Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meet the KMU Staff: The Brotherhood & Membership Department

Is your chapter too big? Do you feel like you’re in a crowd at every meeting or event? Do you have too many friends? Does every new member immediately become active in all your meetings, activities, and events? If the answer to all these questions is yes then this department is NOT for you!

This year PA DeMolay is celebrating their 90th anniversary. Do you realize not one active DeMolay during this landmark year will continue to be an active DeMolay for our 100th anniversary? Unless we continue to recruit new members and strengthen and grow our Chapters DeMolay could fade away into the abyss.

If you believe your Chapter should grow, if you want a full Chapter room on meeting nights, if you want more friends, if you want new members to become involved, choose the Membership and Brotherhood Department at Key Man University!
We’ll start with the basics; you'll learn how to identify prospects, how to talk to them, how to get them to try DeMolay and ultimately join. Come along with us on the journey as a new member learns what DeMolay is, finds out what’s in it for them, and becomes excited to be what you already are! You will acquire the skills to help your Chapter grow and flourish by not only recruiting new members, but also making them integral parts of your Chapter – they can help with the work and multiply the fun!

The 3 faculty members have a wealth of experience in convincing people to take action, and will guide you through the steps you need to take to create change and grow your chapter! Along with you, we will develop a scientific recruiting tool you can take home with you. We intend to present and discuss techniques you can apply to effect change and influence the future of DeMolay!

Let’s meet the learned Staff!

The first advisor we will meet is Mom Pam Santilli, an advisor with Chester Pike Chapter in Pennsylvania. Many of you are familiar with Mom Santilli or her alter ego Miss Scarlet. Her Chester Pike Chapter continues to grow and is a force to be reckoned with at all state events. She makes her living as a trial lawyer, so you know she has developed a few skills in the art of persuasion.           
Dad Brett Bean had been involved in Maryland DeMolay for almost thirty years. Over that time he was one of the youngest Chapter Master Councilors to receive the PMC-MSA. He also has a Founder’s Membership Award, Blue Honor Key, and is Chevalier. Dad Bean is a PSMC for Maryland DeMolay in 1992-93. During his term of office, three chapters came back from being dark and membership in the State was at a three year high. He is currently working with Stephen J. Ponzello Chapter (which was his old home chapter in Dundalk, MD) and is also the State Dad for the State Officer Corp.  Dad Bean is a professional stand-up comic and actor. He was a cabinetmaker and stage carpenter for twenty years and is helping his home Chapter make new props and costumes for their DeMolay degree. 
Finally we have Dad Bill Holtzer, Chapter advisor of Westmoreland Chapter in Greensburg, PA. Westmoreland Chapter has grown from 2 active members just 5 years ago, to a Chapter that can have 15 active DeMolays at a meeting. Along the road Dad Holtzer has witnessed different recruiting techniques as well as the changes in a Chapter as it grows. No longer can 1 mini-van, 2 advisors, and a couple phone calls make an event happen. Dad Holtzer makes his living in sales, and he can convince people to buy his pasta for $2.50 instead of $1.00 for the other (lesser) brands.
All 3 of these advisors look forward to experiencing Key Man with YOU in the Membership and Brotherhood Department at Key Man University!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I am Still Learning

Today's post comes from my ever increasing need to continue to learn and teach myself skills I didn't know previously. As "Dad" Tom Labagh has quoted Italian Artist, Michelangelo, in a few of his remarks, Ancora imparo.

"I am Still Learning."

It's pretty simple to tell what this means, and says a lot about one's character who emulates this ideal, but what it doesn't quite tell us is "how can we continue to learn?"

Recently, I've been getting involved in many online, educational forums and videos which allow me to learn about web design, calligraphy and even technology. After researching some places that could allow me to teach myself at my own pace, I've decided to compile a list of sites, for you to continue your education or enhance what you already know. 

A majority of the links below are free to access, those with a minimal fee is marked with a *. - Online educational communities - Step-by-step tutorials for many different projects - Video-based online courses* - Video-based online courses* - Online lectures from MIT - Professional lectures and forums - Self-explanatory and for the person who just wants to know more! - Web design & coding tutorials - "World's best courses, online, for free" - "A world of skills to practice, with help along the way."

I've given you a list of links, so what, right? Obviously this hardly makes a dent in the amount of online, educational websites that are offered but this is where you and your interests come into play. Research free courses online about any subject and I'll guarantee you'll come out of those online-courses as a better, smarter person.

These sites can offer you loads of information, and even inspire you to pursue an educational avenue you didn't think you'd originally like.

Keep learning. Keep teaching. Keep Growing.

- "Dad" Matt 'Still Learning' Blaisdell

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Meet the KMU Staff: The Ritual Department

New to DeMolay?  Not very good at public speaking or ritual?  Then choose the Ritual Department at Key Man University!

We’ll start from the basics, and first teach you what makes a good ritual performance, how to do floorwork, and how to memorize effectively.  Once you have that down, we’ll move onto how to act, understand and interpret our ceremonies, and improve your public speaking.  Then we’ll get into some advanced concepts… how to mentor other DeMolays in ritual, how to compete and win at ritual tournaments, and how and why the Ritual changed over time.

The faculty members are all expert ritualists, and we look forward to working with you at Key Man!  You’ll receive individual coaching and instruction, and learn how to perform well in a team setting.  We promise: you’ll graduate as a seasoned veteran!

"Dad" Greg Schaeffer is the Department Chair.  He is a Senior DeMolay from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and Deputy Member of DeMolay International.  He was also Director of Ritual for New York DeMolay for 8 years.  For the last 10 years, he’s been a key part of the Ritual & Regalia Committee, and was the architect of the latest 15th Edition of the Ritual.  At the same time, Dad Schaeffer also knows what it’s like to be a very nervous DeMolay ritualist, and how to overcome a huge fear of public speaking.  This is his 16th year on the staff of Key Man and he can’t wait for another great year!

"Dad" Andrew Strucek is a Senior DeMolay from Point Pleasant Beach Chapter on the Jersey Shore. He served as Charter Master Councilor in 2003 and later State Master Councilor in 2007.  Dad Strucek was the 2008 Congress Parliamentarian and Chairman of the Congress Ritual Committee.  He now serves the State of New Jersey as its Director of Ritual.  He looks forward to a return to Key Man, where he first learned Orator and the basics of ritual that shaped his DeMolay ritualistic career.

Rounding out the Department is "Mom" Nancy Storrs. Nancy has been a DeMolay Advisor for 10 years , and previously served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Wisconsin DeMolay. She has directed, produced or costumed numerous plays & musicals and confesses to having written bad comedy. This summer she hopes to share more acting tips, and memorization techniques with the young men of DeMolay as a Ritual Advisor.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"The places you will go are going to be amazing, but please bring the Lorax with you!"

Today's post is from a special guest - "Dad" Peter Brusoe, Past International Master Councilor. Thanks, "Dad" Brusoe for your article!

Graduation season is upon us! Last week American University ( held their college graduation, this weekend my undergraduate, the University at Albany (, holds theirs. It is truly an exciting time as colleges and universities honor their students for all of the hard work done to earn their degrees.  Pomp and circumstance will soon be the bane of every university musician.  One of the surest ways to tell graduation season is upon us, however, is the appearance of Dr. Suess’s "Oh the Places You Will Go" in gift shops and special stands set up at your favorite neighborhood bookstore.

"Oh the Places You Will Go" is a powerful story.  It motivates the reader by talking about the brain in your head, your feet in the shoes, taking your mountain and climbing it.  They then proceed to go to far off lands in the mystical and magical world that is Dr. Suess. There’s a strong admonition about avoiding the waiting place and not making excuses.  It’s a great  book, the elementary school student I read to during my lunch hour loves it.  Yet, if I were to add a few footnotes to "Oh the Places You Will Go" it revolves around the companionship and responsibility.

Life is a journey and like most journeys it is not meant to be taken alone.  We learn this in DeMolay.  In our induction ceremony a new member journeys with the Senior Deacon and the Stewards.  In the DeMolay drama while Jacques DeMolay is the star of the drama, it is Geoffroi de Charny who stands beside him.  The Lord of the Rings is an epic six book drama.  Yet, if Frodo did not have the Fellowship of the Ring, or Sam and the other Hobbits the book would have been called Your Guide to Mordor. If there was a time machine I would convince Theodor Geisel - Dr. Suess – to change the title to be "Oh the Places You Will Go Because of the love of your parents, the amazing teachers you had, and your other mentors and guides." The problem is that it does not rhyme that well. For those who are graduating or for those who will be graduating take the time to express appreciation to those who have helped propel you to the success you now enjoy. We hear in the flower talk how our mothers do the trouble healing, thoughtful and considerate things that only mothers seem to know how to do.  Fathers do the amazing inspiring things that all sons need.  We should make sure that we are doing our most to thank them for the guidance and support they give.

"Oh The Places You Will Go" is it fails to talk about the responsibility that comes with success.  At graduations we hear that a degree is conferred with “The honors, duties and responsibilities there unto pertaining.”  At the Legion of Honor Ceremony we hear that the door open wide to you for additional service, at DeMolay we hear that we need to translate our lives into ones of service.  The Evangelist Luke records in his Gospel Account that to whom much is given much is expected.

To find a book that addresses that, one needs not to go far, rather, just look down the book shelf to   The Lorax. It is a good choice for college graduates, and perhaps mandatory reading for all students. The Lorax talks about the decimation of The Truffula Trees by the Oncler and his compatriots. The Lorax, like an apocalyptical Old Testament prophet, comes back time and time again to warn the Oncler about the dangers of his activities.  At the end what was a paradise is transformed into a dystopian ecological wasteland. The Lorax disappears and writes the words

The Once-ler ponders what this word means and then comes to the conclusion of this:
“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.” The Oncler drops the last remaining seed of the Truffula Trees into the hands of the boy and girl waiting to go fix the mistakes of the preceding generation.

This, my brothers, is our greatest challenge. As we travel to whichever place we will go we must bring our passion and dedication with us and we must care.  If you are a newly installed Master Councilor, take your chapter to new heights, and care very much.  When you see something in your community that needs fixing – graffiti or trash- be the person who cares an awful lot to make the world a better place.  If you are a recent college graduate or high school graduate take the education you have amassed over 13 or 17 years to make our world a better place.
            My DeMolay Brother
            Remember the Onceler
            For every day we can care
            our brotherhood is to share
            In our home and nation
            regardless of our station
            From helping & caring others
            to honoring our fathers & mothers
            The future belongs to us
            So come, let’s not fuss
            For today we must do more
            that is our noble chore.

 Remember brothers, unless we care nothing is going to get better.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Wonderful World of Wikipedia

Yesterday, I was doing some maintenance on the PA DeMolay website when I noticed that we received a click from a Wikipedia entry. That entry led me to the biography of Laurence Watres, who is a Past Executive Officer of PA DeMolay.

"Dad" Watres was a United States Congressman and prominent Pennsylvania Freemason from the Scranton area. He served as the Executive Officer for PA for more than a decade and also became Grand Master of the International Supreme Council (in addition to being a community leader and business man.) Having read this article, I noticed that there wasn't any reference to his service to DeMolay or Freemasonry. I decided to take a leap of faith and edit the article, citing resources, and ensure that any visitors to the page would know that "Dad" Watres had served DeMolay.

Having done this, I immediately remembered that "Dad" Watres' brother, Louis, was also a prominent PA Freemason, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, a Past Executive Officer of PA DeMolay, a Past Grand Master of DeMolay International, and was one of the primary initiators of the building of the George Washington Masonic Memorial (whew!) But, alas, when you looked at the page about "Dad" Louis Watres, there was no mention of his DeMolay involvement. So, I went ahead and edited his page to make sure that people would know of his involvement in our organization.

This got me to thinking - there are a lot of prominent historic figures that had been involved in DeMolay and Freemasonry. I went on a Wikipedia search, looking for references. My first stop was "Dad" Kendig C. Bare, who was Mayor of Lancaster and a Past State Master Councilor PA DeMolay. Sadly, "Dad" Bare's article made no mention of DeMolay. Once again, I edited his entry to include his influence on our organization (including the starting of the Keystone Crusader.)

I plugged in a few other names of PSMC's, but didn't find any other references worth noting. This, however, sent me on another path. I started searching some Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Many of them have well written and lengthy pages, including George M. Dallas (a prominent PA politician), Richard Vaux (who once served as Mayor of Philadelphia), William Allen (our first Grand Master and namesake of Allentown), and of course Benjamin Franklin. I also found Masonic references in the article on James Buchanan.

One of the most interesting bits of trivia I came across was that George H. Deike, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, was the founding leader of the Pennsylvania State University Drum and Bugle Corps, which later became the world famous Penn State Blue Band! Who knew!

