Friday, December 31, 2010

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 10!

Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy! Remember, the answer to the question can found right here on the PA DeMolay blog in a previous post. We've had 147 posts so far, but I guarantee you that it's on the blog somewhere!

So, on to the question of the week! This is an easy one!

1. Who was recently nominated to the role of Community and Economic Development Secretary for Pennsylvania by Governor-Elect Tom Corbett?

Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Persuasion and You

I've now had two days back in the office and I'm getting back to the grind (only to get ready for the New Year's holiday this weekend. It'll be nice to be back full time!) Anyways, since I'm trying to catch up, you aren't going to be getting a long thoughtful article by "Dad" Anthony today. Instead, I took a trip over to the Art of Manliness and found a great new article posted; Classic Rhetoric 101: the Art of Persuasion.

Whether you realize it or not, you use persuasion everyday. Whether it be with your parents, teachers, friends, or even pets, you try to get them to do what you want using several different strategies. In much the same way, when you are giving talks about DeMolay or running your meetings, you are going to need the skills of persuasion on your side. So, head on over to the Art of Manliness and check it out!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We're back! Well, sort of!

Fezzy here!

I'm back from holiday stint (which included an awesome auction of old fraternal stuff, a nice Christmas, and a bout with the flu) and we're ready to get back to the work of PA DeMolay!

Check back on Thursday when we resume our regular update schedule!

TTFN!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, December 24, 2010

Creativity and Careful Writing Win Essays Every Time!

Here is the 2010 national winning essay for the 11th grade and above division in the Paul R. Kach DeMolay Essay Contest, written by Bro.  Jonathan T. Webster, from Langhorne, PA.  Jonathan, pictured below in a 2009 photo from the PMYF LifeSkills program, is a College Sophomore, and a PMC of Delaware Valley Chapter, Fairless Hills, PA. He is an Eagle Scout, is an accomplished juggler, and has attended and served on Staff at the LifeSkills Conference for a number of years.  His sister, Kathryn, is a Grand Officer for Pennsylvania Rainbow this year.


Topic:  DeMolay – The Premier Youth Organization

The big day had finally arrived – March 18, 2019. Accompanying me on my pilgrimage were my two young boys, Sam and Connor. My youngest, Connor, who was seven, asked, “Where are we going again?”

“Kansas City, Missouri,” I repeated, “for the DeMolay Centennial celebration.”

“Why Missouri,” he blurted out, not quite pronouncing the state’s name correctly.

“That’s where DeMolay began, son - founded by Frank Land - back in 1919.” Connor cocked his head to one side and shrugged slightly. Obviously, he didn’t fully comprehend what DeMolay was yet. I, on the other hand, had been in DeMolay since I joined as a young boy, back in 2004. Five years later, I was asked to start up a new chapter. I smiled as I thought back to the day I started with just one boy. It had been quite a challenge to grow from just one to over forty boys who were part of the chapter now. But DeMolay had taught me that anything that was worthwhile took time, and that it was the journey that was important rather than the destination. I had remained active as a Senior DeMolay and now served as Chapter Advisor. I had great plans for my two boys, and knew they would eventually join DeMolay when they came of age.

We were finally airborne, and Sam, who had just turned nine, was filled with questions. “So Dad, you want me to be a DeMolay someday, right?” he asked.

“I’d like you to, son. I am the man that I am today because of the values that I learned in DeMolay. DeMolay provided me with countless opportunities to learn about what is important in life. It also gave me the chance to be a leader and to help others along the way. The skills that I use now were developed and refined in DeMolay, and I’d like you to have those opportunities as well.”

“How did you get people to join DeMolay?” Sam asked.

I thought back to some of the things that my chapter had done to promote DeMolay as well as some of the changes I had seen over the past decade.

“Let me tell you what we did to make DeMolay a premier organization. Each year on the last Saturday in June, we held a national ‘Civic Pride Day.’ On that day, we did a bike tour called “Bike DeMolay.” We provided bike inspections, safety tips were taught by our local police force, and we led a bike tour of the community. Nonprofit organizations like our local homeless shelter and food pantries and groups like the veterans, the elderly, and the handicapped were invited to set up tables. We told people about the Masonic Learning Centers, the Chip program, and the Shriners Hospitals. A delicious barbecue lunch was served, and local bands provided music. We had a huge banner with our chapter’s name on it. Our local news stations, newspapers, and even our radio station promoted the day and helped us to get our name out.”

Sam thought for a moment and then asked, “You mean just one day a year was enough to let everybody know about DeMolay?”

“No, Sam. We did events throughout the year to let people know that we were service-oriented and wanted to do good things in our community. We held events each month, in addition to our Obligatory days, and always invited community members to join us. For example, we hosted a DeMolay Career Development Day where we invited Masons and Sr. DeMolays to talk about their professions. We offered workshops in resume writing, interviewing skills, and time management skills. These seminars received a lot of publicity and again, helped to let people know about DeMolay. Another way that we promoted our organization was to give presentations at our local Lodges, encouraging our Masonic family to introduce their children and grandchildren to DeMolay.”

I could tell that Sam was trying hard to process all of this information. “So does DeMolay still teach the same things that you learned when you were a boy?” Sam continued.

“The seven values or precepts will never change. But the way you learn them will be different.” I explained how I had just participated in an informal planning meeting via the Internet with webcams and software sharing technology. The current Master Councilor of our chapter was very technologically competent, and he incorporated his skills to further the cause. A day before I left he had explained a new idea to help brothers learn ritual work which included an elaborate light tracking system. I explained to Sam how paths of colored light shone on the carpet showing where each member of the ritual team was to walk. I outlined how we had personalized ritual work for each member, creating the best learning tool for memorization for each boy. One of our boys had learning disabilities but was able to learn visually. We filmed his parts of the ceremony so that he could watch his walking and talking parts over and over again. This encouraged him and he was able to learn and perform his part well. It had been a tremendous confidence builder for him. We also used social networks, which had evolved over the past decade, to send video slideshows of our fun activities out to our friends.

“That sounds amazing… I’m really starting to like DeMolay, Dad.”

“I’m glad, son, and I think you’ll like the event that we’ll be attending as well.”

DeMolay headquarters was crowded. Many had traveled great distances to pay tribute to Dad Land and the organization that he had started a century ago. The Grand Master took the podium and explained the day’s events. Finally, it was time to open the time capsule.

“Now the time has come that you all have been waiting for. This time capsule, which has been sealed for exactly 100 years to this day, will see sunlight once again. Gentlemen, if you please.” A large steel box was lifted out of the ground. Everyone waited in anticipation to see the treasure that lay within. “Now we will see the treasure that Dad Land intended for us to discover.”

The time capsule contained symbols for each of the seven precepts of our Order – a brick decorated in 24k gold leaf representing the foundation of a parent’s love for his or her children or ‘filial love’; a Bible with a cross embroidered on its cover as a symbol of a DeMolay’s reverence for sacred things; and an old parchment with quotes on courtesy from great leaders of the past. The Grand Master paused as he pulled out the fourth object. “This picture,” he said, as tears appeared in his eyes and he struggled to continue, “This picture represents comradeship, and it depicts the first nine members of the Order with Dad Land, the founder of DeMolay.” The last three objects included a sword, which stood for unyielding fidelity; a pure white silk scarf which represented cleanness of mind, body, and spirit; and finally, a symbol of a DeMolay’s patriotism - a flag that was torn and faded. It had been flown during World War I, and it represented all of the men who served our great nation and gave their lives in the ultimate act of sacrifice.

It was time to move on to the rest of the festivities, but I took a moment to reflect on the treasures that we had just witnessed.

“I realize it sounds strange, boys, but all of the items in the box are not really the treasure, you know.” Sam nodded his head thoughtfully as he contemplated what I was saying, but Connor appeared lost and confused.

“I don’t understand, Daddy,” Connor whispered. I bent down on one knee to his level and explained.

“The real treasure lives on in me and will become a part of you and Sam if you choose to join the Order. The seven cardinal virtues of DeMolay, which were represented by each of the items in the time capsule, represent the ultimate truth and cannot be broken. They will last for eternity. By becoming a DeMolay, these truths become a part of the men you will become.” Connor nodded, and I continued to walk.

“Dad, I really want to join DeMolay,” Sam stated. I stopped and reflected on my trip and the journey that Sam would soon embark upon. The bright future for DeMolay beckoned as I saw my sons continue the traditions that had become so much a part of my life. I smiled as I pictured my sons as young men who would preserve the traditions of DeMolay and continue along the path that I had traveled.

“I’m sure you will, Sam,” I smiled, “And I know that you will be an ambassador for DeMolay, just like I was. DeMolay will live on through you and Connor, and its legacy will forever remain as the premier organization for young men.”



Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Well, no chicken-- sorry.  But we have a winner!  The Ancient Accept Scottish Rite of the Southern Masonic Jurisdiction sponsors the Paul R. Kach, 33rd Degree DeMolay Essay Contest.  The topic for this year's essay was a broad one, with very little direction at all:  "DeMolay – The Premier Youth Organization!"

The 2010 results are finally in, and PA DeMolay has something to celebrate!  There are 8 Regions in DeMolay International and winners are picked for each Region in two age groups.  The regional winners get $300.  The two national winners each get $1200!

For the Mid-Atlantic Region (2) our own Jonathan T. Webster of Delaware Valley Chapter won the 11th grade and higher division, and received the $300 check by mail.  Then he was informed by the Scottish Rite Valley of Philadelphia that they had been asked to present him with ANOTHER award from the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, and last week he was presented with the Grand Prize of $1200!  In the photo below, left to right, are Bro. Webster, Robert Taylor, HLOH, Commander in Chief of the Valley of Philadelphia and Russell Baker, HLOH, Active for Pennsylvania, AASR.

CONGRATULATIONS BRO. JONATHAN!

Which brings me to the editorial portion of this blog post... why is it that so few DeMolays actually participate in this contest?  There were only a total of 26 essays submitted from across the entire country!
Region 1 .....2; Region 2.....10; Region 3.....2; Region 4.....6; Region 5.....3; Region 6.....0; Region 7.....1; Region 8.....2.    You will note that in Region 2 (our Region) there were 10 submissions.  Seven (7) of those were from Pennsylvania!  The odds of winning an award are pretty high, especially when you consider that about the submissions were divided between age divisons.  Even if there was only ONE submission for one of the age groups, that means that this year's participants had, at the very worst, a 1 in 25 chance of winning an award.  In OUR Region, 2 out of 10 participants won a $300 Regional prize. In some Regions, it looks like all you had to do was put your name on a page and you could be a winner of a significant prize!

Now, don't get me wrong-- I am not saying this to denigrate Jonathan's essay-- it was a very creative submission, and as soon as I read it I thought it would have a really good chance of being a winner.  He is a very talented writer, and he deserved the prize! 

But I read all of the others from Pennsylvania, and I have to say that I was quite proud of the submissions we sent in.  Many of them were from the Elected State Officers, because I feel that, in order for them to promote the program to other members, they have to participate in it themselves!  (Someone once called that "Leadership By Example." and I don't think it is an old and out-dated concept.)  Additionally, I think it is a good thing to stop and think about our Order, and to put ideas on paper about its effect on our lives, and its prospects for the future. 

The PROCESS of writing the essay is as important as winning a prize... it is, like everything else in DeMolay, an opportunity to grow and learn and become a better son, a better student, a better leader, a better follower, a better thinker, a better brother, a better boyfriend, a better citizen and a better man.

DeMolays:  when opportunities like the KACH ESSAY present themselves to you, as DeMolays, grab them by the horns and wrestle with them, TAKE CONTROL of your future... in the long run, you will be glad that you did.

Advisors:  when opportunities like the KACH ESSAY present themselves to your DeMolay members, ENCOURAGE them to take a risk and spend an hour or two crafting a good answer to the essay question.  Read it over with them, and, without correcting every little thing, ask them questions to help them clarify their thoughts, and to discover grammatical and stylistic errors.  If you aren't comfortable doing this, find someone in your Advisory Council or Lodge who CAN do that, and create a positive mentoring relationship between young and old.

The topic for the 2011 Paul R. Kach, 33rd Degree DeMolay Essay Contest will be announced soon, and essays will be due just a few months later.  Don't miss out on a fantastic opportunity!

Sincerely and fraternally,

     "Dad" Labagh

Thomas R. Labagh
Executive Officer in PA

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Holidays

Just a heads up for everyone...

Fezzy is leaving tomorrow to spend the holiday with his family. He won't be back until after Christmas, but even then posts may be sparse. Look for the blog to resume it's regular schedule in January.

"Dad" Labagh and "Dad" Berry may post some articles in the meantime, but I can't be sure!

Have a great holiday and I'll see you on the flip side!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 9!

Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy! Remember, the answer to the question can found right here on the PA DeMolay blog in a previous post. We've had 140 posts so far, but I guarantee you that it's on the blog somewhere!

So, on to the question of the week! This is an easy one!

1. Who formally adopted the fez as their main hat in 1826?

Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, December 16, 2010

You're so hosed!

