I can't believe it has been 25 years! This was supposed to be a temporary replacement program for the DeMolay International Leadership Training Conferences that were cancelled due to budgetary complications. Its success and value has far exceeded our initial expectatations, largely due to the quality of volunteers who design and staff the program each year. Neither Sam nor I saw this as a long-term thing-- it was just to bridge the gap, until D.I. got its act together. Well, that took longer than we had expected, and by the time they had righted the ship, we had a tradition of excellence going that was unstoppable.
This year we are working under the leadership of our Youth Director, Bro. Jake Palo, PSMC of PA, and Conference Director, "Dad" Greg Schaeffer of PA and NY, who has many years of experience with the program. Past Directors who have contributed to the program include Tom Moberly (CA), Keith Klein (IN), Dave Glattly (NJ), Dave Lovatt (NJ), Rich Auerbach (NJ), Mark Ashman (NJ), Ray Flynn (NJ), Rick Freedman (PA), Kurt Duryea (PA), Len VanderHorn (NJ), Allen Moyer (PA), Brent Richards (PA), Dave Berry (PA) and Greg Schaeffer (PA/NY). Each Director has put his own stamp on the program, and what we do today is a conglomeration of all of their contributions.
A lot of changes have happened over the years. The program of today resembles, but is significantly different from the past. As we go through the week, I will be posting some photos and videos of both the current and previous Key Man Conferences. You'll see some of the differences, I am certain. Much of our early history is tied up in slides-- digital cameras weren't available in the "old" days. But a fair amount of video archives have survived, and we are digitizing them for future reference.
Here is a flavor of one of our earliest Conferences-- 1988-- when a "nightly news" cast was a key part of the program...
And here's the scene following Sunday's worship service
It's late, we're tired. Enjoy this, and we'll share more on Monday!
--Tom Labagh, EO & (a 25-Year Key Man Survivor)