Thursday, March 28, 2013

Online Advisor Training

Pennsylvania DeMolay strives to be at the forefront of technology and program planning for DeMolay. As part of our efforts, we have been working with a consultant to prepare an online course, using Moodle, for adult leaders to complete the DAD training program. This project has been months in the making and we are getting closer to our first public beta tests.

However, many have reservations about online training - and rightfully so! But, we believe we can effectively train new advisors using this system. Each participant will be required to several view multimedia presentations, covering all of the subject matter presented in a "real world" DAD training. The online method will also include a final exam, with short answer and essay questions, as well as an interview process before any adult leader is approved.

The best part is, this is just the start of what we can do with this system! How about online LCC's? Or an entirely online RD? We've already talked about further DAD training using the DAD Plus system. Oh, and for those advisors that need to be re-trained (which every advisor does, once every 5 years, per PA DeMolay policy) this system will offer a way to take the training without leaving the comfort of your home. There really are a ton of possibilities!

Keep your eyes peeled in the coming months as we further tweak and refine the system before opening it the public.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, March 25, 2013

Convention Update from the Youth Directors

This year’s convention will be held at the Bayfront Sheraton and Convention Center in Erie from July 19-21, and it's going to be a blast! We'd like to give everybody an idea of what’s going on during Convention 2013 to get you excited about coming. 

On Friday, there will be registration and check in. After you register, you will have the choice of optional activities; this year we are looking at mini-golf and the Erie maritime museum (both in walking distance of the hotel). You can also go visit Erie Chapter, which will be holding a hospitality suite of their own. They will also hold a meeting for everyone to attend that Friday so that DeMolays can earn some Visitation Merit Bars (although travel points will NOT count for the Visitation Competition.)

A picture of the newly updated Erie Chapter club room.
After all of the optional activities, we will have dinner. We will then go over to Presque Isle State Parkfor a few hours. While there, you will be able to walk the beach, swim, play sports, and just hang out. On Saturday we have workshops, ritual competitions, and the honors luncheon followed by the business session, (which includes Elected State Officer / State Sweetheart nomination and elections and the presentation of awards.) After the business session, we will go to Splash Lagoon, which is one of the largest indoor waterparks in the country. Apparently, they just added a brand new wave pool to the facility! On Sunday we will have breakfast and the installation of new State Officers.

Now, you may be asking yourself, why should I go? All I have to say is "why not!" Convention this year will be fun from start to finish; the hotel is beautiful, plus it is an opportunity to see your brothers from all over that state. The facility is only 5 years old and both sides of the hotel have a gorgeous view. One side has a view of the bay and Presque Isle and the other has a view of the city and marina. The rooms themselves are spacious and have 2 queen beds, a bay window, a bench, a desk going the length of the wall looking out the window, a closet, a flat screen TV, and a large bathroom. To get the Convention Center you must go down to the lobby and up a separate set of elevators and then walk across a seven-story high sky bridge made of glass (with gorgeous views.) So, with all the activities going on and the beautiful hotel why wouldn't you want to go?

The cost this year is going to be $250, but for every petition a member first line signs, they will receive $50 off their Convention cost. That means if you bring in 5 members, you get Convention paid for in full! We hope to see you all at the 2013 Pennsylvania DeMolay Convention!

P.S. Don’t forget sun block and bug spray! Also, follow us on twitter for updates and information about convention @ErieConvention.
See you in Erie!

Brothers Matt Traverso and Michael Donahue 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

So, tell me about yourself...

I'm afraid I'm feeling a bit under the weather today, so there won't be a long post.

Recently, "Dad" Tom Labagh forwarded me an article detailing the top 10 questions that interviewers ask potential employees. After reading through the list, I can confirm that I used every one of them when I worked in the Human Resources field. It's a good list to review before you go in for a job interview. Check out the full article here:

Have a great weekend!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leadership Lessons from Vatican City

Today, we have a special guest post from "Dad" Peter Brusoe, of Nation's Capital DeMolay. Enjoy!

As DeMolay Leaders, we can learn a lot about leadership by observing political leaders, business leaders, and yes, even religious leaders. Regardless of one’s personal perspective of the religious role of the Papacy, the Pope is a leader of over a billion people. The recent Papal
Conclave provides for us as leaders several important lessons.

1) Know when to ask for help: Catholics around the world were shocked that Benedict the XVI stepped down as Pope. That had not happened in the past six centuries. Hailey’s comet comes more frequently! Benedict the XVI looked ahead at the work that needed to be done, the time commitments that were required versus his own physical limitations and he knew that he needed help to address these issues. Too often in DeMolay we are too afraid to ask for help, or to admit when we need help.

2) Let the new guy lead and get out of the way: It tends to be in any leadership position that people look to the predecessor and often compare the new leader to him. This is extremely unfair to the new leader because it defines him in context of his predecessor. But if the old leader is still around and able to say “well, I would have handled it this way.” It makes it extremely awkward. Imagine for a moment that you don’t like what Pope Francis says, and you run to the Pope Emeritus to try to get a different answer. If the Pope Emeritus gives you an answer more to your liking it severely undermines the new Pope. Benedict XVI knew this, and after the Papal Helicopter took off, he has spent his time praying, writing and studying and not talking, later to spend his time praying and living a quiet life of reflection and prayer. I’m not saying as a "Past" anything that you need to go become a monk, but as past leaders we need to be respectful of the new leader, giving him support and making sure what we say does not
undermine him.

3) Things take time: American Presidential elections are generally over quickly. Master Councilor elections are over even faster. International Master Councilors elections a little longer, but not too terribly long. The Papal election? It was pretty long. In the middle of St Peter’s Square you had the worldwide media camped out, talking heads were theorizing about everything and anything to do with the election. One news source I read somewhat religiously went through and provided the accusative tense of the Latin of the first names of all the cardinals. With all of that going on the election was not rushed, and the process was deliberative. Too often we want things done now, and we must have immediate results. Yet, sometimes we need to have patience and to let things run their natural course. (unless it’s paperwork or registration forms, those need to be in early)

4) No great or important undertaking begins without first a prayer: We hear this several times during the DeMolay ritual, and without giving away too much of a surprise, in many rituals of various Masonic groups. We saw this in Vatican City as well. After Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran announced the new pope and Pope Francis was to give the City and the World blessing, he stopped and asked the people crowding in St Peter’s square to pray for his predecessor. Goose bumps could only begin to describe the feeling of hearing so many people pray the basic prayers we teach to first communion students. Then the new Pope asked the people to pray for him. And the crowd that was so loud 30 seconds before was quiet to hear a pin drop. As leaders, regardless of what faith tradition we observe, there is something to be said for prayer or silent
meditation to help collect your thoughts and for guidance.

5) Don’t count your chickens until the eggs hatch or don’t believe the hype: A lot of people do papal prognostication. Forrest Maltzman and a team from George Washington University even wrote an academic article Vox Populi, Vox Dei, Vox Sagittae (The Voice of the People is the Voice of God is the voice of Arrow ) analyzing different factors that go into the election. The Italian Bishop’s Conference assumed that Cardinal Scola from Milan had won the election, and had sent him a Congratulations email on his election as Supreme Pontiff. Oops! It’s always best to wait and verify the information rather than go off on hype or rumors.

6) Humility is a good thing: It should be in the natural progress of any Catholic boy’s youth to consider one of three ambitions. 1) Play football for Notre Dame, 2) Get a basketball scholarship to a Jesuit School, 3) Become Pope. For Pope Francis, No. 3 happened. Not only is he the leader of over a billion Catholics, he’s also hit the top of the promotion list for the church. The Papacy comes with some pretty nice perks. One of those includes a car. When all of the cardinals were headed over to an event the Pope eschewed the car, but went on the same bus as everyone else. When the cardinals pledged their obedience and support rather than taking those pledges sitting on an elevated platform, Francis took them standing on the level with his brother cardinals. As DeMolay Leaders we should make sure that we stay humble and remember that we are equals and brothers. Perhaps the single greatest line in any piece of DeMolay Ritual comes from the installation service, when we are reminded from the ranks we emerged and to the ranks we shall soon return.

7) Take care of your obligations to others: On the first day after you've been elected Pope, what do you do? If you’re Pope Francis you head to the boarding house that you were staying in and pay the bill in full. He didn't send a functionary, but went himself. The boarding house offered to forgive his bill, but he paid it in full. As leaders we need to make sure that if we have obligations to others that we fulfill it.

8) It’s good to break with tradition: The Catholic Church has a bit of reputation of being a traditional institution. I’ve been trying to convince our Coffee Hour Committee to go with Dunkin Donuts over Krispy Kreme for the past six years; change doesn't happen overnight. Popes tend to be Italian, and if not Italian, at least European. Yet, this election we went with someone from the Americas. Pretty exciting! Then with the names, 37 papal names have occurred more than once. John being the most popular at 21 times, Gregory at 16 times, Benedict at 15 or 16 times depending if you count Benedict X. Other names less frequently, including Pope Saint Hilarius (who reigned from 461-468), and of course the best name in the universe, Peter (reigned from 33-67). The new Pope went with Francis. Too often in DeMolay we are limited by our traditions and the phrase “we never did it that way.” We need to be open to and willing to accept new challenges and ideas. If the Papacy can break with traditions in leadership and customs, surely we can break with traditions in what our chapters do.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Convention, ahoy!

Today, I am off to Erie to have a whirlwind day of meetings with the Bayfront Convention Center and the Erie Bayfront Sheraton, all in an effort to get Convention 2013 ready for the members and friends of PA DeMolay. I'll also be meeting with advisors from Erie Chapter, who will be helping with hospitality and planning a special event for those coming to the Convention.

At this time, I'm also able to announce some staffing changes for the Convention staff. After much deliberation, it was decided that I will stay on as Director of Convention for up to three more years. "Dads" Labagh, Morse, and Panitzke will remain on staff as Assistant Directors. I am also in the process of looking at two other advisors who I may add to the team in the future, all in an effort to effect a well timed and planned transition. Bro. Matthew Traverso remains the Youth Director for this year, assisted by Bro. Michael Donahue.

The other bit of breaking news that I have relates to future Convention sites. We are deep into the negotiation / contract approval process for Conventions 2014 and 2015. Right now, it looks like Convention 2014 will be in Reading, PA (which hasn't hosted a Convention since 2002), with Convention 2015 happening in Gettysburg, PA (it was 1987 the last time we were Gettysburg!) We are trying hard to find new and interesting sites for Convention and I think both of these venues will be great opportunities to explore new areas.

I look forward to bringing you more news of Convention on my return.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Conscious Lifestyle: How a Leader Should View Power

Today's post comes from a find I came across while updating my professional resume' and portfolio. We are all leaders in DeMolay. We lead our Chapters, our state and even groups of friends.

I'll let you wonder over to the link, but I'd like to draw your attention to one specific quote from the article.

"... as a successful leader, you are empowering others at the same time as you empower yourself."

Check out the blog, and assess your leadership style. Do you want to empower yourself to do better? Food for thought.

"Dad" Matt Blaisdell

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

27 Ways to Show Your DeMolay Pride!

For the past half and hour, I stared blankly at my screen looking for some inspiration to write. What I didn't realize is the inspiration sits all around at my desk in the form of promotional cards, t-shirts and posters. This got me thinking, how many ways can we promote our Chapters for DeMolay Month, outside of the usual? Promotion is one of the best things we can all do for a non profit organization and it takes everyone in the Chapter/Organization to be successful!

Without further adieu., I present the 27 Ways to Show your DeMolay Pride!

1) Wear a DeMolay shirt.
2) Talk about DeMolay to friends.
3) Hang posters up about DeMolay.
4) Have a daily DeMolay question to answer on social media.
5) Share a DeMolay Facebook page.
6) Throw an awesome prospect party!
7) Visit a Rainbow Girl's or Job's Daughter's function.
8) Create a Harlem Shake video using DeMolays. ( Thanks, Tom Moyer!
9)  Design a Chapter logo!
10) Visit a lodge.
11) Hand out DeMolay Stickers or fake tattoos, if you feel so inclined!
12) Obey our Precepts.
14) Host a Parents Night and offer coffee, tea and friendship.
15) Do charity work.
16) Host a dinner.
17) Dress up like Jacques DeMolay and stay in costume all day!
18) Contact a local newspaper company to get some information out there.
19) Can you say Proclamation from the Mayor?!
20) Change your profile picture to something DeMolay related.
21) Do your best in the DeMolay Month Competition.
22) Try to get the Judge from another Chapter!
23) Score big in DeMopoly! Or even have a Monopoly night with friends and DeMolay brothers!
24) Create a weekly blog for your Chapter!
25) Make a Difference
26) Visit the Kingdom of DeMolay with a friend.
27) Dress up like DeMopoly Men and host a party!

... and many many more!

I'll leave the rest up to you guys, but remember - keep it safe, fun, and above all, promotional!

- "Dad" Matt Blaisdell

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Value of Membership - Round 2

Last Thursday, I wrote a blog post about the value of membership. I specifically took the perspective of a young man and how he would sell DeMolay to his friends, using a discussion of the actual benefits a person would gain out of joining DeMolay. However, there is another kind of "member" that we need to think about recruiting; members of our Advisory Councils are just as hard, if not harder, to come by than active DeMolays.

What tangible benefits are there to being an Advisor for a DeMolay Chapter? One of the most commonly cited would be involvement of a parent with their own child in the program. However, not every Advisor is working with a young man who is related to them. So, I'd rather take a look at this from the angle that the person we are trying to recruit has no relation to the Chapter through its membership. I also know that many DeMolays come back and give something to the program as adults. For them, the value is built in because they want to help a program that gave them something. Therefore, I won't be taking that view either. Rather, my question is,  how do we recruit a person into the role of an Advisor without those two connections.

Now, you may be thinking, if I'm not targeting parents and Senior DeMolays for this sales pitch, I'm missing a huge market. You're right, I am ignoring that part of the market, simply because the have different benefits from involvement that others will not have. On the other hand, the list I'm going to propose below will apply to everyone, including parents, Senior DeMolays, and everyone else. I'm trying to offer a generic list that you can build on in your Chapter.

With all that being said, what tangible benefits would an adult receive by signing on to be an Advisor?

  • Subsidized costs from the Chapter for refreshments and travel (only with some Chapters though.)
  • A chance to network with other leaders in the community.
  • The opportunity to meet Master Masons from other Lodges (if they are involved in the Fraternity.)
  • Recognition for service via awards and honors.
  • The chance be a mentor and to help a young man learn and grow as a person.
You'll see that the list is much smaller than the one for active DeMolays. But, it's the final bullet point that really matters and that is oftentimes the hardest to explain. I don't know of one DeMolay Advisor who wouldn't cite that last bullet point as a huge selling point for their involvement with our organization. The ability to have an impact on a young man is really what keeps many of our Advisors coming back. Helping young men grow into leaders and members of society with integrity and character is a benefit beyond compare. Unfortunately, that's a tough thing to articulate into words, but I firmly believe it's the key to any Advisor recruitment program. If you can explain the value they will derive out of being a positive influence on a member, you'll find it's much easier to get them to join your Advisory Council.

So - how do you explain the value of being a DeMolay Advisor? Leave your answers in the comments section!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony