Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays from the members, officers, and staff of Pennsylvania DeMolay!

For obvious reasons, posting will be sparse until January. We appreciate your patience and look forward to spending time with you in the new year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Passion for Fashion

One thing that I've become more and more passionate about as I age into adulthood is men's fashion. I grew up relatively poor and had to make do with what we had. My first ever suit jacket was purchased so I'd have something to wear to DeMolay. That is a pretty common occurrence for our members today and a reality that many older Advisors and Masons must face. The youth of today haven't been brought up in a society where suits and formal dress were all that important. My upbringing was much the same.

However, when I started working as a professional, I realized the importance of dressing for the occasion. My mentor in this regard has been "Dad" Dennis Snedden, member of the PYF Board of Directors and an Advisor for Steel City Chapter. He has taught me countless little things about how I should dress and for that I'm ever grateful. I've also taken the time to learn on my own and I continue to try to make sure that I look as good as I can whenever I'm representing the fraternity or the Foundation.

The most critical thing I've done is to find a tailor. Yes, I know... most college age or younger guys don't want to spend money or time at a tailor. However, the tailor is your best friend when it comes to how you dress. If something doesn't fit right, he can make it better and if you grow or shrink in size, he can adjust your suits accordingly. Spending $15 to let out a pair of pants is much better than spending $35 on a new pair entirely - not to mention that you'll have a hard time getting fabric and colors to match! Do yourself a favor and establish a relationship with a tailor - it's one of the best decisions you can make!

The other simple thing you can do is to get correctly fitted for a suit and a dress shirt. I don't know how many times I've asked someone for their dress shirt size and I hear "Um, XL, I think." Dress shirts are not sized liked tee shirts and shouldn't be purchased as such. It's very simple to get properly sized; just drop by your favorite department or mens store and they should have someone on hand with a tape measure who can get you all sized up. But, since you're curious as to how the size is established, I've found a couple of great videos to help you:

So, while you're out doing your holiday shopping, do something for yourself that doesn't cost anything - find out your dress shirt and suit sizes!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unplugging: 18 Months Later

In July of 2010, I wrote a blog post entitled "Unplugging and Taking Control." Little did I know that that post would become one of the most popular ever written for this blog. To date it has generated the second most number of hits and has consistently been one of the most read pieces on this site. Today, I was trying to think of something to write and I realized that it might be time to revisit the "Unplugged" concept and put it into perspective for the current times.18 months may not seem like that much time in general, but in the world of DeMolay, it's almost half of a "generation" of the average active membership, hence why it bears revisiting.

I think the one thing we sorely lack is a solid definition of the Unplugged idea. In my thoughts, I see it as follows:

"Unplugging means transferring control and responsibility for Chapter programming and planning to the young men while keeping their skills, abilities, and needs in perspective. It further mandates that Advisors recognize their role as mentors, guides, and protectors rather than hands on project managers and doers."

That definition was fairly long and complicated, so let's break it down. First, the real key to the whole statement is summed up in "transferring control and responsibility for Chapter programming and planning to the young men." This means that the members of the Chapter should be deciding what activities the Chapter is going to do and how they are going to plan them. It purposefully uses the word responsibility - as the DeMolays need to take personal responsibility for their program. If an event doesn't happen or a program fails, it's on the young men and the leadership of the Chapter to recognize their short comings and learn how to avoid those problems in the future. That's the real value of the DeMolay program. With little exception, there is not one thing in DeMolay that can't afford to fail. Failure is part of life and DeMolay provides a safe area for members to fail and learn from their mistakes. There really is no other program like it.

Next, we come to "while keeping their skills, abilities, and needs in perspective." This is the other half of the phrase above. It assumes that the Advisory Council understands the maturity and ability of the members of the Chapter and adjusts its approach accordingly. No, twelve year olds are not capable of planning a 300 person banquet. However, they are capable of learning from the process of planning. This might be a case where an adult has to step in and provide more "hand on" expertise, but effort should be made to include the young men in the planning and execution of the event to the fullest extent possible. This way, the next time the Chapter does a banquet, the Advisors will need to do less. Unplugging is a process - not just a flipping of switch. Advisory Councils should facilitate this process over several terms. In doing so, they will create an older generation of DeMolays that can teach and transfer skills to younger members. The first step, however, is creating that older generation, which usually has to be done with some Advisor assistance.

Now, we come upon the mandate that "Advisors recognize their role as mentors, guides, and protectors." By this I mean that Advisors must come to grips that they are there to be a sounding board and a resource, not a fall back plan. The young men should be able to ask the Advisors for help and receive guidance and support. They should not be able to ignore a project with the knowledge that at the last minute an Advisor will sweep in and clean up the pieces to ensure the event occurs. The definition also reminds the Advisory Council that they are to protect our youth and their assets through the Youth Protection Program and sound financial decisions in planning for the future.

