Who The O.G.A. Is

We welcome you to the official Website of The Ohio Grotto Association.

This Website is intended to be a valuable tool of COMMUNICATION with the Prophets throughout the realm.

We hope this site is of value to you and we welcome any comments or information you might have in order to make this site a better tool for you.

About the OGA

President's Message

A message from President Joshua Anderson

March 6, 2017

The Grotto is a great organization, it is something we all feel passionate about and want to see grow. Growth usually is thought of in terms of growing membership. But, what if I argued that an increase in membership numbers is not the only way that we can grow the Grotto? There are at least two ways that the Grotto can grow without ever signing a petition for a new member (though a petition may very well be a byproduct of these ways). The two ways that we can do this are by being an active part of our lodge, and by being out spoken about the Grotto.

These two options go hand in hand. Merely being an attendee at a lodge function does nothing ot help the Grotto if you are not talking about it or letting it be known that you are involved. Just as talking about the Grotto may get you questions in the general public, it is from the lodge that the membership numbers will be able to be grown. These are both subjects that are intimately related and at the same time very distinct.

To begin, let us look at being open about our membership and involvement. When talking in the community do not be afraid to mention the Grotto and the good works it does on the Humanitarian Foundation side. If your Grotto has community events talk about them. Just getting the Grotto name out there to the general public is a great boon, as it grows brand recognition. If our Grotto brand is recognizable we are better situated to attract membership and support.

A general knowledge of who and what the Grotto is can do wonderful things in a community and for the charitable side, but it is in the blue lodge that growth can become the most apparent. All Prophets are Master Masons, and we should be making an effort to support our Blue Lodges. If your lodge recognizes appendant bodies or heads of other organizations then your Grotto’s Monarch should be attending those meetings and ensure that he is recognized. As an example, I am recognized in my lodge and at inspections as the President of the OGA during introductions, and the Monarch of O-Ton-Ta-La is recognized as the head of an appendant body. The Grotto does not need to be hidden or quiet, we are entitled to recognition the same as any other body and should take advantage of it.

Small things can make a difference in growing the Grotto. Whether it is wearing a Grotto shirt or apron (yes, I have an apron that has my Grotto’s name and the Mokanna head on it I have worn to lodge meetings), these small things get us recognized. And just like in sales and marketing, name recognition is one of the most important aspects of growth.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the May OGA Zone Conference in Perrysburg. Shannon and I have been working hard to organize a fun weekend for everyone.

Fraternally,
Josh Anderson, OGA President


Previous Messages

February 24, 2017

Before I get into this article I want to share a conversation I had with my 2 boys this evening. Before beginning conversation, a quick piece of information on my kids to explain a few things. Harry is 5 years old and in preschool. Josh Jr. is 7 years old and in 1st grade. This conversation was had on the way home from a family dinner this evening.

Harry: I want to go to the Grotto
Me: Why?
Harry: So I can see my friends. Like Uncle Ron, Grandpa, Slippery, and Timmy
Me: You have a lot of Grotto friends. Do you want to join the Grotto when your older?
Harry: Yeah, and build my own Grotto
Me: How do you build a Grotto?
Harry: You find workers, and building stuff, and friends that can lift heavy stuff
Me: How would you help make a Grotto?
Harry: Throw parties and invite my friends
Josh Jr.: Like at Cincinnati and Dayton?
Harry: Yeah!
Josh Jr.: That was fun
Harry: Yeah, I can’t wait to go again
Josh Jr.: Yeah! Lets go now!

This fairly quick exchange is a very succinct summary of what needs to happen with any Masonic body in terms of perception by youth. The Grotto has become a source of fun and good times for my two boys. The reference to Cincinnati and Dayton are in reference to their trips to Ohio Grotto Association events over the last year. (Cincinnati and Dayton are close, though not exact definitions of where the meetings where, but hey they are kids). The references to people are real people. You have “Uncle Ron” who is a family friend a Grotto member that the boys have known throughout their lives and look at as an uncle now. Their Grandpa is a Grotto member. Then Slippery and Timmy are both Grotto members from elsewhere in Ohio that have made an impression on the boys.

From that let’s consider what this conversation shows on appendant Masonic bodies. The boys recognize that they want to be a part of something that is fun and enjoyable. They know that if something does not provide a value to them they do not wish to be a part of it. At their age a visit to the doctor is not a good thing, not because they fear what might be said, but because they do not see an enjoyable aspect of it in their immediate future. Though the children may benefit from a vaccine, they would willingly avoid it to escape the pain of an injection. Or to put it another way, the power of a sugary sweet will over power a prospective cavity that in their experience are not immediately related.

I posit that the youth here are making a fundamental statement on Grotto, appendant Freemasonry, and to an extent upon the Freemasonry as a whole. The argument that is being made is that the Grotto and other appendant bodies need to show an immediate benefit to prospective members, but in the same discussion the fundamental abilities or qualifications of a Mason are necessary to create any other body. As Harry notes, we need builders and people that can lift heavy loads to build a Grotto. The builders for us are those who can pull together the people and resources needed to form a Grotto, or other appendant body. The heavy stuff is the organizational work and management needed to make such an endeavor successful. However, with both of these in place you still need the friendship or comradery of like-minded people to ensure that the newly formed group has the people needed to operate.

From a more general look, consider the idea of a Mason and one who builds. Harry indicates that we need workers to build a Grotto. Who are the workers we will use? Masons. It can be said that Harry, at the age of 5, instinctively knows the art of modern Freemasonry is not in building of physical edifices, but is instead the realm of building the edifices of social enlightenment. For the Grotto, the role of social enlightenment leans towards social and entertainment, which Harry embraces.

Cheers to the young who see the need for fun and fellowship. Cheers to those who give our youth the opportunity to learn about such things in a safe manner. Cheers to those who embrace the youth and seek to guide them down the path of enlightenment and growth needed in every age. And cheers to those who, though infrequent their interaction with the youth, make such a strong impression upon them that their memory will not be forgotten for another lifetime.

September 3, 2016

As my first post as President of the OGA I wanted to spend a couple of lines thanking a few people. The people I want to thank are those who are reading this. Each Prophet, lady, Mason, friend, and friend I have yet to meet are the ones I want to thank. Without each of you the world would be immensely different, and the circumstances that brought me to this recognition may have been vastly different. For that I thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to serve the Ohio Grotto Association, and by that to serve you.

The 2016-2017 year will go fast for me, I do not doubt that one bit from the tales and advice I have heard from my predecessors. But in the course of this year I will be striving to further the positive public perception of the Grotto while working to strengthen the bonds that have kept us together.

My wife and children are a key part of who I am. As such, though I may be traveling for the Grotto during the year, I will always ensure that my family is first. My two boys are being raised around the Grotto and Lodge, they already are aware of how important it is to me, and I am hoping to pass that love for the fraternity on to them. Shannon, my wife, is keenly aware of how dedicated I am to Freemasonry and the Grotto. I thank her on a regular basis for allowing me to be so active, and for being willing to travel with me for these involvements.

With that, I look forward to meeting many people over the course of the year. If I am unable to meet you personally, do not take it personal, instead remember that you are just a friend that I have not yet met.

Thanks,
Josh Anderson
President of the Ohio Grotto Association

February 29, 2016

HOW DO YOU TOP THE FEBRUARY ZONE CONFERENCE?

It is really going to be hard, but we in Kentucky are going to try or at least try to live up to their standards.

I don't know where to start so I will say THANK YOU to Bernie Mitchell and his wife and all of the men and women of Amrou Grotto who put forth such a wonderful effort to make the February Zone Conference a success.

The food was fantastic. The people affiliated with the Grotto and all of the rest who helped did everything possible to make everyone feel welcome and made sure that they enjoyed themselves. I could not have asked for anything better.

I also want to thank the ladies for the beautiful baskets and appreciate that they donated the profits to Amrou. Without all of our ladies the grottos would not be the same. They are the glue that hold us guys together. Thank you ladies for all you do for us.

We are gearing up for the May Zone Conference. It will be held at The Holiday Inn-Riverfront in Covington, KY. The rooms have already been blocked so you can make your reservations whenever you wish. All of the information will on the Ohio Grotto Association's web site.

We just received confirmation for the entertainment in May. All of this information should be on the Ohio Grotto Association's web page in approximately 2 weeks. Let's just say "ELVIS WILL BE IN THE HOUSE." Be sure and dress in your best 50's costumes. There will be a prize for the best costume (1-Male/1-Female).

Have a safe rest of the winter and we will see you all in May for "FUN" "FUN" "FUN"

Sincerely,
William (Gator) Fisher PM
President OGA

November 2015
President William (Gator) Fisher

I wish to let everyone know how honored I am to be the President of the OGA. This has been one of the greatest achievements of my Masonic Career.

This year I have spoken with all my Officers and they have agreed to visit different Grottos so we can all have better communication and understanding of what we are trying to accomplish.

Please remember to submit your Grotto Newsletter to Ramzi E. Jammal, Secretary of Al Sarit Grotto. Their Grotto will be judging to select the winning Newsletter and the prize will be awarded at The August, 2016 Convention.

My Officers are working to try to have the two Grottos that left the OGA rejoin. We have had some encouraging feedback.

The Traveling Gavel will be at the Zone Conference in Zanesville.and is waiting to be claimed. The $100.00 prize will be awarded to the Grotto with the most Attendees at the Zone Conference in February.

This year my theme is bring back the FUN FUN FUN to the OGA.

If anyone has any ideas or if you think of something that we can do to benefit the OGA, please feel free to contact me by phone or email. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Mary Ann and I hope to see everyone at the Zone Conference on February 12th & 13th, 2016 at Amrou Grotto in Zanesville, Ohio. Information regarding the agenda will be posted soon.

Sincerely,
William D. Fisher PM
President OGA


November 2014
President Bruce Seaburn

The Prophets of the Ohio Grotto Association

It is my pleasure to be able to write this note to you as the President of the OGA. I thought I would become President when I was elected to the officer line, but it seems to have been just yesterday that I started this journey. And this has been a journey. I have to thank Todd Lusher for inviting me to come to the Feb. Zone the year I was Monarch. On Saturday, I came for the meeting not knowing anyone except Todd. I met new friends there that I can't imagine not knowing now. It has been a continuing journey of meeting new friends not only at the OGA events but at the Grottos I have visited and the Supreme Council Sessions we attended. My grotto family continues to grow.

The Ohio Grotto Association is moving into an era of change. The plan is to make changes to adapt to the changing world we live in. Some will be renewing old ways that were lost and missed, others to make the OGA more in line with our changing members needs. I really need the members to remember that this is YOUR OGA!!!!! We need your input to help us move forward in this period of change. Tell the officers what your concerns are and what your ideas are.

  1. Reduce the OGA officer line from 6 years to 4 years. This was mentioned when we were having a harder time getting Prophets ready to commit to the officer line. Other Associations have made this change with success and we feel it could work for the OGA. You will be receiving formal notice of this change and it is on the agenda for the February Zone meeting. This issue will be voted on by the membership.
  2. Bring back competition at the Zones and Annual convention. This was a treasured part of the OGA. Changes made it fade away. Is there interest in renewing it? We will have some at the February Zone. During the Business meeting we will have a Ceremonial Imp Contest. Which Prophets can best portray an Imp to receive the title Greatest Imp in the Realm award? We are open to other ideas for competition. Examples are: Best hospitality room, best dressed to the theme at the Saturday social hour, most members in attendance, traveling awards and membership awards.
  3. More at the meetings. More good stuff less boring stuff. A meeting that consists of introductions of member's titles and time and place of next meeting and close to wait 3 hours to the social hour is a bit of a waste in time. This is not going to happen anymore. We have too many better things to do. Our members may be traveling over 2 hours to get to a meeting and they need to be able to walk out knowing it was worth their time to attend. Josh has presented a couple good presentations that were well worth the time. Our District Deputies attend and have ideas and thoughts to share with the members. Break-out sessions were used in the past and will be a part of the meetings again.
  4. Communications.
    The phrase "What we've got here is failure to communicate" is a quotation from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, spoken at different points in the movie first by Strother Martin (as the Captain, a prison warden) and later Paul Newman (as Luke, a young prisoner).
    We continue to try to address this issue. The economics of mailing a newsletter to every member, friends from other grottos and widows is just not available to us. That would involve a serious increase in dues that nobody even wants to talk about out loud. What we can do is add names and address to our e-mail list. We can beg, plead and promise that the local secretaries and monarchs will help by sharing a hard copy of the newsletter they receive. I have no magic wand that will just make this issue magically be solved. Together there has to be a way that those that want to know will be able to find out. The OGA web site is up and running, along with the OGA's Facebook site. This can provide the information to the members. BUT !!!! The member grottos need to get the information about their grotto events to Mike or Josh or another officer so it can be added to the web sites.
  5. Traveling the Realm. The OGA officers have been busy traveling to grottos. If we haven't been at your grotto yet, we will be. We are eager to attend installations and monarch balls. We just need to know ahead of time to fit our calendars.
  6. The February Zone Conference in Dayton. The details are out and look to be a nice time. Bruce Gardner and Jeff Shaw and the members of Ormus Grotto are looking forward to hosting this conference and showcasing their city and grotto. Jodi and I hope you attend and enjoy the conference.

Bee there... Bruce Seaburn OGA President


April 2013
President Larry Budd

I want to thank all the prophets that attended our February Zone Conference and the members of Khana Shahar Grotto for their help. Well, spring is on its way, when is anyone?s guess, but hopefully before our May Zone Conference at Teheran Grotto.

The May Zone Conference dates had to be changed due to unavailability of their grotto hall even though my request was made over two years ago.

I hope that we will see a good attendance at this Zone Conference.

Joanne and I tried to make as many Installations as possible, unfortunately we could not make all of them. The winter weather was not very good on some nights that we travel which made it quite scary at times.

The Ohio Grotto Association needs to come up with some good fundraisers that do not include selling chances for this year as well as next year. The Grand Master does not approved of raffle tickets so a lot of past ideas will not work. Please come to the Zone Conference with some new ideas.

My fundraiser is selling garment bags instead of T-shirts this year. We have a business suit size for $10.00 and the long gown/clown costume size for $15.00.

They would make good gifts to new prophets at your ceremonials.

Just a reminder that the zone conferences and the OGA convention are for all Red, Purple, silver, and gold tassel prophets.

I hope to see a lot of old friends and new prophets to make friends with at the Zone Conference.

Larry Budd, President

Past Presidents of the OGA


Year Name Grotto
1925 John Cox * Al Sirat
1926 John Cox * Al Sirat
1927 Harry Apple* Achbar
1928 Dr. W. Sterling* Al Sirat
1929 George Hoffman* O Ton Ta La
1930 Amos Englebeck* Yusef Khan
1931 Scott Krauss* Achbar
1932 Carl Shaner* Aut Mori
1933 Dwight Elder* Nazir
1934 Ralph Garvin* Al Sirat
1935 Thomas Fox* Oola Khan
1936 Lou McFarland* Yusef Khan
1937 Arthur Hughes* Baku
1938 Frank Jones* Aut Mori - PGM
1939 Robert Vaughn* Nazir
1940 Charles Johnson* Al Sirat
1941 Edwin Gundlach* Singara
1942 Henry Stemm* Amrou
1943 Lester Renner* Yusef Khan
1944 Charles Sawtelle* Tibris
1945 John Creamer* El Kadir
1946 George Hoffman* Al Sirat - PGM
1947 Gomer Evans* Aut Mori
1948 Paul Williams* Nazir
1949 LaVerne Cook* Erepa
1950 William Souter* Singara
1951 Earl Nietert* Khana Shahar
1952 Arthur Snyder* Yusef Khan
1953 Jacob Chambers* Oola Khan
1954 Henry Jones* Aut Mori
1955 John Birmingham* O Ton Ta La
1956 Thomas Martin* Achbar
1957 Wilbur Jamison* Baku
1958 Leslie Jones* Nazir
1959 Frank Combs* Al Sirat
1960 Norman Clark* Erepa
1961 Frank Heusser* El Rey
1962 Frank Siple* El Karan
1963 Emil Wermer* Oola Khan
1964 Albert Burden* Ormus
1965 James Tarson* Yusef Khan
1966 W. Jack Davies* Aut Mori
1967 W. O. Moreland* Erepa
1968 Max Graf* Achbar
1969 Howard Bodeker* Al Sirat - PGM
1970 Don Hanson* O Ton Ta La
1971 Arthur Leutz* El Rey
1972 John F. Allen* Ali Baba
1973 Marl T. Linville* Oola Khan
1974 James R. Kalkman* Nazir
1975 Richard Wentz* Baku
1976 Rodney Chisholm* Aut Mori
1977 Lyle King* El Kadir
1978 Bernard Mitchell Amrou - PGM
1979 Jay Moore Singara
1980 Don Mac Learie* Yusef Khan
1981 O. C. Barnard* Kismet
1982 Carroll Wooster Ali Baba
1983 Charles Weiser* Teheran
1984 Frank DeNayer* Nazir
1985 Harry Hanstine Kismet - OGA & PGA
1986 Noel E. Foor* Teheran
1987 Harold Martin* Kishmee
1988 Ron L. Pross* O Ton Ta La
1989 Jared Murphy* Ali Baba
1990 William Moerch Achbar
1991 Phillip Engle* El Karan
1992 William Gordon* Teheran
1993 Robert McMasters* Kam Ram - PGM
1994 Donald Clark Kismet
1995 Ron Malone* El Tor
1996 Ted Guinaugh* Ali Baba
1997 Robert Gabbard* Oola Khan
1998 Clarence Shawver Aut Mori - PGM
1999 Richard Krabill Nazir
2000 James Young* Oola Khan
2001 LeRoy Hutchinson El Kadir
2002 William Sizemore Yusef Khan
2003 Jerry Burns Ben Bey
2004 Mark McCombs Singara
2005 Timothy Brooks Khana Shahar
2006 Stephen Nelson Caliph
2007 David McIntyre Yuseh Khan
2008 Thomas Richards Caliph
2009 Lynn Miller Achbar
2010 Max Pokorski Islam
2011 Woody Sibley Ben Bey
2012 Michael Tomascin Islam
2013 Larry Budd* Islam
2014 David Chambers Achbar
2015 Bruce Seaburn Baku
2016 William Fisher Kishmee
2017 Joshua Anderson O-Ton-Ta-La
* = Deceased