The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake occurred on April 18, sending shock waves throughout the insurance industry, threatening to destroy its entire existence. With this gloom hanging over the industry, the group was actually founded as a one time joke to initiate three new unsuspecting insurance fieldmen into a fake lodge, the Ancient and Honorable Order of the Blue Goose, during the Wisconsin Fieldmen's Meeting on the evening of June 19, 1906 at the Oakwood Hotel in Green Lake, Wisconsin.
Apparently the "joke" involved a lot of alcohol induced planning together with some very twisted minds. The name "Blue Goose" was taken from a saloon near the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Only the real joke was on the perpetrators, as the "fake lodge" soon grew to thousands of members throughout the USA and Canada. International Headquarters are maintained near Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Home Nest.
Each chapter convenes at its own Pond in most American states and Canadian provinces. Each Pond has six officers: Most Loyal Gander, Supervisor of the Flock, Custodian of the Goslings, Guardian of the Pond, Keeper of the Golden Goose Egg and Wielder of the Goose Quill. Some Ponds are further split into Puddles, where there are multiple cities in each state or province, and at one time one Puddle even had a Pothole. A fledgling group was even started in Australia.
Blue Goose is governed by the Grand Nest, with each Pond sending two delegates, and who then elect a group of officers, one each from each of the four regions.
The Order promotes fellowship among insurance professionals and charitable giving. Although the official international charity is Special Olympics, each Pond is free to support whatever local charitable endeaver they choose such as food donations, clothing drives, and donations of time and services to charitable causes.
Our International Charity Report for FY July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, reports that the organization gave a reported $191,960 in cash and $62,300 gifts-in-kind to various charities. That does not include 2,180 man-hours of volunteer labor and $7,000 in scholarships.
Blue Goose has an annual Grand Nest Meeting of delegates, which is a Summer convention held at various locations throughout the USA and Canada, where its members (Ganders) and their families meet for fun and fellowship. The Grand Nest meeting holds a Model Initiation where there is usually a large class of new members (Goslings) initiated. The Cardinal Principles of the order are Character, Charity and Fellowship. There's a secret keyhonk (password) and a secret salutation that have existed since the flight of the first Blue Goose on June 19, 1906.
At the Grand Nest meeting held in Toronto, Ontario, on August 28-29, 1928, the name of the organization was changed to the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose, International, to better reflect the international nature that the organization had become.