Monday, August 30, 2010

Exits are to the front and rear of the Lodge...

Good Monday to you all!

I'm afraid that my regularly scheduled blog post won't be a diatribe from my own gullet today - rather I am turning it over to the Art of Manliness, who do a much better job than me by far.

This afternoon "Dad" Berry and myself will be heading to the Mt. Laurel Resort, located in White Haven, PA, to scout out a possible Convention site for next year. We're both very excited about this property and I hope to have the final determination on what site we're choosing by tomorrow.

This means that I have to make a hasty exit from the blog so that I can hit the road. While trying to come up with an idea to entertain you for the day, I came across this article called How to Exit a Room Like a Man over at the Art of Manliness website. One of the biggest challenges of being a DeMolay is learning how to deal with the adults around you.

We all know "Dad" Joe Mason - that guy that always wants to talk about DeMolay back in his day. He likes to talk, alot, and there is never a good way to keep him quiet and sneak off. Well, this article teaches you some good tricks on how to escape "Dad" Mason and gives you some life lessons to boot. So check it out!

Alright everyone - I'm off to the Poconos!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is that a WIIFM winner I hear?

Well friends, another Friday is upon on us, and in my world that means it's WIIFM Winner day! This weeks winner marks a milestone in the contest as he is the first person who is unaffiliated with PA DeMolay to win. This person is a big supporter of DeMolay program in the District of Columbia, and we're pleased to be sending a patch to such a find jurisdiction!

Congratulations to "Dad" Teko Foley, Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia, for being this week's winner!

This concludes week 6 of the contest, which means there is still 4 weeks left for you to win! What do you need to do? Well, check out the contest rules here, which are really easy by the way, and you could be next week's winner!

As a side note, we should be back on schedule for regular posting after our technical difficulties earlier in the week. Why not stop by Monday for more random musings?

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are you being served?

Some people like to go to sleep while watching television, while others like to listen to the radio, and another group likes it absolutely quiet. I like to fall asleep while listening to podcasts. I currently subscribe to four different ones (a movie related one, a couple of geek news shows, and the Art of Manliness.) While listening to the latest episode of the Art of Manliness I was reminded of something I believe whole heartedly in but haven't yet discussed on the blog - servant leadership.

Before we take the big dive into this topic I'd like you to ask yourself a question. "Who am I serving?"

This question becomes very important when you take on a leadership role in any organization, be it in DeMolay, in your school, or in your community. When you set out to lead people, you are really setting out to serve them by offering your unique talents and vision to steer their organization in the right direction. When elected or appointed to a leadership role your job immediately becomes to do what is best for the organization and for its members, regardless of other motives. In some cases you have to do what is right even when the members don't want it (such as raising dues or changing a tradition.) In other cases you have to go against your own feelings and do something the members want (such as having an event you don't particularly like.) In either case, it's up to you to serve your members by providing stability and direction.

What does being a servant leader really mean? To relate it back to our theme for the year, it means "Taking Control!," but not in the way you probably expect. I'm not referring to control of the group or organization, but rather control of yourself, your will, and your motives. Any person that is in charge has to lead by example. Until you can take control of yourself and set the example you can hardly command an organization. You, as a leader, have to separate your values and wants as a person from the opinions and needs of the group. This is what we expect our Congressmen to do (although they rarely succeed.) If a person is elected to office and believes that the public library should be closed but his constituency (a fancy word for the people who elected him) don't want it to shut down then he should probably vote to keep it open (or else he'll face the issue during his next election.) While that was a simple example, it's what serving is all about - making things better for those who you lead, rather than making things better for yourself.

Let's relate this to the fraternity and to DeMolay. When you get elected Master Councilor you've been entrusted with the highest position of leadership in the Chapter. It means you've been elected as the highest servant in the group as well. Managing your time has just become more important because the Chapter is now relying on you to make time for it and to lead it in the right direction. No one wants to sit and stuff envelopes on a Sunday afternoon, but as the Master Councilor you might have to do this. It's part of serving your Chapter to the fullest extent possible.

Some of you may be familiar with the idea of an "Organization Chart." It's a graphic that businesses use to show who is charge and where everyone fits in the group. Generally, the "boss" is on top, with everyone else reporting to him / her in some way (whether it be to another person then to him / her or to him / her directly.) When all filled out, it kind of looks like a pyramid. However, in DeMolay our organization charts look a little different because of this servant leader idea. Let's take a look:
Well look at that. It kind of looks like an upside down pyramid, with the Master Councilor on the bottom level - and it's absolutely right. Your supervisor, boss, or whatever you want to call it, are your members, officers, PMC's, and others. You need to listen to and serve them to be effective. That's the real challenge of being in charge.

Who are you serving?

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Taking Responsibility

Recently, Gary Ridge , CEO for WD 40, shared his company pledge with the San Diego Professional Coaches Alliance. Thanks to "Dad" Dennis Snedden, who reads all kinds of good stuff, we are able to share this with you --

"I am responsible for taking action, asking questions, getting answers, and making decisions.

I won't wait for someone to tell me.

If I need to know, I am responsible for asking.

I have no right to be offended that I didn't 'get this sooner.'

If I'm doing something others should know about, I'm responsible for telling them. "

That's not a bad way to view any leadership role --- youth OR adult!

"Dad" Tom Labagh, EO in PA

Monday, August 23, 2010

I need a tissue because we have an issue...

Morning folks!

I am typing this post from my trusty HTC Hero Android phone. Why you ask? Well, we have some technical difficulties here at the PA DeMolay office resulting in a complete lack of an internet connection. So, this means that web and blog posts are on hold for a few days and that if you need to contact us your best bet is to use a good, old fashioned, telephone call (meaning we are also out of email access.)

Regularly scheduled posts will resume when our connection returns.

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

P.S.- Pretty good for a phone, eh?

Friday, August 20, 2010

If it's Friday it must be WIIFM Day!

It's Friday, which in my world means it's WIIFM Day! This week I'm happy to be handing out another patch to an active DeMolay who I got to meet last week at the Key Man Conference.

This weeks winner is Bro. Lucas Conrad of Steel City Chapter in Bellvue, PA! Congrats Lucas, and thanks for being a follower! Your patch is in the mail!

Remember, there are still 5 weeks left in the WIIFM contest, and anyone who becomes an official "Follower" of the blog can be a winner! So, click that "Follow" link up in the top right hand corner and next week your name could be here!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Closer Look at Regalia: Part 1 - Aiguillettes

As we resume our regularly scheduled blog posts I find myself having trouble coming up with a topic. I headed over to Wikipedia, as I often do, and began to poke around for something interesting to write about. Now, many of you know that I really enjoy military history, especially the Napoleonic period, and how it relates to Commandery and other Masonic bodies. Much of the regalia adopted by the Masonic fraternity relates directly to military or civil commendations offered by governments around the world. I took this interest, and applied it to DeMolay, and decided to do some research on an often misunderstood part of DeMolay regalia, the aiguillette.

Now, I'm guessing most of you don't know what an aiguillette is, or even how to pronounce it! Simply put, it's a braided cord worn on the shoulder to denote some kind of service, award, or honor. It's most often seen on DeMolay officer capes in the form of a yellow cord held in place with a red button. The cord generally has a braided portion along with two unbraided loops and a metal tip, all being held together by a flowery looking loop (see the picture for more details!) But just what is the aiguillette supposed to denote in the real world or on a DeMolay cape? Thanks to Wikipedia, I have my answers!

Aiguellettes date back to the late 1700's, and are thought to have come into vogue with the ornamental uniforms of the Napoleonic times. Some people believed they developed from ropes used by Aide de Camps to wrangle horses, while others believe they were used by the artillery corps so that they would have an easily accessible metal pick to clean fouling (also known as gunk) out of their cannons. If you ask Senior DeMolay, and Past Grand Commander, Ken Faub (who wears a really fancy version of the aiguillette as part of his Knight Templar uniform) he says they were developed so that an officer would always have enough rope to hang himself should he not perform his duties up to par! Whatever the case, the real reason for these decorations seems to be clouded in mystery, but they continue to see heavy usage in militaries around the world.

In the United States the cords are used to denote special aids to elected officials and officers, members of elite units or corps, and specially assigned officers. Every qualified infantryman is given a blue aiguillete to wear on the right shoulder with his dress uniform to signify his completion of basic infantry training. Other countries around the world use them for various meanings, but they are most often used to denote aids to high ranking officials.

So, what do they mean when they appear on a DeMolay cape? I wish I had a simple answer for that because I've never been able to find a good reason as to why they are there. I've also noticed little consistency with how they are used by Chapters and Jurisdictions. When I put together the "good" set of PA DeMolay capes I choose to use three capes with aiguillettes for the Councilors to denote their higher responsibility, but an argument could be made that the Treasurer and Scribe should also wear them, as they are elected officers as well. There really is no simple answer. Many Chapters choose to have them on all of their capes, while other Chapters don't use any. It really is a mystery as to their purpose!

Does this mean that your Chapter should start or stop using them, or change who wears them? Absolutely not! This isn't an order, nor is it a suggestion. It's just some musings by a military buff who wondered why DeMolay chose to use an armed forces decoration on its capes.

So tell me, why do you think they are on the capes, and how does your Chapter use them?

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, tell me the truth...What Do The Guys REALLY Get From Attending Key Man?

A lot of times over the years I have had to answer the question, "What do the guys really get out of attending a Key Man Conference?" My answer is always the same-- "More than we ever expected!" When we switched to the "Reality Model" for the Conference in 2001, shedding the notebooks and much of the academic style of teaching for a more active involvement process, we opened the way for the DeMolays to learn much more about themselves and the dynamics of the Order.

Sure, they get training in how to establish a "real" Chapter, how to select an officer corps, how to ritualistically open and close meetings, how to conduct meetings and take proper minutes, how to earn awards, plan fund-raisers, observe obligatory days and participate in all the other elements of the DeMolay program. They get to see a good "obligating" ceremony at the opening session, and then a complete set of top quality degrees on the last full day of the conference. And they learn how to have fun and fierce competition with non-traditional athletic activities. We EXPECT that-- it is the basic training we want them to experience, while having more fun than they could have imagined!

It is, however, the experience of coming together as strangers with only one commonality-- their membership in DeMolay-- that allows for what happens beyond that traditional experience. Upon arrival, each DeMolay is asked to accept the Brotherhood Contract which emphasizes safety, shared values, positive mental attitude, being yourself, and being open to learning. They then take the Fidelity Pledge, wherein they agree to try to live by the DeMolay virtues in all that they think, say and do, and to take responsiblity for their actions. Each one is asked, individually, to agree to that pledge, and each one makes that commitment to his brothers. It is a powerful thing to be reminded by one of your brothers that you are straying from your pledge. It creates a POSITIVE peer pressure that minimized disciplinary issues all week long.

Even more than regulating behavior, the experience teaches them how to live amicably with others, to learn something new everyday, to trust each other and the advisors who are committed to working with them, to revere history while creating some of their own, to accept their economic, social, racial, chronological, educational and intellectual differences rather than ridicule them, and to experience the true synergy of diversity.

When I listen to these seven closing session speeches I marvel at how much they learned about each other and about themselves. I want these young men in positions of leadership in our community and our nation-- and the sooner they get there, the better off we will all be! I feel so blessed to have the privilege of working with the young men of DeMolay!

Tom Labagh
EO in PA

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

... and now for something completely different!

Well, sort of...

The end of Key Man marks the big finale of our summer activities here at Patton Campus. While it's nice to look back on a summer full of great camps and activities, it's even nicer to have a day or two off! I've been enjoying a couple days away, but worry not, I'll be back to my regular posting schedule on Thursday, August 19th.

Until then, hit the PA DeMolay website and read some articles!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wait For It!

The 25th Anniversay Key Man Conference is now history and the closing session on Saturday, August 14th, was an unforgettable experience. We will have video coverage of all of the closing speakers who proved that they really understood the purpose of the week and the purpose of the Order of DeMolay.

I can't promise that they will be posted tonight-- possibly not until Tuesday evening-- but I CAN promise that you will want to stop back in to see them-- THEY ARE AMAZING!

Right now I would like to just give a huge shout out and thank you to Mom Jeanine Larkin who was our volunteer nurse for the week. She carefully logged in everyone's medications, verified dosages with parents, and kept meticulous notes on the scheduled dispensing of meds as required for each Key Man.
She also took care of cuts and scrapes and bruises (and perhaps a little homesickness) for both DeMolays and Staff Members, and without her, we would have been in deep trouble. I cannot thank her enough for her dedication to DeMolay!

- Dad Tom Labagh, EO in PA

Reports from the Inquisition - 1990

During the early years of Key Man, it was "traditional" to bring a news crew to the Chapter to record and prepare the Knightly News broadcast. Part of the broadcast would include a feature story. Some of these stories were ridiculous:

Some of these would be Motivational:

And some would do just about anything for a laugh:

But in 1990, the News Crew did an amazing job when they created the REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITION series. What follows are 5 "authorized" reports from the Inquisition, and one totally unauthorized, but totally hilarious 6th Report from the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Report from Inquisition #1 Jacques DeMolay

Report from Inquisition #2 Junior Inquisitor

Report from Inquisition #3 Guy of Auvergne

Report from Inquisition #4 Lord Constable

Report from Inquisition #5 Phillip the Fair

Report from Inquisition #6 Quasimodo

I am enjoying this look back at previous Key Man Conferences, and will continue to bring you some of the more memorable moments. I hope you are enjoying it, too!

'Dad Tom Labagh, Executive Officer in PA

A Key Man Set of Degrees

"An amazing job" was the quote I heard about the Initiatory Degree that brought five (5) new members into PA DeMolay tonight! The Preceptors were outstanding and Anthony Kallhoff was an excellent Master Councilor.

Tonight's DeMolay Degree was outstanding, and presented a degree with new ideas on a 91 year old theme. Staged in a real chapel, the setting was very much like where the trials of DeMolay and the Templars might have been held.

Upon arrival at the chapel, each member of the audience was given a "summons" to attend the trail, and a printed list of all the charges against the Templars. Fifteen members of the audience were dressed in Inquisitor costumes, and sat dispersed among the crowd. When DeMolay was taken to the rack, these "extra Inquisitors" rose in applause of the action taken by the Junior Inquisitor.

The cast members had rehearsed all week for this performance, and although some of the rehearsals had me shaking my head and wondering what they were paying attention to, they came through in the end and delivered a performance of which they could all be proud!

When asked their favorite moments, the Key Men had differing opinions. Some liked the costuming and makeup. Others liked the creepy music from some movie soundtracks. Some thought the visual lighting and sound effects were remarkable, and others just marveled at the acting ability of Bro. Ryan Davis as Orator (the finest Orator I have EVER seen or heard in my 40 years of DeMolay experience!) Still others enjoyed the surprised look on Jacques DeMolay when a cup of water was thrown in his face! Others liked the tolling bell, signaling a death as they exited the chapel.

Of course, we can't post the video here, but these photos should give you an idea of the special make-up they had to endure for the sake of "realism."

-"Dad" Tom Labagh, EO in PA

Friday, August 13, 2010

Key Man: Day 6 - The End is Nigh!

While it may have been Friday the 13th, the date didn’t affect us much here at Patton Campus. We started out our Friday with an impressive flag raising ceremony performed by LT-1, otherwise known as Indecisive Chapter. They memorized and recited a poem, “Toast to the Flag” by John Jay Daly, and everything was really cool. Xander Foly of Les Freres Chapter says “I don’t like poems that don’t rhyme, so that poem was really cool.”

After the poem we headed off to breakfast and from there, we sat down ready hear the “Taking It Home” workshop set up by the JO’s. Jarrid Baker from Thunda Squirrels Chapter “...learned how to bring home what I learned in Key Man to share with my chapter,” and Alex Spence from Wolfpack Chapter “will be taking a lot home about doing the right ritual and making the right moves in the opening.”

From there, it was off to Degree Practice, where the Key Men engaged in their second to last rehearsal before they performed the degrees for everyone that night. Once finished, Wombat Chapter gave a inspirational Ceremony of Light and Alex Spence noted that “they did it will, especially for just one week of practice.” After the ceremony everyone went to lunch and we had tacos! Everyone enjoyed the tacos, Adam Neubauer said “It was delicious, I love tacos!” Mitchell Benoit led his table in an origami folding session and the table ended up covered in paper cranes and dragons.

If the 13th brought anything, it was only a little rain. It did prevent us from holding the Sports Finals outside, so instead we held Volleyball, Kickball, Dodgeball, and Ultimate Frisbee in the Gym with a game of the newly created Ninja (a big hit with the campers) going on in the Atrium. Everyone had a great time with the sports. Les Freres Chapter won kickball with the winning runs scored by Xander Foly and Noah Snowdon, but a great team effort was required for the win. Dibbs Chapter won Ultimate Frisbee and Dodgeball, and Wombat Chapter won Volleyball. Ninja captivated many campers and Alex Spence spoke about to us about parts of the game. He says "It was really fun, we all played fair. It got intense and we had to move fast.”

Friday may be the last full day of Key Man but that doesn’t mean that there’s no work to be done. It was induction day at Patton Campus where all the hard work the Key Men have put in over the past week paid off. Key Men cleaned up after sports, putting on their suits and got gussied up. After some orientations with new members, everyone prepared for the ceremonies of our induction. The degree teams were all amazing, with one of the best DeMolay Degree’s most of us have ever seen. After the degrees everyone met back in the cafeteria for snack and then were released for free time.

Despite the rain earlier in the day everyone was still interested in water as the swimming pool was really crowded. Sadly, however, all good things must come to and after free time ended the Key Men headed off to bed for their last night at Key Man 2010.

Tomorrow, Saturday, will be our last day here at Patton and after closing sessions everyone will say their goodbyes, and most likely exchange contact information, because the friends you make at Key Man are friends you will have forever. We’ll leave you with this quote from Tucker Daland which pretty much sums up how everyone feels about Key Man “Key Man was a lot of fun and it definitely met my expectations, it was really easy to meet people and make a lot of good friends and I learned a lot of new games. I would defiantly come back to Key Man, because it is fun beyond belief!”

Signing off for the last time!

JO Team Three - Chris Labaw, Alex Rauschenberger, Anthony Kallhoff, and Zane MacLeod

Key Man: Day 6 - What Do They Do At Key Man?

We know that some of you still haven't quite figured out what the Key Man Conference is all about, but if you read the blog, and watch for the news stories on you'll get a better idea.

Sports in the afternoon is a big thing at Key Man, but the competitions are somewhat different. We stay away from the "big three"-- softball, basketball and volleyball, and play kickball, ultimate frisbee and dodgeball-- sports that just about everyone can play well! Toss in some crazy outdoor activities, like a slip and slide, and you have a perfect recipe for fun!

... and here is how we talked about sports way back in 1988! (With a special dedication to "Dad" Randy Knapp!)

Key Man wraps up tomorrow morning, so keep an eye out for material in the coming weeks!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

WIIFM and Key Man - A perfect match!

We're now several weeks into our WIIFM Contest, and down to our final day of the Key Man Conference, and what a ride it has been! The Key Men have been fantastic, and we've gained lots of Followers thanks to all of the parents who want to follow their son's exploits while at the Conference. With all of these new Followers, the pool of possible winners for our WIIFM Contest is getting larger. But, by coincidence, one of the Key Men is this weeks winner!

Special congrats go out to Bro. Adam Neubauer, of Westmoreland Chapter (and soon to be Key Man 2010 graduate), who snagged his WIIFM Patch at breakfast this morning!

Thanks for following the blog, Adam!

Do you want to be a WIIFM Winner? Head on over to this post and find out how!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Key Man: Day 5 - Rain Won't Bring Us Down!

After the previous days of rain, the cooler weather was like a gift for most of the attendees. With the rain came a special day for everyone here at Patton campus. A special atmosphere was added to the day’s events as we worked through Thursday. With only a slight trickle of rain, “Legit” Chapter raised our nation’s flag and presented the Canadian banner.

After a delicious breakfast, the Key Men moved on to the breakout sessions. One of the session’s, “Life as a JO”, looks into what is expected from a JO (Jurisdictional Officer), and what it involves. Trey James, a member of “Dibbs” Chapter, commented on the information presented, saying “I didn’t know some of the things JO’s did.” They then moved onto selectives, were the Key Men could choose between "What Makes a Leader," "How to Effectively Recruit Members (or, Get Off Your Butts and Bring Your Friends Into DeMolay!)," and the workshop Trey chose, "The Arrrrrrrrrrrrrt of Cooperation In Your Chapters."

In this workshop, “Dad” Anthony started of with a quirky character, and led the program as a pirate. Everyone in the workshop was on a sinking ship, and needed to choose an island to go to. All the Key Men received cards that gave them hints on to which of the islands was the best. However, the cards included some secret missions that turned people against each other. At the end, everyone learned a lesson on how to work with different people (pirates) and different view points, and still maintain a focus on their objective.

Lunch was next, and after some delicious subs, it was time to begin the Masonic Village Service Project. The Masonic Village houses many residents who have retired and enjoy spending their time relaxing. Today was different for the residents as the DeMolays had a choice to go visit a resident or aid the staff with a wheel chair square dance. To begin, all the participants were helped to the lower level where the dance was being held. The Key Men then split up into their groups. The visiting group made some new friends. Trey James met the one of the oldest living Masons in Pennsylvania, Thomas J Bell, who at the young age of 94, told him about his various experiences and a few tips on life. He also just received his “70 year member” pin which he showed Trey. Trey says “when I’m that old I hope I can tell as many stories as I have heard and still be able to walk around”. The square dancing group had fun playing around, being led by a great caller. David Gerstenfeld summed it up pretty well when he gave his opinion of his favorite thing from the Village; “The square dancing with the patients, I liked how happy we were able to make them.”

