Thursday, May 26, 2011

Musings from Westmoreland

Today's post is by "Dad" Bruce Neubauer, Chapter Chairman of Westmoreland Chapter, located in Greensburg, PA. "Dad" Neuabauer wrote this article unsolicited and sent it to PA DeMolay. I enjoyed his thoughts and he graciously allowed me to post it here. I hope you enjoy it!

You might think DeMolay is just about the young men, but it's not. DeMolay is also about the Advisors. You might say that this comment does not fit in with the "Unplugged" concept. But remember, Unplugged does not mean disconnected. I hope you find this story interesting. I have seen some things lately that I thought were amazing.

Westmoreland DeMolay has a very long and exciting history in PA. In the olden days the Chapter was very active in ritual competitions and sporting events. We understand they had a Chapter with a lot of members. Over the years the members got involved with other activities and a lot aged out and moved on. Westmoreland Chapter was lucky to continue to have a few young men to keep it alive. Our hats go off to these young men, because it would have been easy to go dark. Westmoreland continued to have a good Advisory Council that did not want to see the Chapter close.

About 3 years ago Westmoreland started to get a few more young men. They joined one at a time. Now we know that the guys are to try and recruit their friends, but they need help. Before a member is going to ask a friend, he must believe it is the right thing to do. In the beginning, the young men would not ask anyone to join. Some of our Advisors talked up DeMolay how the young men could join. There were Masons that thought DeMolay was gone. Westmoreland had a sports prospect party that summer and two young men had come because of the interest sparked at the Masonic meeting with a friend. Both guys joined with in a couple weeks. It is very important that the adults never stop talking about DeMolay because the young men need your help.
All of a sudden we had about 6 young men, who were 12 and 13 years old, wondering "What am I doing here?" When they sat through the first business meeting none of the young men knew what to do. At that point the Advisors did a lot. They had to help with ritual, explain how to make a motion, and why you needed one in the first place. The new members were very nervous. We had a Master Councilor That was trying to work with the members and stayed on for an extra term or two until the younger guys were ready. Later that year we had an Advisor that went to a leadership weekend and found out from our Master Councilor that the Advisors were way too involved in the meetings. The Advisors started to back off and it was not easy. This was right before "Unplugged" debuted as a concept. When we read the "Unplugged" article one of our Advisors absolutely did not agree with it because he felt the guys were not prepared to run the Chapter. He thought they did not have the tools needed to be successful. Upon further review the Advisors felt that it would work if you stayed connected when the members needed help.

This now bring us to today. Our guys are now between 12 and 16. We have a truly "Unplugged" but not disconnected Chapter. This does not mean they are own their own. As advisors, you have to know when to get involved. Our young men are working on the "Take Control!" program. The Young men have seen a couple terms and now know some of the things they need to do, such as Scheduling dates with your meeting place, setting a budget for activities, following up with who is going and much, much more. At the Councilors meeting the Chapter Advisor is part of the meeting. This is where the young men review the activity.
We have seen the young men "Take Control!" of the Chapter. They are taking pride in the ritual and Master Councilor puts together a meeting agenda and has copies for everyone. Over the past few meetings the transformation in the Chapter is been amazing. The older members are helping the newer members. We just had a Prospect party with four prospects. But remember, he guys will not ask friends to join until they believe. We can see where the members of Westmoreland Chapter are working as a team by the way everyone had a great time at the party.

Finally the Advisors of Westmoreland Chapter have had a lot to do with the young men gaining the confidence and learning needed to succeed. As an advisor, you must never stop asking your friends, family, or Brothers if they know about DeMolay. The Young men are learning how to be leaders and the Advisors are using their skill to help them learn. As advisors think of the rewards when you can sit back and say WOW what a change.

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