Becoming Active as a Native Son

Now that I'm a Native Son how do I become active?
What else do the Native Sons of the Golden West do that would interest me?
These are two of the most frequently asked questions new members have about our Order.

The primary mission of the Native Sons of the Golden West is to preserve the spirit of the "Days of' 49" and the history of California. But the Native Sons of the Golden West are much more than that. The events, functions and activities that our Order participates in are as varied and diverse as our great state and those who call it home.

Parlor Meetings

The first and most important step you can take to becoming an active member is to attend your par­lor meetings. At these meetings, your sponsor will introduce you to your fellow brothers and assist you in becoming familiar with several aspects of the parlor, such as;

  • The conduct of the meetings,
  • The duties of the officers and the
  • Responsibilities of parlor committees
  • Functions and social events that your parlor spon­sors for its members, families and guests,
  • As well as the parlor's community involvement.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with your Native Sons staff an information booth at Sacramento's Annual parlor's meetings, its functions and activities and Gold Rush Days. the members who organize them.

Then take the second step to becoming an active member.

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    Your involvement can be as simple as helping collect tickets at a dinner, participating in one of the many events held by your parlor or perhaps helping carry the Native Son Flag in a parade. You can play a larger part if you so desire and take a leadership role such as filling an officer's position or serving on a committee. No matter what level of participation you choose, one thing is certain: your involvement will be welcomed by your par­lor and for you as a member it will be the start of a fulfilling and enriching experience for years to come.


    Throughout the state, individual parlors participate in bowling, golf, bocce ball and softball leagues and tournaments, as well as sponsoring local youth athletic programs.

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    Carrying the world's largest California Bear Flag in Admission Day, Veterans Day, Fourth of July and other parades, the Native Sons have become a long-time crowd favorite. Our history of participating in parades dates to our founding in 1875, when General Winn called together a band of California natives to parade in San Francisco on the Fourth of July.

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    Flag Day, June 14th

    Native Sons sponsor ceremonies commemorating the historical significance of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt and raising of the first California Bear Flag. For many years the Native Sons and the Town of Sonoma have worked together to make this one of the most successful events for the Native Sons and the town. The Native Sons Flag Day Celebration held on the Sonoma Town Square features arts and crafts, kids' entertainment, live music, wine and microbrew tasting and a barbecue.

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    Admission Day

    California's admission into the Union on September 9, 1850 is celebrated by the Native Sons through parlor functions and banquets to honor the date of this historic event. Over the past several years, the Native Sons, in conjunction with California State Parks Department, have joined together to celebrate Admission Day at Gold Rush Days in Old Town Sacramento. Held over Labor Day weekend, Gold Rush Days is the largest living history re-enactment in California depicting life in the 1850s.

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    The Native Sons of the Golden West Charitable Foun­dation was founded over seventy years ago. The foundation provides funds to hospitals caring for children born with cleft palate and other Craniofacial Anomalies. Since the first dona­tion in 1953 to the Cleft Palate Clinic at the University of California in San Francisco, the program has expanded to include Saint John's Hospital, Santa Monica, and Sutter Memorial, Sacramento, with donations totaling over $5,387,131.00.

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    Historical Preservation

    For more than 125 years, the Native Sons have been leaders in preserving California's most important historical buildings and sites. Without our efforts, buildings such as Sutter 's Fort, the Customs House in Monterey and Vallejo's Adobe in Petaluma would have been lost forever to future generations.

    Seeing a need to continue with the Native Sons' preservation efforts, the Historical Preservation Foundation of the Native Sons of the Golden West was founded in 2000 as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation to continue supporting preservation of historic sites in California for the benefit of all.

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    Fourth Grade Essay Contest

    To encourage the study of California history, the Native Sons sponsor a yearly essay contest for fourth grade students. Established over ten years ago, the contest offers fourth grade students and their teachers cash prizes for their endeavors to learn and write about our state's history. The winning essay is printed in our state newspaper and is displayed, along with a photograph of the student, for a year at our museum at Columbia State Historic Park.

    High School Scholarship Contest

    The Native Sons Scholarship Contest awards cash to high school students who are relatives of mem­bers. Details are available from the Grand Parlor office.

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    Lott's Lake

    One of the Native Sons treasures is Lott's Lake, located in extreme western Plumas County, at the headwaters of Chips Creek, which feeds the Feather River. The lake is open to all brothers in good standing and their families at no charge. Maps, info sheets and advice are available from the Lott's Lake Committee.

    Golden Serenity Mining Claim

    The Golden Serenity mining claim is held by the NSGW and is available seasonally to all native sons. Golden Serenity is east of Calaveras Big Trees park off highway 4 very near Dorrington.  Golden Serenity has no cell service, no power, no toilet facilities, you can get water from the creek, but it must be sanitized for consumption, and you must pack out ALL TRASH. There are opportunities for fishing, off-roading and bird watching.

And Finally-

If you choose to participate in your parlor's meetings, socials and civic activities, you will find great satis­faction. The Order of the Native Sons of the Golden West has pros­pered since 1875 because of the contributions of thousands of Californians who believe in preserving the history of the state and in strengthening and improving the fraternal society created in 1875 by our founder, General Winn. Volunteerism is the heart of our Order. Welcome to a lifetime of enjoyment of your parlor and your brothers!

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Become a Native Son

Imagine joining an organization that lifts your spirit with the joy of giving to others and working/socializing with friends in making a difference in your town, and in California.