By Sydney W., Grand Worthy Advisor
For as long as I can remember, Revelations has always been one of my favorite parts of Grand Assembly. The rush of excitement as name after name gets called, and watching as dreams come true for so many Rainbow Girls. This year was extra special because as the names kept getting called, many of my close friends were getting the opportunity to run down to the floor and meet their Grandie after they were announced. As it crept closer to the end, I was so excited to go and congratulate my friends, but then suddenly my assembly jumped up around me screaming and crying with joy. As my sisters hugged me the realization hit that yes, it was my name that Mrs. Regier just called. As I ran down the stairs the only thing running through my mind other than complete shock was, “How was I going to be the Director’s Page now???”
After saying yes to this opportunity of a lifetime, we then made our way over to the Revelations party in the hotel, which was a total blur. Then I was able to spend a little alone time with my Grandies who helped me feel a little less overwhelmed about the amazing year ahead of me.
The next morning, I attended the Grand Cross of Color Banquet and ceremony, after which I headed back to my hotel room to write my Grand Installation speech and choose the adjective for the mascot! During the afternoon session, thanks to some of my Grandies, I was able to sneak in to watch my grandpa receive his Service to Rainbow Award and also see the total amount that California Rainbow raised for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. That evening, I went to dinner with the Directors and the new Grand Officers, after which I got to choose the color of the travel shirts we would be wearing over the course of the year.
Grand Installation practice started bright and early the next morning. After practice, the new Grand Officers who would be serving on the Grand Executive Committee got to attend our very first GEC meeting over in the hotel. At 1 o’clock that afternoon we floated onto the Grand Floor for the first time as Grand Officers and were installed as the Pioneering Wolf Pack of 2023! Once Installation was over, I got some delicious Italian food with Katie, her state parents, and my state parents. Then we went back to the hotel where Katie and I had a sleepover so we could bond. The next morning, we had a meeting with all the ladies in charge over breakfast where we also discussed the upcoming year, after which I finally got to head home and sleep in my own bed.
Once I got home, it was time to get started. I not only had to finish my senior year of high school, but in addition, I had to write my first two Pot of Gold Articles and look for potential Grand Service Projects. At the end of April, I drove back down to Fresno with a car full of a couple of Grand Officers and Mrs. Warren for our first Grand Officer retreat! We got to get to know each other better and make some decisions for the rest of our year. Then it was back home to get started on some speeches!
I gave my first official speech as Grand Worthy Advisor at the York Rite Banquet in Visalia. It was super nerve-wracking, but my family, the Sullivans, and Mrs. Regier were all there to have my back. After heading back home, it was time to prepare for the First OV. I worked on my ritual, memorized my speeches, and made the display board for the Grand Service Project.
And just like that, the weekend of the First OV arrived. On Friday night, I graduated high school and the next morning I had to travel all the way to Sacramento (aka 30 minutes from my house) for practice. We went over Opening, Initiation, and Closing and after dinner, I got to reveal the Grand Service Project to the Grand Officers and a few state adults. Then I went back to my house to relax and get some sleep before the OV the next day. It was super weird to watch the girls of my district perform the Official Visit, but it was also super special to be surrounded by my home District for the First OV! And then the time arrived for me to announce the Grand Service Project! I was so nervous, but I managed to channel this nervous energy into pure excitement as I finally got to share with you all what we would be supporting over the course of the next year!
After the craziness of the First OV weekend, I got to travel to beautiful Camp Del Oro for a weekend of fun and relaxation at Northern Rainbow Camp! It was so fun to be able to bond with the girls, jump in the lake with the other Grand Officers, and of course, enjoy some delicious s’mores by the campfire. Up next, I got the opportunity to visit some of our out-of-state sisters at Nevada’s Grand Assembly, which was held on Father’s Day weekend in Reno.
Surprisingly, planning for Grand Assembly begins super early! About a week before I had scheduled to go to look at fabric, I called Mrs. Regier to talk about the Grand Assembly theme. Although we didn’t have the specific verbiage picked out, I decided that our 2023 Grand Assembly sessions would be centered around Broadway and I couldn’t have been more excited! Then I traveled down South to the LA Fabric District to select the fabric for the Grand Officers, Pages, Observer Helpers, Choir, and Grand Deputies! I had so much fun looking at all of the fabric and making the decisions on colors wasn’t super hard since I already had the theme decided. I just knew the dresses were going to be perfect for our Grand Assembly!
Summer travel season continued again as I journeyed down South for my first-ever Southern Rainbow Camp! I had so much fun experiencing all the different things that Camp in the South offers, especially the zipline! Almost a week later I headed up to Yakima, Washington to celebrate Washington Idaho’s Grand Assembly! This was my second time going to their jurisdiction and I had so much fun! At the end of July, I got the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma City to celebrate 100 years of Rainbow at Supreme Assembly. It was so cool to meet Rainbow Girls from all over the world and I also got to carry in the California Flag during the Cavalcade of Flags which was so much fun!