Lastly, it enjoins the Advisors not to be "hands on project managers and doers." Again, this must keep in mind the skills and abilities that have been previously mentioned. Early in the process of Unplugging, Advisors may have to take a more active role. The important part here is that an Advisor should never plan, organize, or execute a project without the direct involvement of a member. Period. If you, as an Advisor, are putting together an event based upon the whims of the Master Councilor or because the young men won't step up to do it, you aren't Unplugging - you're enabling. In the long run, enabling members to not do the work and still succeed will have far more disastrous consequences than one or two failed programs.

There are a multitude of facets to this concept and even more "what-ifs." The best thing to remember is that as long as you have the active participation of DeMolays in the operations of a Chapter, you are Unplugging. It won't happen overnight and it isn't going to be a quick process, but it will provide for a better Chapter and a better future for your local program.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, December 12, 2011


Every now and then I stumble upon something new and interesting buried in the DeMolay folders that we keep here at the office. Today, I came across and interesting oratory that was prepared by a very well known Freemason - "Dad" Thomas W. Jackson, Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. "Dad" Jackson is a well known Masonic orator and organizer and has made a name for himself even beyond the borders of the United States.

The oration here was has been developed from an address presented to the Executive Officers of DeMolay International on March 1, 1991. I found it quite interesting and even though it's now 20 years old, the information contained in it is still very valid. Give it a read and let us know what you think!


It is my privilege to address the Executive Officers of the Order of DeMolay on the subject “What Does Freemasonry Expect from DeMolay?” When preparing to address this subject, I found it to be an interesting and intriguing question but one without a recognized and clear-cut answer. Many times we hear expressed what DeMolay expects from Freemasonry, but I had never before considered what Freemasonry expected from DeMolay.

As a boy I did not have the opportunity to be a member of the Order of DeMolay. In fact, I never heard of DeMolay until I became a Freemason. I was, however, active in the Boy Scouts of America for a period of 27 years and found the basic principles of both organizations to be the same although the modes of operation are quite different. I would have loved, however, to have had the opportunity to work with the 
ritualism of DeMolay.

Freemasonry does, indeed, have a right to expect something, from not only the Order of DeMolay as a Body, but also from each individual member of that Body. Simply defined, we have the right to expect a performance from the members of DeMolay that reflects the purpose of the organization. Many of our Members, however, fail to recognize that purpose.

Brother Frank Land, when asked to define the Order of DeMolay, stated:

"Literally speaking, I would say the Order of DeMolay is a youth organization for young men whose purpose is the 
building of better citizens.”

In trying to define what Freemasonry expects from DeMolay, we should look to the seven cardinal virtues and the vows of a DeMolay. They are, after all, reflective of what it takes to become a better citizen. They also represent what is required as a commitment to DeMolay.

The systematics within the Order to build that better citizen lie within the keeping of the vows and the practice of the seven cardinal virtues. Freemasonry has every right to expect that purpose to be carried out by each individual member of the Chapter, as well as the Order in general.

One of the unique facets of DeMolay which has made it so different from other youth organizations has been the emphasis on the first cardinal virtue, Filial Love. This is a quality never specifically stressed in any other organization with which I am familiar. We have the right, as a Masonic Fraternity, therefore, to expect the members of the Order of DeMolay to display a respect for their parents and to acknowledge their parents' contributions in their lives.

We have every reason to expect a member of the Order to display reverence for sacred things. A genuine belief in a Supreme Being is a fundamental philosophical principle of Freemasonry, and we can accept no less from the Order of DeMolay.

Courtesy as a virtue seems to be a lost ingredient in present day society and is an attribute which contributes to the exemplary quality of the Order. Freemasonry has every reason to expect courtesy in every way from our young men.

The ability of man to relate to man may well determine the future of the world. Indeed, I would suspect the virtue of comradeship would be one that will become more valuable in the life of a young man with each passing year. We have every right to expect the development and practice of this virtue by members of the Order.

We have every reason to expect a display of fidelity on the part of each young man who belongs to the Order. Perhaps this is one of the least emphasized virtues in society today, yet one of the most valuable.

Cleanness in thought, word and deed becomes more unique to general society yearly! The last two decades have evidenced a remarkable change in sociological attitude toward this virtue. Indeed it seems

almost nonexistent in our permissive society. What was once an accepted standard is now almost the exception. We have however every right to expect cleanness as a virtue within the members of

Finally, above all, we should expect no less than an absolute dedication to the concept and display of patriotism. The Masonic Fraternity, itself, emphasizes the need for the commitment of each of us to his country, and we should never expect less from members of the Order of DeMolay.

In addition, the vows of DeMolay require each member to uphold and aid the public school system, and to honor and protect every woman. Freemasonry has a right to expect to see these vows practiced.

Because the majority of society accepts a certain set of values does not mean that Freemasonry or the Order of DeMolay are obligated to comply with this same set of values! What is considered wrong in accordance with Masonic Law and Masonic values does not have to fall to the level of the values of todays society. This higher value system applies also to the Order of DeMolay.

Therefore, what Freemasonry expects specifically from the young men comprising the Order of DeMolay is that they present themselves in appearance and conduct on a level higher than that expected from society in general.

Much of the “sale” of DeMolay to Freemasons is based upon their future membership in Freemasonry, and it certainly serves as a selling point for Masonic support for the Order.

However, Masonic membership is not the purpose for the existence of the Order of DeMolay. Brother Land stated that its purpose was to develop better citizens. If those “better citizens” then choose to affiliate with the Masonic Fraternity, that should be regarded as a side benefit. But, it certainly should never be the expected end result to justify the support of Freemasonry!

Inasmuch as our Fraternity is devoted to developing a better world, if we can develop a better citizen, we are accomplishing that purpose whether they are a Member of the Craft or not.

There is a universal problem today in securing leadership in the form of Advisors to our Chapters. This lack of leadership is alarming to all of us. However, it would behoove us to recognize that it is not a problem limited to the Order of DeMolay. It is a problem basic to our Lodges and to just about every other organization in existence.

When I affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America in 1948, 1 joined a troop which was being re-organized because they were able to secure a Scoutmaster. In the 27 years I was active in that organization, lack of leadership was always a problem. Whatever decisions we make today to solve this problem should be based on a thorough analysis of what the end results will be over a period of time!

We, as leaders of DeMolay, must take the initiative to expose the Order to the Masonic Fraternity. We cannot sit back and expect the Fraternity to invite us to be a participant in their activities. It is important that we educate our Masonic membership to realize that the purposes of DeMolay justify all the support we can provide, but Masons must know that purpose.

It, therefore, is extremely important not only to let the Order of DeMolay know what Freemasonry expects from it, but also to let Freemasons know what Freemasonry expects from DeMolay. We must educate our Masonic membership so that they realize that the purpose of their support for DeMolay should be to produce better citizens, through the teachings of the Order of DeMolay.

It is the responsibility of members of the Order to become better citizens. This improved citizenship should be revealed by the practice of the seven cardinal virtues and vows of the Order. Freemasonry has every right to expect to see this end achieved.

The understanding by both members of the Craft and the Order DeMolay of what is expected from DeMolay cannot help but improve the relationship between the two organizations!

                                                                     # # #

I hope you enjoyed this!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Live on the scene: in the Kingdom of DeMolay

We have been talking about "the Kingdom of DeMolay" for a couple of months now. What is the Kingdom? In short, it's an initiative being financed by DeMolay International that includes funding for marketing, advertising, and invigorating the DeMolay program. One of the largest components of this push was the development of a virtual 3D world based on the Second Life engine.

What does that mean in lay speak? Well, think of it like the SIMS or perhaps World of Warcraft (albeit with less fighting and no monsters.) Once released, any DeMolay or Advisors with a DeMolay ID Number will be able to log into the virtual world and participate. DeMolay ID Numbers are issued automatically to everyone affiliated with the program, so you should already be good to go when the product fully launches next year.

In the mean time, DeMolay International asked for several testers to begin entering the world and working out the kinks. Each jurisdiction was allowed to nominate some testers, including Pennsylvania. Right now, "Dad" Tom Labagh, "Dad" Zack Panitzke, Matt Blaisdell, Alex Rauschenberger and myself have all be granted access. We've been busy looking at the environment with a critical eye and trying to find ways to make it better for DeMolays when open access occurs.

It really is an interesting addition to the DeMolay program. I was quite skeptical at first, but the more time I spend in the realm, the more I find to do and explore. There are still lots of glitches, but the amount of control is amazing. You can build anything you want and modify almost any portion of the game. What was the first thing I did? Figure out how to build a fez of course! We are already developing plans for a virtual Patton Campus to build inside the Kingdom, so DeMolays from all over the country can visit our greatest physical asset!

Keep your eyes on this blog and over on Facebook for even more updates as we continue to explore and enhance the Kingdom of DeMolay. If you have any questions about the program, leave them here in a comment or shoot an email to and I'll be glad to answer them!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, December 5, 2011

What have we learned here?

Have you been at a Chapter meeting or Installation with your Executive Officer recently? If you have, perhaps you've been called on to answer the question, "What Have We Learned Today?" Some of the answers have been profound, and others have been downright silly. Without a doubt, it has been an enlightening, but fun experience for everyone.

This isn't a patented idea, and there is no copyright on the speech. Steal it and use it occasionally in your Chapter! It is just one of the many ways you can be sure you are teaching something each and every meeting. It is likely that, if you go around the room, everyone can identify something they have learned. The idea of this exercise isn't to put anyone on the spot, but rather to allow some of the members and advisors to share with their brothers. Ask 4 or 5 to participate, and then be ready to share a thought of your own.

The basic premise is that, at every DeMolay meeting or activity, we should be teaching something to our DeMolays. If that is the case, then it shouldn't be hard for your members to identify something that they have learned. However, it may take a little coaxing on your part to make them realize what they have learned.

Now, don't make the learning dull and dreary-but when it is obvious that your officers or members have learned a skill, or have exhibited a good understanding of a new concept, or a DeMolay virtue, make sure you let them know that you have noticed their new-found knowledge, and make a big deal out of it. Not only will they appreciate that you are aware of their accomplishment, it will provide positive reinforcement of what they learned.

So, what have YOU learned today?

“Dad” Thomas R. Labagh
Executive Officer

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Hidden Kingdom

Many of you have heard inklings about a project known as "The Kingdom of DeMolay." Rather than go into specific details about it here, I'll refer you back to a previous blog post, written by "Dad" Tom Labagh, EO of PA DeMolay. In that post he talks about the background of the program and some of the finer points of what this exciting new way of promoting DeMolay is going to be like.

Recently, we came across some more test videos for the program and wanted to share them here with all of you. Remember - this program is for the active DeMolays and young men who may be interested in what we do. So, check it out and let us know what you think so far!

First up, we have a wide, sweeping view of the forests and vales of the Kingdom of DeMolay:

Check out this view of an armored DeMolay Knight, receiving the "blessing" of a ghostly hand.

Wow - this 3D interactive tour of castle ruins is pretty awesome! ... and check out that knight!

Here is another amazing view of the ruins - check out the water effects and the armor on those guys!

Holy cats! This cloister scene is fantastic - plus, you'll get to see a familiar face staring back at you from times long past!

Now, for the grand finale, we have the first preview of the Castle of Mont St. Michel (which really exists in France) and serves at the centerpiece for the Kingdom of DeMolay thus far.

If this doesn't get you excited about the Kingdom of DeMolay project, I don't know what will!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Art of Falling on Your Own Sword

Long time readers of this blog will know that I'm very involved in the Knights Templar in Pennsylvania. I have proudly been a member of a two different Commanderies and am currently serving as a Division Commander (kind of like a District Deputy.) I really enjoy my time with the Sir Knights and I continue to learn things from them. Anyone who dismisses the value of the older members of the Masonic fraternity needs to rethink their stance. We may need more young people in the fraternity, but without mentors to teach us about what has come before, there would be an empty space when it comes to knowledge.

The one thing that seems to "irk" younger folks is when older persons point out when they have done something wrong or made a mistake. This often happens in our fraternal world, especially with ritual. Many times we get corrected and think to ourselves "... it was only a tiny mistake, what does it matter?" Sometimes the older guys are just being picky, but most of the time they are doing it to help you improve. They really do mean well, even if it comes off a little rough. Recently, I had just such an experience in Commandery.

To put it simply, I made a wrong call when it came to something one of my local Commanderies wanted to do. I told them it was okay when in reality it was not. It's as simple as that. They came to me for advice, I gave them the answer I thought was correct without consulting my resources and in turn, I made a mistake. Was it a big mistake? Not particularly, but it was a mistake none the less. When the Grand Commander found out about this mistake, I received an e-mail stating that I would be reprimanded for the action. I was sad to say the least. I had made a call and it was wrong and now I had to pay the consequences. No one likes being punished, but we all have to pay our proverbial debts.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I responded to the email and said that it was indeed my call, that I took responsibility for the action, and that I understood the consequences. In return, I received a pleasant email back from the Grand Commander who was obviously gratified by my reaction. It is his job to uphold the Constitution of the body and in my case, that is exactly what he did. However, I'm sure many men have a hard time accepting the outcome of events when they are wrong. It is unusual for someone to take responsibility in this day and age.

Which brings us back to DeMolay. As DeMolays, we are instilled with the Seven Cardinal Virtues - Filial Love, Reverence for Sacred Things, Courtesy, Comradeship, Fidelity, Cleaness, and Patriotism. Notice what is missing from that list - honesty. It's such a simple trait that it is just expected that all DeMolays will strive to have it. It's not always the easiest trait to stick too, but it is incredibly important. The world respects men who can recognize the error of their ways, face the outcomes, and apologize.

We are all wrong at various times in our life. A real man will own up to his short comings and strive to make them right. He will not make excuses for his actions or try to hide them. Real men don't have to hide behind distractions and false reasoning.

Be a man and take credit when it is due and take the blame when it is squarely on your shoulders. You'll be surprised at how much respect you get.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just try!

"Do or do not, there is no try." That immortal phrase ws spoken by Yoda in Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back. The character was just a work of foam and wires, voiced by Frank Oz. However, those words have never had a truer sound than in today's society. That simple line has become etched in the consciousness of the popular culture we currently live in and it is a valuable lesson for us all. It was this lesson that I took to heart.

A little over a month ago I was challenged to participate in a 5k with my girlfriend. She'd been wanting to run a 5k for a long time and it seemed that our calendars finally matched up and that I could be there to support her. I agreed to go to the race with her and help her in training. Then I said to myself "Self, why aren't you running the 5k too?" It was less than 30 days before the event and while I had been exercising more regularly, I didn't think I was in any shape to take on such a challenge.

I've always been a big guy. A little over a year ago I decided that I was as big as I was going to get. I weighed in at just under 290 pounds. A poor diet full of fast food and Masonic banquets, coupled with low physical activity got me to that point. I realized that something had to be done, so I started walking on a treadmill. At first, I could barely do 20 minutes. I couldn't even jog 4 miles per hour for 4 minutes straight. I was in pretty bad shape. But, I persevered and kept with it. I continued to work out regularly and watch my food intake. I counted every calorie that went into my body. While it was a huge pain in the neck, the weight started to come off. By January of this year, I was down 45 pounds and felt much better. I laid off of the exercise and stopped monitoring my food so closely. Come August, 10 pounds had crept back and my clothes were starting to feel a bit tighter. I went back on my diet and started exercising more regularly, just as I had been. Then, this 5K came up.

So, with all of that behind me, I decided that I too should try to run the race. The key word here is "try." For those who know me, I'm not an athletic person. Outside of some random activities at a DeMolay event, I haven't voluntarily participated in an organized athletic activity since the 5th Grade. This was a huge step for me. I told myself that as long as I really tried, I'd come out ahead. I signed up for the race and with less than 30 days to go, I started training. I bought the right equipment, including new running shoes. I then put them to work and got on the treadmill more often. I also ran outside, to get the feel of it. Before I knew it, race day was upon me.

When I lined up with the other competitors, several things went through my mind. Who else was doing this for the first time? What journey had brought them here? One woman was walking with cane, another man had a knee brace. Some people were warming up, while others were just chatting. Everyone was there for a different reason. I was there to prove to myself that I could do it.

As the starting gun went off, I charged forward, setting a good pace for myself for the first mile. Then the exertion set in and I varied my pace between walking and jogging for quite a distance. Whoever decided to make us run up steep hills is a torturer! Soon the end was in sight. As I dashed down a steep hill and turned the corner, the spotter told me the finish line was just ahead. I looked up a small incline which approached a straight away to the finish line. I briskly walked up the hill and then gave it my best, bursting forward to finish the race. I had no idea what my time was, I was just happy that I finished (and that I wasn't last.) My girlfriend had come in ahead of me, but not by much. I had done it! Trying had paid off.

Today, the final results of the race were released. My time was 39:57 - just under 40 minutes, a number I could not have dreamed of! I ended 119 out of 216 competitors and came in 5 of 6 in my age group. I even managed to not be last amongst my peers!

As usual, you are probably wondering what this has to do with DeMolay. To answer that, I'm going right back to the first paragraph of this post - TRY. There are things in life that we think we are incapable of doing. Put in me in front of a room of a 1000 people and ask me talk and I'll be in my element. Ask me to do physical activity and I'm petrified. We have our comfort zones, but until we try to do something outside of the norm, we are never going to know what we are capable of. By simply trying to do something that you didn't think you could, you've already taken the first step in doing it.

Try to learn that ritual part word perfect. Try to live by the precepts of DeMolay. Try to take control of your Chapter and your life. If you never try, you're never going to succeed.

I tried and I'm glad I did.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WWII DeMolay

Recently, PA DeMolay presented a 65 Year Pin to "Dad" Robert L. Engel. "Dad" Engel has been a long time friend of PA DeMolay and holds an Honorary membership in the Supreme Council. Here in PA, he is most widely known as a Most Excellent Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Pennsylvania.

After receiving his pin, "Dad" Engel made copies of some old photos he had from his days in DeMolay. He sent them to the PA DeMolay office and we thought that it would be nice to share them with you. Most of his photos come from around the time of WWII, an era when DeMolay was in serious jeopardy in PA. However, "Dad" Engel was a DeMolay in the Cleveland, OH, area. From the photos, it appears that DeMolay did very well there!

Enjoy this pictorial history of DeMolay from the mid-twentieth century! (Click the photos to enlarge.)

You can learn more about "Dad" Engel's 65 Year Pin presentation over at the PA DeMolay Website.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 14, 2011

I have a delivery for Mr. Ritual...

One of the things that we don't spend much time talking about on this Blog is the DeMolay ritual. While it is an important part of our program, it's not something that's easy to talk about in a public forum. However, there are aspects of the ritual and its performance that we can discuss without giving away information we shouldn't. Today, we are going to discuss one of "Dad" Labagh's pet peeves in ritual performance - speaking.

Learning how to use your voice to deliver a memorized part is an important lesson in DeMolay. Some guys are just naturally talented at ritual, while others have to take some time to practice it. When we learn ritual, most of us concentrate on the memorization and forget that the delivery is really what matters most. The biggest challenge that many of our young men face is something they don't have much control over - their voice.

During our teen years, our voice changes a lot. For some guys, it gets very low, while others remain high pitched and nasally. There isn't much you can do to change the voice you have, but you can learn how to use it to its full potential during ritual delivery. Over on the Art of Manliness page they have an article titled "Develop a Strong He-Man Voice." In the article, the author discusses ways to use the voice you have to be a more effective public speaker. Check it out and try some of the exercises. You'll be surprised how much of a difference they make.

On a side note, I will be on the road beginning on Wednesday of this week. I will be in and out of the office over the next two weeks, so updates may be erratic and / or sparse if they are from me. This is a great time for those of you who read the Blog to submit your own articles and ideas to be published here. Just jot down your thoughts and send them via email to

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Obligatory Day

As DeMolays, we observe seven Obligatory Days each year (as discussed in one of our recent posts.) Of the seven, the one that is listed last in the Rules and Regulations of DeMolay International is Frank S. Land Memorial Day. According that document, to observe this Obligatory day,

"it is the duty of each Chapter to arrange a memorial program in honor and memory of Dad Frank S. Land, Founder of the Order of DeMolay, andto carry out a special fund raising effort with the proceeds being donated to a Masonic charity."

Sounds pretty simple, right? It's true - it really is that simple; and that, my friends, is just the issue with it. Many Chapters just "phone in" their Frank S. Land Memorial Day observance. They raise some money, give it to a charity, and then wash their hands of it. They meet the requirements quite ably, but it's not a very exciting Obligatory Day to observe. However, we recently received a copy of an invitation to a different kind of Frank S. Land Memorial DayObservance - enter Allentown Chapter!

Allentown Chapter has been going gangbusters for the past two years. They have continually produced quality young men with several Past Master Councilor's Meritorious Service Awards being presented to their leadership. They have had a string of Chevaliers, Legionairres, and one of their Advisors, "Dad" Eric Blew, was presented with the Guild of the Leather Apron at Convention 2011(otherwise known as the Advisor of the Year.) This Chapter is really on the move and they are proving it with their Frank S. Land Memorial Day observance.

Just what are they doing? Well, on Monday, November 28, 2011, the members of the Chapter have organized a charity dinner in observance of the day. Sounds pretty normal, right? Think again! Instead of just another dinner, admission to this feast is conditional on two things. First, you have pay $5, which will go to a charity. Then, you have to bring some kind of Thanksgiving left over to share with everyone else. Oh, did I mention that you don't start with any utensils either? If you want a fork, you can shell out another dollar towards the charity. Yep - this isn't a banquet - it's a medieval feast! That's right, you feast on the food with your fingers, toss the scraps on the floor, and enjoy fellowship with Brother DeMolays, all while raising money for charity in honor of "Dad" Land!

This is one of the most creative observances we have ever seen here at PA DeMolay! Congrats to Allentown Chapter for spicing up their program, thinking outside of the box (or is that bun?) and making Obligatory days fun in the process!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, November 7, 2011

What makes DeMolay special?

We all know that DeMolay is a special organization. The lessons it teaches, the  Brotherhood it engenders, and the dedication its members and advisors feel are all signs of how wonderful it can be. While each of us takes something different away from the DeMolay program, we all get something out of it. That's what takes DeMolay to the next level. It provides an opportunity for young men to run their own organization and to make it suit their wants and needs. There really is no other youth organization out there doing that same thing.

Fulfilling a members wants and needs has become the cornerstone of our system of government and values in DeMolay. We have a diverse group of members, especially here in Pennsylvania. We have young men who have grown up in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Some of our members come from the farmlands of central Pennsylvania, near Lancaster and York; while even more come of the coal laden hills of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Each of these areas has it own set of values and beliefs - and DeMolay embraces them all! That diversity is what drives our program to evolve for the next generation of members.

Recently, as a Jurisdiction, we've had to evolve in another way. Because of our ability to adapt, we've seen an influx of members with special needs. Those needs run the whole spectrum, from mobility and accommodation concerns, to young men with Aspbergers. These young men are no different and should be given the same opportunity to benefit from DeMolay as any other member. This can be a challenge for some, especially on the local Chapter level. Advisors are being asked to work with young men who have needs they may have never encountered before; and they are doing it with a grace and ease that amazes all. I can proudly say that in Pennsylvania, these young men are getting the same opportunities as everyone else. The key is providing a program that works for them.

Recently, I received a copy of an article from Scouting Magazine, dated March / April 2011. The article was entitled "Structure and Support - Ideas from the field: Helping "Aspies" succeed." In a previous issue of the publication, members and adults were asked how they had modified their local Scout program to better suit young men with special needs. Here are some of the suggestions, adapted to DeMolay:

  • Provide Structure - DeMolay, by its very nature, is hierarchical and structured. These young men want to know their place in the structure, so take the time to explain that to them.
  • Make a List - provide lists of activities and achievements that can be earned. Definitive goals are a great way to help young men excel.
  • Show the Visuals - Don't just talk about awards or paperwork; have physical things on hand so that they can see the reality of what you're talking about.
  • Use the Buddy System - find two members and pair them up. This kind of friendship only serves to strengthen local Chapters.
  • Cut Some Slack - Remember, not every DeMolay is going to be a model member. Using teachable moments is why the program exists in the first place.
  • Ask - If you're having trouble communicating, talk to the member's parents / teachers and find out how you can better meet his needs.
These are just some ideas from the real world of the Scouts. Every young man is different. Rather than try to fit him into the "DeMolay Mold," why not mold DeMolay to fit him?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Suit Up for Success

One of my favorite TV shows is "How I Met Your Mother." This sitcom seems to mirror where I am at in life and I find that I easily relate to it. I often realize that parts of the character's personalities are tied very closely to the behaviors I see some of my real world friends display. Of course, like most viewers, my favorite character is Barney Stinson. Portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, Barney starts the series as a soulless ladies man, always on the hunt for his next female conquest. Later he cleans up his act and becomes a pretty astute gentlemen. However, the importance he places on being a "Bro" and his impeccable fashion sense are what really get me; the key, of course, are the suits!

As I've written before, fashion is one of those things that many guys shy away from. We have it in our head that "fashion" is for girls. Alternatively, we think that fashion is for Abercrombie and Fitch models or for the guys who feel the need to buy $50 tee shirts at Hollister because they perfume the air around their stores. This is utter nonsense. Real men's fashion has nothing to do with fake palm trees, over priced jeans, or brand names. No, every man should be aware of some basic fashion tips.

In this vein, I recently came across a great video from the website "Real Men - Real Style" that seemed perfectly appropriate for DeMolay. The image you project as a DeMolay is very important. It's okay to be in jeans and a tee shirt while you're making pancakes at a fundraiser, but if you're standing in front of the door to a local store asking for money, you better look professional. It seems that young men today (myself included) have a poor sense of what we should be wearing to look like proper gentlemen. This video does a great job of summarizing what we should do. Take a look:

So, there you have it! Now, some of the advice offered is pretty pricey. However, there are ways to do all of this on a budget. Never underestimate the power of Goodwill or the Salvation Army Thrift Stores. Check them out! You never know what you might find! "Suiting up" is the first step to looking like a respectable young man. Remember our Precept of Cleanness - in thought, word, and deed. Just because you bathed today doesn't mean your clean. Isn't that part of what DeMolay is all about?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, October 31, 2011

Senior DeMolay Highlight - Michael G. Severe

We haven't done a Senior DeMolay Spotlight in a little while, so I thought it would be appropriate to revisit the topic. However, the last few spotlights we have done have been about members of the DeMolay International Hall of Fame. The men who compose the Hall of Fame are some our greatest members from previous generations, but I also think it's important to highlight Senior DeMolay's who may not be as widely known, but who are giving lots of time and effort to the organization. In recent weeks, one such Senior DeMolay has really come to the forefront by using his influence to remind people of the importance of the DeMolay program. That man is:

"Dad" Michael G. Severe
Imperial Potentate of Shriners International

"Dad" Severe is currently serving in one of the most high profile positions in all of the Masonic Fraternity; he is the Imperial Potentate of the Shrine of North America. While the title is impressive, the work he is doing behind the scenes is what really should impress you the most. As part of his position, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Shriners International - the same group that owns and operates the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The work the Shrine Hospitals does is well known and needs no explanation here. But, who is "Dad" Severe, really?

As a young man, Severe was a member of the Order of DeMolay in Columbine Chapter, in Grand Junction, Colorado, and immediately progressed on to joining the Masonic Fraternity at the age of 21. He quickly joined the York and Scottish Rites, which enabled him to don the coveted red fez of a Shriner by the age of 22. He served his Lodge, Glenwood No. 65, in various offices and is a Past Patron of Erica Chapter No. 69, Order of the Eastern Star. However, his first love would always be Shrinedom. He got involved in the Scooter and Motorcycle Units, becoming president of the latter in 1989. Feeling the continued call to service, he was appointed Outer Guard of El Jebel Shrine in 1990, where he progressed  through the chairs until serving as Potentate in 1999. Some would say 10 years of service to the Shrine is enough, but not "Dad" Severe! His love for the organization led him to run for the bottom of the Imperial (meaning national) line in 2000. A decade later, we find "Dad" Severe in the position of Imperial Potentate, continuing to strive for excellence in his role as CEO of all things Shrine related.

Severe’s wife, Patty, is employed by St. Joseph Hospital. He has two children, Joe who repairs and races track motorcycles, and Lauren who is attending the University of Northern Colorado as an English major; Patty has two grown children, Aaron and Amanda; and two grandchildren, Sydney and Derek.

Most of you are probably thinking "This is all well and good, but what else has he done for DeMolay?" That's the most important piece of the story! On October 6, 2011, "Dad" Severe issued a letter as Imperial Potentate to the 193 Shrines that compose the organization. In that letter (which you can read here) he asked all of the Shrines to sponsor a DeMolay Chapter and provide whatever support they can for the organization. It was because of his positive experiences as a DeMolay that he published this letter, opening up one of the best opportunities for Masonic interaction that DeMolay International has had in a long time.

Here in Pennsylvania, we are sending letters to all of the Shrines, asking them to sign on as sponsors of their local DeMolay Chapters, along with a list of 25 ways that the Shrine can support DeMolay. However, we can only do so much. We ask that each Chapter reach out and contact their local Shrine group and start a discourse with them directly. If you need contact information for your local Shrine Center, give us a call here at the PA DeMolay office and we'll be glad to help!

On behalf of PA DeMolay, I thank "Dad" Severe for his continued support. We look forward to working with the Shrine here in the Keystone State; not only for the betterment of DeMolay, but for the Shrine as well!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I realized last week that this humble little blog has recently passed some major milestones and is on its way to reaching a few more. This post is number 252 for the PA DeMolay blog. Our first post was created on January 4, 2010, just a couple months short of two years ago. While two years may not seem like a long time to some (and may seem like an eternity to others) in the world of the internet, that's an incredible amount of time. To our knowledge, there is no other DeMolay related blog that has been as consistently updated for any length as this one. However, anecdotal evidence doesn't make a case, so I'd like to share with you some statistics related to this site.
  • Views to date: 23,394
  • Most Views in a Single Month: August 2010 with 2,434 views.
  • Average Views Per Month (Over the last 12 months) - Just above 1500
  • Average Views Per Month (Last Quarter) - Just above 2000
  • Most Popular Post A Closer Look at Regalia: Part 1 - Aiguillettes - Posted August 19, 2010 (767 views)
  • Largest Referring Site: Google
  • Largest Referral by Link:
  • Top Five Search Words:
    • Unplug - 113
    • Aiguillette - 100
    • Aiguillettes - 79
    • Colonel Mustard Costume - 29
    • DeMolay - 24
Now some of you may be looking at those search terms and thinking "What in the heck?!?" Actually, those terms are good for the Blog. Why? While they may not be truly DeMolay related, they are bringing people to our Blog who are looking for something else. While they are here, they are probably learning at least a little bit about DeMolay, which is a very good thing! Just where do those viewers come from? Here is a break down of the top countries that check out this site:

United States
United Kingdom

Obviously the top four countries are all major areas for DeMolay, which explains their high hit rate. 

So, where is the blog going from here? That's a tough question. It's interesting to see how the blog has changed over time, but I know that it will continue to grow and prosper. As always, I'm open to new contributors and people who would like to have their opinion heard. Just drop your article in an e-mail to and we can talk about posting it!

Also, in the coming months, I will be doing a new feature called "Active DeMolay Spotlight." Like our popular Senior DeMolay Spotlight series, these articles will highlight what some of our current members are doing in their homes and communities. This is a great way for Active DeMolays to get their name out there to College Recruiters  Community Leaders, and other DeMolays (hint hint for those of you thinking of running for Elected State Office next year!)

So, stay tuned for another year and see where the Blog takes you!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony