Thursday, April 29, 2010

Placing the Puzzle Pieces

DeMolay is a big organization. With over 16,000 member worldwide. It takes a pretty intricate organization to operate those Chapters, and to many the bureaucracy of how it works is mind boggling. Recently I stumbled over a great breakdown of how DeMolay runs, from the home Chapter all the way to the Grand Master. Have a read, and perhaps you'll learn something!

Young Men between the ages of 12 and 21, of good morale character and belief in a supreme being are welcome to join DeMolay. The newest member of DeMolay is the most important.

Councilors and Officers
Each Chapter has 22 Officer Positions.

Master Councilor
Senior Councilor
Junior Councilor
Senior Deacon
Junior Deacon
Senior Steward
Junior Steward
Standard Bearer
1st Preceptor Filial Love
2nd Preceptor Reverence for Sacred Things
3rd Preceptor Courtesy
4th Preceptor Comradeship
5th Preceptor Fidelity
6th Preceptor Cleanness
7th Preceptor Patriotism

The Master Councilor IS the leader of the Chapter. The Councilors are elected by the members of the Chapter to server for 1 term of office. The remaining officers are appointed to serve by the Master Councilor, with the exception of the Scribe, which is appointed by the Advisory Council.

Your Jurisdiction
Most jurisdictions elect a State (or Jurisdictional) Master Councilor and a corps of elected State (or Jurisdictional) Officers. A corps of appointed officers is usually designated as well.

Your Region
DeMolay International is divided into 8 Regions. At the annual International Supreme Council and DeMolay Congress Session, a Regional Coordinator is selected to serve in your region. His duty is to promote communication and brotherhood among the Jurisdictions he serves and also to promote DeMolay International programs and happenings.

DeMolay International
Each year an International Master Councilor and International Congress Secretary are elected by a congress of delegates from every DeMolay Jurisdiction. Candidates for these offices must be past or present State Master Councilors (or equivalents.) The IMC and ICS serve DeMolay by representing us at National Masonic and public functions and affairs. They also visit jurisdictions to promote DeMolay International programs.

Chapter Advisory Councils
Advisors are just that. They Advise! The point of DeMolay is that you, the member, plan and execute all activities and endeavors of your Chapter.

The Chapter Advisor (aka: Chapter "Dad")
The Chapter Advisor’s role is to work with the Chapter’s Leadership to accomplish their goals. He or she also is your direct line of communication between the Chapter and the remaining advisors in the Advisory Council. He or she is the Advisor to turn to for guidance on issues that arise while working within your Chapter.

The Chapter Chairman
The Chapter Dad’s role is to work with the Chapter’s Advisors to ensure proper attention is given to the various projects that the Chapter undertakes. He is the direct line of communication between the Chapter and the Sponsoring Body.

Specialty Advisors
A successful Chapter is one that follows all facets of the DeMolay program. To accomplish this, your Chapter’s Chairman should assign Advisors to work with the Chapter and specialize in the following areas:

Membership Athletics & Activities
Fundraising Public Relations & Communications
Ritual Awards & Honors

The Executive Officer
Each Jurisdiction is assigned a representative of the International Supreme Council. This person is known as the Executive Officer. It is his responsibility to ensure that his assigned Jurisdiction and the Chapters within it operate within the rules and regulations of DeMolay. He sets policy and procedure that all Members and Advisors must follow. He also assigns a staff which takes on responsibility for projects and programs within the jurisdiction.

Active, Deputy, Emeritus and Honorary Members of the International Supreme Council
The International Supreme Council is made up of Advisors from all jurisdictions within DeMolay International. There are several ranks of distinction or “classes” amongst these advisors who govern over the affairs of DeMolay. An “Active” member is a member that has a voice and vote on all issues before the ISC. “Deputy” members have a voice, but cannot vote. “Emeritus” status is given to members who have attained the age of 75. An “Honorary” member is someone who is designated by the ISC as someone who has contributed much the betterment of DeMolay as a whole.

