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Maplewood Moose Lodge looks to future
Membership down, but dedicated
Leaders of the Maplewood Moose Lodge recently have been thinking about ways to attract new members, in order to bolster its more than 100-year-old missions to serve the community and establish fellowship.
The fraternal organization’s membership has been declining, but that’s not stopping recently-elected Lodge No. 963 governor Tim Slabik from thinking about the future.
“We have to find a way to appeal to a younger crowd,” Slabik says. “The Lodge has sat very static for at least 40 years.”
Refreshing the Lodge’s image could start with revamping the 1960s building at 1946 English St., Slabik says. The social quarters, where members can grab a drink, play pool or sing karaoke, hasn’t been updated for decades.
There’s a lot of work to be done to attract the 20- and 30-somethings, but Slabik says the organization has to start somewhere to survive.
“Let’s figure out how big the elephant is, and then take one bite at a time,” he says.
Times, they are a changing
Before he was elected, Slabik talked about conducting an energy audit, and starting with simple things, such as installing energy-efficient light bulbs and replacing the very old forest green and orange carpet. He says updating the building could not only make it a “bright facility, but a more welcoming facility.”
The local Lodge has made progress. It recently received its gambling license, and the OK from the city to conduct charitable gambling to fund local efforts. There’s also been talk of the men and the women having more joint meetings and activities. Only in the past 10 years have women been able to wear something other than skirts to meetings, but the push is on to modernize.
Small, dedicated group
Elizabeth Spittle and Tom Helget are some of the dedicated members, serving in various leadership roles in multiple cities’ Lodges, and organizing fundraisers, while getting by with little manpower.
Spittle says Maplewood has about 450 members, a fraction of whom are active, compared to more than 1,000 members about 30 years ago.
Spittle says the Moose have had times of financial hardship. That’s driven some members to be that much more dedicated to continue to help people in need.
“A couple of years back, we almost lost the (Mooseheart) school because the funds weren’t there,” Spittle says. “There was a big push to make sure we had funds available.”
From organizing golf tournaments to motorcycle events to collecting Box Tops, members work hard to raise funds.
And there are many events and activities going on at the lodge, including karaoke every other Saturday at the Lodge in Maplewood, as well as bands, taco feeds and pizza nights.
Why be a member?
Along with a card that gets members into Lodges around the world, members have the satisfaction of knowing they’re making a difference in their communities.
The Moose Lodge contributes about half of its money to local efforts, and the other half to national efforts. Money goes to the Special Olympics and Safe Surfin’, a program that promotes safe internet use.
Perhaps the most important of all, it supports “Mooseheart,” a school community that houses and educates children 40 miles west of Chicago, and “Moosehaven,” a 70-acre retirement village in Florida.
Spittle visited the residential and educational childcare facility, and was reminded why she works hard to recruit new members and gather funds for the Lodge.
“I do it because of the kids,” Spittle says. “It’s that warm, fuzzy feeling when you meet a child that possibly came from a background that was tough for them, and knowing you’re doing something for them.”
Helget had a similar experience meeting the very polite kids who are taught to contribute to the household and the community. He became all the more dedicated to the Moose and its missions.
“That’s why I’ve stuck around, and tried to do the best I can,” he says. “It changes your heart when you go down to Mooseheart and see those kids.”
Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need an introduction or invitation? Log on to heardofmoose.org, and visit the Lodge finder. Thousands of members are available to introduce folks to the Moose.
Contact Maplewood Moose Lodge 963, 1946 English St., at 651-776-2830.
Learn more about the organization and keep up on its frequent events at lodge963.moosepages.org.