From left, Tom Seidler of the San Diego Padres joined Grand Master Stuart A. Wright, Doug Ismail, Ronnie Smith, Anthony Mclean, and Fred Burkhard on Masons4Mitts night in San Diego.

Skipper Knows Best

How a first-time Masons4Mitts captain came through in the clutch

Fred Burkhardt may have been a rookie when it came to co-captaining his district’s Masons4Mitts team, the Northside Sharks. But the Oceanside-San Dieguito No. 381 lodge secretary managed it like a veteran. All told, the San Diego division raised a record-setting $26,734 for the San Diego Padres’ youth fund—part of a superb year statewide for Masons4Mitts. Here, Burkhardt (seen above at far right), who shared skippering duties with Anthony McLean and Ronnie Smith of the Prince Hall Surfside Lodge No. 112, offers a few tips from his playbook.

Set Your Roster

“We couldn’t be in all the lodges at once, so I assigned positions to a representative at each lodge, like a baseball team,” Burkhardt says. “I tried to pick guys who were going up the line—junior wardens, senior wardens—because they’ll be in those leadership roles for multiple years.”

Small Wins Count, Too

“I made each team member responsible for raising $300 at their lodge. People told me, ‘You’ll never make these numbers.’ But I knew these guys could do it. You send a few text messages, make a few phone calls. We used the lodge app, picking up four or five, sometimes ten mitts. It doesn’t take huge amounts of time, but it all adds up.”

Spark a Rally

“There was a point where we hit 300 mitts and it just stopped. I talked to my wife about making a big donation, because I felt like if we didn’t do something, it was going to end right there. We usually go to the mountains for Christmas, but instead we decided to make a big donation. Once people saw that we were inching toward 400 mitts, everything started rolling again.”

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