My Fellow Paisans,
As we complete the first quarter of our administration, I’d like to give an update on the state of the Lodge so far under my term: As an Administration which constantly strives to be transparent, we have had many very successful events so far, from our Shrimp Feast in March, our successful St. Anthony Festival, our positive Summer experiment of opening the Lodge during Bocce season, our fantastic response to our first Sunday Family Dinner in July, and our St Gabriel Festival which, despite the occasional rain on Sunday, was still a success. At all events, we have counted and recounted every penny of Lodge Revenue as a group after the event and collectively in the Lodge itself, to proudly maintain complete transparency. We also have successfully gone “all digital” with our monthly newsletter, The La Notizia, saving the Lodge several thousand dollars per year in printing and mailing expenses. We have installed several cameras, changed our building locks, changed our safe combination and made certain that this Lodge, YOUR Lodge, is safe and secure, in addition to now also accepting credit cards.
When I took office I wanted to emphasize 3 pillars to define my administration:
First is Respect, which some members of our Lodge and Council need to refocus on as we continue to move forward in a more positive direction. This is extremely important whether it’s tone, words, or even casual conversation, and is a necessity as far as I’m concerned.
Second is “know your role.” We still have some people that worry about other people’s business instead of only minding their own. Every successful team, which is what we are, is most successful when each person knows and adheres to their assigned duties and responsibilities to make the team complete and strong.
Third is “Every decision is made for the good of the Lodge.” If it’s closing on a Friday Night before a Sunday event in order to not overtax our volunteers twice in one weekend, or to help increase attendance at the Sunday dinner or an event, this is done to help the Lodge move into the next phase of our survival. Getting families together on a Sunday afternoon, which unfortunately doesn’t occur in families like it used to, can now be enjoyed at the Lodge the first Sunday of every month.
The one thing that should override all of these pillars, should be FUN! I have volunteered as part of my upbringing and life for nearly 50 years, and if you don’t have fun, or feel a passion for what you are doing, why are we here?
As President, Isometimes hear more feedback than I knew existed! LOL! But what makes me most proud, are how soooo many members call or stop me just to say, “I hear you’re doing great things at the lodge!” I follow a long family line of people who were very involved in showing our Italian Pride in this Lodge and our Italian community. I genuinely enjoy making a positive impact and so should each of you! But, I mustsay to you as a member, if you’re volunteering your time and are not having fun while doing it, is there something we can do to make it a more positive experience? If you are not finding satisfaction when volunteering, then it could also be time to re-evaluate how you spend your volunteer time – which is very precious to each of us.
While change is hard for some people, even positive change, I am so proud of our Italian heritage, our Lodge and our administration. Occasionally, bad decisions can happen – learning from them is what’s most important! Whether it’s our pricing, our menu options or just being able to listen to feedback , I am always open to suggestions, and will respond accordingly.
As we come to the six month mark or about 25% through our current administration, I want each person, whether you’re on the Council or an active volunteer, to evaluate. Are you feeling the passion that I do for our culture? Can we help reignite that passion? Do you truly enjoy how you spend your time? If so, fantastic, because that’s my goal, if you’re not, what’s your next step?
We will continue to stay the course, adjust the sails as needed and continue to make the Lodge viable well beyond this administration and those that follow us. We appreciate all of your support and hope to see you on October 6th for our monthly Sunday Family Dinner between 1 – 4 p.m. We also hope you come and dance the afternoon away at our Annual Sock Hop on Sunday October 27th from 1 – 5 p.m. There are lots of fun things going on at the Lodge and we look forward to you and your family joining us and enjoying yourselves at the Lodge…
Mike Castino President