Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Carlisle Chapter's Road to Success

How A New Old Chapter Was Returned to the Carlisle Community
by "Dad" Brett Otto, Advisory Council Chairman

Now that a few days have passed since receiving the Charter for Carlisle Chapter, it is good to look back at where we have been. 

I never dreamed in 2007, when 3 young men (Rob Otto, Ben Otto and Colton Swindler) traveled to the State Convention in York, PA to join GW chapter, that Carlisle Chapter would ever re-open. Back then, we traveled 45 minutes each way to Chambersburg to go to DeMolay. 

Along with the 3 DeMolay, "Dad" Brett Otto and "Moms" Kelley Otto and Cayle Otto Swindler joined the Advisory Council of GW Chapter. For years, we traveled back and forth between Carlisle and Chambersburg, many times taking 2 mini vans full of DeMolays. Over several years the "Carlisle Contingent" grew. 

The original 3 Carlisle DeMolay all became MCs of GW Chapter and Chevaliers. Others from GW DeMolay that became Carlisle DeMolays included, Anthony Kallhoff, Trenton Swindler and Brady Swindler. 

In 2011, some Masons from the Lodges in Carlisle, Cumberland Star Lodge #197 and St. John's Lodge #260 began talking about opening a DeMolay Chapter in Carlisle. After several meetings of members of both lodges and some of the GW advisors, it was decided to move ahead to open Carlisle DeMolay.

So began the process with DeMolay International. Both Carlisle Lodges agreed to be co-sponsors of the new DeMolay Chapter. In the spring of 2012, we received word that DeMolay International would be granting Letters Temporary for a Chapter in Carlisle. 

At the time, we still didn't have a name for the new chapter. The 7 members that transferred from GW DeMolay were given to task to choose a name for the new chapter. They found out that Carlisle had a DeMolay Chapter that closed in 1994. To honor that chapter, it was decided to keep the name, Carlisle DeMolay. 

Colton Swindler was chosen to act as our first Master Councilor, since he was a PMC from GW Chapter. During 2001, we held activities and continued to grow, reaching 15 members by the end of the year. 

Meeting this milestone, in December 2012, Carlisle DeMolay was officially presented our Letters Temporary at our very first installation of officers, when Mikel Baer (now "Dad" Baer Mike) was our first installed MC. 

Over the next few years, we continued to increase in membership. We participated in state sports tournaments, State Convention and Keyman Conference.

By the end of 2014, we had grown to 30 members in our Chapter. Having met that milestone, it was approved by DeMolay International to grant our chapter a Charter. 

On March 29th, the Charter was presented by our Executive Officer, "Dad" Tom Labagh at our Installation of Officers. We were so pleased to have so many visitors and guests in attendance. Although we knew the Charter was being presented, our EO surprised 3 Advisors by presenting them each with a Zerubbabel Key. 

This award is presented to individuals who are primarily responsible for opening a DeMolay Chapter. "Dad" Brett Otto, "Mom" Kelley Otto and "Mom" Cayle Swindler received Z-Keys. Speaking for the three, we are all deeply humbled and honored to receive this award. 

Over the years, we have worked with both GW and Carlisle Chapters. We have seen many DeMolay join, grow and mature, and become Senior DeMolays., which has been our true reward. Many of our DeMolays are now Lodge members and advisors. 

On behalf of Kelley, Cayle and myself, we want to thank all of the DeMolay, advisors, parents, Lodge brothers, State DeMolay officers, the Executive staff and others who have made the dream of Carlisle DeMolay come true. Thank you.

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