Monday, January 30, 2012

A Free Ride

Many young people who are going off to college covet the words "free ride" - meaning that they go to school without cost for four years. Very few people actually get to enjoy such an experience and when they do, it's usually because of a sports career or genius level scores on aptitude tests. So, what's the average student to do? Apply to Antioch College, of course!

No, you've never heard of it. No, it doesn't have a football team, a pool, or guy in a mascot costume. It does, however, have a 160 years of tradition and a way for you to go to college for free! Yes, that's right - FREE. Don't believe me? Check out this article over on Yahoo! Finance and get the details!

http://financiallyfit.yahoo.com/finance/article-113840-11763-4-how-to-get-a-106000-college-education-for-free?ywaad=ad0035&nc

On a side note, I know today's article was short, but we have a special guest article coming from "Dad" Dave Berry, Executive Secretary of PA DeMolay, later this week, so keep checking back!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm too young! I'm too old! I'm too...

This post is part of series of entries written by the Elected State Officers of PA DeMolay. Each of them have been assigned topics to discuss and offer their opinions on. Today's post is offered by Bro. Anthony Kallhoff, State Junior Councilor. Enjoy!

Finally! It's my senior year of high school! No more tests, no more studying, no more homework! "But what about college?"  AW, COME ON!

Like our ritual states, the wisest young man is one who plans for the future.  For some of us, that means preparing for secondary schooling.  It's not always a fun process, but it is a necessary one for any guy who desires a profession that requires a degree. As I am going through the process of college applications right now, I think I am able to shed a little light on the issue and show what DeMolay has to offer in aiding the process. I also think I can impart some of my wisdom to those whom can benefit from it.

You may be thinking that you are too young to be worrying about college.  You are wrong.  If you are a DeMolay, that means you are at least 12, and I think that it is fair to say that what you do in seventh grade and up will affect how colleges view you.   Good news though, you have already made a smart move in distinguishing yourself as a worthy applicant.  You are already a DeMolay.  Just like Boy Scouts, DeMolay and other leadership organizations showcase your ability to directs others and your willingness to learn.  By living as a DeMolay, furthermore, you display a set of core values that I know personally will impress any university.   When talking to someone in DeMolay of any age, although it works best with kids in high school, don't forget to mention the positive effect DeMolay has on a resume.

While we are on the subject of recruitment, I would be foolish to not mention the great resource that DeMolay offers in the form of scholarships.  The Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation has compiled these scholarships into one handy booklet, the PA Masonic Scholarship Resource Guide (great title, I know.)  Within those pages await thousands of dollars, hundreds of which go unclaimed each year!  Talk about easy money! There are few things that entice people like money, and by bringing along one of these packets to give to a prospect in high school, you make DeMolay that much more appealing.

DeMolay is a tool for preparing for college, but you'll hear about that from other people.  I am more interested in sharing what I have learned and what I believe you should know.   A lot of what I have learned is more of a confirmation of what people have taught me:  get good grades, be active in clubs, stay involved in sports.  One big concept is to always do what you love.  But again, these are all things you'll hear from other people.  What I want to teach you, because it is one thing I regret, is to not put off tomorrow what you could do today.  "But Anthony, we have heard this from others!" Oh shush, no you haven't.  I'm not just talking about a paper or learning a ritual part.  While putting those things off is still a bad idea, I'm speaking about a much deeper sense of procrastination which plagues everyone of any age.  We all have great dreams in our hearts.  As many know, I dream of becoming a physicist one day; a physicist that changes the very way we view the universe.  But like many other things in life, I've found excuses.  I have to wait until college before I know enough to matter.  I need more experience to do science work that anyone cares about.  I'm too busy with other things to work on science.  BALOGNA!  If I truly believe that physics is what I want to do (and I do,) then ANY excuse is not good enough!  We only have a limited time on this earth, and if we dedicate that time to not striving for the best and doing what we love, our lives will quickly turn sour.  You are never too young, or too old, to follow your heart.  When you have a dream, don't let yourself be the thing in your way.  Let me leave you with a quote from Arnold Bennett, an English novelist. "We shall never have more time. We have, and have always had, all the time there is. No object is served in waiting until next week or even until tomorrow. Keep going day in and day out. Concentrate on something useful. Having decided to achieve a task, achieve it at all costs."

College is just around the corner, but if you prepare for a life, and a life of following your dream, any college will be proud to have you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

We are a character building organization!

Yes, I said it. We are a character building organization.

Anyone who has been around DeMolay for some time will recognize this line. It was the battle cry of Past Grand Master Keith Klein, who assured us that the DeMolay program does one thing better than any other - build character. He was (and still is) passionate about this message, which rings just as true today as it did five years ago.

Recently, I received an email from "Dad" Peter Brusoe, Chief Operating Officer of Nation's Capital DeMolay. He was at a recent Chapter meeting for Tenleytown - Chevy Chase Chapter and they had some interesting discussions on current issues. He writes:

"We talked about SOPA. It was agreed that it was bad.  I asked the Chapter "What about downloading music for free, is that consistent with DeMolay values?"  The MC stood up and said "No, it's not, we took an obligation to obey the laws, and though it is easy to do, we as DeMolays should not do it."

As "Dad" Brusoe said to me, there was the moment of truth. DeMolays have instilled in them a value code that comes with obligations and cardinal virtues taught by the organization. While everyone makes mistakes from time to time, knowing the simple things - like the difference between right and wrong - is the most valuable lesson that DeMolay can teach.

Why not close each Chapter meeting with a short discussion on a current event? That kind of open and free debate can spark important conversations and help each DeMolay build character. In turn, the organization is building better men.

Frat ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Respect - what does it mean to you?


This post is part of series of entries written by the Elected State Officers of PA DeMolay. Each of them have been assigned topics to discuss and offer their opinions on. Today's post is offered by Bro. Matt Maple, State Senior Councilor. Enjoy!

Most of us have a Facebook, twitter, or some other means of social networking.  When you sign on, you almost always see someone posting something that is disrespectful. It is bound to happen, but as DeMolays we should set the example and be respectful while on social networking sites. We have taken an obligation to be good citizens and to always be respectful. Let us show that we are good citizens by not posting anything offensive or disrespectful and furthermore, be respectful at all times.

All DeMolays are expected to be the “good kids,” the ones you almost never see get into trouble.  We also live in a metaphorical fishbowl. We are in this fishbowl because we are expected to be leaders, and everything that we do, good or bad, can and will be seen. One advisor for PA DeMolay is fed up with some of the disrespectful things that he has seen on Facebook. He posted the following:

“New Year’s resolution: if you are on my friend list and your posts contain offensive language..... I will unsubsribe you, esp. if you belong to one of the 3 youth groups.”  

This was posted by “Dad” Mike Larkin, and by saying this he is taking one step forward in try to push members of not only DeMolay, but the other Masonic Youth Groups, to live up to these expectations and be the young men that we are expected to be.

We are also expected to always be respectful to those around us and especially to our elders.  When we are in a meeting at a sports tournament, or any other DeMolay event, we need to make sure that we are listening to those running the meeting and not talking.  This has not been the case recently and we need to change that.

Let us all strive to earn the respect of others and show them how much the organization of DeMolay can do by turning us all into respectable young men.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Do I have to?

This post is part of series of entries written by the Elected State Officers of PA DeMolay. Each of them have been assigned topics to discuss and offer their opinions on. Today's post is offered by Bro. Alex Rauschenberger, Deputy State Master Councilor. Enjoy!

We have all been there; settling in as a newly installed Chapter officer and  hearing about this “ritual” thing you need to learn.  Somebody hands you a little blue book and tells you to memorize your lines for the next meeting, but why? Why should you have to learn the ritual of our organization?  What possible importance could a few sentences have?  Probably much more than you expect.

Ritual has been learned by  DeMolays since Frank Marshal wrote it almost 100 years ago.  Instilled in that ritual are timeless ideas and lessons, which were as important today as they were back then. Think about the life lessons you’ve learned from DeMolay, from the Preceptors, and from the induction. Our ritual can teach us important lessons that will be with us throughout our lives, such as Respect, Patriotism, and Fidelity.  All of those lessons have been preserved in time in our ritual, but there is more to them than what can be learned by watching our ceremonies.  When you take the time to memorize the ritual, you are taking the time to truly understand what it is that the ritual means and what it is you are saying.  You are able to grasp what the lessons truly mean and by doing that, you are translating those lessons into your daily lives.  

Ritual is also important for academic reasons.  Want to pass with flying colors on your Knights Templar test in history class? Or do incredibly well on the reading and writing portion of your SAT’s?  Then learn the DeMolay ritual. Our ritual was written a long time ago and the English language was a lot different back then.  Not many changes to our ritual have occured in that 100 years and that is often a topic of debate between many DeMolays.  Should we change and modernize the DeMolay ritual so that more people can understand it?  Or should we leave it the same?  I will leave that up to you to decide.  For now, we can benefit from the fact that our ritual is relatively the same as it has always been. It gives us exposure to strange words that we have probably never heard before because they have gone out of style.  Through learning the DeMolay ritual we will understand these words and when they pop up on SAT’s in the future we will have no problem understanding them.  Memorizing ritual will also improve your memorization skills which will make it much easier for you to study for tests.

Ritual is not all about memorizing lines either, it is also about performance.  I am sure many of you have had to give speeches in school on different subjects and for most of you there was a lot of nervousness.  DeMolay ritual can remove that nervousness. Through the process of performing ritual you will become more comfortable speaking in front of groups of people. Whether it is in school, a job interview, or a presentation for work, you will be able to draw upon public speaking skills that you developed in DeMolay.  These  skills will also come in handy if you decide to further your DeMolay career by becoming a Councilor in your Chapter or even a State Officer in your Jurisdiction.

So, ritual is not some boring thing you need to dread, but rather you should think of it as an opportunity; all you have to do is pick up that little blue book and start reading!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Celebrating the Skilled

One of my favorite television shows is "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel. For those unfamiliar with this program, it centers on a fellow named Mike Rowe who travels the country attempting to do jobs that most people would find uncomfortable. He's worked with farmers, steel workers, sanitation crews, and more. From a crab boat in the Bering Sea to a gator farm in the Southern US, he's been everywhere. Heck, he's even been to Pennsylvania a number of times. It's very interesting show, that's for sure.

Recently, I found a video, from 2008, of Mike Rowe speaking at a technology summit in Silicon Valley. Much of his presentation was spent discussing a very unsavory job that he had to perform, but his final message really harmonized with me. You see, during all of these jobs, Mr. Rowe had ingrained upon him the value of a hard day's work. Our society seems to have decided that any job that requires physical labor is disliked at best and menial at worst. Very few individuals wake up in the morning and say to themselves "I want to shovel for a living." But, without individuals willing to perform that work, our world would crumble. Take a watch... 

video

In DeMolay (and Freemasonry) we have men and women from all different walks of live. There are technology guru's like "Dad" Greg Schaeffer (Senior Project Lead at IBM), design wizards like "Dad" Rodney Boyce (owner of Square Peg Design) management professionals like "Dad" Dennis Snedden (professional speaker and consultant), and most importantly tradesman like "Dad" Mike Desalis (plumber) and "Dad" Mike Nace (carpenter.) While we tend to idolize those people who work with technology or their mind, there is something to be said for a man who is skilled in a trade. It can take just as much brain power to properly measure and construct timber for a home, or to create precision finished carpentry that is both beautiful to look at, and fully functional, as it does to design an attractive corporate logo.

My own father spent most of  his life as a laborer. He worked on a road crew for a local municipality. He toiled in the hot sun, shoveling burning asphalt onto road surfaces so that others would have a safe and comfortable ride to where they are going. My maternal grandfather was an operating engineer (a fancy term for a man who runs heavy equipment.) He helped to erect Kinzua Dam in Warren County, PA. That dam holds back the Allegheny River which in turn keeps downtown Pittsburgh from flooding. My paternal grandfather was the manager of a cemetery, where he helped to dig hundreds of graves, many by hand. I'm the first generation in my family to not have to engage in manual labor to make a living, but every day I count my blessings in that regard. It was thanks to the manual and physical labor of previous generations that I can have the job I have today. 

All too often we are quick to talk to our high school age members about the importance of college and an education, while completely ignoring skilled trades as an option. No, it's not glamorous to be a steam-fitter, plumber, or construction worker. However, a man can still make a good and responsible living in those and similar professions. Just ask the thousands of iron workers still employed around the Commonwealth.

As usual, I'm sure you are asking yourself "... what does this have to do with DeMolay?" Our organization was founded by men who knew the value of a hard day's work and who weren't afraid of a little physical labor. Let's make sure to show our members the importance of men in all fields and remind them that while college may not be for everyone, there are still many viable and respectable fields of service for a man to be employed in.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bay State Blog

Just a quick update here...

I would like to welcome another DeMolay Jurisdiction into the world of blogging. Recently, after we featured an article by "Dad" Brian Noble, EO of Massachusetts DeMolay, we found out that they have entered the blogging world.

Titled the "Bay State News," the Massachusetts blog already has some great articles on it - especially one about the potentials of using Facebook as a professional tool. I have a feeling "Dad" Noble will be posting some great content there, so check it out!

The blog can be found at http://mademolay.wordpress.com/

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, January 9, 2012

Study Up on Studying

Today, I am going to share with you one of the best posts that I have come across on the Art of Manliness Blog. The title of the post is "Ace Your Exams: Study Tactics of the Successful Gentleman Scholar." In this article, Authors Brett and Kate McKay provide a great (albeit a bit long) guide to coming to grips with studying and doing well with school work. As many of our young men head back to school, this is an important time for DeMolay's refocus on the value of education and what they need to do to succeed academically.

The post is quiet long and I know that many of you won't read the whole thing; however, there is one essential part that any DeMolay can benefit from:

"Memorizing


Memorization is an important skill that you need to master in order to succeed academically. Because many exams are closed book, you’ll need to know everything backwards and forwards in order to answer the questions. Below, I provide some memorization techniques that I used during school to help me ace my exams.
Memorization is necessary, but not sufficient for academic success. One thing to keep in mind as you read through this section is that most college professors won’t simply test you to see if you can remember and regurgitate information to them. Sure, some do give those kinds of tests, but most actually want to see if you can apply your knowledge. So while memorizing facts, figures, ideas, formulas, and concepts is necessary for success on your exam, knowing how to synthesize and use that information is even more important.
Long-term memory should be the goal. Your goal for every class should be to commit the material to your long-term memory. Your brain’s short-term memory can only hold so much information at one time. Overloading it by cramming it full the night before will ensure that you’ll forget whatever it is you tried to memorize. Creating long-term memories takes time, so you should commit to memorizing information at the beginning of the semester.
Get a change of scenery. Traditional learning advice says you should study in the same quiet place every time you hit the books. But psychological research has found that just the opposite is true. In one study, college students who studied a list of vocab words in two different rooms performed much better on a vocab test than students who studied the words twice in the same room.
Researchers think that our brains make subtle associations between what we’re studying and what’s in the background while we’re studying. Those unconscious associations help you remember what you’re learning. For example, you might associate one fact with the leather chair in the student union and another fact with the smell of coffee in the cafe. By changing locations where you study on a regular basis, you’re giving your brain more material with which to create these associations.
Bottom line: mix up where you study for more effective memorization."
Now the real question is, how can you apply this to memorizing your work in DeMolay?
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Membership Re-Focus - Massachusetts Style


GOOD IDEAS ARE WORTH SHARING!

Today we are pleased to share with you the New Year's Message from "Dad" Brian S. Noble, Executive Officer in Massachusetts.  His focus on "MEMBER GROWTH" (as opposed to "Membership  Growth") is a great concept!  WE ALL OUGHT TO THINK THIS WAY!



Sunday, January 1, 2012 - Boston

Brian S. Noble, EO in Massachusetts
Building A Better DeMolay Through the DeMolay Experience

Together, in my tenure as Executive Officer, we have made it our goal to develop an exceptional DeMolay experience through advisor training, diverse state events, member education, quality communication, sound membership programs, and a stable State Officer corps.  I believe that this philosophy has played a large role in placing our organization on a consistent path for positive growth.

Moving forward into 2012, I want to suggest adding a new dimension to our thinking.  Up until now, we have concentrated solely on building a better DeMolay organization itself.  We should also be concentrating our efforts on growing the individual DeMolay member in ways that only DeMolay is capable of providing.

When DeMolay was founded in 1919, most teenagers could count on their public school education to give them a basic foundation in math, reading, and writing skills.  High school clubs were not a component of the educational system. Sports teams were also highly competitive and were offered only in a limited capacity.   Today, the average high school in Massachusetts has more than 150 clubs, sports, and student activities.

For most of the 50's, 60's and 70's, DeMolay provided an opportunity to participate in athletics and other organized group activities that could not be found in many other places.  DeMolay was once a unique forum for self-government, public speaking, debate and performing arts.  As a result, DeMolay provided experiences to its members that might otherwise have been lost.

While all of these are still offered by the DeMolay program today, the fact is that these areas have now been incorporated into the common curriculum of most local school districts.  While the rest of the world has evolved and changed, DeMolay has remained at a standstill far too long.

Where does the DeMolay program fit in today?  DeMolay can compete by making activities and programs a priority that a middle or high school cannot, by its very definition, provide.  By keeping in mind our basic principles of acceptance, brotherhood, leadership, and personal growth, we will be able to identify those areas that are consistant with our core values.

Watching State Officers retire each Conclave clearly demonstrates that we are a fraternity: a brotherhood to the very core.  Our members may quarrel occasionally, but when the time comes to buckle down and get things done, they fight for one another.  DeMolay can be a place where those who may not perfectly fit in at school find social acceptance, inclusion and toleration. It can be a place where those who do fit in work to provide others with the social experiences they want and need.

DeMolay provides the opportunity to follow and to lead.  DeMolay provides the opportunity to succeed and to fail while practicing leadership.  We tout self-determination and no other youth organization, school or community provides the hands on learning experiences that DeMolay offers.   By identifying our organizations strengths and a school system's weaknesses, we can improve the quality of the experience we offer our members.  DeMolay will be looking at every aspect of being a teenager today and looking for ways to make our members more prepared for their future. Below, I believe, is a program initiative that is a step in the right direction toward achieving our goal.

We started a Priory at the last Conclave.  It is the mandate of the Priory to serve the interests of the older DeMolays.  To that end, the Priory will be sponsoring a personal finance program at Congress.  We will be offering a program aimed at members who are 16 years of age and older.  We are going to teach the basics of money management, how to understand tax withholding, and how to read a paycheck and understand the deductions that occur.

The Priory will be sending a program and an invitation directly to our older members.  We are going to offer education and programming for our members that is not offered in the schools.  We are going to compete with the public schools by offering what schools do not or cannot offer.   We are going to offer a quality experience that they will not get anywhere else.  This is our cause, this is our mission.

For our younger members at a future event, we have invited GilletteT to join us and teach beginners how to shave, etc.  We are also looking at a series of sessions, maybe for Conclave, Congress or another dedicated event where Active DeMolays can meet with Senior DeMolays and talk about careers and career choices.

We would like to engage advisors, parents, and members in discussions meant to discover where DeMolay can be most effective in the lives of our young men.   We are going to define ourselves by the growth of our members as individuals while still holding true to our core principles.  If we provide for our members, then the value of DeMolay membership grows.  As a result, so will our membership, our member retention and our beloved organization.  I guarantee it.

I hope everyone has had a happy, fun, and safe holiday season and new year. I look forward to working with you all in the coming days, weeks, and months to achieve our vision.

For God. For Country. For DeMolay.

Fraternally,

Brian S. Noble
Executive Officer
Massachusetts DeMolay

So, what have you learned today?