Although the daily sport competitions were cancelled due to rain, it didn’t bother most as it allowed them time to play their own games. Examples include Phil Sisco’s game of “Risk” and Lukas Conrad’s big game of dodge ball. A great day was ended with a great snack, and everyone enjoyed some super cheesy nachos. We only have one full day left in this awesome conference, and even though we will enjoy the break from work at the end, we will undoubtedly miss great days like this!

Bro. Chris Labaw
JO Team 3

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Key Man: Day 5 - A Little Information About Your Friendly Neighborhood Youth Director

There is an active DeMolay here this week that attended his first Key Man in 2002 and has so much knowledge and experience that Key Man Director “Dad” Greg Schaffer and Assistant Director “Dad” Dave Berry decided to appoint him Youth Director (YD) for the 2010 Key Man Conference. Our "YD" is none other than Pennsylvania’s very own Jake Palo, who in 2007-2008 served as the State Master Councilor.

After he was informed of his position he started to promote the 25th annual Key Man Conference along with assisting with changes that have been made this year. Some of those changes include new dimensions to the JO program, Key Man chapters creating promotional videos, an anti-bullying seminar, and adding a Trivia/Wing Night on Wednesday. His goal of the program was to make each DeMolay feel as though they have a special role at Key Man and amplify their enthusiasm about the Order. He hopes that they take what they learned at Key Man home to their Chapter and teach those lessons to other members.

When asked what he got out of the program before becoming YD he said “A lot, since, I’ve gone through every aspect of it - including three years as a regular DeMolay, the Jurisdictional Officer (JO) program, and now being a staff member”. As all Key Men do, he enjoyed the welcoming environment, the friends he met from our neighboring country of Canada, and Brothers from several different states as well.

While being a JO, he loved the even closer bonds of friendship he made with his fellow officers. He also enjoyed being a positive role model for the younger members. Now finally, as a staff member he sees how the whole picture fits together and knowing that “being apart of something that is so much fun and so influential to members” really makes it worth it. Palo says that, he hopes to continue his DeMolay career by returning on staff in the future, because he knows how valuable of a program Key Man really is!

Bro. Chris Labaw
JO Team Leader - Team 3

Key Man: Day 4 - Do you want fries with that?

As Key Man rolls along, we find ourselves with another newsletter in our hands! So, hot of the presses, I'm happy to present:

The Quarter Pounder, Issue 2

On another front, we've finally had some rain here at Patton Campus, and hopefully today will be a little cooler than it has been.

Until next time!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Who are these Key Men? (part II)

To further understand where our Key Men are coming from we asked them 3 questions:

What do you like MOST about DeMolay?
What do you dislike MOST about DeMolay?
If you could change one thing about DeMolay, what would that be?

The answers that came from most of the Key Man were not surprising. But the variety of other answers tells us that we have a very diverse group of young men here.

What do you LIKE MOST about DeMolay?
Most of the members answered "Brotherhood," "Friendship" or "Meeting New People." Others mentioned specific activities like "Conclave/Convention" "Going to Patton Campus," "Travel," "Dances" and a variety of diferent activities. Several mentioned "Food" which is obviously a testimony to some great Moms!

Some of the more surprising answers included "Famous people who were DeMolays," "Teamwork," "working with different personalities," "the chance to be a leader," "helping others," "being helped in a time of need," "a chance to learn and grow on our own terms," "it is structured, but we have a lot of freedom," "it is easy to be sociable with Masonic Youth," "learn moral values," and "striving to make the world a better place."

What do you DISLIKE MOST about DeMolay?
Three distinct answers were prevalent to this question. the first, and most obvious one, was "NOTHING!" The second most popular answer was also predictable-- "too much memorization/ritual!" "Long meetings" ranked as the third most disliked thing about DeMolay. The fourth most popular answer was "wearing suits/too much formality." After these, which each had more than 5 responses, there was a wide variety of responses including: "lack of public awareness," "minimum age limit," "not enough fundraisers," "losing membership," "should be co-ed," "too much stress while being an officer-- especially communication and phone calling," "too many long speeches," too much distance between chapters/brothers," it takes a long time to build/rebuild a chapter," "too many workshops to sit through," and "one one of our advisors is willing to travel."

If you could change one thing about DeMolay, what would that be?
Again, the most popular answer was "NOTHING!" The second most popular answer was "the age limit for joining" and while several were suggesting that the minimum age should be lowered, one suggested that the majority age should be higher than 21. There were a number of interesting and unique (meaning, one person) suggestions, including, "allow the ritual to be read, if read fluently," "don't require Obligations Cards," "shorten meetings," "more activities," "make it more kid-friendly," "have a PR campaign to improve public awareness," "more time at Patton Campus," "simplify the Ritual with easier words," "have more co-ed activities," "get rid of the Ritual," "less memorization," "shorter workshops," "make more degrees," "more joint activities with other Chapters," and "more loyal members."

What conclusions can we draw from these answers? First, it is obvious that most of our DeMolay members feel passionately about their organzation and want to see it grow and get better. Second, they have a wide variety of opinions on how to improve DeMolay, which is always better than no opinions at all! Lastly, we have some very thoughtful and caring young men in DeMolay who are trying to live the seven precepts of the order in their daily lives and want to encourage their brothers to do the same.

We are so blessed by the great young men we serve!
--Tom Labagh, EO in PA

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Key Man: Day 3 - Another Update!

We’ve passed the point of no return! It’s Wednesday, and we’ve officially hit the halfway point of Key Man Conference 2010. Tuesday night, a presenter came to speak to the Key Men about cyber safety. Mrs. Deb McCoy owns her own company that deals with electronic communications and laws pertaining to it. She gave an eye-opening presentation on what you can and can’t do with your online speech and texting. All the Key Men learned a lot; there was a long question and answer session with everyone getting in on the conversation.

After the presentation, we headed over to the cafeteria for a Trivia and Wing night, lead by two interesting characters, Fezzy and The Brain. After a round of random topic trivia, we all got our share of wings and celery. Through the night, there were more questions and more wings, and at the end of four rounds of trivia, three teams emerged as the winners, Team “Facebook Hackers” being the "grand champions." All in all, it was a night to remember.

Today the Key Men had another special visitor. Mrs. Cynthia Hollinger from the Masonic Village, which is across the street from Patton Campus, came to talk to us about our activity that we will be doing tomorrow. For those of you who don’t know, the Masonic Village is basically a retirement home for Masons and their families. The campus is beautiful, and there is everything there from wonderful apartments to a fully equipped medical center. Tomorrow, the Key Men will be going over to the Masonic Village to talk to the residents and square dance with them. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you all about it tomorrow, so don’t forget to check in again later! As for the other interesting occurrences for the day, Adam Cline, a member of Erie Chapter, in Pennsylvania, and Legit Chapter here a Key Man, showed us his awesome dancing skills by demonstrating the Macarena dance. We asked where he learned to dance like that, and he said, “All the Erie Chapter dances I’ve attended since I was young… ger.” Erie Chapter must have tons of dances, because that was some mighty fine Macarena.

Sports have been continuing throughout the day and everybody is having a great time. Ritual practice is continuing, and the degrees are really starting to take shape and look professional. The quality of these kids continues to amaze the people who work with them. As our conference proceeds, we are having an awesome time! All the Key Men are learning a lot about DeMolay and how to lead their Chapters back at home, and maybe one day they will be part of Key Man’s JO program! Check in soon for the updates on the rest of the week, and the news straight from the kids living through it.

(Continuing to be...) Bro. Alex Rauschenberger
J.O. Team 3

Key Man: Day 3 - Living and Learning

Key Man is on its third day, and we’ve already learned so much. The Key Men are adjusting to life on Patton Campus, fitting in what sleep they can between all of the fun.

Workshops are always a crucial part of the learning experience at state events and we have already participated in many, with the most recent one being about how to plan a functional prospect party, that can promote the order, and be tons of fun.

The Chapters are participating in the daily sports tournaments and are having a great time rotating between Dodgeball, Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, and Kickball. For sports today, we learned Zach Pilarcik has a strong throwing arm and Alex Spence and Liam Baker are amazing at Dodgeball.

As most of you know the Key Man Conference has been around for twenty-five years and over those years young men have been coming to Patton Campus to expand their DeMolay knowledge. Now we have a new generation of young men here at Key Man, like Rex Collins and Dominic Bruno. Both young men are thirteen and from Westmoreland Chapter here in Pennsylvania. Even though they are both from the same home Chapter, at Key Man Rex is in Legit Chapter and Dom is in Dibbs Chapter. Rex says that he expected Key Man to be a kind of “Crash Course” in DeMolay and did not think Key Man would be as much fun as it actually is. Dom says he wanted to go to Key Man to meet new people and make new friends. So far between the two of them they have consumed eight glasses of Strawberry/Banana/Kiwi juice, twelve glasses of chocolate milk and two cappuccinos. If you think that’s a lot then you will be really surprised by Miguel Mendoza-Andrade of Legit Chapter, he has drank a whopping seventeen glasses of Chocolate Milk; good thing he has lots of activities to work it off!

Keep logging in each day for more Key Man updates!

Bro. Alex Rauschenberger
Jurisdictional Officer, Team 3

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Key Man: Day 3

This is going to be a short one, but I wanted to share the Conference newsletter with everyone. They Key Men have decided to call it "The Quarter Pounder," so enjoy!

The Quarter Pounder - Tuesday Edition

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Who Are These Key Men, Anyway?

It's always fun getting to know the DeMolay members who come to the Key Man Conference, first as a group, for each year takes on its own character and identity. Later in the week we tend to identify the boys by the Chapters they belong to, and finally, by the end of the week, we see most of them as individuals. Of the 75 young men in attendance, 60 are in the regular Key Man mode, while the other 15 are in the Jurisdictional Officer program.

A registration day survey gives us a clue about who we have with us this year. All of our Key Men were initiated at age 16 or less, and 39, or more than half, came in at age 12. Five even admitted to joining at age 11, although we're not sure how that happened (and if we knew, we probably wouldn't say, either!) Nearly 2/3 were brought into DeMolay through their parents or a relative, and most of the others were brought in by their friends. (That should give you a clue as to who you should be marketing to!)
At least 53 of our 75 Key Man go to a church, synagogue or other house of worship at least occasionally, while 16 go weekly and 6 attend monthly.

Only 32 have an Obligations Card, leaving another 43 to earn them. Only 14 have the Representative DeMolay Award, which is a very low number, but presents us with the opportunity to get some of the 61 of them started in that direction.

When asked to identify their favorite DeMolay virtue or principle, a full third of them identified "brotherhood" with the other favorites in order; Comradeship, Patriotism, Filial Love, Reverence, and Courtesy.
Just for fun we found out that more of them prefer the Phillies and Eagles than the Pirates and Steelers but not by a wide margin. Nike walloped Reebok in the preference poll, and most of our guys would rather have a hamburger than a hot dog, while drinking a Coke (not a Pepsi.) the Key Men definitely prefer dogs over cats by a 3-1 margin, but in golf, they'll take a flawed Tiger over Lefty Phil any day.

In the pop culture world, Star Wars beat out Star Trek by a 5-1 vote, Jeopardy was preferred over Wheel of Fortune, American Idol was greatly preferred to Glee, and in Twilight terms, Jacob (the cool werewolf) was twice as popular as moody Edward (the vampire.)

Lastly, 54 are "Yes" men and 12 think negatively ( by voting "No") and the rest landed their coin flip on the edge. Of course, when you don't know the question, this just becomes a referedum on their general attitude.

Later in the week, I'll tell you about what they like and dislike most about DeMolay, and what they would change (if they could make changes) in the program.

Suffice it to say that these Key Men make up a very diverse group of potential leaders for their Chapters and jurisdictions. It is a pleasure watching them in action and working with them.

-Tom Labagh, Executive Officer

Monday, August 9, 2010

Key Man: Day 2

As of Sunday, the 25th annual Key Man Conference began, and the campers started a week long experience that will change their outlook on the DeMolay world.

When the Key Men first arrived they were quickly introduced to the concept of "Reality KMC" and were split up into the conference Chapters. These new Chapters will be their family for the week as they work through the experiences a normal Chapter would have to face. One of the first tasks for the the attendees was to pick a name for their Chapter. Many interesting and clever names emerged after the Chapters turned in their decisions. We now have Dibbs, Les Frères, Thunda Squirrel, The Legit, Wombat, Wolfpack, and Indecisive Chapter.

Each Chapter has duties at Key Man that they must carry out as well, such as prayers at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the daily raising and lowering of the flags. All the Key Men are adapting to their vigorous Key Man routine of waking up early and working hard. The young men are bettering themselves and becoming leaders in their chapters. Tune in tomorrow for another Key Man update!

Bro. Chris Labaw
Team Leader of Jurisdictional Officer (JO) Team 3