Monday, August 29, 2011

Senior DeMolay Highlight - Frank Borman

The Senior DeMolay highlight series has proven to be very popular. So far, we have covered an entertainer and a world leader, but we have yet to dive into the DeMolay Hall of Fame. But, today, we are going to do just that. If you have never checked out the DeMolay Hall of Fame Online, you should take a few minutes to do so. It's a great resource for information on famous men who were DeMolays - although, you don't have to be famous to get nominated to be a Hall of Fame member. Hall of Fame inductees are chosen through a committee of Active Members of the DeMolay International Supreme Council. They chose possible candidates based upon their contributions to society and how well they are known throughout the world. So, today, in keeping with the Hall of Fame and Bro. Matt Blaisdell's Mission: Control! theme, we present

Colonel Frank Frederick Borman, II
Astronaut and Commander of Apollo 8
Bro. Borman was born in Gary, Indiana, but it was soon discovered that Frank had serious sinus issues and it was recommended that his family move to drier, warmer climate. The family packed up and moved to Arizona, settling in Tuscon (which Frank now considers his home town.) It was there that he was inducted in to DeMolay in 1943. 

He started to fly at the age of 15. He is a graduate of the Tucson High School. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1950 where he served as an Army Football Manager, and along with part of his graduating class, he entered the United States Air Force (USAF) and became a fighter pilot. He received his Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1957. Later, Borman was selected for the USAF test pilot school and became a test pilot.

Before working on the Apollo project, Frank would spend time on the Gemini missions as well as working with a NASA review board that investigated the Apollo 1 fire. Having been recognized as a leader in the space program, Borman was tasked with leading the Apollo 8 mission. This mission was tested the feasibility of using the lunar module and orbited the moon twenty times before returning to Earth.

After his time at NASA, Frank would go on to become CEO of Eastern airlines which he later sold to Texas Air, retiring in 1986 upon completion of the sale. Borman returned to Tucson, Arizona, where he enjoyed rebuilding and flying airplanes from World War II and the Korean era. Borman has since appeared in the documentary When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions. On November 13, 2008, Borman and fellow Apollo 8 crewmembers Jim Lovell and Bill Andersappeared on the NASA TV channel to discuss the Apollo 8 mission. Borman currently resides with his wife Susan in Bighorn, Montana.
Special thanks to the DeMolay International Hall of Fame and Wikipedia for information on Bro. Borman.

Frank Borman controlled his Mission - as a DeMolay, as a Student, and as an Astronaut. How are you making your Mission a success?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Masonic World Grows

Two posts in one day! Heresy! Actually, this is just a short post.

Most of you know of my love all things fez like, so I generally keep up on what is going on with the groups that happen to wear them as part of their regalia. Thanks to Bro. Chris Hodapp (of the Freemasons for Dummies blog) I found out that the Shriners have just expanded their reach into Europe by opening Emirat Shrine in Heidleberg, Germany. This is the first time that an independent Shrine has existed on European soil, making this a huge step for Shriners International.

Why is this important to us as DeMolays? As DeMolay continues to grow in Italy, Romania, and other European Countries, other parts of the American Masonic tradition are starting to jump the pond as well. For the first time in history, Masonic innovations in one part of the world are being easily transported to other areas. This is creating a truly world-wide fraternal experience for both DeMolays and Freemasons.

Congratulations to the members of Emirat Temple and we hope to see European DeMolay grow in conjunction with them!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

What Do You Know About Poverty and Youth?

Sometimes we are teachers and mentors, and sometimes we are students.  When Bro. Thom Stecher and his team of dedicated professional educators come to the Patton Campus to conduct the annual LifeSkills Conference, I become a student for the week.  Bro. Stecher has a unique perspective on working with children, how to motivate and serve their needs while building up their self-esteem and self-worth.

Bro. Thom writes a blog aimed at teachers and others who work with youth that is worth following.  In particular, I want to draw your attention to a piece he wrote on children living in poverty.  I admit that I have very little experience with this, but I also know that our DeMolays are not exempt from this condition, and I think some of us may know of a young man or a young woman who is living in less than ideal conditions.

I recommend this blog post to you, to alert you to the problem and some of the concerns that we cannot ignore if presented with them.  This is a part of our Youth Protection obligation, too.  If you DO come across a member living in a dangerous situation, neglected, or without basics-- food, proper clothing or housing-- we have a moral obligation to try to be of assistance.  I am not suggesting that you need to investigate the home lives of every member-- just be aware of your members and, if warranted, ask some appropriate questions.  We are a brotherhood-- we can and will help.

Tom Labagh
Executive Officer

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's All in the Numbers

While I know everyone was enjoying our trip through Senior DeMolay land, we're going to take a quick diversion and talk about some stats I recently received. "Dad" Peter Brusoe, of Nation's Capital DeMolay, recently did a little bit of research about Chapter sizes and membership trends across all of DeMolay International. Let's take a look:

  1. There are 681 Chapters in the United States. There are 3,134 counties in the United States (DC is considered one county for census)  If we assume one county/one chapter that means only 21.7% of our counties in the country have DeMolay.

  2. The average size of a chapter in 2011 was 22.9 young men If these numbers do not change we are looking at an average size of 20.54 young men.

  3. Only 35 chapters in the country are over 50 members.

  4. 343 out of 681 Chapters have inducted someone since January 1, that's 50.36 %.

  5. 162 Chapters out of 651 have less than 10 members and have not inducted anyone this year (23.7%).

  6. 120 Chapters have achieved positive growth (17.6%)

  7. Only 10 chapters have inducted more 10 young men or more.  71 Chapters have inducted more than 5 members. 95 chapters have inducted only one young man.
Upon receiving these numbers, "Dad" Tom Labagh, EO of PA DeMolay, tasked "Dad" Dave Berry, our Executive Secretary, to see how PA DeMolay fits into this scheme. Here are his findings.
  1.  PA DeMolay’s 24 Chapters which meet in 21  counties. Currently, PA has 67 counties, meaning that 31% of the Counties have a chapter.
    1. 19 Chapters that are the only one in their County.
    2.  2 Chapters in Montgomery County.
    3. 3 Chapters in Allegheny County.

  2. Average Chapter size for PA DeMolay in 2011 is 30.6, making the average PA Chapter roughly 33% larger than the national average.

  3. Three Chapters have over 50 members (accounting for about 10% of all of the Chapters with over 50 members in DeMolay International.)
    1. Elizabethtown (77)
    2.  George Washington (53)
    3.  Lorraine (65)

  4. 16 of 24 Chapters have inducted new members in 2011, which is about 66%. This is 16% higher than the national average.
  5.  In 2010, 5 Chapters achieved positive growth (20% of Chapters.) Growth is defined as ending the year with more members than they started with, which accounts for majorities.
    1. Susquehanna            300%              (12)
    2.  Northeast                   175%              (14)
    3.  Westmoreland           125%              (5)
    4. New Castle Builders 100%              (4)
    5. Riverside                    100%              (4)

  6. In 2011, 1 Chapter has achieved positive growth (4%)
    1. Susquehanna            125%              (10)

  7.  In 2010, Northeast Chapter was responsible for 13% of new members.

  8. In 2011, Susquehanna Chapter is responsible to 19% of new members.

  9. In 2010, only 2 Chapters inducted 10 or more new members (8%)
    1.  Northeast                  14
    2. Susquehanna            12

  10. In 2010, 10 Chapters inducted 5 or more new members (37%)
    1. Northeast                   14
    2.  Susquehanna           12
    3. G. Washington           8
    4. Elizabethtown            7
    5. Pilgrim                        7
    6. Erie                             6
    7. Friendship-Bray        6
    8. Delaware Valley        5
    9. Lincoln                        5
    10. Westmoreland           5

  11. In 2011, only 1 Chapter has inducted 10 or more new members (4%)
    1. Susquehanna            10

  12. In 2011, only 4 Chapters have inducted 5 or more new members (16%)
    1. Susquehanna            10
    2.  G. Washington           6
    3.  Friendship-Bray        5
    4. Lorraine                      5
So, what kinds of trends do you see in these numbers? Share your comments below!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Senior DeMolay Highlight - Jejomar Binay

First, I'd like to apologize for not getting a blog post up yesterday. I actually stayed home with a nasty headache and just relaxed. I think in the last three years I have only ever taken one other sick day, so you know that this had to be one heck of a painful day for me to not be in the office!

Now, on to our post! I would be willing to bet that the majority of the DeMolays that live here in the United States give little thought to how DeMolay operates in the rest of the world. Not only do we have Chapters in Italy and Romania, but in Bolivia and other parts of South America as well. However, one of the areas that tends to get overlooked the most is the Philippines. DeMolay has a very strong presence there, however they are not part of the same Supreme Council that we are. They are actually run by their own governing body. Think of it like a DeMolay franchise - like TGIFridays or Applebees. We gave them the model, the resources, and the program, but they operate it with little to no oversight from the United States Supreme Council. The key thing to remember here is that they are still our Brothers and that they believe that in the same tenets as we do.

DeMolay in the Philippines has also produced many famous members. Most of us in the States have probably never heard of them, but I assure you that in the Philippines they are very prominent. The most important of these would have to be

Jejomar "Jojo" C. Binay
15th (and current) Vice President of the Phillipines

Born November 11, 1942, he joined DeMolay at a young age. He has was an excellent student, attending a quality preparatory school and would go on to earn two Bachelor's Degrees - one in Political Science and one in Law. During his college career he became a member of Alpha Phi Omega and would later pass the bar so he could practice law. In between his schooling and his jobs, he would work as a teacher at local schools and offer free legal assistance to those who couldn't afford it. Bro. Binay was also an early proponent of free and fair elections in his home Country and once spent time locked in jails and military stockades for his outspoken views.

In February of 1986, Binay was appointed Mayor of Makati City which started his political career and would assist the government in fighting attempted coups and mutinies. He earned the nickname "Ramboito" or "little Rambo" for his tenacious defense of the constitution. In 2008 he announced his bid for national office and assumed the office of Vice President in 2010. His political career has spanned decades, so make sure to head over to Wikipedia and read all about it

So, next time you're thinking about your DeMolay Brothers and where we have come from, remember that we are truly a worldwide fraternity!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth C. Anthony

Monday, August 15, 2011

Senior DeMolay Highlight - Alice Cooper

After a long week of Key Man, my mind is pretty well shot. I sat here for quite some time trying to think of something to blog about, and then it hit me! One of the things that surprised many of the Key Men this year was that Alice Cooper was a DeMolay. There are actually many famous Senior DeMolay's who are not members of the Hall of Fame. So, as a part of a new, on-going series, I'll be highlighting the lives of some DeMolay Alumni who went on to make a name for themselves!

Vincent Damon Furnier a.ka. Alice Cooper - Rock Star

Alice Cooper was born on February 4, 1948, in the home of Rock and Roll and Mo-Town - Detroit, MI. His father was a lay preacher of mixed ancestry. He attended grade and middle school in Detroit, but following some illness, they moved to Phoenix, AZ, where he would attend High School. It was during High School that his interest in music began, when he participated in a talent show. He would go on to form and front several bands. He became Alice Cooper in 1968 when he joined a friend's band and changed its name to that same moniker. It is important to note that "Alice Cooper" is merely a staged character that has become  synonymous with the actor. He chose the dark version of the character as a change from the rock stars of the day who were being portrayed as heroes instead of villains.

Cooper's act would become famous for his stage antics, which included a live guillotine and other props. It was purported that he bit the head off of a live chicken on stage once, but in reality the chicken merely fell off the stage was killed by the crowd. The idea behind the story proved too amazing though, having lived on through urban legend to the present day.

Cooper toured heavily through the 1970's and 80's, releasing several albums and cementing his status as a rock and roll legend. His empire now covers music, television, movies, and more. He will be touring with Rob Zombie on the "Gruesome Twosome" tour, which starts soon.

Other random facts about Cooper:
  • He is a self described "born again Christian."
  • He is an avid golfer.
  • He is a huge fan of the Simpsons.
  • He is a recovering alcoholic.
If you want some more information, you can go read the full biographical sketch over at Wikipedia. So, what is your DeMolay legacy going to be?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth C. Anthony

Thursday, August 11, 2011

DI Numbers Updates

The following facts and figures come to us from "Dad" Jeff Kitsmiller, Executive Director of DeMolay International.  In doing a little 5 year history review on membership, he was able to report the following list of the the top ten Jurisdictions for initiating the most new members.....

Northern California/Hawaii.....695
Southern California.....637

... and the  top ten Jurisdictions for gaining the most positive growth.....

Ontario (DeCan).....+65
South Dakota.....+31
South America.....+29

...and lastly the largest percentage of membership growth over the last five years...

South America.....+216.7%
Manitoba (DeCan).....+100%
South Dakota.....+87.9%
Ontario (DeCan).....+70.3%
Saskatchewan (DeCan).....+57.6%

It is NICE to be on two of these three lists, but it also tells us that while we are doing well, relatively speaking, there is much to be done by ALL of us to bring DeMolay back to the grandeur of its former years.

State Master Councilor Matt Blaisdell's Mission: Control! program has identified the single most important Mission that we should all attempt to accomplish this year:  JUST ONE.   If each member would get just ONE new member this year, we would effectively DOUBLE our active membership.

JUST ONE!   Can you do that?  Of course you can!

"Dad" Tom Labagh
EO of PA DeMolay

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chronicles of a Key Man

Written by Matt Blaisdell, State Master Councilor of Pennsylvania DeMolay

The Key Man Experience can be different  for everyone  involved. For some, it can be the very first step towards making a difference. Key Man, Pennsylvania DeMolay's premier leadership conference, turns 26 this year. In 1986,  "Dad" Samuel C. Williamson took a a giant leap for DeMolay and began the first ever Key Man Conference. Needless to say, it has come a long way from lenghty workshops and note taking but, since that inaugural conference, Key Man has moved to a reality Conference for the members and Advisors to take part in! Every member has the opportunity to create their own Chapter and control their term how they please (with the help of a designated Chapter Advisor and Chairman to make sure they don't overspend any Key Man money!)

Last night, myself and over 70 other DeMolays and Advisors from across North America, had the pleasure of witnessing a new young man make his DeMolay promises at Key Man 2011. While this was going on, I had a short flash back on my very own DeMolay career, which began in this young man's shoes at the 2003 Key Man Conference. Eight years ago, the 4' 8" me walked through the doors of Patton Campus with only one thought in my mind "what is a Key Man and am I one?" With all these overwhelming thoughts roaming through my head at the age of 12, I didn't know what to do! I went through the week as the Chapter's Treasurer (mainly for the pride of being able to write "official" checks at such a young age!) Nevertheless I survived the week and ended up leaving Patton Campus with the biggest DeMolay pride I could imagine!

Earlier, I looked back at my first DeMolay experience and those that followed and I wonder what other people's DeMolay experiences are. Perhaps you were there at the first Key Man Conference. Perhaps you attended the 25th anniversary Conference  as an Advisor or a member. I spoke with a few members throughout the day about their favorite DeMolay memories and experiences and the answers are astounding! Take a minute to view the video and even comment with some of your favorite Key Man, or DeMolay experiences. The best knowledge is shared knowledge!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Online Civility

Today was one of those days where I didn't have a clue as to what to write about. As usual, I shot over to the Art of Manliness blog and looked for something interesting. Lo and behold, I found a great article that pertains to all young people today - especially our young men.

The internet has become the main mode of communication for almost all age groups. As different generations begin to gel on the web, it seems that more and more people are getting in trouble for things they say or do online. Personally, I've had the experience of having to fire someone from their job for poor judgement that they used online. They didn't think it was fair, but when it pertains to the business, all bets are off.

So, take a moment, and read this article on how to be Civil and a Gentlemen on the Internet.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, August 1, 2011

Who Cares About History? Part Two

In our blog post of  June 27th we talked about our dismay that the Founder's Cross of "Dad" Paul Miller Moore fell into the hands of an antique shop that sold it on E-bay to an unknown purchaser, and an important piece of PA DeMolay history may now be forever lost to us. We'd still like to talk to the purchaser, if he/she ever stumbles across this blog.

We also discussed the general history of the Founder's Cross, and have since come up with some more specific information about the Pennsylvanians who received the Founder's Cross from "Dad" Frank S. Land.  There were NINE (9) total, and all were presented within 2 years; 6 at the same time, suggesting that "Dad" Land attended a PA DeMolay Conclave in June of 1939.

Louis U. Strassburger, Germantown, PA
R. E. Past Grand Commander of PA
Executive Officer for Eastern Pennsylvania, 1937-1939
Awarded December 15, 1937

James N. Deeter, St. Marys, PA
R. E. Past Grand Commander of PA
Executive Secretary for PA DeMolay, 1957-1961
Awarded June 22, 1939

James A. Wieland, Pittsburgh, PA
Deputy Emeritus for PA DeMolay, and Past Potentate and Recorder of Syria Shrine
Awarded June 22, 1939

Kendig C. Bare, Lancaster, PA
Past State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay, 1934-1935
A Lancaster attorney; Mayor of Lancaster 1951-1958
Awarded June 22, 1939

Wilbur L. Minich (Abe), Harrisburg, PA 
Chapter Advisor for Pilgrim Chapter
Awarded June 22, 1939

William A. Hoffman, Beaver Falls, PA
Affiliations Unknown
Awarded June 22, 1939

W. I. Hurst, Johnstown, PA
Accountant or financial officer for the city of Johnstown
Awarded June 22, 1939

James N. Wilson, Erie, PA
Affiliations Unknown
Awarded October 28, 1939

Paul Miller Moore, Aliquippa, PA
Past Grand Commander of Knights Templar of Pennsylvania, and Most Eminent Past Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar of the United States of America
Awarded October 28, 1939

If anyone can give us more detail about any of these men-- family, education, employment, etc.-- we'd be glad to add it to their record.

And someday, perhaps, DeMolay International will post a listing of ALL the recipients of the Founder's Cross as a part of their commitment to preserving the heritage of the Order of DeMolay.

"Dad" Tom Labagh
EO of PA DeMolay