Intro – How The District Calendar Works
The district calendar works by way of iCal feeds that update whenever events are added, changed, or removed. ICal feeds are just a format that describes events in a way that many calendar programs understand. The easiest way to create an iCal feed that will update this way is with a Google calendar.
The district calendar requires 2 feeds from each lodge – 1 for your lodge’s public events, and 1 for it’s member-only events (anything where the public wouldn’t be invited, but your lodge brothers and sisters would be welcome).
In addition, you can also use the calendar to track your lodge’s private bookings, such as for renters. This can be very helpful when you need to know whether your lodge is booked, but not necessarily need to share who is using it. For this to work, you’ll need to provide a third calendar that’s set up just a little differently.
There are different ways to create an iCal feed, as it’s a common format. If not using a Google calendar, you can skip all the way to step 6.
1. Creating Your Google Calendars
A Friendly Note: A Google calendar must be owned by a Google account. It is strongly advised that your Google account belong to your lodge, and not an individual. In light of this, your account should be accessible by at least 2 people, probably your secretary and noble grand, including recovery emails and phone numbers. The expectation is that this account will stay with your lodge, not an individual person, and multiple people will use it throughout the coming decades. If anything should happen with one of the owners, someone else should step in to take their place. You never want to be in a position where, if something should happen to a single person, you’d lose access to your Google account.
While logged into your Google account, go to calendar.google.com. To create a new calendar, click on the settings icon in the upper-right hand corner. It looks like a gear.
On the left-hand sidebar, expand the heading marked “Add calendar”. Click the option for “Create new calendar”.
You will need to create 2 calendars (or 3 if you want to use siliconvalleyoddfellows.org to track your third-party bookings as well). Name your calendars according to how they will be used.
2. Setting Up Your Google Calendars
In the left-hand menu of the calendar settings page, your new calendars’ names will appear. Click on the public calendar. In the available options, scroll down to “Access Permissions for Events” and click “Make available to public”. A warning will pop up, but just click “OK”.
Repeat this step for the members-only calendar.
If you’ve chosen to use a third-party bookings calendar, there’s one small change to make. After making the calendar available to public and clicking “OK”, the dropdown next to the checkbox will say “See all event details”. Click on it, and change it to “See only busy/free (hide details)”.
3. Sharing Access to Your Google Calendar
One of the great things about having multiple calendars is having the ability to give people the ability to create the events that they’re responsible for. For example, in the San Jose lodge, the property manager is responsible for creating events in the third-party bookings calendar, the outreach and events committees are responsible for creating events in the public events calendar, and the lodge secretary is responsible for creating events in the members-only calendar.
Obviously, anyone who has access to the Google account that owns the calendars can create events in any of them, but it’s useful to allow others in your lodge to control just those calendars that they’re responsible for, and who that is varies with each lodge.
To share the calendar with specific people, go to the section in settings for that calendar labelled “Share with specific people or groups”. Add the people who need to create events with the permission “make changes to events”.
4. Creating Events
Now that you have your calendars, adding events is actually the easy part. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that, when you create the event, there is a dropdown box to select which calendar the event belongs to. Keep your feeds updated regularly to get the most benefit from the SiliconValleyOddFellows Distict Calendar.
5. Find Your iCal Feeds in Google Calendar
In the settings view for each calendar, scroll down near the bottom section and copy the link labelled “Public Address in iCal Format”.
6. Sharing Your iCal Feeds With SiliconValleyOddFellows.org
Send your feed links by email to the current administrator of SiliconValleyOddFellows. Currently, it’s being maintained by Brother Mason, out of True Fellowship lodge. His email is “mason at true52 dot org”. Provide the link as well as the calendar label (public, members-only, third-party). The public and members calendars are required in order to populate to the district calendar. If you send the third-party link as well, we’ll create a page that’s just for your lodge where your members (or anyone else) can go to see what’s happening there at any given time.
This page is open for comments. If you have any questions, leave them here in the comment box below and we’ll try to answer them for you. You can also email Mason directly, at “mason at true52 dot org”.