Friday, June 29, 2012

Public Speaking 101

This past weekend, Bro. Alex Rauschenberger and I had the opportunity to speak with Jurisdictional DeMolay Leaders all throughout the world at the annual DeMolay International Sessions. One thing that became apparent to us was that every jurisdictional officer comes from a different background of teaching, learning and developing their home States and Chapters. It amazed me to see that leaders our age, throughout the world, have different abilities of speaking in front of a crowd with such elegance. It dawned on me that people don't just happen to have a keen ability to speak in a public setting, but it takes years of experience. I decided to do some detective work and I found a great article by our friends over at the As you're reading this, think of what you're good at in terms of public speaking, what you can work on and anything that'll make you the best public speaker you can be!

Public Speaking Tips - The Art of Manliness


Frat!~ Matt Blaisdell

Monday, June 25, 2012

Documenting History

I try to keep an eye out for interesting pieces of DeMolay history. Recently, an Advisor from another jurisdiction (whom I can't remember at this moment) posted a copy of a letter from DeMolay International explaining the changing of the DeMolay logo in 1934. It provides and interesting glimpse into the past of DeMolay.

Click on image for a larger copy.

"Dad" Land was willing to change the organization and its emblems. Are we willing to make changes like this or are we too stuck in our ways?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who should we be honoring?

With DeMolay International Session in full swing in Louisville, KY, lots of buzz is going around on the future of our organization. One of the most controversial topics on the agenda for this year is opening up the Legion of Honor to non-Masons / non-Senior DeMolays who volunteer with our organization. Over on Facebook, the Proud DeMolay profile has had a long discussion with over 40 comments on the subject. I have been one the people commenting back and forth. In an effort to solidify my opinion on the subject, I offer to you this blog post. As an aside, this is in no way the opinion of PA DeMolay, its Executive Officer, members, or volunteers. This is just my personal opinion - although I suspect many will agree.

I am absolutely in favor of creating a new classification of the Legion of Honor called the Civic Legion of Honor. This honor would be bestowed on non-Masons / non-Senior DeMolays for outstanding service to the order. It would have a different color cordon, but would in every way resemble the other two types of the Legion of Honor. It would also carry the same weight and same nomination process.

Why am I in favor of this? Primarily for two reasons.

1. The Legion of Honor has already been given to a non-Mason. Back in the 1930's, "Dad" Land presented the Legion of Honor to Herbert Hoover, who served as President of the United States. Hoover was a proponent of the DeMolay program, even having members meet with him for photos on the White House lawn. Hoover has public squares, schools, towns, and even a dam named after him. While he is a much maligned President, he was still a fantastic public servant. However, there is no reputable record of Hoover being a Mason. Many websites claim he was, but if you look at the actual research it has never been proven. "Dad" Land thought it was important to honor this non-Mason for his work, so why can't we honor those individuals who are making the difference in our programs? (Click the image at right to see a larger image. This advertisement was run in the 2011 DI Session book by PA DeMolay.)

2. I take a very Libertarian view of this issue. It's almost a "State's Rights" issue. Every Jurisdiction in DeMolay International must deal with a different Grand Lodge and must operate its program in a way that expands and grows the organization in that area. Some Jurisdictions don't need or want a Civic Legion of Honor and that's okay! Just like the Knighthood program, it could be used as an Executive Officer desires. However, there are areas that need this award. By denying it to those who could use it to expand their program, we are only hurting the organization. In an era of government oversight and regulation, many are crying for less involvement in their personal affairs. This is the same kind of issue - instead of punishing those Jurisdictions who want the honor or telling them what to do, why not give them the opportunity to succeed? In the mean time, you can do what is best for your Jurisdiction.

Now, notice what I didn't say in my arguments - I wasn't saying "Women should get the Legion of Honor." That argument is really what's at the heart of this issue for some people and is what causes such division among those who are able to vote. I chose to ignore that piece of the equation because, quite frankly, it's the smallest part of the problem. If you take out the concern that causes the visceral reaction, you quickly realize that the issues is about more than which "Mom" can get the recognition. Rather, it's about enabling your Brothers to grow the organization and giving them the tools to do so.

Why hinder a brother when you can help him? If you don't want to use the Civic Legion of Honor in your area, then don't. But, please, don't impair my ability to spread the word of DeMolay because of regional differences of opinion. I won't try to push you into using the program; all I ask is that you give me the chance to help DeMolay. Is that so much to ask?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, June 18, 2012

Free Drama

I'm always on the look out for interesting things to write about for this blog. My inspiration can come from almost any place and sometimes it's the really strange ideas that work out best for me. This morning, as I was reviewing my Facebook feed, I came across a story called "Slaying the Derby Drama Dragon." Now, some of you know that I'm a big fan of roller derby and actively support my local team. One of the members of that team posted that article, which discusses how to avoid internal quarrels amongst roller girls. After reading it, I realized that many of the lessons filter over to DeMolay.

Avoiding DeMolay Drama 101

Direct Your Feedback

If you are unhappy about something going on within your Chapter, the best way to handle it is to approach the person most responsible for the issue and discuss it with them in a calm and collected manner. If the issue is between you and another DeMolay, try to get an Advisor to help mediate the situation. Approaching an issue directly is always better than letting a problem simmer and simply complaining.

Quit Complaining 

If you want to be negative about another DeMolay, an Advisor, an event, or something else, take a moment and stop. Think about what you are going to say and ask if it is really going to help the situation or not. Why are you upset in the first place? If it's an issue, go back to the Direct Your Feedback section and try to find a solution. There is no need to complain to your Brothers, especially if you aren't doing anything else to address the problem.

Leave it in the Chapter Room

Sometimes a vote isn't going to go your way or an event is going to get cancelled. Don't take it personally. It's better that you learn from the experience and try to improve yourself than to get angry about the situation. You'll grow as a person and earn more respect from your peers for it.

Respect Your Brothers

Remember, you are Brothers first. Everyone gets hung up on the idea of "respect." As has been said many times, you have to earn it before someone will give it to you. Are you being respectful of others? If you see someone being disrespectful, towards another DeMolay or an Adult, kindly remind them of it and try to help the situation.

Cancel the Cliques

We all have our friends in DeMolay, but the last thing you want to do is exclude a new member. If you are socializing after a meeting or at Patton Campus, invite the new guy to hang out with you. Nothing will drive away a new member faster than feeling excluded or unwanted.

Be Positive

No one wants to spend time with people who are constantly unhappy. Yes, your Chapter may be weak on members, going broke, and struggling with activities. But, the last thing anyone wants to do is to go to a meeting to hear more complaining. If it's not fun, why do it? Keep your attitude positive and you'll find that your Chapter can do more than you think.

Brothers First

Always have your Brother's back. If someone is talking down about a Brother, or perhaps being mean to him to his face, step in and show that you support him. We're a fraternity, so remember that. Take care of your Brothers in their time of need and they'll take care of you.

Speak Up or Keep Quiet

If you are not going to Chapter meetings or activities, then you have no right to complain. Change only happens when someone causes it. If you don't like how something is going, then step up and bring about change. Don't just sit in the back and complain. No one likes a complainer, especially a lazy one.

Use Your Strengths

We're all good at something. Use your strength to help your Chapter. You might not be a great public speaker, but instead you're great at using computers. Instead of offering to go do a Lodge presentation, help the Chapter manage its Facebook page. By recognizing and using everyone's strengths, the Chapter will surely grow.

Follow the Golden Rule

Just remember - treat others as you want to be treated and you can't go wrong.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stars and Stripes Forever

Today, June 14, is recognized as Flag Day by the government of the United States of America. Most people have no idea what Flag Day is or why it matters. I mean, c'mon... we have the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and other patriotic holidays. Why should we stop and celebrate Flag Day?

Commemorating the June 14, 1777, adoption of the flag of the United States, Flag Day became a holiday when President Woodrow Wilson declared it as such in 1916. It wasn't until 1949 that it was made national by an act of Congress. Interestingly enough, the only state to celebrate Flag Day as an official holiday is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The largest Flag Day celebration occurs in Troy, NY, and is capped off with a parade that regularly draws 50,000 spectators.

Pennsylvania has played a major part in the observance of Flag Day since it's very beginning. Mr. William T. Kerr founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888 and would remain its Chairman for more than 50 years. When President Truman signed the congressional act making Flag Day a holiday, Mr. Kerr was one of the people asked to witness the historic event.

Another, albeit legendary, tie of Flag Day to Pennsylvania occurred in 1908 when Theodore Roosevelt was dining near Philadelphia. A man at a neighboring table appeared to be blowing his nose with the flag. Upon seeing this, Roosevelt flew into a fit of anger and began to hit the man with a stick. Upon realizing it was just a star speckled handkerchief, and not the flag of our country, he hit the man once more for "riling him (Roosevelt) up with national pride."

Fraternal organizations have also played a major role in Flag Day. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, which is somewhat similar to Freemasonry but entirely unrelated, petitioned President Wilson to proclaim such a holiday. They had been celebrating the holiday on June 14 since 1907 and wanted it to become a more recognized observance. President Wilson cited their involvement as a major factor in making his decision to publicly proclaim June 14 as the official Flag Day of the United States. To this day, all Elks Lodges are required to have an official observance of Flag Day.

So, just what are you supposed to do on Flag Day? Each year the President makes a proclamation declaring  the week of June 14 as Flag Week. Americans are encouraged to fly the flag during this time period. Parades are also another popular way to celebrate. In Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia holds a ceremony at the house of Betsy Ross, the creator of the first American flag.

It is too late for 2012, but what is your Chapter going to do for Flag Day next year?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, June 11, 2012

DI Rules and Regs - What You Need to Know - Part III

This is the third in a series of posts that details some specific information from the DeMolay International Rules and Regulations. These articles are in response to questions we have gotten from local leaders asking what the official rules are for their Chapter and position.

Every Chapter must have a copy of the Rules and Regs of DeMolay International, however, in many cases they are out of date, misplaced, or just forgotten. Frankly, much of what is contained in the document has little to no bearing on what you do in a local Chapter, but there are some very specific sections that are important for you to know about. In the PA DeMolay version of DAD Training we discuss these, but sometimes we don't look at them as closely as we should. I hope this will help new and veteran advisors alike.
As a warning, some of these posts are going to be a bit longer, as we show the section of the Rules and Regs and then talk about it.

This time we take Part III: Article 17 - Officers.

317.1      Officers.  The Officers of a Chapter are:
      (a)   Master Councilor
      (b)   Senior Councilor
      (c)   Junior Councilor
      (d)   Treasurer
      (e)   Scribe
      (f)    Senior Deacon
      (g)   Junior Deacon
      (h)   Senior Steward
      (i)    Junior Steward
      (j)    Chaplain
      (k)   Almoner
      (l)    Marshal
      (m)  Standard Bearer
      (n)   Orator
      (o)   Seven Preceptors
      (p)   Sentinel
             (q)   Organist

Discussion: This is pretty simple - it's just the officers of the Chapter.

317.2      Selection by Election.
      (a)   The Master Councilor, Senior Councilor and Junior Councilor are elected by written ballot for a term of three, four or six months, as set in the Chapter bylaws.

Discussion: Basically you have to elect the Councilors of your Chapter, via a written ballot, with three optional term lengths. In PA, we only authorize a six month term.

317.3      Selection by Appointment.
      (a)  The Treasurer and Scribe are appointed by the Advisory Council and serve at its pleasure until their successors are appointed and installed. The Advisory Council may appoint one advisor to serve as both Treasurer and Scribe. (2010)
              (b)  The remaining officers are appointed by the Master Councilor and occupy their stations at his pleasure.

Discussion: Due to banking regulations, the Treasurer and the Scribe are no longer elected. In most cases the person filling this role is now an adult. Otherwise, the Master Councilor can fill any unoccupied positions.

317.4      Qualifications, Generally.  Each officer must be an active member of the Chapter and, unless otherwise directed by the Executive Officer, hold an obligation card, except that the Treasurer must a legal adult. Advisors may be appointed to serve as Scribe and Treasurer. (2010)   

317.5      Qualifications, Master CouncilorA member may not be elected Master Councilor unless he has served as Senior or Junior Councilor, or the Advisory Council, by formal action, concludes that the best interests of the Order would be promoted by the election of the member, or for a new Chapter.

Discussion: So, who can serve as an officer of your Chapter? These two sections lay out the rules for service, including the extra criteria for Master Councilors.

317.6      Election.  The elective officers are elected by a paper ballot cast by the individual members present only.  A majority of the ballots, not counting blank ballots, is necessary for election.

Discussion: Yep, it's an election - fair and true.

317.7      Installation.  Officers must be installed at the same meeting at which they are elected or within forty-five days thereafter as determined by the Chapter.

317.8      Holding Over.  Each officer of the Chapter holds office until his successor has been elected or appointed, and installed.

317.9      Absence.  Absence of any officer from three consecutive meetings of the Chapter, without excuse approved by the Chairman of the Advisory Council, creates a vacancy in the office.

Discussion: These three sections deal with how officers enter and leave office. Everyone must be installed and hold office until they have a successor. If you don't show up, you can be removed from office.

317.10  Presiding Officer.
      (a)   The Master Councilor presides at meetings of the Chapter.
                (b)   If the Master Councilor is absent, the Senior Councilor or Junior Councilor, in the order of rank, act as Master Councilor.

Discussion: The Master Councilor is in charge. Makes sense to me!

317.11  Resignations.
      (a)   Any officer of a Chapter may resign.
                (b)   The resignation of any officer may be demanded and his place made vacant by resolution presented at a stated meeting, held over, and considered and adopted by the affirmative vote of at least three-fourths of the members present at the next stated meeting, if the action is approved by the Executive Officer.

Discussion - Anyone can quit at any time. While we don't like people to just walk away, sometimes there are circumstances that require them to.

317.12  Vacancy in Office.
      (a)   Master Councilor or Senior Councilor.  When a vacancy occurs in the officer of Master Councilor or Senior Councilor, the next lower elective officer, who is willing to accept the vacant office automatically succeeds to the vacant office.  If a vacancy in an elective office is not filled by automatic succession, an election is held, after two weeks notice to the membership.
      (b)   Other Offices.  Vacancies in other offices are filled by appointment.

Discussion: If one of your main officers does resign, this is what DI says you must do.

317.13  Duties of Officers.
      (a)  Master Councilor.  The Master Councilor:
    (1)  Shall see that these rules and regulations are observed by the Chapter.
    (2)  Shall see that accurate records are kept and just accounts rendered.
    (3)  Shall see that all reports and remittances to DeMolay International are made at the time required.
    (4)  Shall see that initiations are held at least once in his term of office.
    (5)  Shall preside at meetings of the Chapter.
    (6)  May call a special meeting of the Chapter, and must do so if requested under the provisions of Article 18.
    (7)  Shall appoint officers as set forth in this Article.
    (8)  Shall appoint Standing Committees, petition visitation committees and special committees, in accordance with Article 19.
    (9)  Shall superintend the observance of Obligatory Days during his term of office.
                        (10)  Shall perform all other duties appropriate to his office and those assigned to him by the bylaws of DeMolay International, these rules and regulations, the Chapter bylaws, DeMolay International or the Executive Officer.
                (b)   Scribe.  The Scribe shall:
    (1)  Record all the transactions of the Chapter proper to be written.
    (2)  Keep the records for inspection.
    (3)  Collect all fees and pay them immediately to the Treasurer and take his receipt therefore.
    (4)  Keep an accurate record of all receipts and disbursements, showing separately the funds collected for and belonging to DeMolay International.
    (5)  See that the property of the Chapter is at all times cared for and keep an accurate inventory.
    (6)  Make the reports required by these rules and regulations or requested by the Grand Secretary, and submit the proper remittances.
    (7)  Make reports the Advisory Council requires.
    (8)  At the expiration of his term, deliver all books, papers, money and other property to his successor, or to another person the Advisory Council directs.
    (9)  Give notice of meetings as provided by these rules and regulations or the Chapter bylaws.
    (10)  Send notices of the dates for Obligatory Days.
                        (11)  Perform all duties appropriate to his office, and those assigned to him by the bylaws of DeMolay International, these rules and regulations, the Chapter bylaws, DeMolay International or the Executive Officer.
                (c)   Treasurer.  The Treasurer shall:
    (1)  Keep an accurate account of all his receipts and disbursements, which must show separately the funds belonging to the Chapter and those initiation fees and other assessments collected for DeMolay International. (2010)
    (2)  Pay out disbursements only by checks signed by the Treasurer and one member of the Advisory Council after approval by the Chapter and the Advisory Council.  No authorization of the Chapter is required for payment of funds belonging to DeMolay International. (2010)
    (3)  At the last meeting of the DeMolay Year, render a report of his official acts during the year.
    (4)  At the expiration of his term of office, deliver all money and other property of the Chapter in his possession to his successor, or to another person if the Advisory Council directs.
                        (5)  Perform all duties appropriate to his office, and those assigned to him by the bylaws of DeMolay International, these rules and regulations, the Chapter bylaws, DeMolay International or the Executive Officer.
                (d)   Almoner.  Under the direction of the Master Councilor, or the Advisory Council, the Almoner shall disburse the charity funds of the Chapter, as secured by passing the box of fraternal assistance at meetings of the Chapter, as the Master Councilor directs.  The amount collected shall be applied first to the relief of a distressed worthy member, or the relatives of one, and if there are none, then to the relief of needy deserving persons.
                (e)   Other Officers.  Other officers shall perform all the duties appropriate to their offices, and those assigned by the bylaws of DeMolay International, these rules and regulations, the Chapter bylaws, DeMolay International or the Executive Officer.

Discussion: Wow! There is a lot here! You should read this section thoroughly and understand the duties and requirements of each position in your Chapter. Everyone has a job to do and if done right, it makes for a smooth running Chapter.

I hope you found this discussion useful. While it is pretty dry, it's important to know what the DI rules and regs really expect of your Chapter.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time to Suit Up!

Today's post comes from Brother Alex Rauschenberger, Deputy State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay.

We have all heard about ritual before. We have participated in workshops about how important it is and have gone to numerous rehearsals to try to get our techniques down.  But, now it is time for something different.  Word has been spreading for the past few months and now it is official, ritual tournaments will be returning to Pennsylvania DeMolay.  At Convention 2012 we will be holding competitions for the following ritual parts:
  • Chaplain (all three prayers)
  • Preceptor Trio (your choice of three preceptor parts)
  • Preceptor Magnificent Seven (all seven preceptor parts)
  • Obligations (for members who have been in DeMolay for two years or less)
  • Orator (1st Section and 3rd Section Prayer)
  • Flower Talk
  • Ceremony of Light

These tournaments will be judged under the same judging rules as the Mid Atlantic Tournament of Champions, or MATOC, as it is better known.  If you are interested in competing in one of these tournaments please let your Chapter Advisor know so that the proper registration can be made.  

Wait, did you think that was it?  You thought we were just going to throw some ritual tournaments at you and stop there? Heck no! All members who participate in the ritual tournaments will receive an ornate certificate marking their participation in this landmark revival of Pennsylvania DeMolay ritual tournaments. So, is that it?  Of course not!  Those members who work hard enough to achieve the winning rank in their competition will receive a very stylish DeMolay tie and a pocket greeter name badge with their name to commemorate their victory. So, is that it?  Not quite.

Additionally, the winners will be eligible to compete in the Champion Division of MATOC that will be held Sept. 7 - 9, 2012, in Utica, NY. And yes, that's it.

Now, do you have what it takes to become a ritual champion?  Do you have the commitment that it takes to learn these ritual parts and become the state champion?  You have the information and the dedication - the ball is in your court now.  Happy Ritual Tournaments! And may the odds be ever in your favor!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The 77 Year Crusade

Every month PA DeMolay publishes the "Keystone Crusader" - the official newsletter of PA DeMolay. What many don't realize is that the "Key Cru" is almost as old at PA DeMolay itself! Starting in 1935, the newsletter has been published off and on for almost 80 years. Originally it was intended as a bi-monthly newsletter, but in later years it grew to be a monthly mailing.

PA DeMolay is very lucky to have copies of almost all of the Keystone Crusaders that have been published, including original pieces from the 1930's. In Vol. 1, Issue 1, of the Keystone Crusader, the editor, Bro. Kendig C. Bare (more commonly known as "K.C.") wrote some interesting statements as part of his inaugural editorial. He said "This is an experiement - an experiment which we hope will prove of benefit to every member of DeMolay and every Chapter of DeMolay in the Keystone State." Little did "K.C." know that the Key Cru would become a staple of PA DeMolay for decades to come. He goes on to say "We hope you will write us about this paper; for it belongs to every DeMolay in the state." The Key Cru remains a publication created by the members, for the members. Now that's a legacy of leadership.

You can download a .pdf copy of the first three issues of the Keystone Crusader here. Be warned - this is a very large file (roughly 10 megabytes.) Let us know what you think of them. Do you recognize any names or Chapters? This is the history of your publication. Enjoy it and learn from it!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth C. Anthony