Speech to the 2017 Delegates to the Pilgrimage Trip
by David Scheer
Peninsula Lodge #128, Portland, Oregon
First off, let be begin by saying thank you to our delegates. All three of you are amazing, and I am so proud that you represented us on the Pilgrimage trip this year.
Now, I’ve been asked to say a few words on behalf of our lodge, but before I do, I have to tell you a little story first. The story may sound like a joke, but it’s not a joke. It’s the story of a man who goes to buy gas before embarking on a trip.
So…This man drives into a gas station.
“How may I help you?” the attendant asks
“Well…I’m driving to the top of the mountain today and my tank is empty. So…I’m gonna need some of your gas.”
“Sure thing.” the attendant said “Should I fill it up?”
“No.” the man snapped. “I don’t want to spend that much. Just give me $5 worth.”
“Are you sure? It’s a long way up the mountain.”
“Listen here young man, I’ve been driving this car since before you were born. I know what I’m doing, and I know this car. 5 bucks is all I need.”
So he gets $5 worth of gas and heads off for the summit. As he’s driving up the mountain, he get’s a big grin thinking about how he put that young gas station attendant in his place. “Ain’t nobody going to tell me what my car needs.”
He gets about half way up the mountain when the car starts sputter. Then the engine gives out, and the car starts rolling backward. He looks at the gauge, and sure enough, the gas tank is empty. Fortunately, he’s able to turn the car around and coast safely down the mountain all the way back to the gas station.
The attendant greets the man politely. “You’re back already?” he asks. “I ran out of gas before reaching the top.” the man grumbles “I’m going to have to get some more and start over.”
“Should I fill it up this time?” the attendant asks.
“No.” the man replies “I don’t want to spend that much. Just give me $5 worth.”
It’s not a joke. It’s a true story about the rhythm of life for most lodges. A group of vibrant, energetic members in their twenties, thirties and forties will join a dying lodge (if the lodge is lucky), and turn it around with great ideas about how to make the lodge relevant in modern society. The lodge will grow and thrive, and that core group of innovative members will then drive the lodge for the next fifty years.
Eventually, they, and their ideas will run out of gas. Then, like the car in the story, the lodge will start careening down hill.
Peninsula lodge has a growing and thriving community of young vibrant members. We’re having the time of our lives, heading straight up the mountain, and we do not want to run out of gas! Fresh ideas is the fuel that drives a lodge and without them, our momentum is going to sputter and die.
There’s a saying: “You’re either growing or you’re dying.” Those are the only choices that we have. Just two! There is no middle choice. We cannot relax and be content with maintaining. Because, maintaining, is the first step to dying.
If a lodge is not constantly changing, then it is not growing. If it is not growing, then no matter how healthy it looks, it is in fact, headed downhill on the road to dying. We don’t want our lodge to die, so we’re going to fill our tank to the brim with fresh ideas every chance we get. Fresh ideas are the fuel that we need to continue our journey.
Peninsula has come up with some great ideas for how our lodge can be relevant and grow, NOW in the present. But the future is only 24 hours away. If we sit back, and just coast on the ideas that we’ve come up with so far then we won’t be growing anymore. We’ll be “maintaining” and before we know it, we’ll be dying.
Peninsula Lodge does not want to wait until we’re on the brink of death before we turn to your generation for help. We want your help now. We want your ideas now. You don’t have to join the lodge to have a voice here, (although we would be thrilled if you did).
You already have a voice at Peninsula. Trillium students take Aikido and dance classes here. Trillium holds its prom here. “Together for Trillium” held last year’s fundraiser here. As far as we are concerned, you are already a part of our Lodge’s family. And as family, we want your input as to where we go from here.
With that in mind, we would love to have a conversation with you, our three Trillium delegates, about creating a youth advisory committee that will to help to guide our lodge into the future.
You caught our attention with your essays. You impressed us with your interviews. And you earned our respect with the way you represented your school, and our lodge on the trip.
You have a voice here, and your voice carries weight.
If anyone ever tells you that you are too young to have an impact on the world. I want you to tell them, how a sixteen year old Trillium student helped to push the 200 y/o Independent Order of Odd Fellows into the Twenty First Century.
Do you know what that’s called? It’s called change. It’s called growth. It’s called rebirth. And we are grateful.
Thanks to Nico, the Odd Fellows did a little bit of growing this year, and that growth is going to breathe a whole lot of new life into who we are and what we do.
I believe that the Odd Fellows do a lot of good for our community. And I think that we have an important role to play in the future. But that’s up to you. Because you are the future, and we will not make it up the mountain without you.