Friday, May 28, 2010

Can you place PA on a map?

You, as a member of DeMolay in Pennsylvania, have more impact on our organization than you know. Specifically, you have a huge amount of sway in determining where PA DeMolay is going to rank among all of the jurisdictions in the world when it comes to membership. Let's start simple, though.

Have you ever gone to and checked out their Membership Statistics page? Go ahead and check those out. I'll wait...

Ooo... I forgot about this bag of honey nut chex mix in my desk. This is some tasty... oh, wait, you're back. Great! So, if you look at the membership statistics page you'll see that Pennsylvania is the 8th largest jurisdiction in all of DeMolay International. 8th seems pretty good right? Well, it could, but when you realize that we're only 4 new members away from moving up to 7th (take that Indiana!) then 8th isn't so great! If we continue our current trend, we could easily move up to 6th and beat out Washington! That's only 31 more members!

Moving up depends on one thing, however, and that is what the other Jurisdictions are doing in the way of recruitment. Using that same Membership Statistics page we can glean some more information about our rivals! Out of the top ten, only 4 Jurisdictions are larger now than they were one year ago (PA, Southern California, Missouri, and Ohio.) Notice that Indiana and Washington State are not on that list! That means that they are losing more members than they are gaining, which gives us the advantage!
Now, one more stat! If you click on the "365" under the "Recent New Members" header, it will re-sort the numbers to show you who has recruited the most new members in the last 365 days. Well, look at that! PA is 5th, and we're only behind the 4th place Jurisdiction by 7, the third place Jurisdiction by 12, and the second place Jurisdiction by 15! That's right my Brothers! All we need to do is recruit about, oh, 20 new guys in the next 30 days, and we should be able to be the second largest recruiter in all of DeMolay International! That's huge!

So, I hear you saying, "20 new members in 30 days? That's kind of hard! " How about I do you one better and say that you only need to recruit 12 new members in 30 days? You can thank Bro. Jeff Hample, of Northeast Chapter, because Jeff has just inducted 8 of his friends into DeMolay! Great job Jeff! He truly understands that membership is a "me" thing, not a "we" thing. He took it upon himself to go get new members, not wait around for someone else from his Chapter to do the job.

Alright guys - those are your marching orders! If you can get 12 new members in the next 30 days, we have a good shot at being the second largest recruiter in the world! I know you can do it, so go out there and get your friends to join DeMolay! Oh, and don't forget to check out the membership statistics often so you know where PA ranks!

What are you waiting for? I'm just going enjoy my Chex Mix. Go recruit someone!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mortar Boards and Sombreros

"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that "individuality" is the key to success." ~ Robert Orben

Ah, that time of year when all of the young people across our great nation drape themselves in gowns and wear goofy, square shaped, caps to celebrate their apparent achievement in reaching a culturally significant milestone; otherwise known as graduation.

Whether it be from a college or university, or simply from high school, our society places huge importance on "graduation." We celebrate the achievement of youth by patting them on the back, giving them some money, and then sending them on their way. As a DeMolay advisor, I get several invitations to graduation parties each year, and it makes me feel good to know that the youth I work with want me to be a part of their celebrations. The party serves as a culmination to several years of hard work, and a chance to look into the future and relive the past. As cliche as it may seem, graduations are certainly not the ending of anything, they are in fact a beginning.

They are a beginning of what is going to be the scariest and most stressful part of your life (especially if you're graduating out of school and going into the real world.) Schools do a great job of teaching you lessons that you will need to write a resume and get a job. That's their purpose. All schools like to trumpet how many of their students end up going on to land jobs. However, I posit that this is a really poor measurement of how well their students have done after they have left the hallowed halls.

What I'd really like to know is how many students end up filing for bankruptcy during their first five years after school? How many graduates boomerang back to their parents because of an inability to manage their own finances and maintain a place of living? How many go on to default on loans, blunder their way through interviews, or lose sight of the important things in life? They can't tell you those numbers, and they never will.

School teaches you scholastics. DeMolay teaches you life. It's that simple. There is never going to be a class in high school or college that teaches you banquet etiquette, and I'm willing to bet very few will instruct a person where a cut of meat comes from on a cow. These are life lessons that a person can learn in DeMolay, and as an Advisor it is my job to do that.