Another fun fact was that Louis Watres' wife's sister (so, sister-in-law of Louis), was a prominent actor / artist during her time who even performed for President Hoover. She also patented a new type of lace nightgown. That's another one of those "who knew?" moments!

What's the point of this story, however? It's to encourage you to look for DeMolay everywhere you go. Wikipedia is a great resource and millions of people use it every day. We should make sure that all of our prominent members have a note on their Wikipedia pages stating they were involved in DeMolay. From our Hall of Fame members, to our local leaders, this kind of exposure brings light to the organization and shows the amazing work that we do.

If you do decide to edit a Wikipedia entry, follow the ten simple rules for editing a Wikipedia article. They can be found here:

Who knows, maybe some day you'll have a Wikipedia page of your own!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, May 12, 2014

What I've learned while blogging...

Last week, we reached a milestone with our 500th post. First, let me thank "Dad" Labagh for stepping up and writing the post to mark the occasion. It was much appreciated. As I reflect back on having written several hundred posts, I'm reminded of one of "Dad" Labagh's favorite lines - "What have you learned?"

I asked myself this question. What have I learned from operating a blog for several years and writing so much? This has been just as much a learning experience for me, as it has for those who read the blog, which is fantastic on so many levels.

With that mind, here's my list of 5, in no particular order:

1. "Posts can come from anywhere." - I quickly learned that writing about DeMolay twice a week can be challenging. However, when you apply the lessons or ideals of DeMolay to other articles or trends, it becomes much easier to produce content.

2. "Don't be afraid of controversy." - We've had our share of controversial posts on this blog, written by several different members and friends of PA DeMolay. A little controversy can help drive your readership and keep things interesting.

3. "Plan to post." - I try to make sure that if I can't make a posting on a Monday or Thursday, that I have someone else cover for me. This spices things up a bit and provides others the chance to share their ideas.

4. "Timeliness is key." - Ensuring that posts occur when they are supposed to is one of the most important things. When posts don't go up on time, people stop reading. Consistency is your friend.

5. "Appeal to the masses." - Some of our most read posts are those that appeal to a broader group than just friends of DeMolay. By producing content that appeals to them, we expose more people to what our program is and what a great organization we have.

Blogging isn't always easy or fun, but the value of this site has proven to be enormous and I look forward to posting for several more years to come!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, May 8, 2014

500 posts later...

Toot, toot!  Listen up, DeMolay International!

If any of our readers are "numbers people" they might have caught onto the fact that this is blog post number 500! (You can add up the number of posts for each year in the navigation bar to the right.) In less than 4-1/2 years, we have amassed an incredible treasure-trove of ideas, opinions, inspiration, history, video archives and fun.  Some of this material is worth repeating, or highlighting again, because we have a new generation of DeMolays coming along.  Some of it had one-time value, to promote a specific event long past -- but a vast majority of the posts are as interesting now as when first written.

The credit for this blog goes primarly to "Dad" Seth Anthony, who is responsible for the blog account, and has coordinated most of its content since it began in 2010.  In fact, he has written 440 blog postings over the years.  I have written 39 (a number that surprised me) and 16 other authors have contributed:  Isaac Holtzer (1), "Dad" Dan Loughin (1), "Dad" Peter Brusoe (3), Robbie Smith (2), Alex Rauschenberger (1), "Dad" Bruce Neubauer (1), "Mom" Jan Harms (1), Branden Glass (1), Adam Neubauer (1), "Dad" Zack Panitzke (1), Evan Quinter (1), James Palo (1), "Dad" Brent Richards (1), "Dad" Matt Blaisdell (2), Jordan Ippolito (1), and Alex Garcia (1).

I was privileged to write the first blog entry, which is why, I suppose, I have been asked to write the 500th blog posting.  In the Monday, November 1, 2010 blog post, I answered the question, "Why blog?" and it is still a very accurate explanation of why we do what we do.  The significance of it continues to grow as we realize the international audience we have amassed from the Philippines, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Russia, India, and Australia.  And when we realized that some of our posts were bringing a lot of people to our blog who knew nothing about DeMolay, it encouraged us to look for items to share that would be of greater general interest.
Our most-often viewed posts include the story about the Senior DeMolay who grew up to become the WWE's "Undertaker,"  a detailed look at the yellow cords on officer capes called aigulettes, the history of Dad Land's very own personal Founders Cross Award, and the DeMolay advisor who was the President of the Philippines. 

I am very proud of this effort on the part of Pennsylvania DeMolay, and I admit that it gripes me just a little that the blog has never received any "official" recognition from DeMolay International.  They send certificates to the creators of regular monthly Chapter publications, which reach out to 15-150 local members and advisors.  But this blog reaches thousands of people, twice each week.  Google and other search engines index it, and make it easy for people to find subjects of great interest to them.  It often shows up in the top searches for DeMolay topics, and has even been featured on Chris Hodapp's FREEMASONS FOR DUMMIES blog. Usually I am reticent about calling attention to myself or our jurisdiction, assuming that the work speaks for itself, but there is another side of me that whispers, "If you don't toot your own horn a little, don't expect others to do it for you!" 

So, I am laying it out there for all of you to see and judge.  How about it?  Where's the love for the PA DeMolay Blog?  Where's the respect for its diverse range of topics, and its readability (typos abound, but, the nature of a blog is its immediacy, not its literacy) and its entertainment value?

Doesn't this merit at least a no-cost certificate, if not better?

Toot, toooooooot!

What say ye, DeMolay International? 

"Dad"  Thomas R. Labagh
Executive Officer in Pennsylvania

Monday, May 5, 2014

Old Timey Regalia

I love finding odd bits of DeMolay history, especially as it relates to regalia. This advertisement was recently sold at auction, but I snagged a scan of it before it sold. Check it out!

Would your Chapter wear something like this today or is it too much of a relic of the past? Put your answer in the comments section!
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Get a C.L.U.E.: Party IX - The case so far...

As PA DeMolay prepares for the upcoming C.L.U.E. Spring Leadership Weekend, to be held May 2-4, 2014, at Patton Campus, it's now time for the investigators to release the information they have gathered so far.
"Dad" Boddy was last seen exiting the Kitchen (using the WRONG DOOR) with a worried look, or looking worried; either way, something was afoot. He didn't even grab a slice of last night’s cold pizza! Was he trying to get away? Was someone chasing him? Was his life or wallet in danger?

There were some incriminating items found out of their normal places when the first search for “Dad” Boddy was made.

1. The Gavel - normally used to silence the Chapter - Could have been used to silence “Dad” Boddy.

2. Sounding Block - used in the Chapter to absorb the blow of the Gavel…Did “Dad” Boddy absorb the blow of the sounding block?

3. The Marshal’s baton - carried by the Marshall to conduct people around the room…maybe it was used to conduct “Dad” Boddy out of this world into the next?

4 The Pillow - Used in the Chapter room to hold the Crown of Youth…could it also have been used to stifle the screams of “Dad’ Boddy?

5. Candles - There are seven of them, all in heavy brass holders…one fell on my foot once…it hurt…what could it do if it were dropped out a second floor window on an unsuspecting “Dad’ Boddy?

6. Cordon - Normally a decoration on the shoulder of the Officer’s robe…but it could have made a nice garrote or a noose in the hands of someone looking to git rid of “Dad” Boddy.

All of these things were found in and around the various rooms of the Chapter’s meeting place, which includes the Blue Room, the Red Room, the Secretary’s Office, the Regalia Room, the Library, the Foyer, the Dining Room, the Cloak room and the Kitchen.

Now, we know you are thinking ”What about the knives in the Kitchen? couldn’t they have been used?” or “Couldn’t someone have slammed “Dad” Boddy in between the Blue Room Doors?" or “Couldn’t have “Dad" Boddy been grabbed by someone who isn’t on the Advisory Council?" or “Hey, Why doesn't your meeting center include a bathroom?” or “Will we have time to go to the pool before lights out tonight?”
Well forget about all those things…there are really logical reasons why those things are like that and I just don't have time to tell you everything! sheesh! Way to spoil a whodunnit!

So, here is your task. Find out what happened to “Dad” Boddy, including which of the members of the dysfunctional, delusional, occasionally flamboyant Advisors do you think did…well, whatever it is you think they did. Also, we need to know what inefficient, cumbersome and overtly symbolic tool did they use and which room in "the  meeting place with no bathroom" did they do whatever they did to him in.

For one day, and one day only, we will be loading all of these loonies into one area where you can observe them, question them, and, if you are smart, try to avoid them while you try to figure out…