Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Communication: Why Do We Talk About it So Much?

The following blog post is from Brother Sean Reitze, State Junior Councilor for Pennsylvania DeMolay and a member of Pilgrim Chapter. 

Communication is something we all experience in everyday life. We often hear about its importance during Stated Meetings, Advisory Council meetings, and other areas of DeMolay. Why is it spoken of so much at DeMolay events? I hope that throughout the course of this blog post, and with my insight as a communication studies minor, I can help you understand why communication is so important — not just in DeMolay, but in life as well.

One of the major facets of DeMolay involves event planning. Imagine yourself as the chairman of a committee that is planning a regional dance for your local Chapters, Assemblies, and Bethels in the area. You tell your committee in advance that you want music, decorations, and refreshments for the dance. Fast forward to the night before the event: the “music” for the event is just a member’s laptop speakers, “decorations” include a few balloons, and the “refreshments” consist of a half-gallon of fruit punch (without cups nonetheless!) This is definitely not what you had in mind for your event!

While this example might seem a little extreme, let me offer an opportunity for improvement and illustrate one of the key concepts of communication theory. Right off the bat, the chairman should have met with the members of the committee a few times before the dance and should have been more specific with his requests. Moving past this part of the solution, let’s take a deeper look at where and how this miscommunication occurred.

The committee members were only told by the chairman that they need to secure music, decorations, and refreshments. While the committee members technically weren’t wrong in completing what they were tasked with, it is certainly not what the chairman had in mind. To look at this more closely, we are going to look at the Allowable Range of References, or an acceptable list of words that you could think of when someone says something. When the chairman said “music,” what was he really saying? On one side of the range you have the laptop speakers, while on the other end of the range you have a DJ with professional speakers (which is what the chairman had in mind). Bypassing occurred when the communicators (in this case, the committee members) chose different spots on the Allowable Range of References. This concept can be applied again with the decorations and refreshments.

From looking at this example, you can see that there are many aspects of communication we don’t actively think about. Miscommunication can happen very easily, but it can also be easily avoided by being specific with what you are trying to promote or convey. Keep the Allowable Range of References in mind if you find yourself planning an event, working on a committee, or involved in other aspects of DeMolay. This is one of many examples of communication theory I have learned so far, and I hope to share more with you as time goes on. Like the motto of KeyMan University says: Ancora Imparo!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why Do We Do Ritual?

One of the things that sets DeMolay apart from other youth organizations is our ability to perform Ritual. When the term "Ritual" is used, it's usually referred to in a negative sense. The definition of Ritual is "an established or prescribed procedure." When DeMolay performs Ritual, it's used as a prescribed way of expressing the beliefs of our organization and the things we stand for. It expresses our belief in the 7 cardinal virtues of the order, our appreciation towards our country and all those who have served for our freedom, and our respect for the public school system, among several other things. Each piece of Ritual is a lesson that is used to educate members of DeMolay as well as others.    

At a young age, young men and women have choices to join activities, such as sports and theater, that allow our youth to share their talents with an audience. The way Ritual is performed by our DeMolays is no different from those activities. The young men of DeMolay take pride in the way they perform each ritual part. They want the viewers to leave satisfied with the way they present the work. The young men make sure that the movement looks good, the words flow properly, and that they look professional in the presentation of the work. It takes effort and practice to make sure that it's performed right, the same way that athletes attend practice and actors hold rehearsals.

As a Senior DeMolay, I enjoy seeing the Ritual performed to such a high quality that the members  are capable of performing it. It reminds me of the days that I put the same effort into those parts. Recently in Pennsylvania, the Mid-Atlantic Tournament of Champions was held in Gettysburg, a DeMolay Ritual Tournament in which members perform their parts competing against the best of the best in the Mid-Atlantic Region. It was encouraging to see the young men perform the Ritual of our work to the level that they did. It shows that we really do have something special with the organization of DeMolay.

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin     


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Becoming Master Councilor

The following blog post is from Brother Daniel Amon, Senior Councilor of Northeast Chapter and State Senior Steward for Pennsylvania DeMolay.

Hello, my name is Danny Amon, currently Senior Councilor of Northeast Chapter, and I am going to be running for Master Councilor of our next term. The reason I want to become Master Councilor is because I feel that I would do a very good job guiding the other officers in my chapter and helping them become better leaders. I also think I would do a good job teaching the other officers to be more responsible and to be loyal to one another. 
One of the main things I will be focusing on during my term is fundraising. In order to have a stable DeMolay chapter, you will need to have money, and in order to get money, a chapter must raise funds. Second, I will be focusing on membership; not only to get members into DeMolay, but to keep the members that we get active. It's nice to have numbers on the books, but I'd rather see them at activities and meetings as well. Last, I will be focusing on brotherhood, respect, and leadership. Brotherhood and leadership because without these two very important factors, the chapter will not be stable. Courtesy is one of the most important precepts in DeMolay. Respect involves being courteous to each other, and this is very important to have a successful chapter.  

Here are some of the goals I plan to accomplish during my term. I want us to bring in at least 4 new members for Northeast Chapter and to keep them all active. I would like all the members of this chapter to advance into a higher position. I would like at least 5 members at every event that we will have, and all members to attend every meeting. I plan to have at least 4-5 fundraisers this term. When it's all said and done, I'd like to have a fun and successful term. In order to make these goals a reality, I know it will take a lot of work from myself and the members of the chapter, but I'm up for the challenge. I'd like to invite everyone reading this blog post to Northeast Chapter's Installation of Officers, which will be held at the Tacony Temple in Northeast Philadelphia on Sunday, October 15th at 2 PM.   

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Chase for the DeMolay Membership Cup

The following post is from State Master Councilor, Brother Jacob Beers, promoting the GO Program and specific pieces that go along with it.

This year, the Chase for the DeMolay Membership Cup will have Chapters face off against one another in a race to see which Chapter can grow its membership the most from Convention 2017 to June 30, 2018. The year has been split into four rounds. At the end of each round, the Chapters that have admitted the lowest number of new members will be eliminated from competition until four Chapters are left standing in a three-month shootout to be crowned the DeMolay Membership Cup Champion. The Champion will win special recognition at Convention, as well as a plaque to commemorate their success.

Currently, we find ourselves in Round One, but there is only little more than one month remaining until its end on September 30th. At the end of Round One, only the twelve Chapters with the most new members will advance, eliminating the bottom eight. Westmoreland and Elizabethtown Chapters have taken the early lead, but there is still time for your Chapter to bring in new members to secure your spot in Round Two.

As we approach September, the fight to advance to the next round of the Chase for the DeMolay Membership Cup will certainly be heating up. Make sure your Chapter doesn’t get left behind as the Chase continues.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

From DeMolay to the Big Leagues

At a young age, we all have hopes and dreams to become something above and beyond, such as a doctor, a lawyer, a professional athlete, or a famous movie star. For some, those dreams change over time, realizing other ambitions that come to us later in life. For others, they set every goal to make sure that this dream becomes a reality. For one Senior DeMolay from New Jersey, his dream to become a Professional Baseball Player is becoming more of a reality every day. 

In the 2017 MLB draft, the San Diego Padres selected Tyler Benson, a recent Senior DeMolay of Phoenix Chapter in New Jersey, who was playing for Outfield for Bloomsburg University. After just a few short months, Benson has already been promoted twice, currently playing for the Single-A Fort Wayne TinCaps. 

After all this excitement in his life, he still remembers his time in DeMolay and took a conversation with Past State Master Councilor of New Jersey, Matt Hoffman. Tyler stated that his favorite memory of DeMolay was "Playing in the 2012 NJ State Flag Football Tournament under the lights with his home chapter - Phoenix Chapter." He went on to say "To see everyone from all around the State coming together, it was really a cool experience to just have fun with everyone. And of course, I’m naturally a competitive person so I loved the competition, even though we barely lost in the championship." When asked what is one take away from DeMolay, he states "Brotherhood. No matter how long we are away from each other, we are always there for one another and our conversations pick up where they last left off."  

Although Tyler is not finished with his journey, his dream is being fulfilled by playing baseball everyday as a professional. This story proves that dreams can become a reality if you put the work in to make it happen. Thank you to "Dad" Peter Brusoe and Brother Matt Hoffman for sharing this story. Keep up the great work Tyler Benson, and I hope to see you in the big leagues sometime soon. To see an article on his promotion to Single-A ball, click the following link.…/tyler-benson-montvi…/467483001/

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin