Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meet the Candidates: Andrew Santilli

Convention is right around the corner, which means it will be time to vote for PA DeMolay's Elected State Officers. This series will introduce you to each candidate as they prepare to run for office. They were all asked to provide a short biography and an answer to the three questions below.

My name is Andrew Santilli and I am running for the office of State Senior Councilor for Pennsylvania DeMolay. I am currently 16 years old and a Junior at Marple Newtown High School. I play baseball on a Legion Baseball team, Football for my high school, and Chess (tournaments in Philadelphia). I am highly interested in reading, writing, shooting, hunting, fishing, sports, and video games! My favorite school subjects include Physics, Math, History, and Philosophy. My favorite vacation spot is Vermont, and my favorite food is probably clam chowder. The countryside is the place to be, and I love my 2 dogs, 4 cats, ferret, and guinea pig. 

If you are elected to serve, what do you hope to accomplish?

If elected to the office of State Senior Councilor this coming convention, I hope to accomplish giving back to DeMolay as much as it has given to me, which is a heck of a lot! This might sound cliché, but it’s true; ever since I joined DeMolay, I have developed as a person tremendously and have had more fun than the average teenager. It is my duty as a brother of a world-class order to return this kindness by starting with the simple things like ensuring membership goals are reached, visiting chapters on a regular basis, and generally being a role model and friend to all members. Going slightly further, I hope to sincerely and actively stress our core values as DeMolay’s, meaning that if we do not seriously adhere to our oaths, precepts, and moral guidelines, then we as DeMolays are not living up to the standards of this great order we claim to be part of.

What is your greatest DeMolay experience?

Reflecting on my life as a DeMolay thus far, my greatest DeMolay experience is definitely being elected Master Councilor of Chester Pike Chapter. Having the title opened an infinite amount of doors regarding opportunities, ideas, and people that I can’t begin to pretend I would be where I am without having held a gavel in my hand for a time.  From life lessons to communication skills to growing as an individual, I couldn’t trade this experience for anything even if I tried.

Who are some of your DeMolay influences?

I could write a very long list of DeMolay influences, and it is going to take everything in my power to narrow it down to a few. To start, Mom and Dad Richards took me in as a shy boy when I first came to the chapter; they taught me the ropes and helped mold me into the man I am today. Second, Dad Freedman has been an inspiration to drive forward toward being a better person. Finally, and most importantly, my grandfather has been my ground, my rock, my mentor, and especially my friend through not only my DeMolay career, but my entire life, and most of me as a person would be missing without him.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Meet the Candidates: Jacob Beers

Convention is right around the corner, which means it will be time to vote for PA DeMolay's Elected State Officers. This series will introduce you to each candidate as they prepare to run for office. They were all asked to provide a short biography and an answer to the three questions below.  

My name is Jake Beers and I am running for the office of Deputy State Master Councilor. I am a Past Master Councilor of Elizabethtown Chapter, having served from January to June of 2014. This fall, I will be entering my senior year at Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown. Here, I play the baritone in the Marching Band and served as the Low Brass Section Leader, helping to teach students music and techniques as well as mentoring the incoming freshmen. I have worked as Student Director of the Lower Dauphin Middle School Play for the last three years, working with the students to better their abilities. I have also acted since 2012, though I have lessened my activity in this field. However, I do appear on the stage on select occasions. I am also an avid auto racing and NASCAR fan.

If you are elected to serve, what do you hope to accomplish?
As Deputy State Master Councilor, I hope to improve communication and teamwork between the Elected State Officer corps and the Chapters of PA DeMolay. I feel that communication is a two-way street and can only be successful if both Chapters and ESOs make the effort. If we are successful, we will be able to grow the Chapters on a more individual level rather than growing the state as a whole.

What is your greatest DeMolay experience?
The generic answer to this is “there are too many to pick from,” or some variant of that. Generally, I would avoid the generic, but it is true: over almost five years of DeMolay, it is pretty tough to choose. Since I have to choose just one, though, it would have to be the feeling I had around noon on the day after the Operation N.A.S.H.V.I.L.L.E. Training Weekend. This weekend was one of the largest events I’d seen in a long time that didn't have “Key” or “Man” in the name, and even better: I was the one in charge of it! Sure it wasn't perfect, nor did it go exactly as I had planned, but I felt as though everyone I talked to had a great time and were all very excited for the next weekend. It was a truly amazing feeling to know that my hard work paid off.

Who are some of your DeMolay influences?
I've always looked up to the Elected State Officers, specifically the State Master Councilors. Matt Blaisdell played a huge role in my early development as a DeMolay as he was always willing to talk to me, even though I was 12 and he was the SMC at the time. I also remember him not making a big deal out of being SMC, but working just as hard as he had to get there. I've tried to keep that feeling of humility I saw when I was a new member. Also, Dad Berry does a tremendous amount of work at the PMYF office and I believe he does not get enough credit for it, aside from the standard “thank you” at the end of some events.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meet the Candidates: Eric Dye

Convention is right around the corner, which means it will be time to vote for PA DeMolay's Elected State Officers. This series will introduce you to each candidate as they prepare to run for office. They were all asked to provide a short biography and an answer to the three questions below.  

Who is your top choice for the position of State Master Councilor? Mine would be either Zombie JFK or Jacques DeMolay. However, I would like to humbly put my name in the ring as well. My name is Eric Dye, and I am a Past Master Councilor of Allentown Chapter, where I earned my PMC-MSA. I've earned a lot of other honors and awards in DeMolay in the past, but what's important now is the future. I look forward to helping make Pennsylvania DeMolay a better place for all of its members and advisors. 

If you are elected to serve, what do you hope to accomplish?
The future of DeMolay is up to us. Though this is a sweeping statement, it is very true in a larger sense. Every day, we have a chance to make DeMolay better. Every day, we can communicate, plan, and think of better ideas than the day before and put those plans into action. As State Master Councilor, I will work hard to establish clear communication on how DeMolays in Pennsylvania will accomplish great things together. Another area that I find strength in is the brotherhood that stays strong across the distance of PA. The members in our state have an incredibly strong sense of brotherhood, and together we can bring in more members who will help us get more ideas on how to plan bigger and better things. DeMolay is a process, and I plan on giving 110%, all day, every day, so we can see just how great our fraternity can be.

What is your greatest DeMolay experience?
We have had incredibly successful events, my favorite being the Monte Carlo Game Night at the 007 Weekend. The excitement that came from the members during this event is what makes our job as an Elected State Officer worth while.  

Who are some of your DeMolay influences?
I'd have to say some of my biggest DeMolay influences would have to be the PMC's and advisors from my hometown of Allentown Chapter. They have always been there for me to teach me what it means to be a leader. Thank you for all of the overwhelming support over the years.   

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Selling the DeMolay Product

In order for DeMolay to grow, chapters must find ways to sell the organization to the general public. DeMolay is a worldwide organization, however when brought up in conversation with our peers, a lot of people know nothing about us. As members and advisors, it is our job to get the word out to the community. Sometimes that means putting on the salesman hat and selling the organization the best that we can. How do we do that? Here are some examples of how to sell DeMolay, and some examples from chapters in Pennsylvania to prove that these methods work.

Advertise in Publications
One of the best ways to advertise DeMolay is to promote in the local community newspaper. Recently, Elizabethtown Chapter and Chester Pike Chapters have done just that. Chester Pike Chapter advertised their local flea market to the community, while also explaining briefly what DeMolay was in the advertisement. Elizabethtown Chapter publicized the activities they participated in within the community, including the Dodgeball for Dyslexia Tournament and the Chicken Pot Pie Dinner they hosted.

