Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Adults Unplugging

Recently, I told you about the Advisors of Westmoreland Chapter and their "Unplugged Jar." Today, I have an article from the recent Pilgrim Chapter Newsletter written by "Mom" Jan Harms, Chapter Advisor. Have a read!

Normally I like to have the articles in our newsletter submitted by the members of Pilgrim Chapter. However, recently I have read several articles and blog entries regarding the concept of adults going “unplugged” and letting their members do all the work. I feel the need to share that this is the reason I became motivated to step up to the plate and serve Pilgrim Chapter as Chapter Advisor. After being active in other youth groups, and seeing that the adults do all the work in those groups, this unplugged concept is exactly why I wanted to be involved with DeMolay.

Pilgrim Chapter is YOUR Chapter. It is about what you want and how you want it. It is your decisions that will drive what activities we do and don’t do, what things we pay for and don’t pay for, and how we grow—or don’t grow. This is YOUR Chapter. You have to make it what you want.
The last meeting, we had 7 members. Each one of them had an opportunity to make a decision on fun activities, whether they wanted to participate in service activities, or even attend the meeting. We need you there to experience that! We need you there to make the decisions that need to happen. We need you to bring in the prospects and applications to grow.

 This Chapter Advisor is unplugged and guaranteeing you that she will work that way with each and everyone of you—but YOU need to be ready to be plugged into Pilgrim Chapter to move us forward! I hope to see you soon!

Wow! "Mom" Harms certainly gets the "Unplugged" idea! So, what is your Chapter doing to Take Control!? And, if you're an advisor, what are you doing to unplug?
Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tall What of Where?

This past weekend was a busy one for PA DeMolay. Between Autumn Day on Saturday and the Eastern Legion of Honor Conferral on Sunday, everyone was working hard. Both days ended on positive notes for PA DeMolay and we are very thankful for all those who helped make everything go off without a hitch. We are also very thankful for the outpouring of Masonic support we received throughout the weekend. In return, PA DeMolay was able to honor some outstanding Masons with the Legion of Honor on Sunday, but one in particular stands out.

"Dad" Harvey Willard, a Past Master Councilor of Norristown Chapter, received his Active Legion of Honor at the conferral. "Dad" Willard is probably better known for his involvement in the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, where he is currently serving as the Junior Deputy Grand Tall Cedar for the Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America. That sure is a lot titles, but what does it mean?

"Dad" Willard will be serving as Supreme Tall Cedar (national president) in just a couple of years. He is a long time supporter of the DeMolay program in Pennsylvania and is championing our cause amongst the rest of the Tall Cedars Forests (that's what they call their Chapters.) Most importantly, "Dad" Willard has taken up the flag of the PMC-MSA, which is sponsored by the Tall Cedars. He has personally gone out and presented the award to the young men who have earned it and has continued to show his favor of the DeMolay program in all of his activities. He has vowed that DeMolay will have a big place in his programs the year he is Supreme Tall Cedar.

By now you are probably asking yourself "Just who are these Tall Cedars?" The Tall Cedars of Lebanon is a social Masonic body who claim the motto "Fun, Frolic, and Fellowship." The group is open to any Master Mason, but the Tall Cedars are most prominent in the North Eastern United States. The main charity they support is the Muscular Dystrohpy Association through which they participate in the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. You might have even seen them in your neighborhood selling roses in support of the same cause. To date they have donated over seventeen million dollars to the MDA for research in curing this terrible affliction. Now, these same men are taking up the cause of DeMolay and we couldn't be happier! They are truly a charitable and benevolent branch of the fraternity.

We would like to once again thank and congratulate Bro. Willard for his support of DeMolay and his attainment of the Legion of Honor!

So, next time you see a Tall Cedar, thank them for their service to DeMolay and to the world, for they have truly made a difference.

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's a WIIFM Finale!

Well everyone, today marks the final day of the WIIFM contest! This contest was started all the way back before Convention 2010. It has run 10 full weeks, with winners from around the state, such as:

Week 9 - "Mom" Lisa Baldwin - Erie Chapter
Week 8 - Bro. J.T. Tetlow - Friendship-Bray Chapter (Philadelphia)
Week 7 - Bro. Matt Maple - George Washington Chapter (Chambersburg)
Week 6 - "Dad" Teko Foley - Nation's Capital DeMolay (Washington, D.C.)
Week 5 - Bro. Lucas Conrad - Steel City Chapter (Pittsburgh)
Week 4 - Bro. Adam Neubauer - Westmoreland Chapter (Greensburg)
Week 3 - "Mom" Suzanne Locke - New Castle Builders Chapter
Week 2 - Bro. Danny Perlman - Friendship-Bray Chapter
Week 1 - Bro. Isaac Holtzer - Westmoreland Chapter

That means we have one winner to go!

I'm happy to announce Brother Lukas Meyer, of Westmoreland Chapter, is the final winner!

Brother Meyer, your patch is in the mail! I want to thank everyone for participating in this contest and following the blog. Since we started we have gained 45 followers who are now spreading the word of PA DeMolay across the U.S.! I can assure that this isn't our final blog related contest, so, keep checking back and reading up on what PA DeMolay is doing!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's off to the Pocono's!

I just realized that I have been remiss in posting a very important blog post. I’ve been planning this post for sometime but I keep getting really good things in my e-mail that I just have to share. So, today I’ve made time for the post and to share some exciting news.

I’ve tried to be as open and transparent as possible when it comes to the Convention planning and execution process. We learned a lot from Convention 2010, much of which we are going to apply in 2011. Recently, “Dad” Berry and myself took a trip up to the north eastern tier of Pennsylvania to visit the Mountain Laurel Resort, located in White Haven, PA.

Convention has been hosted at the Mountain Laurel before, back in the mid 90’s, and was a candidate for Convention in the early 2000’s. The hotel went through some management changes, however, and wasn’t available when we wanted it. I was contacted by the sales manager, Linda, before Convention 2010 but never really gave it any consideration as I was intending to take Convention back to the Chateau for 2011. One of the pieces of feedback I received was that some people didn’t enjoy the Chateau, for a variety of reasons. When I couple that with Linda’s persistent sales calls, I decided to take a shot and see if it would be a good site – and I’m glad I did!

The Mountain Laurel Resort is now owned and operated by the same management group that operates Split Rock Resort and H2ooooooooh! water park (just a few short miles down the road.) Therefore, by staying at the Mountain Laurel we gain access to the same amenities as those who stay at the much more expensive Split Rock Resort. This sounded like a win / win situation to me. So, “Dad” Berry and I made that trip.

We were generally happy with the facility. It had an activity room, arcade, indoor and outdoor pools, a small pond, and mini-golf right off the property. The meeting space was plentiful and they offered to cater to our tastes when it came to food menus. They even set up transportation for us (which is normally my biggest headache as director.) The only down side was the hotel still used real keys for the room doors (no plastic swipe cards here!) Other than that, though, the rooms were large and comfortable with some fantastic views of the mountains.

“Dad” Berry and I were also able to visit Split Rock Resort and see the other amenities that we could indulge in. Split Rock offers a full movie theatre, a four lane bowling alley, another arcade, indoor sports areas, plus a full recreation department. They also have a lake front beach, with a specially treated area for swimming (no yucky lake water) and plenty of space to hold a beach side BBQ complete with outdoor activities. Oh, and don’t forget the indoor water park, complete with several slides, and a flow rider (an attraction that lets you surf indoors!) It also helps that I know the General Manager of the water park, as I worked with him when I was the HR guy for Splash Lagoon in Erie.

After this positive experience, “Dad” Berry and I felt comfortable making the call, and we are officially having Convention 2011 at the Mountain Laurel Resort. I’m awaiting contracts as I type this. As soon as I have more information, I’ll share it with you! I just hope you are as excited about Convention 2011 as I am!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Have you unplugged?

I must admit, this is the third different blog post I have started today. That doesn't mean that I've written three - hardly! It means that I've attempted to write a post three different times, but the first two just didn't strike a chord with me. I had a bit of the old writers block. Then, as if by magic, the following appeared in my inbox.

From: "Dad" Bruce Neubauer
To: "Dad" Seth Anthony
Re: Unplugged

As you know I had read the blog on "Unplugged." We, the Advisors at Westmoreland Chapter, have been backing off for quite a while. We have seen some improvement over the last few months with the young men and we have taken a bold step moving forward. At our Advisory Council meeting last night we put in a new policy for the Advisors . We have a big jar with an unplugged power cord in it - it is out unplugged jar. Every time an advisor talks at the meeting, without having been put on the agenda in advance, or having been called on by the Master Councilor, they must put a dollar in the jar. We have told the young men that we are there to help in any way we can, but the Chapter belongs to them and they need to know what they want to do at the meeting, in advance, and follow through. Last night there were only 2 times an Advisor had to remind them that they needed to act on am important issue, but the members saw the advisor put the money in the jar and after the meeting they were advised about a couple other things they forgot during the meeting. This will make them think about what they must do.

As I stated before, when you have a chapter of newer members the Advisory Council must give them the tools to conduct business and run the chapter. Once you notice that they possess the tools, then it is time to bring out the unplugged jar.

Wowzers! It makes me feel really good to hear about Adivsors who read the blog and then act on some of the information they read in a new and positive way! Thanks "Dad" Neubauer for sharing!

So, what is your Chapter doing to Take Control! and Unplug?

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sniffum some WIIFM!

It's Friday again and that means it's WIIFM day! This week we went to the far reaches of Pennsylvnia to find a winner - back to my home territory of Erie County!

Congratulations to "Mom" Lisa Baldwin, of Erie Chapter, who has won the WIIFM contest for week 9! Your patch is in the mail!

This concludes week 9 of the contest, which means there is still one week 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!

See you Monday!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Attack of the web zombies!

Many of you know that I am what some might call a connoisseur of a very specific trope of movies - the zombie flick! From "Shawn of the Dead," to "Zombieland," to my all time favorite "Dead Snow" (Sara?), I love a good cheesy zombie movie. Most modern zombie movies start the same way - a terrible virus hits the planet creating a plague of zombies intent on dining on as many brains as possible in as little time as possible. The virus is easily spread, infecting thousands, until it seems that only a small band of humans are left to fend off the shambling horde. I think you get the picture. What does this have to with DeMolay, though?

Well friends, it seems that we have a zombie like virus going around in PA DeMolay. I have worked hard to to classify this disease, which I call "Websiteratum Lazitorum" - lazy websites! It is a plague that seems to have infected almost all of the Chapter websites out there and I have begun to feel like the guy with a shovel bashing in zombie heads when trying to round up these web sites.

This isn't to say that we don't want you to have a Chapter website - far from it! However, we want you to have an up to date website! There is nothing more frustrating than going on the internet, finding a website with exactly what you want, only to discover that it's 3 or 4 years old. Ugh! As an example of this disease, I will pick on my home Chapter - Erie. Erie has gone through many versions of its website; some were good, others were not. However, if you go to all you'll find is a blank Wordpress page. That's it! But, you're probably saying to yourself "Why is that such a big deal?"

*takes a sip of coffee and then does a spit take*

Why is it such a big deal?! Because that website is the public face of your Chapter! Having out of date or no information available online is the same as having no website at all (and sometimes it's even worse to have bad information!)

There are two kinds of these website zombies. The first is like your traditional lumbering grey matter patron - a shell, with no content, no thought, and a blank stare. The current Erie website is one of these.

The second is like that moment in zombie movies when a person sees someone that he or she loves that has become a zombie. They recognize the person, but the afflicted have no memory of who they were and the people they loved. This would be the website with out of date information and a complete lack of updates.

What can you do to avoid becoming a web zombie? Simple - update your website! Find out who controls it and then find someone to start working on it. I know of very few Chapters that don't have a member who is at least a little bit web savvy. This is a great project for a DeMolay who can't make meetings because of other commitments, but wants to give something back to the Chapter. Arm him with a shovel and let him bash your web zombie into next year!

In all seriousness, though, our jurisdiction needs to take a hard look at the websites our Chapters have and get them updated. This topic isn't going to go away. You are going to see myself and "Dad" Labagh begin waging a crusade on these websites that even Jacques would have been proud to have been a part of. So, why not pre-empt us and start updating now!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Five Common Sense Rules for Advising

You've got so many concerns and issues with your DeMolay Chapter that you don't know how to proceed... it is too big a task to rebuild your Chapter (again!)... you can't find any solutions becasue you can't even identify all the problems! WHAT'S AN ADVISOR TO DO?

Try these 5 "common-sense" strategies or rules to get you started on the right road to success.

Rule #1- Let the young men make the decisions. Let the young men make the decisions. Let the young men make the decisions. Let the young men make the decisions. Let the young men make the decisions.

Rule #2- If it is on a published calendar of events that has been approved by the Chapter and the Advisory Council-- execute the event, with 1, 5 or 25 people-- don't approve last minute wholesale changes to the plans. Let the guys know that you will be consistent and reliable.

Rule #3- Get along, or move along-- do not stir the pot, and do not cause trouble. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. The kids will hear it and assume such behavior is acceptable and desirable. If you aren’t having fun, chances are the kids aren’t either. Don’t make DeMolay your personal power struggle—majority rules—it is as simple as that. If you can’t abide by the decisions of the kids and the Advisory Council, please just move on, for your own good as well as the Order’s.

Rule #4- New Member Recruitment heals a lot of ills. MAKE IT YOUR PRIORITY. New young members afford many opportunities to accomplish the character and leadership-building mission of DeMolay. And, with new members come potential new advisors. Ask parents to join in and help out!

Rule #5: Follow the rules, whenever possible. In general, most rules are good, necessary and beneficial. But when it isn't possible, ask how you can legally bend the rules.

These aren't the ONLY things you should be doing, but when you are lost, or unsure, or in need of a sense of direction, they'll get you moving down the right path, I am sure!

"Dad" Tom Labagh, Executive Officer in PA

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Ritual?

PA DeMolay had a pretty successful weekend at MATOC (you can find out all about that over at But, each year it seems that someone asks the question "... why do we need ritual at all?"

It's a valid question. Most of our members don't like it. Many of them don't understand it. A large quantity find it boring. However, some people do really enjoy it. Why do we do it though? If you are looking to me for an answer, you aren't going to find one. I am no ritual expert. I have participated in precisely one ritual competition in my DeMolay career, where I failed pretty much completely. I think ritual is important, however.

As I usually do, I went in search of what people think about ritual. As it turns out, there is quite a lively debate in the religious community about whether or not "ritual" should be used in services. Now, this ritual isn't exactly like DeMolay ritual, but the idea is close enough that it was worth some reading. The best site I came across was This site deals with thoughts and philosophies related to using ritual in Jewish religious practices. Many of the resources we present are Christian, so I was very intrigued by this.

In an article, aptly called "Why Ritual" by Tamara Cohen and Rona Shapiro, the authors explore why we, as human beings, like ritual. You probably don't even realize the little "rituals" that you have put into your daily life. Do you get out of bed the same way everyday? Do you do your daily chores in a specific order? Do you finish your day in a particular way? Heck, do you feel that you have to watch football on Sundays? If you answered "yes" to any of those things, you've engaged in a ritual.

In much the same way, DeMolay has used its ritual for a reason. It is there to remind us of what holds us together, as brothers, and to denote the special time we have together in our meetings. It is also used to mark special or memorable occasions, such as Chevalier and Legion of Honor Conferrals, Majority Services, and even Funeral Services. Ritual is important because it gives the participants a shared experience that they all know and trust. No matter where you go to a DeMolay meeting, you're going to hear the same basic ritual, reminding you that you are indeed among friends.

So, is ritual important to you? Is it important to your Chapter? Should we still keep it around? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sweetheart Questions - part 2

I hope you read the previous blog post about the State Sweeheart Program. If not, go back and catch up... this will be here waiting for your return. Here are some of the questions that have been asked over the years about the Chapter and State Sweetheart program:

Q. Does a Chapter Sweetheart have to be a Rainbow Girl or a Job's Daughter?
A. It's entirely up to your Chapter to set the selection rules. The State Sweetheart program does NOT require a girl to be a member of one of the youth groups in order to run, although most of them have been.

Q. Can the Chapter Sweetheart attend all events at the Patton Campus with their Chapter?
A. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Each activity is different. Look at the registration forms and articles posted at to know when it is and is not permitted.

Q. Why do some Chapters have multiple Sweethearts and some others have only one?
A. With multiple Sweethearts there are fewer chances to insult someone who had their heart set on serving in a volunteer position. However, a single sweetheart is less costly, and less likely to be difficult to manage.

Q. How much does it cost to have a Chapter Sweetheart?
A. Each Chapter can do this their own way. Some will "treat" their Chapter Sweetheart like royalty and take her everywhere including Convention at the expense of the Chapter. Others allow the Sweetheart to take part in fund-raisers and earn her share of the costs. It is ALWAYS up to the young men to decide.

Q. Why aren't there more candidates for State Sweeheart each year?
A. We don't know why more girls don't run for the position. That is one of the many questions the SMC's committee is going to investigate.

Q. Doesn't every Chapter want to have their Sweetheart selected to be the State Sweetheart?
A. Apparently not, because a number of Chapters don't encourage their sweetheart to run for the position. This is something else for the SMC's committee to determine.

If other questions come to mind, please ask!

"Dad" Tom Labagh
Executive Officer

Friday, September 10, 2010


It seems I neglected to announce a WIIFM winner last Friday - I was too busy enjoying the sites and sounds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina! I'm back in the WIIFM saddle and that means that we will have two winners this week!

Congratulations to Bros. JT Tetlow, of Friendship-Bray Chapter, and Matt Maple, of George Washington Chapter! You patches will be dropped in the mail on Monday!

This concludes week 8 of the contest, which means there is still 2 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!

I'm writing this post from "Dad" Zack Panitzke's plush apartment in Fairfax, VA, awaiting his return from the office so that we can go help "Dad" Peter Brusoe begin to set up for the MATOC, which starts this evening! Hopefully I'll see you there!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why Sweethearts?

Seems like a strange question, doesn't it? Why should a DeMolay Chapter have one or more Chapter Sweethearts? To those of us who have been in the program a long time, having a Chapter Sweetheart doesn't seem strange at all, but to new advisors and new members who have never been involved with a Chapter that has a Sweetheart program, it's a very logical question.

At the Softball Tournament this summer we got our wires crossed and no instructor was present for a group of Advisors who gathered for an afternoon DAD PLUS class on the topic of Chapter Sweethearts. Not to be deterred by a lack of an instructor, the interested Advisors talked about the topic on their own, and left us a message on the white board:

I was glad to find these questions, and took a photo of the board with my DROID... and then promptly forgot the photo was there until I was trying to organize the photos this weekend.

Rather than answer these questions for them, and for any of you, I am going to answer the way I usually answer the State Officers, and say, "Let's look this up together!"

There are three documents that you should review to understand the Chapter and State Sweetheart program. The first is just a page of brief policy statements authorizing Chapters to have one or more Sweethearts, and permitting a State Sweetheart program.

The second is a booklet of guidelines to help the members establish a Chapter Sweetheart program. The Chapter program is up to the young men-- the number of girls, their duties, the selection process, can be different from Chapter to Chapter. Your members set this policy, with Advisory Council consent.

The third is a booklet of policy and guidelines for the State Sweetheart Program.

I believe that this booklet and policy will be undergoing some significant changes in the next few months. The State Master Councilor and his officers have established a committee to consider the program from top to bottom to determine what can be changed to help encourage more girls to run for the position. It is a great opportunity for any service-minded girl who wants to have a chance to travel and promote the state DeMolay charity program and the Chapter Sweetheart program. Our current State Sweetheart is Miss Lauren Nace, from Lorraine Chapter, who is also interested in seeing the program improved.

If you have any thoughts on the future of the State Sweetheart program, please feel free to contact Bro. Tom Moyer, State Master Councilor, or any of his officers. If you have any questions about the policy statements, please feel free to direct them to me.

"Dad" Tom Labagh

Executive Officer in PA

Monday, September 6, 2010

An Update from the Road

Good day everyone! This is a quick update from the road, as I am sitting in Salem Hall at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Currently I'm sitting through a Freshman Chemistry Clinic being taught by my wonderful girlfriend, Theresa (who you might have met at Key Man!)

Thankfully, "Dad" Labagh has covered my tail once again by posting a great article related to Allentown Chapter. It's tough to blog from the road and I appreciate "Dad" Labagh's thoughts all the more when I'm out of the office. I'll be MIA until next Monday when I return from the MATOC which is being held in Washington, D.C. - until then, keep doing all the great things that your Chapter's do!

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

Allentown DeMolay Teaches Ethics to the Business Community

I love Google Alerts! Drop in a key word or two and it brings you news about people or subjects of interest to you. Of course, one of my "Alert" words is "DeMolay" and today it brought me a link to this article about Allentown DeMolay--,0,2389241.story
GO READ IT, and then come back here!

As long as I can remember, Allentown Chapter has been able to use a Bro. Mason's parking lot after hours to park cars of people who want to attend the amazing Allentown Fair. They work hard for one full week, but make a large amount of money that carries them through the financial obligations for the year. The one HIGHLIGHT in that story about price-gouging opportunists profiting off the Allentown Fair was the quote by Bro. and Dad Eric Blew:

"One guy last night was so panicked that he offered me $50 for a space, but I said 'no,' " said Eric Blew, a chapter adviser for Allentown Order of DeMolay, while parking cars for the youth organization Sunday. "We don't raise our rates just because someone is desperate. That's not us. It's not the example
we're trying to set."

Thank you, Dad Blew, for letting the Allentown community know what kind of ethics and virtues we not only teach but also practice in DeMolay! You are my newest PA DeMolay hero, and I am very proud to say that you are a Senior DeMolay, a Master Mason, a parent of a DeMolay and an excellent DeMolay Advisor! (I am also confident that any other Advisor in PA DeMolay would have said and done the same thing if placed in similar circumstances.)

"Dad" Tom Labagh
Executive Officer in PA