While it may not be the most exciting gift to receive, I would recommend that all Advisors purchase a copy of this book for any DeMolay graduating High School or College -

I was given this book by my boss at my first real job. I was long out of college, but she thought the book was good, and gave me an extra copy that she had. Wow! What a book! It covers some really good life lessons, and makes you think about things that were never covered in school. What's the difference between and HMO and PPO? What are my responsiblities when tax time comes around? How should a fellow go about buying a diamond when that special lady comes into his life? What should you look for when renting your first apartment? How should you dress for business casual? This book tells it all.

"So, as DeMolays graduate, and move on in their lives, it's important for us, as Advisors, to change with our members, and give them the life lessons they need to become productive members of society. That being said, I'll leave you with a quote that I find particularly appropriate;

"At commencement you wear your square-shaped mortarboards. My hope is that from time to time you will let your minds be bold, and wear sombreros." ~ Paul Freund

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, May 24, 2010

Donde esta el blog?

Good afternoon folks!

It's been a week since the last blog post, and I'm sure many of you are wondering why there have been no updates. It's simple really! I have been in Erie for the past week or so attending the Grand Conclave of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania, along with Bro. Howard Wagner, your State Master Councilor. I'm not going to bore you with the full details, but I do have a fun video for you of Howard's comments during the banquet. Enjoy!

With that, we should be back on track for our regular updates!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why do we do this?

Anyone who has been around PA DeMolay long enough (yes, it's another one of those posts) will be familiar with the simple, yet rhetorical, question of "Why do we do this?" Usually, you would hear this question on a Sunday morning during Chapel service as a starter to the discussion of mixing of faiths within our program. Today, however, it has a different meaning.

Last week I got an e-mail from "Dad" Rick Freedman, of Friendship-Bray Chapter, with some pictures attached, and no message. The subject of the e-mail was "The things we do for those kids..." Attached to the message was a series of photos, which you'll find throughout this article, of "Dad" Freedman in several silly get-ups from our activities over the years. "Dad" Freedman ranks right up there as one of the PA DeMolay all-star Advisors, always being ready to throw on a silly costume and act like a nut to help the program. So, I asked myself, why does "Dad" Freedman do this? Heck, why does any advisor do this?

Many of you will have heard the adage "Advisory Council's who play together, stay together." Over and over again that saying has proven true. It goes back to the old idea that if you aren't having fun doing something, why bother? DeMolay is a program for the young men, but it's been proven time and time again that the Advisors and adult leaders of the program gain just as much, if not more, from their involvement when compared to the young men. "Dad" Freedman is a prime example. Not only does he have a positive and rewarding experience working with the young men of Friendship-Bray Chapter (which is in a growth stage right now) but he also enjoys working with young men from across the state as a member of the Executive Officer's Leadership Team. "Dad" Freedman, as well as many other Advisors, don't do this just for the benefit of the young men, but they do it for themselves as well.

It comes back to the idea of WIIFM. WIIFM stands for "What's in it for me?" We can preach all we want that the program is about the young men, and that volunteering your time to help them serves the community. That's exactly true, but couldn't I go help the community through Big Brother's and Big Sisters? Or aid my town through work with Rotary? Of course I could, but DeMolay has something for me that I can't find anywhere else. It's that intangible feeling of knowing that you have made a difference in the life of others while having more fun than you realize. That's what's in it for me, and I would conjecture that it's part of why "Dad" Freedman participates in the way he does.

I challenge each Advisor to answer three simple questions.
  1. Why do I do this?

  2. What's in it for me?

  3. What experience have I had in DeMolay that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else?

If you can answer all of those questions, then you have a great starting pitch for recruiting new Advisors.

Now that's why I do this.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Secret Life of an Elected State Officer

There is a lot more to being an Elected State Officer than many folks realize. Having been one myself, the experience tends to create a fraternity inside the fraternity, composed of those who have served at the jurisdictional level. To many it seems that being a State Officer is a lot of fun, which quite honestly it is! However, with that fun comes much work and responsibility. For every "fun" thing you might see an Elected State Officer doing, there are five things that they do behind the scene that are assuredly not "fun." However, that's part of the experience and the reward.

There was a great article that used to appear on as part of the "So you want to be an Elected State Officer?" series. It was a simple "want ad" that described the experience. I've recreated it, as best as possible, from memory (so cut me some slack!)

WANTED - Elected State Officers: Looking for active DeMolays who desire to help their Brothers and better the State. Must be a PMC, RD, and hold the Lamp of Knowledge. Duties include the meeting of several deadlines, long hours of travel, late night meetings, and ability to think on your feet. Excellent presentation skills are a must, and the ideal candidate will possess the ability to constantly communicate with others. If you think you are qualified please contact Pennsylvania DeMolay.

So, do you think you have what it takes? Want an example? Bros. Tom Moyer and Matt Blaisdell just returned from traveling to Smethport, PA, to talk about the possibility of a new DeMolay Chapter. Where is Smethport? Let's just say a long from Elizabethtown! After spending just over 5 hours in a car, the guys hopped out, made a presentation to the members of the local Lodge for about an hour, hit a hotel for the night, and then drove back to Elizabethtown the next day. For those keeping track, that's 10 hours of travel in about 24 hours for a one hour presentation! Now, they certainly had fun on the trip, but it was in light of the hard work.

If you are interested in being an Elected State Officer you have five days to file your letter with PA DeMolay. That would be just one more part of the whole "meeting deadlines" thing...

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, May 10, 2010

25 Years, 3 Generations, 1 DeMolay Experience

In 2010 Pennsylvania DeMolay will celebrate the 25th consecutive year of the Key Man Conference. This is a huge milestone, and marks this gathering as one of the longest running in DeMolay. This year we are taking some time to celebrate that effort, and reflect on years gone by.

For the new folks out there, the KeyMan Conference is the premier leadership conference hosted by Pennsylvania DeMolay. It has garnered international attention and participation, mostly thanks to its hands-on approach to training and leadership. DeMolays who attend are given a controlled environment to hone their leadership skills by participating in actual Chapter activities while at the Conference. Held in early August each year at Patton Campus, the Conference splits participants up into Chapters, which then operate just as a normal DeMolay Chapter would. Thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteer adult Advisors, the young men learn and grow, and then take those experiences back home to help their Chapters.

That is the program as it stands today, but it certainly didn't start out that way! Some people bemoan "the good old days" when the Conference consisted of a binder of papers and information that traveled with the attendees as they went from workshop to workshop. But we prefer the current "Reality" concept, developed by "Dad" Brent Richards in the early 2000's, and it remains the model for the program.

That's enough boring history for now. What I really want to talk about is the human side of this story! For 25 years the Key Man conference has been bringing together DeMolays and Advisors from all over America and Canada, enabling them to forge lasting friendships thanks to the shared experience. Recently, we created a Facebook Group called "PA DeMolay Key Man Conference Alumni" for those who have attended the Conference to look back at all the wonderful times they've had. We estimate that PA DeMolay has had over 2500 gradutes of the Key Man Conference, and that's not to mention the Advisors and volunteers who've attended as well. That's a huge amount of people affected by the program!

If you hang around PA DeMolay long enough you're certain to hear about "pivotal" events from the Conference. Things like the fabled "rededication," or the year the participants accidentally stumbled across a bees nest to ill effects. Or perhaps you've seen the pictures of "Dad" Allen Moyer in his knee-high socks. Maybe you remember running the early morning "Iron Man" challenges put forth by "Dad" Brian Harden. Who could forget the Amish Swami as portrayed by "Dad" Brent Richards with assistance from "Dad" Ray Gottschall. Speaking of Advisors dressing up in silly costumes, "Dad" Rick Freedman used to wow the crowds as El Sorro, and let us not forget the year he portrayed "Jerry Slinger" when he hosted a T.V. talk show where Jacques DeMolay got to face his accusers. We all have great Key Man memories to share, and that's part of the experience. Personally, I can vividly remember getting ritual help from "Dad" Tom Sellers of Virginia, who worked with me tirelessly on squaring corners and ritual presentation, and that's what the program is all about. Bringing people together to better their DeMolay experience.

So, what's your favorite Key Man memory? Why not share it over on the Facebook group?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'll take "Community Service Competition" for $100, Alex...

Last weekend at PA DeMolay's Superhero School event we held the Community Service competition (among others.) This is the first time that PA DeMolay has held the competition at an event other than Convention in quite some time. There were some issues with notification of the competition, but that aside, those who competed did a fantastic job.

Once of the questions we often get asked is "Just what is my Chapter supposed to do for the Community Service competition?" Why, that's a fabulous question Johnny! To answer your query, I'm going to turn to the folks at Allentown Chapter, who did a fantastic job at putting together their presentation.

Allentown, under the direction of Bro. Carl Blew, built a nice a display out of some card stock and printouts. Nothing fancy or costly, but very functional. The display showcased how Allentown celebrated donated foods to the Allentown Ecumenical Food Bank. This wasn't any old food drive however! The Chapter teamed up with Arbor Insurance Agency, who supplied the members with eco-friendly "green" bags. These bags were created with the environment in mind, and are reusable. The Chapter members were asked to fill the bags with food, and then return them to the Masonic Temple. Pretty simple, huh?

Allentown didn't stop there, however. They got the local TV station to run a promotion for their food drive and posted flyers about town asking for support. In all, 10 DeMolays, 5 Advisors, and 15 hours of service amounted to several LARGE (and we mean big!) boxes of food being donated. One member, Andrew Barber, went even further by obtaining and decorating a box for the drive to encourage participation.

So, the event was successful, but how does that tie into the competition? The Chapter took lots of pictures of the event, and made sure to get copies of the letters and flyers they sent. They then put all of that information on a nice, well constructed, and informative display that they used during the competition. It really is that easy!

What did your Chapter do for Community Service last year? Did you participate in the competition?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

P.S. - I know this post was a day late. How do I respond to such accusations? Simply put... *insert Newsman voice here...* deal with it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

This is why we do this...

The PMYF Adult Leader and the PA DeMolay Superhero School weekends are now behind us, and things are starting to settle back into the regular groove here at the PMYF office. Both events went off fabulously, and we're hearing rave reviews from all corners of the commonwealth.

As you can well imagine, these events don't just plan and execute themselves. Many hours of preparation go into creating these weekends, and when it's all over, the memories of enjoyable experiences are hopefully the outcome. Truth be told, we rarely hear about how these weekends impact on members and advisors, especially if it's in a good way (the old adage that you'll hear more complaints than compliments is very true!) So, to our sup rise and delight we received the following letter via e-mail from a DeMolay advisor that reminds us just why we do this!

To Pa. DeMolay,

This weekend Westmoreland Chapter took 10 boys and 4 Advisors to Super Hero Weekend. We have 12 boys, and the other two wanted to come also, but family commitments would not make that possible. As we, the advisors, were getting ready to head out we thought 10 boys… 3-1/2 hours in cars… WOW is this going to be a challenge! The boys were excited and loud, but the trip was ok. The weekend was great. The boys all said they had fun and even learned a little stuff. They really like the swimming, dodgeball and basketball. They also liked the Super Hero part.

It was a very busy weekend and the next thing we knew it was time to load the boys up for the return 3-1/2 hour trip. You would have thought they would have fallen asleep; no way. Part of the trip they talked about who took the Crown. By 3:15 we had returned the boys home. I think the other advisors were done by then also.

At 5:00 PM we needed to be at the Greensburg Masonic Center for the DeMolay Meeting. Before the meeting started, while the boys were setting up the room, some of the advisors were talking about the last couple of weekends at E-Town. All the advisors were laughing so hard about the stories told. Now it is time for the meeting.

We were told that Steel City Chapter was coming for the JUDGE. At start time they were not here yet. Knowing they were coming from E-Town also, we started the meeting 15 minutes late. According to the rules of the JUDGE the visiting Chapter must be present from the beginning of the meeting to the end of the meeting. We are about 15 minutes into the meeting and there is a knock at the door. They made it, but according to the rules they might not get the JUDGE. What happened next was amazing.

When the meeting was almost over and they were under the Good of the Order, the M.C. Nolan Westerlund asked the Steel City boys to step out for a moment. He then asked the Chapter what they should do about the JUDGE, because, at this point, I will tell you that our boys are very passionate about the JUDGE. They feel that it “belongs” in Westmoreland Chapter. After some debate they called the Steel City boys back in and gave them the JUDGE. I will also say they did find out when their next meeting was so they could bring it back “home.”

The reason I feel this story is important, is to show that they DO pay attention, even when you do not feel they are listening or learning what DeMolay is all about. This was a prime example of DeMolay at work. The boys of Westmoreland Chapter thought more about Steel City, and they took into consideration that they took time to visit, and therefore set the rules aside to help their brother DeMolays.

To the State Officers past, current & future, the Executive Officer and staff, the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation:
You might not hear this very often, but you make a difference in the lives of not only the boys but also Advisors. This weekend, even thought the boys of Westmoreland Chapter did not say it, they were paying attention to the workshops, and put a lot of what they learned into action last night.
Great job!


Bruce Neubauer, Sr.

Advisor-- Westmoreland Chapter-- and I am very proud of it!

This is a great story from a Chapter experiencing a renaissance in excitement, enthusiasm and growth. So, what's your Chapter's story?