In 1961, the International Board initiated a program called Lodge of the Year (LOY), which was to be administrated by the District Presidents. This program was introduced so that district officers would be more aware of lodge activities, and to help find both weaknesses and strengths in fraternal programs. Using this program, each district board would determine their district’s candidate for Lodge of the Year. The Lodge of the Year was chosen from these candidates by the International Board. Initially, only one lodge was honored at each biennial international convention. The original award was a very large, traveling trophy.
In 2012 the name was changed to “Lodge Achievement,” to emphasize that the program celebrates many different levels of success, not just Lodge of the Year awards. By this time, the honors had expanded to include:
- Small Lodge of the Year and Large Lodge of the Year at the District and International levels.
- Gold, Silver and Bronze Merit Award Certificates for lodges which score 80%, 65% and 50% on the Lodge Achievement Form.
Over the years, the form to evaluate lodges was modified by the district presidents several times based on what each considered indicators of lodge success. With these modifications, the form began to lose focus and its connection to organizational goals became almost nonexistent. The result caused significant confusion, as lodges were unclear what was being evaluated each year—the criteria kept changing. What’s more, because of its ever changing evaluation criteria, the form could not be used by lodges as a planning tool.
In 2015 the International Board directed the District Presidents to work with the Fraternal Department to draft a new Lodge Achievement Program that supports Sons of Norway’s strategic goals and rewards lodges for efforts that encompass all three business areas of Financial, Fraternal and Foundation.
An Evaluation and Planning Tool
With consistency in evaluation criteria, the Lodge Achievement Form serves as a way for lodges to record their achievements and vie for awards. In addition the form can also be used as a healthy lodge checklist. Not only can a lodge increase its point total toward achieving a bronze, silver or gold award merit recognition award by utilizing the LAF for planning, the quality of lodge programming may be improved. Better programming can help attract potential members, as well as contribute to member retention.
Watch your Mailbox
The Lodge Achievement packet, which includes the Lodge Achievement Form (LAF), Family Lodge of the Year (FLOY) and American Fraternal Alliance (AFA) Year End Report, will be sent to lodge secretaries in mid-October. Completed forms are due to Sons of Norway, 1455 West Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408 by Feb. 15, 2019.
In addition to the forms being mailed, copies will be available to download at sonsfornorway,com. Online versions of the LAF and FLOY can also be used. Lodges who have been tracking their hours and events on fraternalsgive.org do not need to submit an AFA Year End Report. However, entries for 2017 events using fraternalsgove.org should be completed by Feb. 15, 2019.
The updated forms and a link to the online version of the LAF and FLOY will be available on the website on Sept. 30, 2018.
Please contact Membership Services with any questions: 612-821-4654 or [email protected].