Sunday, February 18, 2018

GO: The Dale Earnhardt Tragedy

The following blog post is from Brother Dylan Kirk, State Senior Councilor of Pennsylvania DeMolay and PMC of Westmoreland Chapter.

In light of PA DeMolay's GO Racing theme, here is the story of the Dale Earnhardt Tragedy. The day was Sunday, February 18th 2001. The location was Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida. One of the greatest tragedies in NASCAR history occurred on this date. It was the final lap of the Daytona 500, traveling 180 mph, Dale Earnhardt’s car was tapped from behind, turned around and collided head-on with the retaining wall. He never regained consciousness after the crash and had to be cut from his vehicle. At 5:16 PM EST, Dale Earnhardt was officially pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Halifax Medical Center. "This is undoubtedly one of the toughest announcements that I've ever had to personally make," said NASCAR president Mike Helton, "but after the accident in turn four at the Daytona 500, we've lost Dale Earnhardt." "The Intimidator" was one of the greatest drivers to ever live. The 7-time Winston Cup champion had won the Daytona 500 in 1998, in his 20th appearance in the event. He had a total of 76 Winston Cup victories, including 34 on the Daytona track, and was the most active driver on the circuit.

After the crash, there has been some controversy that Earnhardt’s lap belt broke during the wreck due to it not being installed properly so Earnhardt could be more comfortable. It was eventually discovered that had the lap belt been installed properly, it would not have saved Earnhardt’s life. There were several safety improvements made in the sport of stock car racing. In response to the speculation about the broken lap belt in Earnhardt's car, many teams migrated from traditional five to six-point safety harnesses. After the 2001 ARCA EasyCare 100 at Lowe's Motor Speedway resulted in the death of Blaise Alexander, NASCAR mandated the use of head and neck restraints. In addition to head and neck restraints, NASCAR began requiring the use of SAFER barriers at race tracks in which its top touring series compete. The soft walls feature foam and move slightly upon impact, dissipating energy and resulting in fewer forces being exerted on the driver during an impact.

As today is the 17th anniversary of the passing of Dale Earnhardt, please join me in remembering his legacy. Today is also the 60th Daytona 500 race, so on behalf of PA DeMolay, we hope you enjoy the race. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thinking Outside the Box

One of the biggest challenges in DeMolay is for us to keep the program interesting for everyone involved, members and Advisors alike. In DeMolay and in Masonry, we're constantly battled with the mindset of "That's the way we've always done it, so that's the way it will have to be." What happens if we don't do it that way? What happens if we do something different and creative? The only real answer to this question is, "You won't know until you try." 

It's very easy to get complacent in our programs. The old saying goes, "If it's not broke, don't try to fix it." Although I agree in part with this saying, sometimes its needed to be original. The same thing that worked 20 years ago, may not work today. The thing that worked 20 years ago, may need to be revisited because it will work today. With DeMolay, I've learned that there is really no right or wrong way to do most things. Sure not everything works, but you have to be open to try new things. You have to be willing to adapt to the times and to the young men around us. I've also learned that even the necessary things that need to get done, should have some element of fun mixed into the program, otherwise you may lose people's interest.

"Dad" David Labagh taught a workshop at the last Patton Campus weekend about the 30 second elevator speech promoting DeMolay. He pointed out that the same words that were in that speech when him and I were in DeMolay, are the exact same words we use to promote DeMolay today. We need to be original and find a new way to promote the program that we all enjoy. The same can be said for lodge presentations, educational experiences, and even practicing ritual work. Most lodges may have seen the Flower Talk and Ceremony of Light so many times that their tired of it. It's OK to try something else. Maybe the Shield Talk and the Historical Lecture will keep their attention. Maybe do a question answer session or a quiz style program asking what members know about DeMolay. Try something new. If it doesn't work, try something else. Be creative in your approach. See what the other members want to do and build around their ideas. Think outside the box.

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin


Friday, February 9, 2018

Charity: Making a Difference

The following blog post is from Brother Tyler Moyer, Deputy State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay and PMC of Pilgrim Chapter. 

Charity is a principal tenet of Masonry. As DeMolays, we too are taught of its importance. While the installation of Almoner is one not too commonly seen, the lessons it teaches are quite valuable and important for all to know. The following is the part for installing the Almoner, “It is your province to remind us, in the performance of your official duties as Almoner, that charity, not the ostentatious and unmeaning doling out of alms, but the charity which has been translated ‘Brotherly Love,’ is a virtue which all should practice. The cry of need is ever sounding in our ears and to it our ears must never be closed.” My brothers, while we may not directly see the effects that our charitable contributions have on those they go to, we know that there are many who need it nonetheless, and thus our contributions must continue.

For the past 19 years, our State charity has been the Children’s Dyslexia Centers of Pennsylvania. In total there are eight centers scattered around our Commonwealth and they each offer selective services to children who are affected by Dyslexia. These services typically come to an annual total of $6,000, per child. While that may seem like a lot, it’s something that the centers make sure that no family has to pay.

Each year our goal is to see 100% participation from all Chapters, and this year is no different. We currently are at 50%, though there is still time to get your Chapter on board and make a donation to the State Charity. Even the smallest donation will go a long way and there are several opportunities available to make your donation. One of the more popular being Elizabethtown Chapter’s Dodgeball for Dyslexia on May 13th, there’s still time to sign up, donate, and have a fun time playing dodgeball with your brothers. Expect to see more postings on our Facebook page with more programs and opportunities to donate to our State charity. I’d like to leave you with this line from the 9 o’clock interpolation prayer, “We are all brothers of the helpless and suffering and rejoice in every call to the relief of pain or the alleviation of sorrow.” While we may not associate children with dyslexia as suffering or being in pain, there is still a call and an opportunity for us to answer.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Key to Success is to Learn from our Failures

The following blog post is from Brother James McKeown, Region H Youth Representative and PMC of Friendship-Bray Chapter.
Failure; it isn’t fun, but it is something that is a part of life. We constantly have to deal with it in school, sports, personal life, and sometimes even in DeMolay. No one’s perfect, which is why I'm sure we've all experienced failure at least once or twice in our lives. People might think it's a way of saying that you didn't succeed, but I see failure as an experience gained. An experience, good or bad, can be used as experiences for your benefit. Quitting is the only true way to fail at something. I’m going to tell you a few stories of failure that happened to me.

The first story happens over the span of four years. I played basketball for my grade school from 5th grade to 8th grade. Over those four years, I was never on the best team, despite my school having one of the best basketball programs in the Catholic School League. I would always be on the “B” team, due to my lack of skills, but that didn’t stop my team from winning. Every one of those four years, my team would be top three in the league, putting us in good spots for the playoffs. We fought hard each year through the playoffs to make the championship and made it to the big dance all four years! In true Buffalo Bills fashion, we lost the championship four straight years. Looking back at this makes me ask the question, "why?" "Why couldn’t we just win one of those championship games?" "Why couldn’t I step up and do more for my team?" I’m never going to get an answer to these questions. The reason I ask these questions is because they are part of the experience I gained through losing. This experience helped me realize some important things in life. The first thing that comes to mind is that "life is so unfair." We have all heard, or even used this phrase. The only time we think about "life being unfair" is when it smacks us in the face. I truly believe that my team and I never failed. It taught my team and I that winning isn’t everything, that life still goes on after a loss. Losing taught us to keep moving forward and use the loss as motivation to better yourself.   

The second story is about a failure that I experienced in DeMolay. It was September 2017, and happened at the Mid Atlantic Tournament of Champions, which we know better as MATOC. During MATOC, I was set to perform the Magnificent Seven. I should have taken a few lessons from the Boy Scouts prepared better.I was not ready to perform the Magnificent Seven and I was going into this competition knowing that it will not be pretty. The lack of confidence showed, because I got 10 out of a possible score of 1000. I almost gave up halfway through the competition. Quite frankly, I never wanted to do ritual again. This experience of failure was hard to come to terms with, but it also taught me a few key lessons in life. It is still teaching me a lesson, which I still am learning to this day, and that is procrastination is bad. I really wasn’t motivated to learn my part for MATOC and that is the main reason why I procrastinated until the final few days to learn my part. Another lesson it taught me is to be confident. Being confident can make a major difference in one's performance. Looking back at this year's MATOC, I am glad I went. Without this experience of failure, I wouldn’t be learning these key lessons that will help me down the path of life. This experience helps me strive to do better in ritual, because now I know the embarrassment of doing poorly while other people are judging you. Will I do better in ritual now? I don’t know the answer to that question. All I know is that I will strive to do better and try to be the best ritualist I can be. 

Going into writing this blog post, I wanted to share experiences to help combat failure, but I realized that combating failure just comes naturally. We need failures in order to succeed. We need to know the bitterness taste of defeat before tasting the sweetness of victory. I’m glad I got to experience failure, because I can now use these experiences as motivation to better myself. The only way you don’t succeed is when you decide you've given up. Just because you failed at a task, doesn't make you a failure. Learn from these experiences, and I promise you that you will succeed.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Time to Plan for D4D4!

By Kody Anderson, Elizabethtown DeMolay PMC & Tournament Director

“Dad” David A. Glattly, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction , joins the leaders of Elizabethtown Chapter, Order of DeMolay, in encouraging DeMolays, Master Masons, Scottish Rite Masons, and everyone to form a team and register for the 4th Annual Dodgeball for Dyslexia Tournament, proceeds benefiting the Children’s Dyslexia Centers.

Dodgeball for Dyslexia is a dodgeball tournament that has been driven for the purposes of raising as much money as possible for the Children’s Dyslexia Centers, the State Charity for Pennsylvania DeMolay. Dodgeball for Dyslexia was founded by Brother Evan Crawford of Elizabethtown Chapter, who has now passed the duties of planning this tournament to me, Kody Anderson, a 2017 Past Master Councilor of Elizabethtown Chapter.

Save the date: Dodgeball for Dyslexia will be held on May 12, 2018. The tournament will be held at the Spooky Nook Sports complex in Manheim, PA.

2018 will be the fourth consecutive year for this tournament. In 2017, we raised over $3,000 for the Dyslexia Centers, and we plan to raise even more for 2018! Each and every year, the Dodgeball for Dyslexia tournament has been increasing in participation, with teams coming from all over Pennsylvania and even Virginia. We had 13 teams in 2017, which consisted of many DeMolay chapters and even members from various Masonic Bodies.

We invite anyone who is willing to play dodgeball to make a team and help support and raise money for the Dyslexia Centers. All the money that is donated by teams will go to the Dyslexia Center nearest to them, so grab six to ten of your best players and come out to raise money, and have fun while doing it!  The overall winning team will take home the coveted Gold Dodgeball and have their name engraved on the trophy stand. The team that raises the most money for the Dyslexia Centers will win the Silver Dodgeball; and the team showing the most spirit will be awarded the Bronze Dodgeball.

In order to participate, each team will have a minimum registration fee of $75. The earlier you register, the less the fee.  Here are the dates and the registration fees. Our goal is to have all teams registered by March 1st.
·         By March 1st, $75
·         March 2nd - March 15th, $100
·         March 16th - April 1st, $125.
·         April 2nd - April 15th, $150
·         The absolute deadline to register a team is April 15th!

There are two ways to register: You can fill out the form and send it to our email at as an attachment, or you can fill out the form and mail it straight to us at Elizabethtown DeMolay, 1244 Bainbridge Road, Elizabethtown PA 17022. Please contact us by via email to request a registration packet or by phoning 727 514 2462.

Remember: Making a team makes a difference, so come out and play dodgeball to raise money all for a great cause!