Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dining Etiquette for Gentlemen

One of things I constantly harp on with our Elected States Officers is dining etiquette, especially when attending Masonic functions. It's a simple set of skills to learn and it goes a long way towards making one seem more professional.

Check out this video from the Art of Manliness that gives the basics of creating a good dining experience.



Monday, October 28, 2013

The Importance of Words

Today's post comes to us courtesy of "Dad" Peter Brusoe, Past International Master Councilor, Advisor with Nation's Capital DeMolay. Enjoy!

I was talking with a DeMolay and he mentioned that he had the best grade in his entire high school English class.  Not satisfied with that accomplishment, he then recounted how he did better than this student, and that student, and some other student.  My first reaction was why weren’t these students in DeMolay? My second reaction was that I cautioned him that hubris was not good for the soul.

He said, “ ‘Dad’ Brusoe, what’s hubris?”
“You have the best grade in English and you don’t know what hubris is?” I jokingly teased him.
“ ‘Dad’ Brusoe, you don’t need to have a good vocabulary to do good in English.” I was promptly informed.

 I suggested to him that you may need a good vocabulary to do well in English in a less jocular tone of voice.

For those of you who do not know, Hubris is defined as excessive pride or self-confidence.  Most frequently this quality is found in Greek tragedies and causes the downfall of a character.  We all tend to be guilty of suffering from it from time to time.   We may not use the word often, but it is a good word for scrabble as well as when you are discussing the human condition, or in SAT examination preparation.  

Perhaps the DeMolay was right.  Maybe you don’t need a good vocabulary to do well in English.  In this inane academic world focused on standardized testing we are losing part of our culture. Winston Smith would think that we’re entering the world of newspeak.  

You do need a good vocabulary to do well in life and in college.  The words you use act as signaling cues to other people about your level of education, your degree of sophistication, which books you have read, and your general interest in the world around you. 

There is nothing worse than asking someone you just met “How are you?” and they mumble “good” or “OK”

Consider for a moment the word “good.”  A lot of things are “good” but is the quality of Mom’s meatloaf the same type of good as the latest Pop song? Are they the same type of good as the last Eagles Football game?  Are they the same type of good as Keyman?

Of course not. 

Mom’s Meatloaf was savory, delicious, appetizing, succulent, tasty and mouthwatering.
The latest pop song was emotional, enjoyable, has a fun beat, is catchy, and is energetic.
The Eagle’s game was well-played, high scoring, emotional, edge of the seat excitement.
Keyman was fun, eye opening, unique experience, exhilarating, athletic.

Every year we get older the number of new words we learn decreases dramatically.  Part of this is that most popular fiction and news that we read is written at a middle school reading level.  As an organization that believes in the importance of education we should constantly be looking at improving our vocabulary.  There are two sites on the internet that you can do this. This year let us commit to learning one new word each week.

There are some great websites that help you with this, I would recommend several of them to you:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Creating PA DeMolay's Social Media Policy

In light of recent news, both internally in DeMolay and externally in the general public, the staff here at the PA DeMolay office discussed creating a social media policy for DeMolay in Pennsylvania. After some debate, it was concluded that best way to create this policy would be to include those that it would directly impact - namely the DeMolays and Advisors.

During our recent flag football tournament, a workshop was held to develop a social media policy. Every person attending the event was invited to participate. More than 50 DeMolays and Advisors gave their thoughts and input as to what they thought was important in a social media policy. After more than an hour of work, the group came up with some general statements, that will be later worked into an official policy. The statements are as follows:

  • Those affiliated with DeMolay in Pennsylvania should practice common sense when utilizing social media.
  • Recognizing that all social media interactions can represent the organization, we ask that DeMolays and Advisors remember the Seven Cardinal Virtues when interacting with others, whether online or in real life.
  • Personal posts, photos, or other shared items should be understood to be public, with no expectation of privacy.
  • Brothers and Advisors are encouraged to use social media as a learning experience to reinforce the values of DeMolay and help everyone grow. The use of positive peer pressure to assist in this process is encouraged.
  • Concerns related to social media should referred to the Advisory Council for review.
Obviously this is not a complete policy, but it's a good start. The group worked very hard and great discussion between DeMolays and Advisors took place. I would like thank everyone that participated - you made a direct impact on the way PA DeMolay operates!
If you are a DeMolay or Advisor from Pennsylvania, and you would like add your two cents, comment on this post!
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Dedication to Life

During the annual PA DeMolay Flag Football tournament, held this past weekend, members and friends of PA DeMolay gathered on the lawn near Memorial Hall to dedicate a newly planted maple tree to the memory of "Mom" Patty Palo. Patty was an advisor for Erie Chapter who lost her battle with cancer earlier this year. She left a legacy of love and caring and many in PA DeMolay were the benefactors of her wisdom and advice.

Below, you'll find a video of the dedication, under the direction of Bro. Matthew Maple, State Master Councilor.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kudos to Recruiters

Rather than writing some long winded article covering an obscure topic, today I want to simple offer some congratulations and "thank yous." There are about 75 days left in 2013. For PA DeMolay to reach its membership goal, we need about 70 members. So, we're looking to recruit one member a day for the rest of the year. It seems like a big goal, and it is, but some DeMolays have already gone above and beyond the call of duty for membership and I want to recognize them for their efforts.

Since 2013 started, two DeMolays from PA have earned their Blue Honor Key - Bro. Adam Neubauer of Westmoreland Chapter and Bro. (now "Dad") Tom Moyer of Pilgrim Chapter. Each of these guys recruited 10 new members during their DeMolay career. Both Pilgrim and Westmoreland Chapters have grown because of it and they continue to have excellent programs. It proves that more members makes everything in DeMolay better!

A shout out also goes out to Bro. Cameron Fitzsimmons, of Erie Chapter, who has earned his Founder's Membership Award, for recruiting 5 new members. He is well on his way to the Blue Honor Key and the hard work he has put into recruiting new members really shows when you visit Erie Chapter.

Membership recruitment isn't always easier, but it's most definitely necessary. It's easy to get tired of hearing the message of "Get new members!" over and over again, but it's the only way we grow as an organization!

Thank you Tom, Adam, and Cameron for helping DeMolay in PA grow!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, October 14, 2013

DeMolay - it never goes away!

This past weekend, I travelled to Erie for a meeting of a Masonic group I'm involved with. On Saturday, we had a luncheon and I was seated with two other Brothers. As we got to talking over lunch, we quickly learned that we had all been involved in DeMolay in some way.

"Dad" Dave Griswold, one of my dining companions, was a DeMolay starting in the 1960's. He was a member of Erie Chapter and served as an appointed officer of the Chapter. He told stories of how it was a big deal to be involved with DeMolay then and the Chapter had hundreds of members. Later, "Dad" Griswold went on to become an Advisor for Erie Chapter and see his son serve as Master Councilor. To this day, he still carries his important Masonic papers in a DeMolay satchel.

The other man at my table is probably more familiar to everyone - "Dad" Russ Combs. He is currently serving as Ritual Advisor at Chester-Pike Chapter, which is experiencing rapid growth after changing locations. He too was a DeMolay in the 1960's, but never served as an officer as he was required to fulfill an obligation to the military. He stated that at one time there were three officer corps for his old Chapter, then just known as Chester Chapter. Now, more than 45 years after he first set foot in a Lodge room, he is still involved with our organization.

DeMolay unifies men in more ways than we can ever count. We've had 90 years of history and Brotherhood and I love hearing stories from our Senior DeMolays of when they were active members. When you least expect it, a DeMolay Brother could be sitting across the table from you, so listen up and learn something!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Judge

I've been recently watching updates on our Traveling Gavel, the judge on our Facebook page ( and I wanted to share some info and guidelines with anyone who doesn't quite know what the Judge is.

First and foremost,


“The Judge” as we all know it was presented to Brother Justin D. Killian, PSMC, at the Installation and Induction Ceremonies of New Castle Builders Chapter in New Castle, PA in 2005.

“The Judge” was created with one mission in mind: travel. It's purpose is to encourage visitation and travel between Chapters within Pennsylvania. (And to bodly go where no man has gone... oh wait, wrong show!) 

Rules of the Judge

The gavel is limited in its travel to the Chapters within the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania.

Who is eligible to obtain the gavel?
A. Any Pennsylvania DeMolay Chapter.
B. Any Pennsylvania DeMolay current Elected State Officer.

Obtaining the Gavel:
For any Chapter to obtain the Gavel, they must:
A. Travel to the Chapter that currently has possession, with proper adult supervision in accordance with the Youth Protection guidelines of DeMolay International (minimum of 2 advisors) except when an advisor is only supervising his/her own family members.
B. Have the most points of any Chapter present.
C. Attend the entire meeting... from opening through the closing.

Points System:
When more than one Chapter is vying for possession of the gavel, the winner is determined by the most number of points earned. Points are determined by the following method:
A. Number of active DeMolay members of the Chapter present multiplied by the number of miles traveled, one way, between the Chapter being visited and the Chapter visiting.
B. In the event of a tie. The presiding Master Councilor will flip a coin, conduct a rock-paper-scissors contest, or use some other fair means to make the final decision.

Gavel Travel Log:
Contained in the travel box with the Gavel is a travel log. You must record your possession and other information as required upon receipt of the Gavel.

Obligations Concerning the Gavel
Chapter in possession of the Gavel must:
A. Display the Gavel at all Regular Meetings, Installations, Awards and Honors Ceremonies and Induction Ceremonies held by the Chapter.
B. Freely turn the Gavel over to any Chapter or State Elected Officer who arrives to receive it, and has the most points (see above).
C. Record their possession in the Gavel Travel Log.
D. Report their possession to the Pennsylvania DeMolay Webmaster for inclusion on this site.
E. See that all Gavel materials (Gavel, storage box, Gavel Travel Log) are maintained and turned over to the next recipients upon the award.
F. The Chapter in possession of the Gavel may, at its discretion, bring it to any statewide event to show it off to the other Chapters, and may, at its discretion, give it to any Chapter that has not yet received it during the competition year.

Chapter in pursuit of the Gavel:
A. Must follow all protocol and decorum while visiting the Chapter in possession of the Gavel.
B. CANNOT make any attempt to steal or retrieve the Gavel in any way other than that listed above.
C. Must have the most points of those present, based upon the system listed above to obtain the Gavel.

An Elected State Officer in possession of the Gavel:
A. Must visit a Chapter and turn over the Gavel within three weeks of his receipt of the Gavel. He MAY put it in his home Chapter, but this is his choice. By taking it, he is committing to promoting its purpose, which is to encourage Chapters to interact and visit each other.
B. Must report his travels to the Pennsylvania DeMolay Webmaster for inclusion on this site.
C. Must record his possession in the Gavel Travel Log.
D. Must see that all Gavel materials (Gavel, storage box, Gavel Travel Log) are maintained and turned over to the next recipients upon the award.

An Elected State Officer in pursuit of the Gavel:
A. Must follow all protocol and decorum while visiting the Chapter in possession of the Gavel.
B. CANNOT make any attempt to steal or retrieve the Gavel in any way other than that listed above.
C. Can only take the gavel if no other Chapter is represented at the event.
D. Must have the most points of any other Elected State Officer present, based upon the system listed above to obtain the Gavel.

The Judge can be quite the motivator for the members to travel to other Chapters and visit - encourage your Chapter brothers to go where the Judge travels to next! 
Hint, it's hiding away with the brothers of the Pike!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Etiquette and You - College Edition

A hot topic amongst DeMolay's today is that of etiquette. Your first response to that topic is probably "Really? Etiquette? Surely you're joking." But, what is the social media issue but one of etiquette? What do most adult's complaints about youth boil down to? A lack of etiquette. It was almost fortuitous that I came across another great article about etiquette this morning.

The folks over at The Art of Manliness Blog just put out a great new article entitled How to be a Gentleman Scholar: Classroom Etiquette for the Modern Man. As DeMolays head to college to this fall, I would encourage them to take a quick gander at this article and learn some of the key points. Many are lessons we teach in DeMolay already, like:
  • Be on time.
  • Be respectful.
  • Don't dominate others.
  • Pay attention.
These are pretty simple lessons, but everyone can use a reminder from time to time.

On a side note, I will be travelling on Thursday of this week and will not be able to post. I'm going to try to line up a special guest to post, so check back and see who it is!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Once more into the breach, my friends!

It appears that a specific topic has reared its head once more in DeMolay - the use of social media and how it reflects on the organization. We've covered the perils of social media on this blog before, in a couple of different ways, so I'm not going to spend a lot time discussing the specific things one should do to be safe on social media. Rather, I'd like to take the time to approach this from a "corporate" standpoint and address how organizations are managing this area.

Often, we find that the ideals an organization hopes to engender with their social media policies often end up at odds with the real world. It's great to outline a hard line policy, but how you put those words into effect (or fail to do so) can make or break a company or group. I did a little internet search and found some good resources that discuss these problems, that I wanted to share.

First, we have an article entitled "16 Social Media Guidelines Used by Real Companies." These are VERY good starting places for anyone looking to manage social media within an organization. They are realistic and set the correct tone. A company can't expect to completely control the behavior of its employees when they aren't at work, but asking them to be sensible and not impugn the company in their daily life is fair.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have some of the polices outlined in this article, "5 Noteworthy Examples of Social Media Policies." Some of these companies are a little stricter - and quite frankly nuts. I don't know of anyone who is going to put a disclaimer on every social media post, stating that this is their own view and not the view of the company they work for. That's just silliness.

The best article I found was this one, "10 Social Media Policy Musts." In the article, the author outlines the 10 things that a social media policy should try to cover and explains why they are important. I would encourage DeMolay International, DeMolay Jurisdictions, and even Chapters to consider all of the points in this article.

As a former HR wonk, I have to point out one important detail that none of these articles discuss - the fact that a policy has to exist to hold someone accountable. I spent several years working in HR. I learned, rather quickly, that you can't hold an employee to a standard that has not yet been set. If an employee finds a loophole, you just have to let it go and set a new standard that addresses the issue. Making a martyr out of one person in a crusade to dissuade further behavior only looks bad for the company and puts you at risk for legal action. I experienced this first hand with an employee incident that I managed, and learned a lot from. That's all we can ask of ourselves and our leaders - continue to learn and grow!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony