An initiative was created to initially keep Brethren engaged in their Masonry whilst the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic are in place.
We felt that this period of Freemasonry, effectively ‘closed’ for the foreseeable future could disengage the ‘new’ and the ‘young’ Brethren in the craft which could prove problematic as they are the future of Freemasonry.
‘We’ are a collective of Clubs that result in a progressive platform, ever expanding in size with the combined goal of Fellowship, Engagement and Enthusiasm.
As suggested the initial goal was to keep Brethren engaged throughout the pandemic but has subsequently turned into a lot more than just that.
The initiative we have created had the potential to become a National initiative which help spotlight many of the BIG and SMALL New & Young Mason Clubs we have across England and Wales.
This has helped us provide the sharing of ideas and initiatives relevant to the Province and the demographics within that the Guest Club would use in their presentation which other Clubs already in the collective can take away, modify or use to help positively impact their respective Provinces.
It also now provides an opportunity for Inter-Club relations to cement on a more personalised level, not just at a committee level but at a membership level also. This all helps towards a collective Fellowship and cohesion in the new and young mason club circles with the hope of taking away any isolation Clubs may have felt in the past and help towards the improvement of more efficient communication between them.
It gives the newer Clubs an introduction to committee structure, Club infrastructure and a head start due to the new contacts they have now made.
Going forward this is a platform that is always growing, meeting by meeting and participation numbers naturally grow due to how the initiative is constructed.
Having a platform with enthusiastic committee members and Club members alike means going forward post pandemic we have a large and growing number or people that have all been part of something constructive and positive, all had something to do to keep Masonry relevant not just throughout their Province but on a wider scale too.
Having this energised collection of empowered Clubs means the future of the Clubs will become stronger through efficient communication – using the Platform that has been created and stronger through assistance from the collective.
The Clubs are a reflection of our Province and inevitably it will help towards shining a light on the retention and engagement rates in them.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE INITUATIVE
We have a Whatsapp group set up with the representatives of each Club so there is more direct access to Club representatives and we are in progress to setting up a contact list for the collection of Clubs that are currently in to help aid more efficient communication between Clubs going forward.
We have promotion designed for the Clubs so they can share on their social media handles so they can help encourage their members and help promote the incentive at a regional and national level.
The promo is sent to the guest speaker to make sure he/she is happy with it first and if any amendments are needed before anything is published.
Every meeting is held on a Sunday at 8pm. The reason for this is because it’s the time of day when everyone is winding down and generally most people do not have much to do.
The Friday before the proposed meeting we do a ‘dry run through’.
We encourage the guest club representative/s and guest speaker to join to make sure everyone is happy with the format of the evening and to answer and questions they may have.
A Club is invited onto a Virtual Social and will have 15-20 minutes to promote their Club through a presentation on ‘Zoom’.
This can either be done verbally or the use of a powerpoint presentation by sharing their screen to the audience.
The existing Clubs welcome the new Club to the fold and briefly explains a little about their Club.
The idea about each new club coming in means they can attend the forthcoming meetings which means our participation number always increases on each meeting.
We try to vary the Clubs in terms of location so we can cover most of England & Wales as again this is all about the feeling of Exclusivity through Inclusivity and feel everyone should be included equally.
A guest speaker is invited on to each Virtual Social and will have around 25 minutes to talk about their chosen topic.
We tend to ask the Speaker to make the talk as personalised as they can as we have found as it really helps to engage the Brethren on the call.
The Guest Speakers we invite all are extremely prominent in their field or are very well known and to be able to get these people to talk and engage with the audience on the same level really takes away any boundaries or misconceptions they might have due to hierarchy, fame or myth.
Again, as you might start seeing through this it is about us all coming together and working towards a better, more efficient and modern future. Helping change and inciting positive evolution.
The Guest Speaker towards the end of the meeting will then participate with a Q&A session with he audience in which the Brethren writing their questions in the chat log are asked to un-mute themselves and ask the Guest Speaker directly what they would like to know.
Again, personal interaction is important, we want everyone to feel part of what is happening.
It is about enjoying your Freemasonry – Even when it’s ‘Closed’
HOW IT WAS CREATED
This had turned into fruition by three Brethren through talking to one another over social media and formulating a rough plan in attempting something, after all it could only fail!
Bro. Matthew Brown – Communication Officer & Vice Chairman of Prorsum Semper, (Gloucestershire’s Light Blue Club)
Bro. Barry Hayward – President of The Essex Cornerstone Club, (Young Mason Club)
Bro. Mitch Bryan – Current Secretary but ensuing Chairman of The Sarsen Club, (Wiltshire’s Young Mason Club)
We all had crucial roles to play in the setup and on going running of the initiative:
Bro. Matthew Brown – Manages the Guests
Bro. Barry Hayward – Manages the Clubs
Bro. Mitch Bryan – Manages the online Promo
No one person is primarily in just one role, it is a great group that helps one another and shares workload and reflects the attitude and drive that we have all implemented in our respective Clubs.
There is a lot in the pipeline going forward but as we have only had 7 meetings and we are still organising and formatting a structure for longevity but you will be seeing and certainly hearing about the initiative a lot more in the future, which includes all the Club on this Platform.
Currently 9 young masons clubs are on the Inter-Club Social with another 10 more ready joining.
Our guest have been incredible, Dr David Staples and Sir David Hugh Wootton to name a few!
Article by: Barry Hayward
President of The Essex Cornerstone Club, (Young Mason Club)
Young Masons Virtual Inter-Club Social
The Virtual Social is about bringing new & young Freemasons together throughout the country, via online conferencing. Each episode will feature a new young or Light Blues Club and a special guest speaker.
Duration: average 60mins
Episodes: Less 20
Obedience: Regular UGLE / Young Masons
Access: No restrictions