The Grand Master of DeMolay
Each year the Active members of the International Supreme Council vote for an elected line of ISC officers.
These officers are:
Grand Master
Grand Senior Councilor
Grand Junior Councilor
Grand Secretary
Grand Treasurer

To apply this to Pennsylvania, think of this way. In your Chapter you have your Master Councilor, Chapter Advisor, and Chapter Chairman. Next up are the Elected State Officers lead by our SMC, Howard Wagner, and the Executive Officer and his leadership team, led by "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh. Our Jurisdiction (being the State of PA) is in DeMolay International's Region II, which consists of New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Nation's Capital, New York, and of course, PA. Beyond on our Region, we have the International Master Councilor, Bro. Ben Turconi, from Northern California, and the International Congress Secretary, Bro. Jaymie Jordan, from Oklahoma. "Dad" Robert Cockerham is the current Grand Master of DeMolay International, and he's from Missouri.

So there you have it. A quick, concise breakdown of how this little group of ours is run. Where do you fit into the mix? Where do you want to go? It's all up to you!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, April 26, 2010

... and the posts keep coming!

Two posts in one day!?!

No, the world isn't coming to an end, I just happend to have something to share!

Last week I wrote about young men needing advisors to teach them some basic fashion tips. The article was well-received, and I even used some of that same material in a presentation I recently made at the Adult Leaders Weekend held by PMYF. Apparently I'm tapped into the right stream...

Lo and behold, come Monday, what do I find, but an article detailing exactly what I said from CNN! Check it out!

He may be plugging a new book, but it looks like it might be worth a read!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Misplaced Flower Space

Some of you may be wondering why the Executive Officer's article in the latest Keystone Crusader was called "Dad" Labagh's Article Space. This happens to be a little inside joke. You see, each month the amount of room given to "Dad" Labagh in the Key Cru has gotten smaller and smaller. His space has been shrinking. In response, "Dad" Labagh had me create this blog, in essence, to give him more article space! "Dad" Labagh started an article in this month's Key Cru, and it is now finished here on the blog, where "Dad" Labagh can have all the space he needs! Keep checking back often to see what's on his on mind!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Now, on to the article...


May is the month for Mother’s Day, and I hope that you will find an appropriate way to observe this day as an individual, and as a Chapter. Most Chapters will have a Parents Day obligatory observance on or near Mother’s Day, and many of them will have a member present the Flower Talk as a suitable tribute for the day. Recently I was asked, “Why don’t we do the Flower Talk at statewide classes any more?” First, let me say, I love the Flower Talk—I’ve presented it many, many times and I believe I could still deliver it if called upon at a moment’s notice. A Flower Talk used to be given on the night a young man received his DeMolay Degree, as if it was a “3rd Degree” for DeMolay.


But ever since Norman Bates uttered the line, “Well, a – a boy’s best friend is his mother” in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1960 movie, “Psycho,” it has been harder for our society to blindly idealize motherhood in prose or in verse. Sarcastically said by this creepy character, it underlines a sad truth about the world—that not every parent loves and cares for his or her children.
Thankfully, many more do, than don’t, and in DeMolay we DO pay tribute to Mom with the Flower Talk and Moms and Dads within the context of our First Virtue and Parents’ Day obligatory observance. Which is a long way of dancing around the question, without giving an answer, but here’s the thought: Why make a young man stand for a Flower Talk that might be hurtful or insulting to him if he has no fond thoughts for a mother who has not been a positive part of his life?

I recall several occasions at statewide classes where the presentation of the Flower Talk was a particularly embarrassing experience for a DeMolay member who stood numbly, feeling nothing but hatred and rejection when he was forced to think about his mother. I remember a young DeMolay who was left in tears, not because he had to choose a white flower in memory of his deceased mother, but rather, because there wasn’t a black flower or a dead flower to symbolize the mother who had abandoned him at an early age because of her drug habit.

The Flower Talk is a beautiful and stylish rendering of the "ideal" relationship of a young man to his mother—- it sets up a “perfect” relationship as somehow being normal. There is nothing wrong with trying to impress upon a young man the importance of his mother, and encouraging him to improve his behavior and to express his appreciation. Even a young man who hasn't had the wonderful benefit of a caring and loving mother should know that it is a desired and important relationship, so that he makes it a priority for HIS children in future years. But we should understand that, for a young man who hasn’t shared this experience, it is a much harder concept to grasp if he has to abstractly try to imagine what love is, especially a mother’s love, instead of experiencing it.

The best thing for each Chapter Advisor to do is to get to know all new members (and their family backgrounds) well enough to know if receiving a Flower Talk is a good idea or not. If unsure, a Chapter Advisor can ask a parent or guardian, and can even talk to the DeMolay himself about how he would feel being asked to stand one more time at the altar for a presentation about the ideal of motherhood. Receiving the Flower Talk should be an option—not a requirement—for every young man who crosses the DeMolay threshold. We should sincerely encourage it, but we shouldn't force it.

"Dad" Thomas R. Labagh

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"I got some splainin to do!"

I wear many hats in this fraternity of ours. I'm involved with many organizations, and I handle a lot of different tasks for the Masonic Youth Groups. From newsletters, to websites, to this very blog, my duties are all over the board sometimes. Today, however, I want to put on a specific hat, that of the Director of Convention for PA DeMolay, and discuss some of the upcoming changes in that program, and why they were made.

As many of you already know, PA DeMolay Convention is slated to undergo its first major change in about 10 years. The Convention that most of us have gone to consists of spending Thursday through Sunday in a hotel, with some fun activities thrown in beside some workshops, meals, and the business session. This format worked very well for us for several years, and it's thanks to "Dad" Randy Knapp, my predecessor, that the program is so successful.

When I took over the job of Director of Convention I made a promise to myself to listen to the young men (within reason) and to attempt to give them more control over the Convention schedule and process. Unfortunately, many of the functions I perform as Director cannot be handled by active members for several reasons, most of them involving signing things and other boring topics. While this may be a glitch, I found that I could still listen to the members and try to improve the program and experience that they come to each year. So, I started planning.

One topic that almost always came up as an issue was the amount of "boring," or as the Convention staff calls it, "business" events on the schedule. We have Convention to conduct business, plain and simple, so I can't cut it out completely. I can however attempt to streamline that process as best as possible. Hence, last year we introduced the electronic balloting system that made the election process almost 75% faster than it had been in the past! You can thank "Dad" Greg Schaeffer for that one! It still wasn't enough for me, and I decided that Convention 2010 needed a radical change.

I talked with "Dad" Labagh about what the Convention program had to be, and we decided that we needed to give out awards and elect State Officers, other than that, it could be anything I / the members wanted. So, I sat down with proverbial hatchet, and began trimming what I saw as unnecessary in the program. My vision for Convention was formulated during this process, a vision for which I have taken some heat from adults. In my eyes, PA DeMolay only has one event a year that is mostly "fun" for the members, and that is Convention. Some people find sports fun, they are competitive, and it's a different vibe. Some people find Spring Leadership Fun, but others see it as boring workshops. Some see our Induction Classes as fun, but others find them to be a drag. Convention on the other hand can be fun for everyone, and that, to me, is the appeal of the program. It's a time for DeMolays to get together, from all over the Commonwealth, and just have fun. Many people believe that I have watered down the Convention program, by eliminating all but one workshop, and having too little "education" in the program. Others think that the removal of our annual banquet is sheer blasphemy, and that without it Convention just won't be the same. You know what? They might be right, but I need to see if it fails first.

So what specifically did I do? Convention 2010, held at the Four Points Sheraton Pittsburgh North, in Cranberry (Mars) will be an experiment to say the least. The event will run Friday to Sunday, July 23-25. The first "scheduled" event is an optional paintball outing on Friday afternoon. Following that outing will be some time for degree practice, but the show really gets kicked off with dinner on Friday night. I didn't want to serve the guys some boring old banquet food, so I've arranged for a full on "Make Your Own" Taco bar! Let's start this thing off right! Following dinner we'll head out (using your own transportation) to Fun-Fore-All, an arcade on steroids! Not only will you be able to play all of the video games you want (ticket games excluded), you'll be able to play an unlimited amount of mini-golf on, two courses! Am I not getting your attention yet? Well how about hitting as many balls as you want in the batting cages! Still nothing? Fine, I'll throw in unlimited use of the go-kart track! Did I mention that it's an over / under track, with a figure 8? I'm thinking that should start the event off well and be enough for Friday!

