  • Finalize your installation date/venue and prepare the installing team.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.


  • Transmit certificates of election in iMember.
  • Continue sending out dues notices and collecting member dues.

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

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For your Trestleboard

The Grand Master’s Proclamations for 2019 have been announced! Mark your lodge calendar and plan ahead so your lodge can observe these important fraternal events in a meaningful way. Download this ad, plus an additional reminders.

This month:
2019 Proclamations
Covina Shared Housing
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

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Find it on

At the 2019 Masonic leadership retreats, you’ll get time-tested leadership and management tools to make your job easier, create plans to invigorate your membership, and hear valuable advice from throughout the state – all while enjoying a weekend of fellowship.

Each retreat is designed for attendees to leave with at least two actionable, practical takeaways; at least one new mentor or collaborator; and memories of a meaningful experience.

“Last year, all of my officers attended. We came into the retreat as separate officers, but left as a leadership team.”

Budget for, and prepare to attend, 2019 Masonic leadership retreats:

Secretary & Treasurer Retreats, including Intacct training and boot camps
Irvine: February 1-3
San Ramon: February 8-10

Master & Wardens Retreats
San Ramon: March 29-31
Irvine: April 12-14
Lake Tahoe: May 3-5
Palm Springs: May 17-19

Read how the retreats have impacted Huntington Beach Lodge.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked about your lodge’s favorite way to get to know prospects. Of those that responded:

  • 38% - At stated meeting dinner or other traditional lodge event
  • 38% - At lodge social gatherings
  • 8% - One-on-one outside lodge, ex. over coffee or lunch
  • 4% - In a small group outside lodge, ex. over coffee or lunch
  • 13% - Other

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Grand Lodge of California
1111 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

p: (415) 776-7000