In my own perceived duty as a young Mason dedicated to getting our Craft to recognize and realize the potential of young masons, I have stumbled upon a wonderful group of Masons in Australia. In the state of South Australia, there exists a group of Freemasons founded in 2009 specifically dedicated to young freemasons called the Young Freemason Network. The group restricts membership to brothers and petitioners under the age of 40.
Here is an excerpt from YFN Chairman James Ehmann’s welcome message from their website:
The Young Freemasons Network (approx 40 and under) exists to unite our members, despite their being spread over the Metro and Country areas of SA, and provide them with a peer and social network. We believe that having contact with other members of your own or similar age will help heighten the experience and enjoyment of being a Freemason.What a brilliant idea. Although I love hanging out with brothers of every age, sometimes, it’s nice to hang out with brothers my age. The Jaycees are built on a similar model. The Jaycees restrict membership to members under the age of 41. The idea of Jaycee is to help young professionals find opportunities for networking and to develop their skills.
We have a number of social events (at least one a month) and actively encourage participation in Lodge by visiting our members lodges and supporting them, particularly as they progress through degrees or take office.
Importantly we are a fully inclusive organisation and welcome wives, children, partners and friends to attend our events as well. We promote openness about Freemasonry to all, and welcome anyone who is generally interested in Freemasonry and not a member.
Now, I can understand why brothers may be leery about a group of Masons restricted by age. The concept of Masonry is that we meet on the level. I would argue, however, that there is a need being met by the creation of the Young Freemason Network. When a brother or petitioner joins a lodge, he either has a connection or he does not. Finding the right lodge is always a crapshoot even if you visit the brothers over a long period of time. A young mason’s network can act as a cabletow, binding a mason even closer to his lodge and to the wider Masonic community.
A group like this can encourage more brotherhood throughout the Masonic jurisdiction. Brothers are encouraged to attend their lodge functions as well as visiting other brothers’ lodge functions. The Young Freemason Network’s website states that its goals are threefold:
· Charity - raise money and provide support for worthy causes
· Social - organise events that bring together and are relevant to our members, including thier families and friends
· Lodge support - attend our members lodges for their significant ceremonial events (degrees etc) and to encourage attendance at lodge meetings.The events that YFN hosts include lodge visits, a wine club, charity fundraisers, and get togethers for members of YFN and their significant others. I spoke with James, the YFN Chairman, and he said that without the support and encouragement of the Grand Lodge, YFN would have not lasted.
I think their goals are truly laudable and I really wish this very new group all the best. Perhaps one day, this concept will be transplanted across the Peaceful Sea and find roots on our shores. Masonry is truly finding its stride and groups like this are part of that energy.