Saturday we have to get down to business, but not too much! Your day will start with a workshop, but not any old workshop. PA DeMolay is bringing in "Dad" Brett Bean, of Maryland, who works as a professional stand-up comedian, to give you guys some insight on public speaking and improv. Following "Dad" Bean, two degree teams will induct new members, right there in Cranberry, thereby growing DeMolay! That's a lot of work for the morning, so it's time for lunch. We'll sit down to a nice plated meal of chicken with asiago cheese while the State Officers and Advisors present awards for the year. With our bellies stuffed, we'll jet over to the business session, where you elect State Officers to serve you for 2010-2011, using the improved electronic balloting equipment. This should take us to about 4 p.m., which means it's time to relax, and enjoy the hotel pool, sauna, and other amenities. Don't swim too long, because at 5:30 we're boarding buses and heading to the best amusement park in Western PA, Kennwyood! With coasters and rides galore, this will be a great way to finish up Saturday!

Sunday means it's time for a full buffet breakfast, a quick chapel service, and installing our State Officers. I think by this time you'll be looking back on the last two days and be going "wow, it's over already," and that my Brothers is exactly how I want it. Convention 2010, at least in my eyes, is the next generation of DeMolay fun and brotherhood, so won't you join me in giving it a try?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth C. Anthony

Monday, April 19, 2010

Project Run-away

We've now accumulated more than 30 posts on this little blog, and I've finally gotten the hang of looking for post ideas in my everyday life. Last week I broke down and headed to a local men's clothier to purchase a couple of new suits. Rumor has it that I am "not so little around the middle" and this in turn can make it difficult for me to find well fitting, but not overpriced, menswear. I succeeded in finding some new threads, and this afternoon I go pick them up. This was my first time buying real "suits" as, up until this point, I just went to the local department store, found one that seemed to fit, picked out some pants, and went on my way. This time though I decided that I should go to the real deal, and get something a little nicer, and better fitting. I may be a big guy, but I do care about my appearance.

I grew up in a pretty blue collar household. My father was a road foreman for many years, before becoming the Manager for a local municipality. My mother worked as a merchandiser and as a secretary, which provided her the flexibility she needed to be with the family. Even as the manager my father never really wore suits to work. Polo shirts, Oxfords, and khakis were the norm. His only real need for a suit was when he was showing our beloved Cardigan Welsh Corgi dogs at dog shows. So, needless to say, when it came time for me to join DeMolay there was nary a suit in sight in my closet. (At left: How not to dress your corgi, or your DeMolay for that matter!)

I explained to my mother that I needed a suit for DeMolay, and we headed over to J.C. Penney's, where I picked up a stylish double breasted jacket and some slacks. That jacket served me well, eventually being cannibalized to become my Commandery uniform (and might I say that I am rather proud of still being able to fit into that coat that was purchased some 8 years ago!) I had a suit, but I didn't understand anything about it, or why it was constructed the way it was. It was a coat; it fit; I was happy. So, where am I going with this? As I have transitioned into becoming an Advisor for DeMolay, and member of the fraternity as a whole, I realized how little I understood about men's "fashion" and how to properly dress for upscale functions. I didn't have anyone to teach this to me because of my blue collar roots, and now I see a whole new generation of DeMolays with the same issue. They have a suit, they know the basics, but beyond that, they have no idea what is and is not acceptable!

Society likes to use "code words" for how men should dress. These are commonly accepted phrases like formal, semi-formal, business casual, etc. If you were to go to Wikipedia and search "Suit," the applicable article that you would find is more than six thousand words long, detailing things such as cut, fabric, lapels, venting, breeches, trousers, ties, shirts, and more. It's a lot of information to digest to be sure. There is, however, a better way to get this information across to our young men. Talk to them about it! Show them a different way to tie a tie, or explain why white socks don't go with a black suit (or any suit for that matter!) If we don't explain this to them, then we can't blame them for not knowing it! These tips will help them in DeMolay, but they will be especially thankful when they go out into the real world with this knowledge and can apply it when preparing for interviews and other formal gatherings.

I'm not expecting to see a bunch of DeMolay fasionistas, but one thing it seems our society is losing is "common knowledge" information such as this; things that men used to pass from father to son, as sort of a "rite of passage." We are now in an age where that information is being lost, so take some time and pass it on to others. They will thank you in the long run!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

As a side note: For those of you that have been following along, I usually try to post on Tuesday and Thursday. I am changing that schedule a bit, and will now try to post on Monday and Thursday. If I have any special articles that come in, I may use them in place of my post, or add them to my regular ramblings. It just depends on how talkative I am that week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whoa Pilgrim!

It seems that the slow march of time is not so slow these days. With the world constantly changing, and forging forward, there are very few stable forces in society today. However, 2010 marks an anniversary for one of those remaining pillars of community strength; Pilgrim Chapter turns 85 this year, and on Saturday, April 17th, they plan to celebrate.

Pilgrim Chapter has been serving the Harrisburg community since 1925, and has produced 5 of Pennsylvania DeMolay's State Master Councilors (Randall (1928); Fenical (1933); Sarvis (1937); Logan (1972); Solano (1995). It is interesting to note that of those PSMC's, three of them came before 1942 (when PA DeMolay closed it's doors until 1951, due to WWII.) That shows that even early in its life, Pilgrim Chapter was a leader among PA DeMolay.

Knowing that the Anniversary was coming, "Mom" Jan Harms and "Dad" Doug Harms dove into the Pilgrim historical files to see what they could dig up. Lo and behold, they found several treasures. Below is a photo of the Pilgrim Chapter Band, taken in 1933 during a Knights Templar Conclave in Allentown. Just think, could your Chapter get that many guys together to have their own band?

Also included was a cord bound volume with a list of the original Chevalier designates of the Harrisburg Court of Chevaliers. In this book were photos of many recognizable persons from PA DeMolay. "Dad" Wilbur Minich, a long time supporter of the program features prominently, especially when you realize that the book was found among papers from his collection. Also within the pages is a biography and some background on "Dad" J. Franklyn Runkle, who was a member of the Supreme Council before his passing.

The other prize found among the pages was a photo of Robert W. Sarvis, who is believed to be the oldest living Past State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay. We here at the office have been unable to locate any information on his whereabouts, or his death, so it is presumed that he is still alive. If you're out there Bro. Sarvis, we'd love to hear from you!

I hope that you are able to attend the banquet being held at Pilgrim Chapter this weekend. Join with them and celebrate 85 years of DeMolay in Central PA! Maybe they'll return the favor when your Chapter turns 85!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Of Leadership and Ham

Spring time comes with lots of connotations. Some say it's the time for love, others the time for rebirth, and still others the time for Easter Eggs! In PA DeMolay, spring is marked most (un)usually by Spring Leadership Weekend. What is Spring Leadership Weekend? Well, you've probably heard it called lots of other names... Superhero School, Call to Duty, Clue, and others, but around the PA DeMolay office we call it Spring Leadership Weekend to keep our heads straight!

So just where did this tradition come from, and what exactly is it? Well, jump in your Hot Tub Time Machine and take a trip back with me to the heady days of 2002! "Dad" Labagh had been EO for only about 2 years now, "Dad" Brent Richards was holding down the fort as the webmaster, "Dad" Anthony had only been a member for about 4 months, and "Dad" Marvin A. Cunningham had just been installed as Right Worshipful Grand Master. Things were looking up for PA DeMolay, and the folks here at the office were looking for something new, invigorating, and fun to add to the DeMolay calendar. After a storm of thinking, "Dad" Brent Richards had an idea (not to mention a much fuller head of hair!) What if the adults of PA DeMolay provided a weekend-long leadership conference that played on their talents for acting and general hamming it up? Brilliant! So the planning began...

Back in the 1980's the board game CLUE was very popular. Not only did it sell lots of copies, it also had a movie made about it starring Tim Curry. If you haven't seen it, it's a comedy classic that you should definitely check out. Anywho, back to the story... the planning team had this idea that advisors would wear costumes and pretend to be the characters from CLUE, all the while the members would attend workshops, gathering clues to find out who murdered "Mr. Body." The best part was that even the characters didn't know who had done it, so it was a suprise to everyone at the end of the day! Having attended that event as a DeMolay, I can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable DeMolay experiences I ever had. PA DeMolay had a hit on it's hands, and the time was ripe for more of these kinds of shenanigans.

The Original Cast of CLUE!
(Pictured above: (Seated) "Mom" Kathy Prazenica as Miss Scarlet, "Dad" Allen Moyer as Professor Plum, (Standing) "Mom" Yolanda Weider as Mrs. White, "Mom" Donna Brown as Mrs. Peacock, "Dad" Ray Gottschall as Colonel Mustard, "Dad" Jim Ray as Mr. Green, "Dad" Brent Richards as the Butler.

Flash forward a year, the flowers were once again blossoming, and "Dad" Richards was hard at work planning a follow up event. CLUE was so popular that he didn't want to stray too far away from the idea. So, his brain hatched up CLUE 2 for Spring Leadership Weekend 2003. This time around the characters would be medieval, but the premise would remain much the same. With another round of advisors willing to make fools of themselves, costumes were once again created, and CLUE 2 was a smash hit! From pompous Chancellors, to angry Queens, and twisted Bishops, it was a fantastic time! A tradition had now been started in PA DeMolay, and ideas were churning for future events.

The Cast of CLUE 2!
(Pictured from left to right: "Dad" Dave Berry as the Bishop, "Dad" Brent Richards as the Jester, "Mom" Missy Smith as Princess White, "Dad" Ray Gottschall as the King, "Mom" Jan Harms as the Queen, "Mom" Mary Knapp as Lady Scarlet, "Dad" Rick Freedman as the Knight, and "Dad" Allen Moyer as the Chancellor.)

In July of 2003 Bro. Steve Prazenica was elected State Master Councilor, and began planning his year and membership campaigns. The fall would be a superhero theme (sound familiar?) called Clash of Titans. The spring membership campaign was still up in the air, though. After some conversations with his other Elected State Officers, it was decided that pirates would be a great theme as several pirate related movies had just come out. But how to do it? Signal the advisors, because this began "Membership Mutiny!"

After some preliminary planning it was decided that members and advisors would be encouraged to dress as pirates and make "raids" on Chapters. During these raids the State Officers and EO's Leadership Team would drop in, give the Chapter a treasure chest filled with membership ideas and goodies, and encourage the Chapter to participate in the campaign. What a campaign it turned out to be! With Spring Leadership Weekend right around the corner it was only natural that the pirates would be there to spice things up. There wasn't a mystery to be solved, but a certain well groomed advisor did end up walking the plank at the Patton Pool (here's to you "Dad" Freedman!) The tradition of a crazy conference was once again complete, and lots of great memories were certainly created during that year!

The globe continues spinning however, and soon it was the spring of 2005. Bro. Justin Killian had ascended to the office of State Master Councilor, and it was once again time to plan Spring Leadership Weekend. Bro. Killian and his crew had come up with a military based theme, working around the idea of a game of Risk (again, sound familiar?) The program was called "Risk It!" and once again it was time for some folks to make fools of themselves. The State Officers took up the flag this time though, but "Dad" Ray Gottschall was there to lend his support as "General Arthur McPatton." This time the attendees of Spring Leadership Weekend gained points and territories to try to prove their portion of the State was the best. While this program wasn't quite as entertaining as the others had been, it was still a success. It did however mark a temporary end to advisors putting on costumes and acting strange.

From 2006 to 2008 the program continued, but it slowly moved from silly to serious. There were still themes, like Bro. Jake Palo's "Spring Break," but the program was morphing into something different than what had made it popular in the first place.

This brings us to 2009, and "Call to Duty" weekend. I had been on staff with PA DeMolay for about 6 months at that point, and I thought it was a fine time to bring back of the outrageousness of previous events. I drafted my "go-to" guys, "Dad's" Richards, Gottschall, Moyer, and Freedman, who were all veterans of earlier conferences. This time they would be taking up the mantle of crazy foreign diplomats in an effort to prove that their home country was not responsible for a downed spy plane found on Patton Campus. At the end of the day it was determined that the French were guilty (I didn't even think they had planes!) and the French diplomat was led away. Spring Leadership Weekend was back, and everyone in attendance had a fantastic time!

The Cast of Call to Duty!
(Pictured above, from left to right: "Dad" Brent Richards as Dan Washington, "Dad" Allen Moyer as Jean Teallouetta, "Dad" Rick Freedman as James Blonde, and "Dad" Ray Gottschall as Comrade Badanov.)

So here it is, 2010, and we're coming up on "Superhero School," our latest in the Spring Leadership Weekend series of events. Some old favorites are back, including "Dad's" Freedman and Gottschall, and some new advisors are also participating in the fun. Have you checked out the "Rogues Gallery" over on yet? If not, you better go see who the crazy characters are for this year's event... it is sure to go down in history as another fun-filled Spring Leadership Weekend!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Why be a member?

DeMolay is a unique organization in that the benefits of membership are, for the most part, intangible. It's hard to describe to a prospective member what "brotherhood" is, or define why you love "fellowship" so much, but they are indeed major draws to the program.

There are, however, some real life, physical, benefits. One that we at PA DeMolay have seen get little use is the Masonic Blood Donor Club. While there are limitations on who can actually give blood(specifically age requirements) ANY DeMolay in Pennsylvania can become a member if someone donates in his name! Once a DeMolay becomes a member of the Blood Club, that means that HE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY are ALL covered under the program. It sounds like a great program, but what exactly is it and how does it work? Well according to their website at

"It is any group of people who join together and agree to donate blood on a current routine basis in anticipation of the future blood needs of the group's members. It is a unique opportunity to protect you and your family and at the same time to save the life of another. Your participation in the Group Blood Assurance Plan offers cost-free blood replacement on a nationwide basis, if the hospital in which you or your family member is a patient is a member of the American Association of Blood Banks. Most health insurance policies do not pay for blood, therefore this is valuable protection."

So what happens after you give blood and then someone has an emegency and needs it?

"Inform the hospital that the patient is a Member of the Masonic Blood Club of Pennsylvania. This is normally all that is needed. If the hospital bills the patient for the blood, DO NOT PAY FOR THE UNITS. The patient is responsible for the cost of the administration of the blood, but not the blood itself."

What does this really mean for you? If you, or a member of your immediate family, are registered with the Masonic Blood Club, and you're in an accident that requires emergency workers to supply you with blood, you (and your family) will pay NOTHING for the blood itself. It's really that easy!

Now get this; now only do you get the health insurance benefit, but your DeMolay Chapter can get a financial benefit too! How? "

We are pleased to announce that any Blood Drive sponsored by a PA Lodge or appendant Masonic organization or Masonic youth group, will qualify that organization to designate for each blood unit collected, a gift of $10 per unit to a Masonic Charity (501c3 classification) of their choice, if pre-approved by this committee. Use this request form to sign up for this program. ... which will also need to be added to the list of forms on the right side of the page, just ABOVE the link to the Schedule of Bloodmobile Collections.)"

That's free money for your Chapter and a FREE benefit to you! This is a fantastic program that all Youth Group members and Master Masons should be involved with. Recently, Bro. Tyler Bausinger, of the recently re-opened Delaware Valley Chapter, participated in a Blood Drive with the club. Check it out here...

Now, go donate some blood, or get your Mom or Dad or any adult to donate in your name!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A History of Berrys

Like so many DeMolays, when I joined Clearfield Chapter back (way back!) in 1976 I did it to calm the pressure of family and friends who knew how good the organization would be to me. I begrudgingly went to meetings, but found the emphasis on sports to be a real turn off to me. I attending meetings for several months and then disappeared and fell into the inactive status for the better part of a year.

One day in early September, as the school year was beginning, I received a phone call from Bobby Ingram, the Junior Councilor of Clearfield Chapter, who I vaguely remembered was just beginning to get active having joined a few months before I did. He told me about an upcoming meeting and then told me that his Dad wanted to talk to me. I wasn’t sure where this was heading, but I figured it was worth talking to “Dad” Ingram.

After telling me that he was the new Chapter Advisor, he told me that things were going to change at the Chapter. He promised me that the local program was going to expand into much more than a softball team in the summer and a basketball team in the winter. He wondered what things I was interested in and assured me that anything was possible if the members made it so. (In many ways, he was a generation ahead of where most Chapter Advisors were back in the late 1970’s – he knew that empowering the young men of DeMolay was what would make the program successful.)

“Dad” Ingram explained that he and Bobby had reviewed the list of all of the members who had joined in the past couple of years and that both agreed that I was someone whose future could be in DeMolay if I just came back and gave it another try. (Are you taking notes, Advisors? This single phone call changed my life, and perhaps we need to take a closer look at those young men who have lost interest and try to get them back to “give it one more try!”)

My Mom and Dad were surprised and delighted that I wanted to go back to a meeting. My paternal Grandfather, who was the one who wanted me to join the most, was thrilled. Next thing I knew I was in the card room of the Masonic Temple talking with Bobby and his Dad. They were a persuasive tag team. When we discussed my interests and they learned that I liked to write, “Dad” Ingram told me that the Chapter really needed a newsletter and he asked me to work on a sample and bring it to the next meeting. He gave me some samples from other Chapters, but told me to make it my own.