As the summer travel season came to a close, it was officially time for OV season. I wrote and memorized multiple thought speeches and speeches about Pawsitive Teams to share with all of you. Traveling to visit all of you at your Official Visits was one of my favorite parts of this year as I got to see all the wonderful things that make each assembly shine! After the OVs, I wrote lots and lots of thank you notes, wrote notes about the OV itself, and I also recorded and deposited the donations made for the Grand Service Project.
During this time, I got to spend some time with one of our fellow Masonic Youth Orders at Southern California DeMolay’s Conclave. It was the first DeMolay event I had ever attended, and it was also the first time I got to meet with the Masonic Youth Summit. As OV season continued, I made some more decisions for Grand Assembly including selecting the mascot for next year and finally choosing the wording for the Grand Assembly theme!
As the official end of Summer rolled around, it meant that October had finally arrived. This month is a very busy time for GWAs as usually, that is when Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter are held. These speeches are two of the biggest speeches of the year, so it is super important to put a lot of time and effort into writing and memorizing these special speeches. Luckily for me, we had our Mid-Year Grand Officer Retreat at Shaver Lake the weekend before I headed to Grand Lodge which was a wonderful way to relax and celebrate the middle of this wonderful year! Then the time finally arrived for Grand Lodge in San Francisco! It was wonderful to have the Grand Officers there for support, especially when we got to take a super cute picture on one of the iconic cable cars in SF! After I gave my speech at Grand Lodge, I went home to prepare for Grand Chapter. A week later I traveled to Visalia to speak at Grand Chapter! I had so much fun with the members of Eastern Star and it was super cool to see the venue where our Grand Assembly would be held.
After these two very busy weekends, the reception travel season really began. Receptions were some of my favorite events to attend because it was so special to see them shine in their special dresses and how each assembly honored their Grand Officer. Each reception is filled with nothing but love and it is easy to see the impact these pioneering ladies have made on the girls and adults of California Rainbow. In addition to Receptions, November also brought two Grand Cross of Color ceremonies in the North and South and I also had the opportunity to speak to the Northern California Jurisdiction of DeMolay at their Convention.
In addition to all of these super fun events and speaking engagements, I also have a few other responsibilities as GWA. I get to write articles for our fabulous Pot of Gold, attend the meetings of the Grand Executive Committee both in-person and monthly on Zoom, and also continue to work on my ritual, including Grand Installation, throughout the entire year with my ritual coach.
As the New Year began, OV season officially came to a close as the Last OV occurred in Mrs. Dole’s Area! It was a wonderful way to end the Official Visits of the year, especially because being in Orange County meant I was right by Disneyland! The Grand Officers had practice on Saturday, and then on Sunday we got to attend the OV! I wrote two new speeches for this event and we got to hear even more about Pawsitive Teams from a representative who came to speak to us. We also got to find out who would be serving as Grand Marshals and Grand Pages, which also meant I got to announce who my Page would be!
Time flew by as Reception season continued and before I knew it, my Reception weekend had finally arrived! Saturday brought more practice for the Grand Officers to prepare for Grand Assembly, and I also got to finally reveal the dresses we would be wearing for Grand Assembly! Seeing their reactions and finally not having to keep it a secret from them anymore was truly a highlight of the weekend! Then I went back home to get some sleep before my reception the next day! It was so special to see all the hard work my assembly put into making my reception day all that I dreamed of and more!
After my Reception was over, it was time to put the pedal to the metal and work on all the details left to make Grand Assembly unforgettable! I spent a few days at Mrs. Warren’s house for “Warren Week” where I typed up the script for Grand Assembly, worked on escort sayings, and worked on many other little details. I also wrote my GWA travel report and worked with Mrs. Regier on selecting the OV Awards to honor all the work each District put into their OV.
Now the time has finally come for our Broadway Bound: A Glittering Marquee in 2023 Grand Assembly sessions! Can you believe the year flew by so fast?!? As the Grand Officers arrived, we had many many “rehearsals” to make sure everything was perfect for Opening Night! After four fabulous acts, sorry I mean days of sessions, the Pioneering Wolf Pack took our final bow and welcomed the new 2024 Grand Officers into the spotlight! Over the next year, I will still have responsibilities like cheering on and being a support for my Grandie, speak at Grand Bethel, and I will also get to tell some super funny jokes with Katie at Grand Assembly 2024!
Thank you, California Rainbow, for making this pioneering year so amazing! I am so very grateful for the love and support you have shown to both me and the rest of the Wolf Pack this year. Serving you as Grand Worthy Advisor has been one of the greatest joys of my life, and I am so happy that through my travels, I got to meet and interact with so many of you. I know that the future of our organization is in great hands, and I am so excited to see what amazing things are in store!