Good day DeMolays and Advisors!

I'm afraid I have to admit that I'm not in much of a writing mood today. Having recently finished the editing of the Penn Rainbow, the writing of the Masonic Youth Minutes, and with the Key Cru staring me down, I've had enough linguistic activity lately. So, I turned to my old trusty source, Art of Manliness.

Today, they posted an article on something I didn't know much about and I'm betting most of you have never really thought of as well; socks. Yep. Those things that go on your tootsies. So, check it out at http://artofmanliness.com/2010/12/15/guide-to-socks/

Now, you have NO EXCUSE for wearing white socks with your suit!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bro. Walker Walks the Walk

On June 18, 1960, a young man by the name of C. Alan Walker was one of one hundred young men in the charter class at the Institution of Clearfield Chapter, Order of DeMolay   

Just last week, that same C. Alan Walker was nominated to serve as Community and Economic Development Secretary for Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Tom Corbett.

Bro. Walker, still a resident of Clearfield, is the president and CEO of Bradford Energy Company, Inc., and serves as a member of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Pennsylvania Coal Association.  In nominating him to the position, Mr. Corbett noted that Walker “has an impressive record of achievement, in both business and civic arenas.  He will be a valuable resource to the administration as we work to turn our economy around and take Pennsylvania into the future.”

Bro. Walker is a graduate of both Bucknell University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and where he serves as a trustee, and Penn State University, where he earned his master’s in business.  He is a director of the Clearfield YMCA, president of the Bigler Civic and Recreation Association, past president of th Bradford Soccer Association and serves as a director for the Clearfield Hospital Board and the Clearfield Foundation for Health Services.    Among his many honors, he has received the DeMolay International Active Legion of Honor and the “Service to Humanity” Award from Bucknell University.

Bro. Walker has also spent a lifetime encouraging young people to be community-spirited and civic-minded.  Let me share with you just two examples with which I am well-acquanted.  We know that he has been supportive of Pennsylvania DeMolay through regular Key Man Scholarship contributions.  He has also donated his Penn State Football Tickets to be used for membership recruitment incentives (just ask Jake Palo, Past State Master Councilor, who was a brand new member of Erie Chapter when he won one of these tickets!)   In addition, I personally benefited from his mentoring and encouraging character when, at a very young age of 24, I decided to run for Clearfield Borough Mayor.  Bro. Walker was one of my earliest supporters, both in encouragement and donation, and was certainly an important part of my early success!

Please join me in congratulating this outstanding Pennsylvania Senior DeMolay as he continues his service to his community and all of Pennsylvania!

Fraternally,

"Dad" David W. Berry, Executive Secretary

Friday, December 10, 2010

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 8!

Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy! Remember, the answer to the question can found right here on the PA DeMolay blog in a previous post. We've had 140 posts so far, but I guarantee you that it's on the blog somewhere!

So, on to the question of the week! This week, we have a three parter!

1. What book was one of the earliest to establish a knightly code? When was it penned and what event preceded it's writing?

Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just what is a fez?

Recently, I've had some people question my obsession with fezzes (along with my sanity.) I honestly cannot explain my fascination with these goofy little hats, other than to say they remind me of a golden age of fraternalism, when every man had his club to go to and other men to call his brothers. To me, it represents a time of social interaction and friendship that we seem to have lost today. However, the fez is an ancient adornment, with quite a history. I decided to dig up some facts and share with you the real deal on the history of the fez.

Let's start with the name. It probably came to be known as a "fes" because the red hue, that the hat so often has, is obtained by dying wool with the juices of the "fes" berry. The name was anglicized to "fez" and is now often thought to denote that the little hat first took root in the city of Fez, in Morocco. There is an oft told myth that the red color and name came from the sacking of the city of Fez by Muslims, which resulted in the subsequent killing of thousands of Christians. The story further claims that the invaders dipped their hats in the blood of those murdered, which gave it the red color. This story is a complete fabrication, however, and has no historical merit.

So, what's the real story? The fez is an innovation of the near east, specifically the cost of eastern Africa and the former Ottoman empire (what is today Turkey and it's surrounding countries.) It started as the inner portion of a turban, which would be wrapped around the outside of the hat, but the wrapping was later dropped. It was formally adopted as the official hat of the Ottoman's in 1826 and became so associated with the empire that even today it is spiritually tied to that part of the world. It's wearing became so entrenched that in 1926 the nation of Turkey banned the wearing of the fez in an effort to force it's population to modernize and come out of the Ottoman era.

The fez fad eventually moved West, into the Balkans, where it became a popular fashion statement, especially with the Slavs and Bozniaks during the occupation by the Ottomans. The hat also moved East along with the Muslims who were exploring the world. It quickly became popular in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, where it still remains associated with the Moorish population to this day.

The fez has had it's fair share of dark days, too. A black fez was the adopted head wear of the Italian Bersaglieri units during the fascist regime in Italy in the 1930's and 40's. Some Nazi units also adopted a red fez, but decorated with the "death's head" symbols used by the SS. The red Nazi fez was most often associated with the archeological wing of the 3rd Reich, who were in search of ancient artifacts that would prove German supremacy. Recently, the black fez has been adopted by Muslim radicals, including Mu'ammar Gaddafi in Libya, where the hat is known as the "checheya." Even with all these rough connotations, the fez is still most often encountered in fun settings, or on the heads of hotel clerks and porters in Middle Eastern tourist cities.

How did the fez come to be seen as the hat of relaxation? Well, that's actually pretty simple. During the occupation of the near and far east by the British, around the Victorian era, it became popular for well to do gentlemen to retire in the evening for a period of refreshment and gamesmanship. This usually involved the donning of the fez and a smoking jacket, part of the local culture picked up by the British aristocracy. The practice soon became popular among the lower classes as well, and eventually made it's way back to ol' Blighty where the tradition took hold. This practice was soon lampooned in cartoons and magazines of the day as well, bringing even more attention to it.

So, how did the fez jump the pond and become such a part of Masonic and fraternal culture? In 1870, a group of Masons were meeting at the Knickerbocker Cottage, in NYC, for lunch once a week. Regular attendees to this group soon began thinking that they should form their own organization, by making the lunch club a more formalized Masonic group. Two of the members took this idea to heart, namely Dr. Walter Fleming and William Florence, an a doctor. These two began to collaborate on what the new club should be like. Florence, having just returned from an acting tour in Europe, described a show he had recently seen where the actors portrayed a middle eastern royal court, which would then engage the audience by making them members of a "secret" club for the evening. The show was getting rave reviews and Florence relished in the idea. Fleming was also intrigued, so, he took the ideas supplied by Florence and molded them into what has become the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, or Shriners.