So I did. In about six weeks we were publishing a monthly newsletter, “The Precepts” and I was totally immersing myself into the program – so much so that I decided to run for Junior Councilor, and in an election I really shouldn’t have won, I was elected, beating the popular athlete who really was the heir apparent! Less than a year after that fateful phone call I found myself Senior Councilor when Bobby Ingram was Master Councilor and I was preparing for my own term as Master Councilor.

Fast forward 10 incredible and memorable years after that phone call, and my “return” to the DeMolay Organization (a place I have obviously, never left!), and I’m preparing to take over as Chapter Advisor of Clearfield Chapter – the third since “Dad” Ingram filled the position, and in a sentimental reversal I found myself working with “Dad” Ingram’s youngest son, Rodney, who was the Junior Councilor of the Chapter. It was a remarkable experience being able to do for Rod what his Dad had done for me. His term as Master Councilor was extremely successful and his work was recognized with the Past Master Councilor’s Meritorious Service Award.

That was in 1988. What of the next 22 years? While the Ingram Family was growing with weddings and children, I was still working with DeMolay, dabbling in politics, returning to college to earn a teaching certification and taking my job with the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation. I kept in touch with the Ingram family and in 1999 the Ingram Brothers crafted a magnificent set of new candlesticks and preceptor stands for Elizabethtown Chapter – both Bobby and Rod followed in their Dad’s woodworking hobby footsteps and are recognized as two of the best woodworkers in Pennsylvania.

And they have continued to embrace the Masonic tenets that were instilled into their lives as DeMolays: Bobby has two daughters, Charleigh and Bailey, and Rodney has a daughter and son, Raven and Gus. Charleigh is a Past Worthy Advisor of -Moshannon Valley Assembly, Order of Rainbow for Girls, who just installed her sister Bailey as Worthy Advisor and her cousin Raven as Associate Worthy Advisor. What about Gus? A little too young for DeMolay, but definitely looking to that as his future, even if Grand-dad is driving him to al-Aksa Chapter in Altoona.

The Installation was a great experience! Lots of reminiscing with the entire family, including sister Paula, who provided the artwork for the cover of “The Precepts” newsletter in 1977 and who joked with me that she still makes the best meatballs because of many years of making thousands of homemade meatballs for the DeMolay Food Booth at the Clearfield Fair; Mom Betty, who was one of the first Presidents of the Clearfield DeMolay Mother’s Club (long, long before we had “Mom” Advisors!); and Bobby’s wife Tammy, a Past Worthy Advisor and current Mother Advisor of Mo Valley Assembly (I still remember that we joked as active DeMolays that he won her heart during the fast dances because I did too much toe-stomping during the slow dances!)

Thanks for spending some time with me as I rambled through over 30 years of personal history. “Dad” Ingram and his family will always have my respect, friendship and appreciation because if he hadn’t convinced a disinterested 16 year old that he should give DeMolay “one more try” I doubt that any of you would know me as PA DeMolay's Executive Secretary today! Thanks “Dad” Ingram for taking a chance on me!

"Dad" Dave Berry

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sneak Peak at a New EO Policy

We've had a busy week here at the PA DeMolay office. With Superhero School fast approaching, and Convention and Key Man on the horizon, the staff are starting to kick into high gear for summer planning. However, this doesn't mean we take any time away from doing all we can to make the DeMolay program better.

With that in mind, we have had some heated discussions on ways to improve the Order in Pennsylvania. Lots of ideas were tossed around, but the one that seemed to consistently show the most prospect is very simple, and easily implemented. Below you'll find a preview of the statement, soon to be issued by the EO, and created a policy within PA.

"Pennsyvlania DeMolay takes its Masonic Heritage very seriously. In recent years PA DeMolay has gotten away from some significant traditions that relate back to the fraternity. Therefore, as of April 1st, 2010, all DeMolay Chapters are now required to adopt some form of hat or headgear, to be worn at all official meetings, and when in public. Examples from the past include pill box style hats, fezzes, peaked caps, and others. This policy will be enforced by the Deputy Executive Officers."

All DeMolay Chapters operating within PA will be required to send a sample version of their hat to the PA DeMolay Office for approval and recordkeeping purposes.

So, what kind of hat do you like to wear?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony