140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Imperial Potentate's- News Letter

Dear Fellow Nobles,
Serving as Imperial Potentate is an honor, a privilege and a responsibility; I want to thank you for entrusting me with this opportunity to lead and guide our organizations.  Each day, I will do the very best I can to strengthen and enhance Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children®. 
I also want to thank everyone for their months of hard work and endless efforts to ensure that Imperial Session was everything it is meant to be. Director General John Massey and his entire team did an outstanding job, as did the staff at home office – from those in the public relations, donor development, fraternal and membership departments – to the executive teams for both Shriners Hospitals and Shriners International. Actually, every department at home office contributed to the success of Imperial Session in some way and while I cannot name each of you, I do want to acknowledge your work and thank you. I also want to thank the tour guides at both home office and the Tampa Shriners Hospital – you always do an outstanding job; we want to especially thank those who came in on the weekend to accommodate our guests.
We have a truly great team working with us at home office – and throughout our organizations, including our shrine centers, and we are confident that, working together, we will accomplish great things this Imperial Year.
Ethel and I also want to thank everyone for getting the First Lady’s program, The Sky’s the Limit, off to such a great start.
We appreciate being able to travel and attend the many different events and meetings, and the opportunity those provide for spending time with our nobles, and their families. It is such an inspiration and encouragement to learn about the work being done at the local level. We want to thank everyone for their tremendous hospitality and consideration. We are so amazed by – and grateful for – the many ways we are looked after, everywhere we go.
As you know, Shriners International is a global organization, with shrine centers and clubs in several countries, and hundreds of thousands of members around the world. While that is impressive, we need to be reaching many more potential members. We need to be sharing the story of our great fraternity, of what it means to us, of why we joined, and of what we have to offer. This is the time to be seriously focused and to remember to share your fraternal experience with your friends – actually, try to find a way to share your story with everyone you meet. You just never know when the idea you plant will take root, grow and eventually lead to the creation of a new noble.
Personal communications are critically important, and can be tremendously effective in reaching potential new members. However, it is important that we consistently reach as many people as possible. The availability of many forms of electronic communication should make getting the word out and sharing our messages to multiple, and large, audiences easier. We encourage you, and your shrine centers, to use these resources – including social media and YouTube – to help get the word out. We also need to promote our presence on television, and be sure people are aware of upcoming programs that will feature Shriners International or Shriners Hospitals for Children, as well as the airing of ads and PSAs.
The 30th annual Membership Seminar is scheduled for Oct. 13-15 in Tampa, Florida.  Please consider sending representation from your temple, whether it be Divan leadership or those on your membership team. These seminars provide important information and opportunities to share ideas with each other that can make a significant difference in the success of your membership recruitment, retention and restoration efforts. Please also consider inviting representatives from your Grand Lodges to attend. Partnering with your Grand Lodge can be mutually beneficial, as membership tactics can easily translate to Masonry and other fraternal organizations.
We can also raise awareness through our signature events. The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is coming up – it will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 6 in Las Vegas. The week-long tournament features many additional events and experiences, and is fun for the whole family. We want to thank the volunteers (who pay a fee to assist) for making that extra effort; their hard work contributes a great deal to the success of the tournament. Last year, more than 300 nobles (and family members) representing approximately 35 shrine centers volunteered, and we want to especially acknowledge their support and commitment. Among these volunteers were representatives from nine shrine centers and members of the Galveston Shriners Hospital’s Board of Governors who worked the holes throughout the tournament.  In a creative way to both support the tournament and conduct business, the Galveston and Los Angeles hospitals’ Boards of Governors also held their meetings at the event. We are very proud of our shrine centers and nobles for their outstanding support. We truly appreciate all of the volunteers who are so important to the Open – and we look forward to seeing them again this year.
In addition to being an outstanding opportunity to share the story of our fraternity, the Open is also a wonderful chance to showcase the amazing work of Shriners Hospitals for Children. Several patients will be present, including our National Patient Ambassadors and patient volunteers who act as standard bearers.  They are a stunning testament to our health care system, and to their own perseverance and strength of spirit.
I just want to make a quick mention of the East-West Shrine Game, which will be held Jan. 21, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Florida. This event is also an opportunity for world-wide exposure, as well as a time for our nobles to share some great football and an amazing tailgate experience. Think about being in Florida in January.
Thank you for your continued support and for everything you do for our two great organizations. I look forward to our working together, and accomplishing great things.
Yours in the faith,
Chris L. Smith
Imperial Potentate
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