The first Shrine chartered was Mecca Temple, in NYC, with Fleming as it's first President, known as a "Potentate." Early in it's formation, the Shrine adopted the wearing of a the red fez as a unique distinction for it's members, a practice which has become synonymous with the organization to the present day. As with any good idea, imitators soon followed, and it wasn't long until fraternal groups all over the country began using fezzes as a symbol of their fellowship. DeMolay was one of these adopters as well, with many parade and drill groups in DeMolay taking on the fez as their hat of choice. Fezzes are certainly not new innovations in the fraternal world, that's for sure!

So, there you have it - the curious history of the eccentric little hat, known as a fez!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

They're here!


The Limited Edition PA DeMolay Fezzes arrived at my office today. Whoa! Do they look awesome!

The final order was as follows: 8 Blue Fezzes and 1 Purple Fez. Purple you say? Yes, purple! Part of the perks of being the Grand Fez is getting a purple one – so, that one is reserved for Fezzy himself!

Of the 8 blues, 7 were claimed by individuals, and the 8th will go on display in Patton Hall.

At some point in the future I intend to make a “PA DeMolay Bearers of the Fez” page for the PA DeMolay website, where I will place a picture of each of the owners in their fez for posterity. 

Thanks to everyone who participated in this program!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, December 6, 2010

Signs of Growth

What a weekend for Pennsylvania DeMolay! Grand Master's Class 2010 was held this past weekend at Patton Campus, in Elizabethtown, and it was quite possibly one of the best events of the whole year! Bro. Alex Rauschenberger, State Senior Councilor, and his team, did a fabulous job of planning and executing this event.

The best part? Thanks to the 13 new members in the class, PA DeMolay has now grown in 2010! This means that we have more members than we started the year with! This is the second straight year of growth, which goes to show that you are out there selling the DeMolay program and asking your friends to join. Keep up the good work!

On Friday, before the class, "Dad" Dave Berry, our Executive Secretary, pointed out something very significant to me. This is the first year in many that we have had major changes in the Outstanding Chapter Competition. In Pennsylvania, this competition is broken down into three categories: small, medium, and large divisions. This way we can compare "apples to apples" when looking at our Chapters. 2010 saw the shift of four Chapters from the "small" Chapter division to the "medium" Chapter division. On the same thought, no Chapters slipped backwards in the divisions. Those facts show that not only is PA DeMolay growing, but it also shows our Chapters are too! It's a great feeling knowing that our Chapters are experiencing a richer and more interesting DeMolay program on the local level while helping our jurisdiction grow!

Congratulations to you PA DeMolay! You've done some outstanding work!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, December 3, 2010

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 7!

Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy! Remember, the answer to the question can found right here on the PA DeMolay blog in a previous post. We've had 132 posts so far, but I guarantee you that it's on the blog somewhere!

I've been negligent about posting questions, so this week is a special five question round! I will chose a different winner for each question if I'm able!

1. What are the three types (meaning different titles) given to members of the Supreme Council of DeMolay International?


2. What are the three main types of lapels found on mens suits?


3. How much money per unit does the Masonic Blood Club offer to a 501(c) charity for each unit collected? How can DeMolay benefit from this?


4. What is the main charity of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon?


5. Where is Convention 2011 going to be held?

Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Westmoreland Road Warriors

Today's article is brought to you by "Dad" Bruce Neubauer of Westmoreland Chapter, located in Greensburg, PA.

What do you think about when you hear visitations points? I bet you think about taking a trip to a DeMolay Chapter and getting points for the competition. I don't want to say that this is not important, because it is. When the guys from Westmoreland visit another Chapter we take the visitation form to to get signed and send it in for points. Our members enjoy traveling and want to win the competition. But, how about we think about visitation points in a different way. Instead of points, think about visitation ideas and thoughts.

What I've have learned about visitation points is that it is not just a number on a piece of paper; it is indeed a powerful tool. Our members  at Westmoreland Chapter first started traveling to get "the Judge" (the PA DeMolay travelling gavel.) That might be how we started, but it has grown from there. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. Westmoreland is still dedicated to bringing "the Judge" back to Greensburg. But now we look forward to travelling for other reasons too. As Advisors, we do not talk about the competition. We just say there is an activity coming up and the DeMolays ask at a meeting "...who wants to go?" Fortunately we have the advisors that like to travel and enjoy the events just as much as the young men.

I would like to take my story back to Key Man 2010 for a minute. Key Man proves the idea that in DeMolay, the members and advisors you don't know are just friends that haven't not met yet. We came home from Key Man and a couple months later one of our members said that he wanted to go to an installation at a Chapter that a friend he met at Key Man belonged too. Without asking where the Chapter was, the answer from the transperation advisor was "Sure!" Then we found out the Chapter was North East Chapter in Philadelphia. But you know what, the answer was still "yes."  Our member went on the visit out of friendship and brotherhood. He didn't want to make this visit for points - he wanted to make it personal.

This past Sunday one of our Appointed State Officers from Westmoreland Chapter was asked to help at an installation of officers at Friendship-Bray Chapter. We had three other members ask to come along. At the last minute another office needed filled and one of the guys coming along agreed to fill in. Again this does not sound like a cut-throat points based competition. It sounds like brotherhood. It also sounded like a chance to capture one of the most illusive pictures in PA DeMolay history - a shot of "Dad" Rick Freedman, a long time Philly area resident, wearing what can only be described as a Pittsburgh Steelers collar. Great work!

As I was riding home from Friendship-Bray I started thinking how important it is to support other Chapters. I feel that one of the most important days in a Master Councilor's term is the Installation. It would be great if you could get all the nearby Chapters to show support.

The advisors of Westmoreland DeMolay are very proud of our young men. They have certainly caught the spirit and gotten the meaning of DeMolay.

If you let Westmoreland know when you are having an installation, We might just be there.

"Dad" Bruce Neubauer is the Chairman of Westmoreland Chapter. He has attended the last two Key Man Conferences and is quickly becoming a familiar face around PA DeMolay. He is actively involved in the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, where he serves as a District Deputy Supreme Tall Cedar and was elected to the Board of Directors. He also does a great job explaining how important the funny hat they wearreally is (its called a "pyramid" by the way) . This editor certainly appreciated it and will wear his proudly.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Rainbow. The magic word that all DeMolays hear when asking the question, “Are girls going to be there?” when talking about a dance, an installation, or some other social activity that they may be attending. This girl’s organization is a huge part of DeMolay, as well as Job’s Daughters. It seems that most guys feel that because Rainbow is a girl’s organization it’s dumb and girly because, let’s face it, who really wants to be involved with a ‘weird’ girl’s organization where they prance around in frilly white dresses? However, what most guys don’t know is that Rainbow and DeMolay are actually more alike than they think.

The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls was brought to life in 1922 in McAlester, Oklahoma by W. Mark Sexson because he, as well as others, felt there was a need for a female Masonic youth organization. He had great support from lodges and other participants in the Masonic family, including “Dad” Frank S. Land. (that name sounds familiar, right?) This organization was brought about as a ‘junior member’ organization of Eastern Star, and was fully recognized as such. In my research of Rainbow now and in the past, I have brought together a list of qualities that this beautiful Order teaches. One of the main qualities that Rainbow teaches is effective leadership. Effective leadership in the home, school, church, and community are an important lesson learned by both Rainbow and DeMolay in the act of service which we all perform. Cooperation with equals, acceptance of all, and patriotism for your country are all also important lessons taught in Rainbow, as well as in DeMolay.

I’m sure everyone has seen, heard, and taken part in the seven precepts of DeMolay; Love of Parents, Reverence for Sacred Things, Courtesy, Comradeship, Fidelity, Cleanness, and Patriotism. These are common words for DeMolay’s because in the Order, those virtues are taught, repeated and rehearsed until they are so worked into member’s minds that those words just roll off the tongue. Those words and virtues are easy for a DeMolay to remember. Although I’m currently a Sweetheart for DeMolay, I was still unable to think of the correct names and order of these Precepts. After doing a little research, I was finally able to put these words together.  For me, as an active member of Rainbow, I had a hard time replacing Rainbow’s bow stations with those of the Precepts. Rainbow has seven ‘Bow’ stations; Love, Religion, Nature, Immortality, Fidelity, Patriotism, and Service, one for each color of the rainbow. These stations and virtues are taught during different ceremonies throughout the Order, and then throughout life.

I was just thinking back, considering rewording my previous paragraph because I didn’t like the fact that I was unable to come up with the seven precepts of DeMolay without doing a little bit of research, but instead I decided to turn that into a little lesson. Why don’t I know the precepts? Why am I like most other Rainbow’s and DeMolay’s who do not understand and recall such virtues of the opposite group? Such virtues in both orders should be taught and respected among all youth, not just youth of that particular organization. Sure, we share a few of the same virtues, but what can be done to ensure that all members know and understand the others of the brother or sister youth group? I challenge all of you to learn and understand each of the precepts and bow stations and relate them to each other. Such teachings are important as we grow and form into the future of the Masonic family, may it be as a part of the Masons, Eastern Star, or any other adult organization involved.

I could write for hours about the importance of the youth organizations coming together, and I could continue to urge you to Take Control! and work together with the girls, but I’ll leave you with this familiar statement: “Food, fun, friends, and females”. Without Rainbow and Job’s Daughters, how incomplete would your DeMolay experience be?

Angela Lennox is no stranger to DeMolay or Rainbow. She is currently serving as Grand Hope for PA Rainbow as well as a current Chapter Sweetheart. She is also the twin sister to Bro. Denny Lennox, a past elected State Officer. Her e-mail address implies that she is the prettier of the set of twins. We'll let you be the judge!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pilgrim Pulls Off Pretty Powerful Prospect Party

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to hang out with 500 of your closest friends and game all night on four 50" plasma televisions? How about adding to that all the pizza and soda that you could ever wish for?  Well, Pilgrim Chapter did just that!  The members of Pilgrim Chapter love to play video games. They also wanted to have a prospect event. So, with a little bit of research and unplugging by its advisors, the purse strings came open, and the event evolved! 
 
Enter "The Game Truck!"  What could be better than a trailer with four 50" plasma televisions, a couch to seat 16, and the latest Xbox, Playstation, and Wii games available - including Black Ops!  For two hours members and prospects played non stop video games, chatting about DeMolay, and having a great time. 
 
Flyers were distributed at the One Day Masonic Journey to all the new members joining the fraternity, a mailing list was purchased for young men between the ages of 12-16, and members invited their friends.  The goal of this mission - to get more members!  After it was all said and done Pilgrim had 6 prospects and 7 members attend (plus one Jobie and one Rainbow girl).  The next goal is to get these prospects inducted at Grand Masters Class. 
 
The importance of this event was that it was unique, but it also was an event that was held at our Lodge building , Pilgrim Chapter's home. We were able to show the prospects where we meet, tell them what we were about, and have a great night of fun.  Everyone left with a brochure and a membership application.  We registered everyone when they attended and we now have all the  information we need to follow through and get them to join.  But best of all, the advisors unplugged and let the members run the event . Hopefully through this entire venture there will be many winners!

Special thanks go out to "Mom" Jan Harms, Chapter Advisor for Pilgrim Chapter, for writing this article. "Mom" Harms has recently found a renewed interest in DeMolay, having served on the Key Man Conference staff this past summer. She is also a past Grand Guardian and Past Grand Secretary for Job's Daughters in Pennsylvania. Her other claim to fame is being married to "Dad" Doug Harms, also of Pilgrim Chapter. Actually, never mind... he's more infamous than anything else.

Do you have something you'd like to blog about? I'm always looking for more articles and ideas for the blog! If you have something you'd like to post or would like me to write about, let me know at webmaster@pademolay.org. ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rites of Passage

I've been stewing on this blog post for a while. I just wasn't ready to write it up, but, since I don't have anything else this morning, I figured now is the time! I'm a big fan of Discovery Channel, Nat Geo, History Channel, etc. However, I don't have cable, so I really don't get to watch these unless I'm at home at my parent's house or with someone else.

I remember a fantastic show on Nat Geo called "Taboo." It documents various cultures around the world and their strange customs. I particularly remember one episode about "Rites of Passage." This program dealt with how different cultures handle the transition of child to adult, mostly from a male-centric point of view. Every culture has different ways to celebrate this milestone, some of which are just social constructs (meaning that the event / celebration is just arbitrary and created by society - a "sweet sixteen" party for instance.)

As I watched the show I realized how lucky I was to have become a man in the United States. Many cultures take the transition from boy to man quite seriously, usually marking it with physically or emotionally challenging contests. For instance, several African and Pacific cultures use ritualized branding or tattooing to mark the coming of age. This might be as simple as a small tattoo or as intense as a full facial brand. Perhaps a more famous example is the Agoge as displayed in the movie "300." While the film is a work of fiction, the Agoge was a real experience. The movie dramatized the event somewhat, but those undertaking the Agoge were underfed and given no comfort, just as it was portrayed.

The other side of the coin is composed of the religious ceremonies that deal with the coming of age. These include Confirmation in the Christian faith, the Bar (or Bat) Mitzvah in the Jewish faith, Rumspringa in the Amish community, or the Sanskar among Hindus and Buddhists. Many countries see the value in the ceremonies and have instituted secular versions, such as the borgaraleg ferming in Iceland or the Human-Etisk Forbund in Norway(which both roughly translate to "civil confirmation.") Interestingly, America has no singular cultural indicator for the transition from youth to adult; it is usually left up to the family or the faith to perform.

So, as I usually ask, "... but what does this have to do with DeMolay?" I'm hoping you've made the connection already, but if you haven't, DeMolay is easily identified as a Rite of Passage ceremony (with influence from its Masonic founders.) In fact, Masonry is just as a much a Rite of Passage as DeMolay. Let's examine this further, shall we?

In DeMolay, for the first time, a youth is asked to make a "journey" on  his own with other young men of his age. On this "journey" the new members are instructed in life lessons that will help them better fit in with adult society (the seven cardinal virtues.) They then witness a drama that reinforces these ideals and are welcomed into the brotherhood after vowing to live by these ideals. That's pretty heavy stuff for your average 12 year old! But, this is just the start!

There are several "milestones" along the DeMolay career, marking advancement in understanding and status. These include becoming Master Councilor, being awarded the Representative DeMolay, or being honored with the Degree of Chevalier. These are all part of the passage from teen to man. This process is even more apparent when a DeMolay decides to become a Freemason and join the fraternity. If he does, this marks his first time being welcomed among the "men" that have aided him on his DeMolay journey. When coupled together like this, DeMolay and Freemasonry are great examples of an extended Rite of Passage for our young men.


Now some might be cringing at this, thinking it sounds "cult" like. It is no more like "cultish" than getting a car at 16, registering for the Selective Service at 18, or voting in your first election. It's part of what our society has constructed to teach those who reside therein a system of morals and values that is acceptable to the culture as a whole. Let's be proud of what we have accomplished using this "system." Great men like Walt Disney, John Wayne, Bill Clinton, and many, many more can't be wrong!

Professor Anthony's sociology class is now over. Thanks for coming.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 15, 2010

When would you give up your seat?

Today, I'm hot off the heals of a busy weekend with the Grand Commandery at their Line Officer's Seminar. This event was similar in nature to the annual PA DeMolay Spring Leadership Weekend (albeit with less costumes!) My favorite part of this type of event is watching people interact with each other.

Whenever you bring a large group of men together like this, politics and intrigue are bound to happen. You have men who are in power, men who want to be in power, men who were denied power, and men who could care less about power. It's certainly an interesting mix of people. You can usually tell which group someone belongs to by whom they choose to sit with at lunch and sit near during meetings. I admit, I'm just as guilty of this as the next guy, but it's fun to watch and evaluate none the less.

We see this same thing in DeMolay. It's part of the political process. If you want to run for office, you have to get your name out there. How do you do that? By being near the people in power and getting to know them. In turn, they will recognize your talents and give you responsibilities. This will enable you prove yourself and become a recognized leader. Then, when your time comes, you have a chance of getting elected. It's not sneaky, it's the way of the world! There are ways that this can turn ugly, however.

As I was writing this I came across a great story about General Robert E. Lee, the main commander of the Confederate forces during the civil war. The story goes like this:

"General Robert E. Lee was on his way to Richmond, and was seated in the extreme end of a railroad car, every seat of which was occupied. At one of the stations, an aged woman of humble appearance entered the car, carrying a large basket. She walked the length of the aisle and not a man offered her a seat. When she was opposite General Lee’s seat, he arose promptly and said, “Madam, take this seat.” Instantly a score of men were on their feet, and a chorus of voices said, “General, have my seat.” “No, gentlemen,” he replied, “if there was no seat for this old lady, there is no seat for me.” It was not long before the car was almost empty. It was too warm to be comfortable."

So, are you only giving up your proverbial seat for political motives or are you doing it because it's the right thing to do? Remember, doing the right thing can get you noticed just as much doing the political thing can!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trivia with Fezzy: Week 6!

Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy! Remember, the answer to the question can found right here on the PA DeMolay blog in a previous post. We've had 127 posts so far, but I guarantee you that it's on the blog somewhere!

Last week I didn't post a question, so this week I'm posting 2! You can win one or both! On to the questions!

1. There are several rumors surrounding Jacques DeMolay's death. One of them states he requested that something specific be done to his hands while he was burning on the stake. What did Jacques ask for?


2. There are 67 counties in Pennsylvania, one of which is Perry. Who is Perry county named for?

Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Didn't Start the Fire

I'll admit it. I'm a raving fan boy. For what you might ask? Not movies, or television shows, or even comics, but for Freemasonry. Last night I got to spend some time with someone who is as close to a rock star as Freemasonry is ever going to get - Bro. Chris Hodapp, the author of Freemasons for Dummies and several other books on the Fraternity. Bro. Hodapp was the guest speaker at the annual banquet of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, here in Elizabethtown. Wow! What a dynamic and entertaining guy!

I had the amazing chance to have dinner with Bro. Hodapp before he spoke and found him to be truly genuine and personable. He told us about his travels, his family, his feelings on the Fraternity, and more. He was very friendly and a great conversationalist during dinner. When he was called on to speak, he did so with a fire and a passion rarely seen in the fraternity. He spoke from the heart, about the future of the Craft, the challenges ahead, and the opportunities before us. He received a standing ovation and the line to buy copies of his books was out the door!

Later in the evening I had a chance to talk to him, one on one, about some other Masonic topics. He gave me some great ideas for when I get a chance to lead a Masonic body and rekindled my passion for Freemasonry. While this is all well and good, what does it have to do with DeMolay?

DeMolays have exactly nine years to be a member of the Order. For a twleve year old, nine years seems like an eternity. But, believe me, it's the fastest nine years you'll ever know (that's if you join at twelve!) I've seen it happen, time and time again, a twelve year old is put through the works in his Chapter, he becomes Master Councilor, gets burnt out, and leaves DeMolay behind. Then, at 20, he comes back around, or is perhaps honored with a the Chevalier Degree, and says "Man, I wish I would have stayed involved." His passion for DeMolay had gone out. But something like the Chevalier Degree brought it back to life, just a little too late.

DeMolay can be an all consuming thing. It's easy to give all your free time over to the group, but that is the wrong thing to do. That is how you get burnt out. You have to keep hobbies and friends outside of DeMolay and take some time away when you need to. As I have told the Elected State Officers, I live, breathe, eat, and sleep DeMolay and Freemasonry. I love what I do, but I have to keep myself sane. I have hobbies outside of Masonry. Some may laugh at them, but it provides the escape that I need to recharge my batteries, and that's okay. I'll fully admit that I am really terrible at knowing when to take a break, but I'm getting better at it, and I'm seeing a difference in the process.

Sometimes the recharge comes from a hobby and sometimes it comes from a experience, such as what Bro. Hodapp created last night. Either way, if you are feeling burnt out or your fire is dwindling, take some time away. But, make sure you come back and see if the fire is still there, whether that be in 6 months, or a year, or more. Talk to your Brothers and your advisors. See if they can help re-light that fire. Membership in DeMolay is for life... never take that for granted!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 8, 2010

A road diverged in a yellow wood...

I'll admit it. I was at a loss for a topic this morning. So, I did what usually do, and headed over to Art of Manliness to scout for an idea. Lo and behold, that website came through once again, and I have a topic!

Recently, a letter was sent to the Art of Manliness from a reader who is having some second guesses about his career choice. He is just months away from earning a degree in library science, but recently came to the realization that he would rather be a farmer. In response to this fellow, Brett McKay, the editor of AoM, responded via a video that you can watch here. However, I wanted to tackle this question and relate a bit of my personal experience. I'm hoping that it might help those DeMolays out there who are bound for college and looking for a career path.

I didn't start out wanting to be a full time Masonic youth facilitator.  Heck, I didn't join until I was 18, and as we know, career choices start long before then! When I was in my early teens I wanted to be a psychiatrist. An older gentlemen, who was a friend of my family, worked in this field and I thought it would be a great life to have. However, I soon realized that 4 years of undergraduate work, 4 years of medical school, followed by 4 years of psychiatric instruction was more than I was willing to undertake. I lowered my goals to being a psychologist. That job would only take 6 to 8 years of school, which seemed like a better alternative.

After graduating high school I enrolled in the Psychology program at Edinboro State University. Edinboro is actually well known for their psychology department, which is one of the best amongst the state system of higher education. I spent my first three years doing all the things psych majors do. We talked about therapy, learning, and social norms. We wrote papers, ran experiments, and played with rats. During my junior year I had the good luck to enroll in a Counseling class taught by Dr. Gary Labine. Dr. Labine, and his wife Susan, both taught in the psychology program at Edinboro. Mrs. Labine was a clinical psychologist, whereas Mr. Labine didn't even have a degree in psychology at all - his background was in counseling itself. This class was a real eye opener to me, for two reasons. Firstly, I realized that I didn't need a true psychology degree to help people, and secondly, I didn't want to spend the rest of my life counseling folks. Quite honestly, the idea of dealing with emotional baggage and being lied to by clients all day didn't appeal to me.

I decided to consult Dr. Labine, as well as some other faculty, as to what I should do. I explained my hesitations and they agreed that being a counselor / psychologist wasn't going to be a good career move for me. One of the professors, Dr. Morrow, a social psychologist, suggested that perhaps Industrial / Organization Psychology would better suit. This field dealt more with productivity and the workplace. I was intrigued, but, sadly, Edinboro didn't offer a course in this field.

It just so happened that at about the same time as my career crisis was occurring, another crisis was brewing where I was working. I spent my college years working at Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park in Erie. I started as a shift supervisor in the food court, but after two years, that job was wearing thin. I spoke to our Director of Operations who described a need for someone to handle training and efficiency within the business. He gave me a chance at the job and I found I really liked it. The only problem was that the job was nebulous and not well defined. I spent about 6 months doing what I thought needed to be done, as well as working as a Guest Services Supervisor. We went through some management changes and my role was redefined as a Human Resources Coordinator. I hadn't really had a lot of experience in Human Resources, but I quickly learned that it was similar to industrial /organizational psychology, so I went with it.

I learned a lot during my first year in Human Resources. It was a great experience that led me to better define my career path. I graduated from Edinboro in 2006 with a BA in Psychology, specializing in learning and development. Realizing that I still needed more education, I applied to Capella University, a distance learning school, and was accepted into their Masters of Science in Organizational Management program, with a specialization in HR Management. As I was beginning my graduate course work, there were big changes happening in my community. A new casino was opening up and I applied for an HR job there. Miraculously, I  got an interview and was hired shortly thereafter.

I was the only Human Resources Generalist for the casino (which means I did anything and everything HR related.) We hired 800 employees in 6 months! Holy cats did I learn a lot! I spent time dealing with employee injuries, unemployment claims, reports, and the PA Gaming Control Board. I loved it! I really found my calling. I was earning my graduate degree and working a job I liked. This was the life!

Then, one day, I was reading through a website relating to a hobby I enjoyed when I stumbled across an advertisement they had posted for a Human Resources Generalist. On a whim, I applied. A week later I got a call and had a phone interview with a recruiter. I was stunned - I never thought I would get a call! Two days later, the recruiter called me back and arranged for me to fly to the company headquarters in Baltimore for a day of interviews. At the end of that day, I got an offer, including a moving allowance, to go to work for this company. It also helped that the salary was 50% more than what I was making at the casino. I jumped at the chance and quickly found myself moving to Maryland.

My new duties entailed coordinating benefits and other HR related functions for a national retail chain with roughly 60 stores. The best part was that I was working for a company in a hobby that I really enjoyed. It was a really fun job and the stories I have from my time there are some of the craziest work related tales I can muster. There is another part to this story, however.

I had been in Maryland for about a week. I was living in hotel and trying to acclimate myself to this new life. I was surfing the internet in my hotel room when "Dad" Labagh contacted me via instant message and discussed the possibility of me working at PMYF. Sadly, having just taken this new job, I was in no place to up and leave. I had to turn him down. This was a full year before I started working at PMYF. I had a new job and was enjoying it, and PMYF went to the back burner.

Ten months later I had grown unhappy at my new place of employment. There were some major management changes and my new supervisor and I didn't quite see eye to eye. I started floating my resume around to some other places to see if I could find something else. I hadn't even thought of trying PMYF again. Then, out of the blue, "Dad" Labagh calls me and asks if I'd be interested in the job at PMYF - he hadn't filled the position during the year I was working and wondered if I was in a situation to move on. I jumped at the opportunity. Shortly thereafter, in the fall of 2008, I left Maryland for Elizabethtown to work at PMYF. It was one of the best decisions I ever made!

But, as most of you know, I do very little in regards to Human Resources here at PMYF. Honestly, I mostly use skills I was taught in High School, like web page design. There is still a little bit of psychology and HR, though (I do have to deal with the Elected State Officers!) So, as you can see, it was a long strange road! From wanting to be a Psychiatrist to ending up at PMYF, it was a course I could have never predicted.

Now, what does my long, and probably boring, story have to do with you? It's a simple answer - it's okay to change your mind and follow your heart. Sometimes where we start is where we end, but I 'm willing to bet that most of the time it's not. You're going to change majors. You're going to have doubts. That's okay and perfectly normal! Remember, life is about enjoying the journey, not about the end result.

S.K. George A. Hulsinger, a Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania, had a great theme for his year in office. It was very simple - "Live Your Dash." By that he meant that every person eventually passes on from this plane of existence. A tombstone usually reads "Date of Birth - Date of Death." It's the dash between those two that is really important, for that is where you live your life and have an impact on others. Don't be afraid to change your mind from time to time. It's all a part of growing up and living your "dash."

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Repercussions of Elections

Well, with all the election hoopla over, we can now use this tumultuous time to have some good discussions with our DeMolays. Some people are happy with the elections, some aren't, but there are certainly valuable lessons that can be taught.

I think the first thing that needs to be addressed is how to be a good winner and a good loser. For several months politicians degraded, libeled, and called each other out on the issues and their character. It's pretty hard to come together and say "good game" after that. The great part of democracy (well, a republic anyways) is that it encourages this kind of making-up period at the end of the race. More importantly though, people from all over the political spectrum need to come together for the greater good.

Recently, I had a Facebook friend post several borderline inflammatory statements. Everyone has the right to their opinion and it was obvious that this person (a father of four, a devout Christian, and all around good guy) was very upset with the current state of affairs with our government and wanted to see some people out of office. Just after the election he made this post, "ONE PIECE OF TRASH OUT- DAHLKEMPER HAS BEEN DUMPED!" in reference to a race in my home town of Erie. About a half an hour later he posts this:

 "OK, maybe my last post was a bit harsh, I was only playing on the "Dump Dahlkemper" slogan and my earlier post today. People are not "trash" as ALL people are made in the image of God....Some are just incorrect in their thinking and belief system..."

Again, we are all entitled to our opinions and I will never begrudge a person that. However, we need to apply this kind of rhetoric to DeMolay to teach our young men some principles and morals in conjunction with some grace and class.

DeMolay does well when teaching young men about the political process through hands on experience. Whether that be in their home Chapter or on a state level, the politics of DeMolay elections are just as real as those that involve the government. When I was running for elected state office in DeMolay I had to make some very hard choices. I decided that was more important that I get elected and serve instead of running against someone and beating them. In retrospect, I'm still happy with that decision, mainly because I weighed my options and made an informed choice. Our most recent DeMolay state elections were pretty grueling. Each and every candidate ran a good campaign and there were some close votes. The highlight, for me a least, was seeing the candidates come together after the election, shake hands, and move on. They know that being an elected state officer isn't about them, it's about the program, and whether they win or lose, bettering DeMolay is still their number one priority.

Take this latest election and these ideas back to your Chapter. Talk to your young men about how to compromise after elections to get things done, and how to win with grace and class, rather than degrading those who lost. History is written by the winners, as they say, but historians aren't afraid to label people losers when they abuse their victory with thoughtless and classless celebration.

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why blog?

I was recently asked by a fellow DeMolay Executive Officer: "Why is PA DeMolay blogging?"


What he really wanted to know was: "Where is the value for the time invested?" and "Should I do it, too?"

Well, first of all, blogging statistics are staggering.

A September 2010 study by eMarketer on the skyrocketing growth of blogging suggests that blogging is becoming very important to users who are looking for unfiltered opinions, product reviews, and up-to-date content. The study says that by 2014 more than 150 million Americans, or 60 percent of the U. S. Internet population will be regular blog participants. WordPress.com alone hosts more than 11.4 million blogs, publishing about 350,000 new posts, daily, and receiving an average of 400,000 comments, daily.

That's a lot of on-line "conversation" and while it is something that requires a regular and reliable time commitment, it is a valuable, and necessary communications tool in today's social media world.

Blogging, for organizations in general, can help build brand awareness, increase website traffic, develop better relations with members and friends, and provide an easy way for non-technical people, (like me!) to change content regularly on a website.

PA DeMolay is lucky to have "Dad" Seth Anthony who likes to do this-- I enjoy it, too, occasionally, but the pressure of doing it on a regular schedule would probably wear me down. "Dad" Anthony, however, seems to thrive on it, and never has trouble coming up with something of interest.

Our goal is to write posts that are relevant to DeMolay leaders, both young and old. Being relevant isn't just writing about how to run a DeMolay Chapter. Often it involves writing about the things that we think are important to young men and leaders who work with young men. Sometimes the topics are thoughtful and meaningful; sometimes they are downright silly. But that's what working with DeMolays is all about-- finding the right balance between ritual and athletics, fund-raising and social time, leadership and followership, philosophy and fun.

So, I come back to the big question: IS this blog worth the time we spend on it? It is hard to quantify the answer, because, after ten months of blogging with 124 posts we don't have a huge number of official "followers," (58) and we don't get too many written comments (26) by way of the blog, yet.  But we do get emails and phone calls, and have received some great suggestions for future blog topics.

If you find that reading this blog has been interesting, or helpful, or challenging, or, at least, amusing, drop us a note and let us know. You can write via the blog comments, or you can send an email to me, or to Seth at any address you may have for us, or you can use webmaster@pademolay.org; whatever is most convenient for you!

And whether or not you choose to send us a note, thanks for reading!

"Dad" Tom Labagh
Executive Officer

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trivia with Fezzy

Each Friday I am posting a PA DeMolay Blog related trivia question. Each active DeMolay from Pennsylania (excluding Elected State Officers) who correctly posts their answer in the comments section of this blog will be placed in a drawing to receive 5 points for the Take Control! program and receive a special "Fezzy" gamer tag over on the points page! All you have to do is leave your answer in the comments section. On Monday morning I will randomly select one of the correct answers and award the person with the points. Answer every week and rack up some major points - it's that easy! Remember, the answer to the question can found right here on the PA DeMolay blog in a previous post. We've had 122 posts so far, but I guarantee you that it's on the blog somewhere!

On to the question!

Pennsylvania DeMolay is part of Region II, which happens to include the country of Italy as well. Recently, DeMolay Italia opened new Chapters in two other Eastern European Countries. What two countries are they?

Get answering!

Frat!-"Dad" Seth "Fezzy" Anthony