Thursday, January 5, 2012

Membership Re-Focus - Massachusetts Style


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.


Brian S. Noble
Executive Officer
Massachusetts DeMolay

So, what have you learned today?

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