Monday, December 31, 2012

Convention Costs

Recently, I had a comment posted to the blog that I thought warranted some more discussion. The comment is as follows!

"Why is convention so expensive when you have children in the other two youth groups and they want to go to their convention also. Is there a way to bring down the price. Oh I don't know...not have it at a SHERATON!"

Hi there - and thanks for the feedback!

Before I address your question, I would like to make a point of clarification for all commenters on this blog - please sign your comments so I know to whom I am responding. :-)

This question comes at just the right time, as I just returned from a visit to the site of our next Convention over my holiday break. No rest for the weary, as they say.

The cost of Convention is an ever present concern for everyone. Each year, I work very hard to come up with a way to keep costs stable. The first thing I did when I took over as Director was to cut a day off of Convention and thereby reduce the cost of the event by about 20%. That, however, was nearly five years ago. In that time, the cost of Convention has gone up about $30 for a quad room, which is what we base our prices on, as that is the most popular option. When cut across 4 years, that is about a 15% increase in cost. We've done our best to keep costs down, while still offering a quality program to the members and guests - and I feel good about being able to hold costs as well as I have.

Now, to address the question as to why we are going to a Sheraton property...

We, as an organization, make every effort to take our Convention to all parts of the state. Some parts of the state are cheaper to work with than others - especially in the season we hold our event in. This summer, we are going to the Sheraton in Erie. Why did we pick the Sheraton? For two reasons, actually. First, summer is a huge tourist season for Erie. Previously, we have utilized one other hotel in that city, but had a very poor experience, as a staff, in dealing with the hotel, hence why we refuse to go back. When we looked at other hotels that had suitable space, we found there weren't many options. We did some comparison shopping and found that the Sheraton offered a competitive price and space in comparison to what else was available. On top of this, it was a newer facility, in a beautiful location. These points led us to go with it.

I know that I am not going to please everyone as Convention Director. Heck, the survey results from last year prove that! Some people want to go to the cheapest possible place and make it work. Others, would prefer to pay the extra money and go somewhere nice with high end service. It is very hard to find a balance in the middle. Last year, many people complained about the hotel. We used an older facility, with cheaper room rates, to keep the cost down. In the end, people were dissatisfied with the experience. I know that the comfort and cleanliness of the rooms at the Sheraton will not be an issue, which addresses this concern. The one thing I've found is that everyone wants a Hilton experience on a Days Inn budget. Unfortunately, the world just doesn't work that way, especially when it comes to getting Convention space.

Serving on Convention staff is a learning experience. Quite frankly, it's one of the most berated jobs in our organization. For every "good job" I get, another five "complaints" slide in. With that said, I didn't take the job as Director of Convention to receive praise. Rather, I took it on because I remembered how much I enjoyed Convention as a DeMolay and I wanted to give that kind of experience to the next generation of members. This will be my fifth year as Director and I feel that I have accomplished that goal. I will be stepping down after this Convention and turning the event over to the next team. Hopefully, they can address your concerns better than I have. In the mean time, I hope your experience at this year's Convention is a positive one that leaves you with some great memories!

As a bonus to this post, I've included some pictures I took on my recent trip. They show the facility and the surrounding area. This is a very nice hotel and I"m sure everyone is going to enjoy it! Don't forget, you can click the pictures to see them bigger.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quick! To the ROFLcopter!

As I approach the end of the 2012 calendar, I am reminded that this blog has been running for nearly 3 years. We have created close to 370 posts in that time. Yet, every Monday and Thursday I strive to come up with something new and useful to talk about or share with you, the reader. However, today I was struggling for something to write about.

If I can't think of a topic, I often turn to my internet haunts and try to rustle something up. But, knowing that I'm going to be away next week for the holiday, I decided against just posting another link to something. I wanted to share some kind of useful thought with you. My next stop was Google. I searched for blogging ideas, posting ideas, and more. Many sites featured some tips on where to find things to talk about, while others suggested behavior that will make writing easier. Unfortunately, none of this clicked with me. Then, it struck me. I could write about not having anything to write about! Sounds kind of silly, right? Well, perhaps - but as always, there is a point.

When your Chapter gets stuck in a rut, it sometimes seems hard to come up with new ideas or programs to get things started again. Who wants to do more door-to-door sales of junk out of a catalog to raise money? No one likes standing outside of stores asking patrons for their hard earned cash either. Oh, and what about some kind of new activity to attract members? How do we get new guys into the Chapters? Sometimes it seems like every idea has been tried or proved to not work. I was feeling this same way about blogging. But, behold! There is an answer!

To the internet! No, really... the answer is the internet. When I searched for blogging ideas, I was dumbfounded by just how many sites there were with useful content. If you're having trouble coming up with a new fundraising idea, membership drive, or Chapter activity, I suggest you do a quick search on the internet. While you may not find the exact answer to your problem, it's possible you'll find some kind of inspiration, just like I did for this blog post. So, no excuses! I want to see some great ideas in 2013!

On a side note: I will be visiting my family for Christmas next week and will not be updating the blog until after the holiday (outside of a holiday message.) I look forward to continuing the PA DeMolay blog into the new year. Until then, keep the spirit of DeMolay alive and well!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, December 17, 2012

Convention 2013 Update

While the weather outside is cold and frightful, I'm already looking ahead to July, 2013, as the Convention Staff works on finalizing the details for Convention. The event is scheduled to be held at the Bay Front Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center right on the lake, in Erie, PA, on July 19 - 21, 2013.

We're planning a full slate of events for the weekend. Convention will start with optional tours of Erie landmarks and activities - we hope this to include the Maritime Museum and Brig Niagara, the Erie Art Museum  and miniature golf. On Friday night, we'll kick things off in style with a cook out on Presque Isle, where members can enjoy the beach and activities of the beautiful state park.

Saturday will see the usual business and events, including workshops, the annual awards luncheon, and the election of State Officers. Once the business is out the way, the entire group will head to Splash Lagoon Indoor Waterpark and Resort for an evening of aquatic fun in this massive indoor facility.

As we crunch the numbers, we hope to keep the costs down for the events. It looks like we'll be able to offer this entire weekend of fun and fellowship for around $250 per person for a quad room. Obviously, more information will become available as we get closer to the event, so stay tuned!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Regale me!

I thought I'd try to do something a bit different today and share a video that I found on YouTube. It was made by someone who is friends with PA DeMolay (as he was at Key Man 2012) but I'm not sure who it is! If you know, please drop a line to

Anyways, the video is chock full of old DeMolay regalia and pins. It gives you a nice a contrast between what a real gold jewel looks like, versus one that is just gold colored. Check it out!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

KoD Update

I received this from Bro. Robert Smith, Kingdom of DeMolay Committee member.

The Kingdom of DeMolay is going to be down from 12/12/12 until further notice. We are going to "InWorlds" for better connection and to get rid of the bugs. Anything you have in the Kingdom will be returned to your inventory. The new website will be when it goes live.  I will update you on any further information when it becomes available.

Thanks for the info Brother!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dress to Impress

Last week, I posted a quick overview of how to dress for DeMolay events. After I published the article, "Dad" Zack Panitzke sent me a link to a great overview of some other men's fashion information. All information is copyright to the original poster.

Check it out! You can click any image for a larger view!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dressing up for DeMolay

One thing I have become personally passionate about is proper dress and attire for men in professional and social situations. At Supreme Tall Cedars Class I gave a mini-lesson to one of the DeMolays and realized that it might make valuable blog post. I've often posted links to things on this blog before, but I thought I'd take a moment and write a quick primer entitled "Dressing for DeMolay."
Let's start with the basics. If you are going to a DeMolay event, you should generally wear one of two kinds of pants - khaki or dress. It's hard to go wrong with khaki pants. They go great with polo shirts and can easily be dressed by wearing a button up shirt. Alternately, you can wear dress pants which are usually part of a suit (meaning pants that match the style and color of a jacket.) You can choose which type of shirt to wear based upon many factors. I always recommend over dressing if you don't know what to wear. You'll never feel bad wearing a button up shirt when you could have worn a polo, but you'll stick out like a sore thumb if you wear a polo when button ups are required. Stick to the basics with shirts - white or light blue. Unless you know what you're doing, don't wear striped or brightly colored shirts. If you're wearing a tie, that means you should also be wearing a blazer or jacket. Use your tie to bring your outfit together. If you're wearing a white shirt, khaki pants, and a blue blazer, go with a tie that has some blue, white, or browns in it. If you're wearing a dark colored suit, then use your tie to match to your shirt. If your suit is black, a tie with a dark color in it will go well. How long should your tie be? When tied, the end of the tip of the end of the tie should be right about where your belt buckle is. I always recommend wearing a tie chain or a tie tack to help keep your tie in place. Unless you're very experienced, you should only wear a regular tie - leave the bow ties and other variations for the pros. When buttoning your jacket, remember this phrase - "Always the middle, sometimes the top, never the bottom." This means you should always button the middle button, sometimes the top button, but never the bottom button. You should only button your jacket if you are standing, unless it's double breasted (however, steer clear of double breasted suits if you can.) As for shoes, it's pretty simple. They should be leather, or a leather like material. Athletic shoes or sneakers are immediately out. If your pants are brown, wear brown shoes. If they are black, wear black shoes. It's pretty easy. Your socks should match the color of your shoes, but be darker if possible. For example, if you are wearing brown shoes, you should wear dark brown socks. You can't get much darker than black, so if you have black shoes on you, you should also have black socks on. Under no circumstance should you be wearing white socks with leather shoes. You should always wear a belt. The color of the belt should match your shoes - brown shoes = brown belt, black shoes = black belt. Now, let's talk about accessories. Yes, even boys accessorize! You should only ever wear one lapel pin at a time. Period. The lapel pin should go on your left lapel, in the button hole if one is available. If there is no button hole, you should position it about where a button hole would be if one were present. There are two trains of thought on what kind of lapel pin to wear. The first is that you wear the pin of the group you are attending that night. This shows your support for the group and your interest. The other idea is that you should wear a pin different from the group you are going to visit. Why? Because the members already know the logo of their own group. By wearing something different, you'll have an easy way to start a conversation about another cause you support. When it comes to DeMolay regalia, remember that one is always enough - one pocket item and one neck item. Jewels should be worn on the pocket, not the lapel! If you are wearing a name tag, you shouldn't wear any jewels. Always wear your highest award unless you are participating in a special event, such as a membership jewel presentation. While this merely scratches the surface of men's fashion, it's a great place to start to learn how to dress sharp! Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Brother in Need

Some of you may remember our posts about Bro. Parker Harley, a DeMolay from Lancaster - Phoenix Chapter who has been diagnosed with a serious liver condition. Parker is need of a liver transplant, which is no small feat. The procedure and ensuing medical bills are estimated to cost around $300,000. When PA DeMolay heard of Parker's need, we flew into action.

Mailings were immediately sent out, appealing to friends of the fraternity, asking for donations to help Parker. The fraternity responded in a way that no one could have anticipated! Donations poured in from DeMolay Chapters, Advisors, friends, Masonic Lodges, Eastern Star Chapters, the Scottish Rite, the Grotto, and the Tall Cedars. By December 1st, 2012, the fraternity had raised in excess of $30,000 for Parker.

Parker and his father were on hand at the recent Supreme Tall Cedar's Class to accept a portion of the donations and to address those present. Parker personally thanked everyone for their donations and support and was in great spirits. His father, Jack, kept the mood light, but was obviously deeply touched by the outpouring of charity for his family.

Donations are still being accepted for this cause. Checks can be made payable to the "Parker Harley Transplant Fund" and sent to:

PA DeMolay
1244 Bainbridge Road
Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Thank you to everyone who has helped with this cause! You are ensuring a young man has a bright future!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony