Friday, April 29, 2011

Bem-vindo ao nosso blog!

I had some contact with some DeMolay Brothers from Brazil this morning and decided to do some checking on the blog. Lo and behold, it seems that we are getting a large influx of traffic from our South American neighbors.

If you are from Brazil and visiting our blog, I would like to thank you for checking us out! I hope you find our articles interesting and helpful. If you'd like to see anything specific, just comment on a post or drop me an e-mail at!

The DeMolay spirit lives on here and in Brazil!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Standing Strong

Today's post was written by "Dad" Tom Labagh, EO of PA DeMolay. He wrote this article for the May issue of the Keystone Crusader (which is always available online here.) However, due to space limitations his article wasn't able to published. So, instead, we present it for you here.

Max DePree, in Leadership is an Art, tells us that Sir Christopher Wren, Architect and builder of London's famed St. Paul's Cathedral, was being pestered by his employers who claimed that he didn't know what he was doing.  They said that a certain span between supporting walls was too wide, and told him he MUST add another row of columns for support, or the building would collapse.  The Master Builder, KNOWING that he was right, but not wanting to continue a useless argument, gave in and added another row of columns, BUT, left an unseen space between the UNNECESSARY supports and the beams above.  His doubters and critics were satisfied.  They saw the columns extending toward the ceiling beam, and knew that they were right.  Wren, too, was satisfied.
He had compromised his reputation, perhaps, but not his art.  And to this day, 370 years later, the beam has not sagged.  The great church still looms above the London skyline.  And the columns still stand, firmly supporting NOTHING…. nothing but Wren's confidence in his own abilities.  Having the courage of your convictions doesn't always mean that you must assert that you are right, that you know more than another, or that your lifestyle and beliefs are correct.  People will ask you to show your steadfastness; to prove yourself to them.  And, at times, it may be right to build false columns to show the appearance of strength.  Real strength, however, comes from the feeling of self-confidence in your beliefs and your talents.  Jacques DeMolay's example teaches us the courage of fidelity to pledges he made to himself, as well as to his brethren.   If you can follow his example, and be true to the ideals of our Order, you will build for yourself a character which will support you as firmly as Wren's original plans still support that magnificent cathedral.

What are you supporting?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, April 25, 2011

Don't bank on it!

Today I get to climb on my soap box (sort of.) I've decided to start shopping for a new bank. I've been with my current bank for over 3 years, but sadly their locations just aren't convenient any more. As I begin this process, I'm reminded of how scary financial stuff can be for young people.

As I was standing in line to make a deposit today, I overheard a young man asking a teller where his pay check was. She explained that it hadn't been deposited (via direct deposit) but he didn't understand. He just thought the bank had his money and he wanted it. In reality, his company hadn't paid him yet. However, in the moment, to him it seemed like a bank issue.

So, I decided that today would be a good Take Control! lesson day to talk about finances for young people. It's not my place to discuss the in's and out's of personal banking, but I can share with you a list of tips that I've found to be particularly helpful. They come from the website and will serve you well.

1. Eat breakfast at home. First of all you should always breakfast in general because if you do not then you do not save the money, you actually end up spending more money throughout the day on lunch and dinner because your energy levels are so low and your body is starving for food. The reason you should eat breakfast at home is because it is usually over priced to the max. I did not realize how cheap breakfast could be until the day I purchased a carton of eggs, some toast, and some juice. Not only was this breakfast healthier, it was cheaper and it lasted a week.
2. Look into your cell phone plan. I know that most of us are content with our current cell phone plans but we should not be because cell phone companies are in constant competition for our business. Just simply call up your cell phone provider and ask them for the available monthly plans. Once you hear all of your options tell yourself that you will pick a new plan that is at least $10 cheaper. I will discuss this matter in a later post when I try out a few tips on obtaining lower monthly plans myself.
3. Stop using your debt card. There are two reasons I recommend everyone stop using their debt cards; 1. There a lot of hidden fees that most of us have are unaware of. 2. You spend money more carelessly when all you to do is swipe a card to purchasing something. The first thing you should do is check your monthly bank statement and check how much money you pay towards bank fees. Typically, these bank fees are attributed to all of the times you swiped your debt card. On top of these bank fees, some money machines and stores charge you anywhere from $1-2 to access money through your debt card.
4. Avoid the extra latte or extra coffee. Yes I do support having a cup of coffee in the morning, but there is no point to purchase a fancy latte or to buy another cup of coffee in the evening. The reason many of us make these useless purchases is because we say it’s only a couple of bucks. It is only a couple of bucks but if you manage to save $2-3 a day by not having more caffeine than you need, you can save anywhere from $60-90 a month. Obviously the $60-90 a month will not get you rich, but over time it will add up to a good chunk of change.
5. Avoid the vending machine. On top of all the calories you will avoid, you will also avoid spending all your pocket change. Most of us have a tendancy where we walk by a vending machine and notice that we have some change in our pockets to spend that change on a bag of chips or whatver we choose to buy. Next time you walk by a vending machine and decide not to purchase anything, hold on to that dollar you just saved because after 30 days you will have $30 dollars saved.
6. Cancel something. That’s right, go ahead, and cancel one of your many monthly subscriptions. If you go to a fancy gym that costs a lot of money then try going to a cheaper gym. If you order a lot of magazines then try reading the content online or sharing with a friend. If you have an iphone or blackberry then try cancelling the data plan, chances are you already have internet access, so do you really need to see those pictures of yourself drunk from the weekend on your phone?
7. Start a change jar. Everything ties into this final point, which may seem very childish. I started a change jar in my room a year or so ago and ever since then I will wait about 6 months and then wrap up the change and take it to the bank. The change usually adds up to at least $50-80 a month, coming from all the money saved by some of the tricks above. I use this jar to hold all of my change, absolutely no exceptions, every little bit of change that I have goes into this jar. Every time I save any bit of change I throw it into the jar, even if I find a quarter or dime around the house. Believe me it all adds up.
What are you doing to Take Control! of your finances?
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I am Iron Man!

Today, we take a delve back into the world of the Art of Manliness. They recently had a fabulous article that I think all DeMolays could benefit from. Each year at Convention, Key Man, and other events, I see something that makes me shudder. Something that makes me cringe. Something that makes me go "where is your mother?" That something is a wrinkled dress shirt.

It's not that hard to keep a shirt from being wrinkled. It takes just a little bit of time and effort to clean up a shirt and make it look just like it came out of the package. All it takes is an iron (which comes in most hotel rooms, hint hint) and some patience.

So, take a look at this article and learn how to iron a shirt. After mastering that skill you'll be the snazziest guy on the block.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Moyer Addresses Grand Council

As promised, here is the video of our State Master Councilor addressing the Grand Council of Royal and Select Master Masons in Grantville, PA, on April 18, 2011.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, April 18, 2011

Check back tomorrow!

There isn't going to be a post today, as I am planning to have something special for you for tomorrow. I am attending an event this evening and I hope to take some video to share with you in place of our regularly scheduled post for today. So, check back tomorrow!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, April 14, 2011

History in Pictures

I received some positive feedback from my recent post with pictures from my trip to DeMolay International. In keeping with the theme of posting photos, I plumbed the depths of the PA DeMolay archives for some historical photos that I thought would be interesting to share. I hope you enjoy these!

Let's start with a photo that's fairly unassuming. It looks to be a picture of a piece of old paper. Nothing major, right? This is actually a photo of the original (and I do mean very first) typed copy of the DeMolay Ritual. "Dad" Frank Marshall wrote the ritual in a single sitting under a tree in his front lawn. But, being a newspaper man, he knew that the document needed to be typed up so that it could be better distributed. This is the first ever typed copy of the DeMolay ritual, presumably produced by "Dad" Marshall himself, soon after completing the work. This picture was taken by our Executive Officer, "Dad" Tom Labagh while on a trip to DeMolay International.

The DeMolay International Service and Leadership Center isn't the only DeMolay landmark to see while visiting Kansas City. Two other very important structures exist to commemorate the impact our Order had a this Midwestern town. First up we have the memorial to "Dad" Land that was erected on the 50th Anniversary of the founding of DeMolay. The memorial itself is fairly large, being just a little shorter than the height of an average person. It serves as a testament and a reminder of one the greatest men to call Kansas City his home. 

In the same vein as the first picture, we have a great view of another sacred site - that of "Dad" Land's grave. Compared to the memorial, it's a simple structure, consisting of an in ground plaque and a small stone bench which bears his name and the symbols of the Order. "Dad" Land passed away in 1959, leaving a vacuum of leadership in DeMolay at the national level. The history of the events surrounding "Dad" Land's passing and the subsequent change in leadership is another interesting topic. However, I don't have enough room to discuss it here - but it would make a great subject for another blog post!

The dramatic portion of the DeMolay Degree, which depicts the final trial of Jacques DeMolay, is one that makes a lasting impact on many of us. Few of us have ever actually been to Paris to see where these events took place, though. Here we have a picture of some DeMolays who got just that opportunity. This is a photo of several DeMolays kneeling at the place where Jacques DeMolay was burned those many centuries ago. It seems like a fitting memorial for the martyr who's name we bear.

This one can be filed under the "what were we thinking" category. Modern day DeMolays wear a simple black and red cape (or robe, depending on what you want to call it.) But, "back in the day" DeMolays truly wore robes. As you can see at left, the original DeMolay meeting attire was a heavy velvet robe with intricate lacing and designs that incorporated a high collar and shoulder capes. If you think the current regalia is uncomfortable, imagine what these bad boys must of been like! Oh, and don't forget to take into account that most Lodges weren't air conditioned in those days! Those had to be some stinky meetings!

Now, for the "piece de resistance." At right you'll find a picture taken in front of Ranken Hall around 1980-81. You might recognize some of the young men in that picture. At the far left is our very own "Dad" Lee Cram, now a member of the Supreme Council. Accompanying "Dad" Cram is "Dad" Eric Ullom, third from the left. The one thing you can say about the early 80's - " did they have some good hair!"

I hope you had fun with this little pictorial history! Catch you on Monday!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony 

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is Acacia?

This last weekend saw the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation Educational Endowment Fund Committee. This group, composed of several Masons, meets once a year to award scholarships provided through generous donations and administered by the PMYF. For the second year in a row the panel has been asked to award scholarships to a group that many may not be aware of - the Acacia Fraternity. I think the reaction of one of the board members sums it up best - "Wait, what's Acacia?" That's a reaction we hear all the time, so, I thought it might be useful to discuss what Acacia is and how it relates to DeMolay.

Acacia is a collegiate Fraternity that pre-dates DeMolay by about 15 years (being founded in 1905.) Originally, the group required the members must already be Freemasons who were enrolled in a college or a university where the Chapter met. At a time when Masonic membership alone was not cheap, this was a very restrictive requirement. The core tenets of the Acacia program were the same as the Masonic fraternity (which would then go on to influence the key precepts of the DeMolay program.) Today, Acacia no longer requires Masonic membership, but remains friendly with Grand Lodges throughout the country, including here in PA. Our fine commonwealth plays host to seven Acacia Chapters - more than any other state! Each Chapter is led by a Venerable Dean, with the rest of the organization runs much like that of any other college fraternity.

Let's take a step back and remember the history of DeMolay for a minute. When DeMolay was founded in 1919 it was restricted to young men aged 16 to 21. That's right, each person could only be a member for five years and then he was out. The group was originally intended for older guys, hence why much of the language of the ceremonies is so strange, especially for our younger members. DeMolay then realized that it needed to expand it's membership so that younger guys could participate in the program. First the age was lowered to 15, then 14, then 13, and finally by the end of the 20th Century, 12. We all know there is a huge difference between a 12 year old and a 21 year old. This has been a continual challenge to us in DeMolay. For an organization that was started with older members in mind, we now find that our most active members are 12 to 15 - age ranges for which the program was never originally conceived! However, the program is effective for teaching these young men leadership skills and it's value cannot be underestimated. 

By now, I'm sure you're very confused as to where I'm going with this. We've meandered through Acacia and then waded through a discussion on the original ages of DeMolay. How do these connect? At some point we have to recognize that the DeMolay program may not be perfect for everybody; most especially for our older members going off to college. As these older DeMolays begin their collegiate careers, I urge them to think carefully before joining any college fraternity, Acacia included. However, the experience and training a young person can receive in a college fraternity can be important for their growth and development. Acacia is uniquely positioned to play a role that DeMolay once tried to fill - that of a group for young men who are crossing that bridge into adulthood. 

If you happen to attend college at a campus that has an Acacia Chapter, I encourage you to check them out. We share some similar heritage and you may just find a program you like. 

You can check out the Acacia national website here.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, April 7, 2011

DeMolay International Archives - A Photo Collection

As some of you may know, I recently returned from Kansas City, Missouri, where I attended Jurisdictional Management Training with DeMolay International staff members and newly appointed Executive Officers from many different parts of the country. It was a great experience and I learned a ton about how DeMolay operates on a national level. The training was held at DeMolay International headquarters, which provided a perk to the trip. I was able to see parts of the DI archive as well as artifacts relating to the founding of the Order. I saw many historical and unusual pieces of regalia, so, I thought I'd share them with you!

The first item up is something that I had only ever heard rumors about existing. The collar pictured at left looks like a DeMolay International Supreme Council collar. However, it has two unique differences.First, it is a light blue color, which is not used by Supreme Council members. Second, on the drop, you can see that it states "Supreme Council Staff." Yes, you guessed it - these were collars worn by Supreme Council employees. As you may know, employees of DeMolay International cannot be members of the Supreme Council in any capacity, meaning that they would never be able to wear a Deputy or Active member collar while employed by DI.  The story goes the collars were created for and worn by the staff members for only one session of DeMolay International. It is said that the Supreme Council was so upset by these collars that the staff has been asked to never wear them again, relegating them to display only.

My proclivity for haberdashery was immediately satiated by this next item. As I toured the reconstruction of "Dad" Land's office I was amazed to find the actual fez worn by "Dad" Land while he served as Imperial Potentate of the Shrine of North America. However, this fez has 3 gold stars and 2 silver stars (designating the wearer as a Past Imperial Potentate.) It would seem that "Dad" Land didn't want to shell out for a new fez, but instead just changed the color of the stars on the one he had. It is said the the Imperial Shrine has in its possession all of the fezzes of the past Imperial Potentates, except two. One of those two is "Dad" Land's, which resides at DeMolay International.

The next piece falls in to the category of simply stunning. At left you will find a picture of "Dad" Land's Past Imperial Potentate Jewel. This magnificent piece of jewelry would have been presented to "Dad" Land upon completing his term of office as Imperial Potentate. The picture does little justice for how large this item actually is. I would estimate it be close to 8 inches long. The jewel is primarily gold, with pieces in silver and other precious metals. The white portion of the crescent at the bottom is also very special. You see, those two half moon shapes aren't plastic or even ceramic, but actual tiger claws placed into the jeweled setting. How cool is that? The value of this piece is beyond measure, not only because of the precious metals involved in making it, but for the historical nature and its ties to DeMolay. It remains locked in a display case at all times. I was lucky to get my camera to take such a fine picture of it. It truly is one of those items you have to see to believe. There were several other pieces of jewelry and regalia that belonged to "Dad" Land in the same case, but sadly I was unable to get good pictures of those. They included several rings, jewels, and collars - all breathtaking to behold. Besides, I have to leave something for you to look at when you get to visit Kansas City, right?

DeMolay International gives out many awards for service to the organization and to humanity. One of the rarest of these is bestowed by the Supreme Council to an active DeMolay who saved the life of another person. Aptly named "The Medal for Saving a Human Life," it can only be given by approval of the Supreme Council which has been convinced that the act of heroism performed by the DeMolay led directly to a person being saved from a life and death situation. Up until I had spotted this award in the case I had only ever seen one other medal like it. It was given to a young man at the Supreme Council Session I attended in Denver, Colorado. That young man also received the little known DeMolay Medal of Heroism for his acts of bravery. I didn't get a good picture of the Medal of Heroism to share, or else I would have posted it as well.

Yes - even more fezzes! As I was packing up to leave from my trip, I couldn't resist taking pictures of some of the great old DeMolay fezzes that are on display near the entrance to the building. Both of these fezzes are of a nice deep purple color and hail from Galveston, Texas, and Ridgewood, New Jersey. The one from Galveston obvious denotes that it was worn by the Master Councilor while the Ridgewood model shows that it was given to Past Master Councilors. In all my time collecting fezzes, I have never come across two such as these. Using the logos to date the items, it appears that the the Galveston fez was made sometime between 1920 and 1932, while the Ridgewood fez can be dated to between 1932 and 1949. They are truly magnificent and rare pieces of DeMolay history. Maybe some the limited edition PA DeMolay fez can be placed along side these! 

There is nothing I love more than old DeMolay regalia, and there is a ton of it on display at DeMolay International. I even purchased a couple of pieces of regalia rarely seen in Pennsylvania. So, if you see me around Patton Campus, hit me up and I may share them with you.

Next up on the docket is a great picture of "Dad" Land's office. "Dad" Land took great care of his work space and had it designed to be both professional and functional. When the original office was sold, and the new headquarters built in 1986, it was quickly realized that "Dad" Land's office needed to be reconstructed just as it had been when he passed away. The current reconstruction is built with exacting detail. The only major difference is the width of the room (it is slightly smaller.) The reconstruction effort was so meticulous that even the seams in the wall panels are in exactly the same place! 

Just outside of the office space sits this beautiful portrait of "Dad" Land surrounded by photographs of the man throughout his life. It's really cool to see how the man aged. It's even more amazing to realize that DeMolay was started when Land was a young man - he was in his 20's when he helped found the organization! Today, we think of "Dad" Land as a grandfatherly patriarch, who took DeMolay from humble beginnings to national recognition. In reality, Land started the group as a young man and it was passion for helping young people that pushed him to make the Order into what is today. It was his life long mission, to be sure.

I hope you enjoy these pictures and find something interesting in the group. There were literally thousands of artifacts on display, each with their own story. Maybe someday you can visit DeMolay International and bring back some stories of your own!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, April 1, 2011

What are you doing with your life?

As young people, it's easy to think that you have to do things in a certain order. You go to elementary school, then middle school, then high school, then college, then get a job. It's a road map society tells you to follow. However, those who really achieve in our society rarely follow a road map. I've blogged before about wondering if I've really done something with my life. I believe that I am (thanks to my current job.) There are those who are my age that have done way more though. Just check out this link -

These people are under the age of thirty and have net worths more than I will make in an entire life time. While money isn't everything, youth is a gift only granted once. As a DeMolay and a young person in America, are you living the dream that you have for yourself? Today is an opportunity that really will only come around once in  life time!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony