Recently the Hillsboro Moose Lodge has implemented some new policies and rules. This is an effort to explain and inform the community of those changes and the reason for them.
For over 100 years the Hillsboro Moose Lodge has been an active organization in the Hillsboro community, participating in community events, sponsoring activities and hosting and loaning use of our building for countless events. Our doors have always been open to supporting community events and in return Hillsboro and area residents have stepped up and supported our lodge for many years.
You may ask what Moose is about. Through our membership dues, Moose provides hope to over 12,000 children in need with a second chance by having a 1,000-acre community and school called Mooseheart. Mooseheart provides children from infancy to 18 years of age in need with a quality education, a stable family living environment, and compassion and understanding. Additionally, Mooseheart provides graduating students with a place to live while attending college or a vocational school. Moose also offers peace of mind to senior members and their spouses in their senior citizen community called Moosehaven located in Orange Park, FL. Moose also has many other Moose Charities programs. All local lodges are also encouraged to participate in community fundraising activities such as Toys-for-Tots, Boy and Girl Scouts, Stamp Out Cancer, blood drives, etc.
As with any organization, there are rules and guidelines which are established and must be adhered to ensuring the organization remains solvent and does not endanger its tax status with the federal or state government.
Moose International (our parent organization) has established those rules and they have been in place for many years. One of those rules is to restrict entrance into lodges to members and their qualified guests (which I will define later). For several years the restriction of guests has not been questioned at the local lodge level; lodges have allowed non-members to enter lodges, participate in numerous local events and partake in lodge benefits (dining, participating in activities, etc.).
Recently, however, Moose International's status as a not-for-profit organization has come under the watchful eyes of government officials. In order for the Moose organization to keep itself qualified to remain a not-for-profit organization they have asked that all lodges adhere to the by-laws of locking the doors and allowing only members and qualified guests to enter its lodge.
What is a qualified guest? An active lodge or chapter member's immediate family are qualified guests (note–there are no limits on the number of times a qualified family member may be admitted as a guest unless he or she qualifies as a prospective member (age 21 or older) of the person signing them into the social quarters); the lady friend of a male active lodge member or the gentleman friend of a good standing (active) lady member (note–there are no limits on the number of times a qualified lady friend or gentleman friend may be admitted as a guest.)
A prospective member is defined as any guest that is accompanied by a member who can sponsor them for membership in the order. As permitted by the House Committee, a prospective member may be admitted subject to the following:
A. The prospective member is accompanied at all times by his or her sponsor.
B. The prospective member is properly signed in as a guest.
C. The prospective member shall not make purchases.
D. The prospective member shall leave when his or her sponsor leaves.
E. The prospective member shall be limited to two visits.
In addition to these qualified guest definitions, the Hillsboro Moose is still allowed to host membership drives throughout the year which allows prospective members to enter the lodge, also hold specialty fundraising events including but not limited to dances, craft events, Bingo and events related to community special activities (Old Settlers, 4th of July, community fundraisers).
I hope this information clarifies any questions area residents may have concerning the recent Hillsboro Moose Lodge changes. If any person is interested in joining the Moose or has additional questions, he or she may contact me or any board member at the lodge in person or by phone at 217-532-3719.
Paul Pershing is Administrator of the Hillsboro Moose Lodge 1377 and invites anyone with any questions about Moose International policy to call him directly at 217-254-5407.