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