Promote within the local Schools
I've mentioned this example before, but since it deals heavily with the membership growth of Pennsylvania DeMolay, it's worth mentioning again. Friendship-Bray Chapter has recently sent flyers and other information to local school to help promote the organization to the young members of the community. Rob Caroselli, an FBC advisor, is also a Principal of Fox Chase Elementary School, which has helped promote DeMolay to the young men of their school. FBC has brought in 9 members to DeMolay so far this year because of this, and looks to bring in even more in the near future. Since this took place, other chapters across the state have started to put together programs to target local school districts as well.

Get your Government Officials to buy in to the product
This year for DeMolay Month, we had several DeMolay Chapters that received proclamations from local Government Officials. This means that they show support to the program. Congratulations to Allentown, Pilgrim, Friendship-Bray, Chester Pike, Elizabethtown and all the other chapters that have reached out and received support from their local Government Officials.

How did these chapters have so much success in promoting the organization? There are a few factors that go into selling your product:

Know your target audience: Recognize who it is you plan to reach out to, and find the right way to promote to that group. If you're reaching out to youth, you may want to impress upon them the fun activities that we provide. If you're trying to reach out to the parents, you may want to explain to them the scholarship opportunities, honor roll challenges and other activities that will make a parent happy. If you're reaching out to a local Representative, explain the community based activities and offer a helping hand. 

Confidence: This is one of the biggest keys to success. The way the product is presented is important to know whether a person is buying in. If your excited about what you're promoting, a customer will acknowledge that and be more likely to buy in themselves. Remain calm and remembers what drives you in DeMolay.

Keep it simple: The saying "less is more" is very true. Make sure all of the facts are covered, without dragging on for long periods of time. If they seem interested enough to ask questions, that means they are engaged and want to know more. If its a news article that you are writing, keep it to a few paragraphs.

Hopefully this helps give some insight into promoting DeMolay. Go out there and sell DeMolay proudly!

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Social Media: Pros and Cons

In the early part of the 21st century, social media has become a staple in the culture of society. Teenagers and adults alike constantly check their Facebook timeline for the latest status updates, browse Instagram for the most recent photos and search Twitter for the most popular trending topics. Just like all  things in life, social media has some advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages to Social Media:

1. Social media allows users to have a worldwide connectivity. It allows a person to connect with other people they haven't seen or talked to in a very long time. It can also introduce users to people they haven't met before. Facebook, among all the others, can help lead a person to find job opportunities, meet love interests and track down product and service referrals

2. Social media allows users to find others with a common interest. Facebook and other forms of media allow you to like or join groups that you may be interested in. This will allow users to meet others with the same interest, creating communication opportunities.

3. Facebook, along with all of the other forms of media, can provide a great promotional tool. Are you trying to promote your local DeMolay Chapter? DeMolay Chapters across the world have created Facebook pages allowing members to connect and promote the activities they have to offer.

4. Information travels at an incredible speed through social media. News topics are promoted on the internet shortly after an event takes place. Facebook, Twitter and others help spread that recognition even faster.

Disadvantages to Social Media:

1. As I stated above, news travels fast. This often times allows false rumors and news headlines to surface. People will share a topic before finding out whether the information is accurate.

2. Although social media can bring people together, it does not have the power to force them to interact with each other in person. Personal social skills are often lost because we're too focused on social media and the internet,

3. We're always told to think twice before acting. With social media, the lesson should be to think twice before posting. Once information is on the internet, it can't be taken back. Employers have access to Facebook as well and often times check a person's page before hiring them. Although it may not seem fair, colleges and employers may use information found on that page to determine whether to accept an application or decline one.

4. Bullying has always been a worldwide problem, but social media introduces a new form of torment; cyber-bullying. As the title describes, this is bullying taking place on the internet and social media for the whole world to see. This can often times be a problem for our youth of today.

These are just a few of the advantages and disadvantages of what can be an ongoing topic. So what should we take out of this post today? It's very simple; be cautious of what is being posted on the internet. Think about the effects of what is being posted on social media before you post it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others can be essential tools to help us grow in our lives, if used properly and not abused.

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin