CSA Fraternal Life is America's oldest fraternal benefit society, and was established to help those in need.
Formerly the Czechoslovak Society of America, CSA was founded in 1854 on the principles of equality, harmony
and fraternity. From our Home Office in Lombard, Illinois, we service our 24,000+ members spread throughout
64 lodges in 21 states.
When an individual buys an insurance or annuity product from CSA, they become a member, and are eligible for
all the fraternal benefits we provide. In addition there are many programs and activities on the local,
regional and national levels in which members can participate, many of which are described on this page.
Members belong to lodges and are encouraged to involve themselves in that core unit's organization and
functions, including charitable opportunities.
CSA encourages participation in lodge functions but it is completely voluntary. Our purpose includes these
to Foster fraternity, charity, and patriotism among its members;
to Promote the social, recreational and spiritual welfare of its members and mankind in general;
to Encourage its members to practice physical fitness and to cooperate with and support organizations promoting such programs;
to Encourage and support every effort to perpetuate the Czech and Slovak heritage, language, and customs;
to Promote and support all activities and principles as befits a fraternal society.
Miss National CSA Contest
This year, five young women competed for the title of Miss National CSA. The competition, held at our annual
Get-Together in Austin, TX, featured contestants speaking and answering questions from judges. Questions are
devoted to lifestyle, hobbies, future goals, and other subjects of interest.
Sis. Sydney Rieckhoff of Lodge Prokop Velky No. 137 was crowned Miss National CSA 2017-18. Sydney is from
Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is 19 years old, 5' 5" tall with blonde hair and blue/green eyes. A CSA Scholarship
recipient, she will be continuing her studies at Stanford University, majoring in Economics and Communications.
She intends to continue her success as an entrepreneur. While a freshman in high school, she opened an ice cream
stand, which has grown into a successful full-time ice cream and popcorn shop, of which she remains co-owner.
She belongs to the Stanford Mind Over Money financial program and is a member of Alpha Phi Sorority. You can keep
up with Sydney's activities and travels through her monthly Journal articles. She will be our traveling Good Will
Ambassador as she visits lodges, festivals, parties, and other fraternal activities.
Student-members meeting requirements are awarded scholarships based on grade point average, college placement scores,
CSA and extracurricular activities, and essays. Scholarships also can be awarded to students seeking a certification
in a trade school or other professional program of study.
Sis. Courtney Kurhayez of Lodge Century of Progress/Bila Hora #231 received the 2017 Best of Class Award of $2,000. Courtney will
be attending North Central College in Naperville, Illinois where she will major in English and minor in Film Studies. She hopes
one day to start a joint publishing and production company.
Grants are awarded for one year provided the student has a 3.0 or higher grade point average and meets insurance requirements.
Fraternalist of the Year
Sis. Maria Breidenbach of Lodge Missouri #1 was named the Fraternalist of the Year from 2016 - 2017 at
the CSA Get-Together banquet in Austin, TX. Our Fraternalist, a CSA member since birth, has been
maintaining an active online social media presence for District Council #13. This member strives to
increase communication and activity among members.
Maria has submitted photos for our annual CSA Photo Contest, and has even won the Best of Contest award.
She is active in her community, supporting Sokol St. Louis as Camping Director. She instituted a camper
GiveBack program to encourage teens to attend team building events and have fun. The program emphasizes
the benefits of volunteering and giving back to the community.
Maria lends technology support to Sokol, Sokol Children's Camping, and the American Czech Education
Center. She manages several websites and Facebook pages and works with groups on their fundraising programs.
Using her technology expertise, Maria has brought generations together. She has scanned and posted many
old pictures trying to get the older generation to reminisce and stay active in lodge work. Through her work,
more information is reaching more individuals. Maria and her family have been life-long CSA members. She
has participated in activities including Bowl-o-Rama, Bunny Brunches, Christmas Parties, Photo Contests,
Picnics, Get-Togethers. She now brings her one-year old nephew with her to meetings. This member strives to
keep the Czechoslovak community alive and well. She plans on continuing to work to keep CSA, Sokol, and her
lodge relevant and moving forward.
A $100 gift will be donated to Maria's favorite charity in her name. This award is CSA's most prestigious
recognition of a member who has gone above and beyond to exhibit Equality, Harmony, and Fraternity. This year,
eleven total members were nominated. We thank all active members for their continued good work.
The 81st Annual CSA Get-Together was held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Downtown Austin, TX from August 4th-6th, 2017.
Over 130 members enjoyed a weekend of fraternal goodwill including a service project, a lake and land "Duck Tour",
our annual Miss National CSA Contest, and social activities. Outings and trips are being planned for next year's
82nd Annual Get-Together, which will be held in Countryside, IL (just outside of Chicago). This will also be a
Quadrennial Convention year. Start making plans to attend!
This youth activity is held on a Sunday morning in the spring, and run by local
districts in areas of high member concentration. Bowling at the same time in
several cities throughout the country, youth members, ages 5 to 17, compete
against each other in several categories for prizes, though all bowlers receive
Members are encouraged to enter photos in the annual Photo Contest. The photos
must be those they have taken themselves; no studio, professional, or re-touched
photos. Cash Prizes are awarded in various categories and rankings. This year's
Best of Contest winner is Maria Breidenbach of Lodge Missouri No. 001.
A Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze Star certificate and monetary prize is rewarded to active
lodges who meet various requirements for the year. Members can win this award by holding
ethnic or youth activities, volunteering in various community programs, and attending educational
and social activities.
CSA SERVES is a lodge activity that encourages support for a local group or organization which fits the
criterion of a common topic. The CSA SERVES project allows lodges across the country the option of selecting one or
more charities or community agencies to devote their time and/or monetary donations.
As has always been CSA's policy, any monetary donations made by a lodge are matched by 50% as well as $2.50 per volunteer hour.
In the past, lodges have chosen Food Pantries, Helping our Military, donating to and volunteering at local schools and libraries, cleaning up parks, planting flowers, trees and many other good works benefiting their neighborhoods, churches and schools.
CSA is proud of the dedication of its members and equally proud to partner with them in their efforts.
National Sports Tournaments
National adult member tournaments are held for bowling and golf in different
cities each year. Local committees make all arrangements while District Sports
committees handle registration. Prizes and souvenirs are awarded.
Join Hands Day
JOIN HANDS DAY, usually held in May of each year, is the only national volunteer day that specifically
targets and develops relationships between young people and adults through neighborhood volunteering.
Youths and adults work together on an equal basis to plan, organize and implement the day's activities.
Building relationships across generations restores confidence, trust and respect for each other and
creates a sense of community.
JOIN HANDS DAY is a program of the American Fraternal Alliance. The 124-year-old organization unites 70
not-for-profit fraternal benefit societies that operate in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
50 and 75-Year Pin Program
Long-term membership is recognized and often awarded in lodge-sponsored pin ceremonies.
Fifty and seventy-five year pins are available from the Home Office. Contact us for details.
The CSA Journal is a free monthly magazine that keeps members up to date on
events within the Society. The Journal is also a forum to talk about new
products and features seasonal articles on ethnic traditions and other
activities. Many articles are submitted by lodge members. To see the current issue
of the Journal, click here.
The Czechoslovak Heritage Museum, located in CSA's former Home Office in Oak Brook, Illinois is now closed.
The Museum Board of Directors is working hard to find a permanent new home for the museum. Assistance with
genealogy questions and searches can be found at the Paul M. Nemecek Library housed in the historic Thomas G.
Masaryk School in Cicero, Illinois. This library has become a valuable resource for information on language,
customs, art, traditions and history.
For information on hours of operation or to make an appointment, call 630-906-8175.
Sharing a common bond
CSA Fraternal Life (formerly known as Czechoslovak Society of America) is America's oldest
Fraternal Benefit Society. Fraternal societies are defined by elements of purpose, harmony
and community. We add value to our products and services through membership in a lodge system
that encourages member benefits and programs focused on family values and community involvement.
With sincere appreciation for the dedication of our founding Czech and Slovak ancestors, our
obligation to fulfill this social responsibility and adhere to our business strategy includes a
commitment to service excellence, courtesy, compassion and professionalism. Steady growth in a
competitive insurance market is critical to our member benefits and programs - a loyalty that
supports our fraternal heritage and sense of volunteerism throughout our communities.
Founded as an 'Ethnic' fraternal society, our membership is open to all individuals of good
character that share a common value system and support our fraternal heritage. CSA Fraternal
Life embraces the opportunity to share our Czech and Slovak heritage with members of all ethnic
backgrounds to carry our message of equality, fraternity and harmony into the 21st century.
Our roots are deep; our fraternalism should have no limits or borders.
CSA Fraternal Life is proud of our commitment to equality, fraternity and harmony. To learn more, please call
us toll-free at 1-800-LIFE-CSA (543-3272) or contact a local CSA agent or representative.