Thursday, January 28, 2016

This or That: Star Trek vs. Star Wars

Pennsylvania DeMolay's State Sweetheart, Miss Sarah Sellers, has put together a program that puts two forms of pop culture reference in a competition against one another. This competition is to help raise money for the Children's Dyslexia Centers, which is PA DeMolay's State Charity. The current competition is Star Trek vs. Star Wars. “Dad” Alex Swift, Chapter Advisor of Northeast Chapter has provided this article to help compare the two franchises.

In the genre of American Science Fiction, there are no two more recognizable brands than Star Wars and Star Trek. Over the last fifty years since Star Trek first debuted in the 1960’s, they have captured the imagination of young and old viewers alike. Even now, almost fifty years later they are still at the forefront of American Cinema and remain in the spotlight of our interest. There are no signs of either of them disappearing into the realms of memory.

Just this past year, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" broke almost every known box office record known to man, and seemed to resurrect the good reputation of a franchise that had gone astray. Later this year, in 2016, the third Star Trek film in the JJ Abrams series, and twelfth over all, is set to debut. Both franchises seem to be flourishing in ways that even their original creators might not have predicted, and it’s hard to imagine a world in which neither of them exist.

But, as they can both be categorized as Science Fiction, their similarities are few and far between. 
They are fundamentally different: A fact that has seen a proverbial line drawn in the sand between fans of one, or the other. It’s a silly culture war when you really look at it from any objective viewpoint, especially if you’re a fan of both the way I am. But still, it doesn’t stop it from being waged on the internet, at fan conventions, or even on late night TV where, on his show, Conan O’Brien asked Astrophysicist Neil deDrasse Tyson: “Who would win in a fight, the Millennium Falcon or the USS Enterprise?”

Star Trek, the first of the two brands to appear in front of audiences has traditionally focused on the eventual exploration of space. It’s a look into the future, or more appropriately an idea of what the future could look like. The series shows a world devoid of poverty, crime, and greed. It shows a world in which science and technology have allowed humanity to overcome its faults, and ascend out into the greater universe beyond our own sky.

Star Wars, the more financially successful of the two, has always been a modern homage to the old spaghetti westerns, and adventure films of the 1930’s. Instead of our heroes chasing each other on horseback, we see TIE Fighters and X-Wings dueling each other ala the great air battles waged in World War II. These are tales of great evils, and the forces of good standing against them. They are stories of massive battles waged in far off lands, and worlds that are so incredibly foreign to us. It’s more of a recollection of our past than our future, told from a modern and futuristic perspective.

So, now its up to you, do you side with Star Trek or with Star Wars?

As far as which one is better, that is only a matter of personal preference. Both franchises remain strong, so you decide which one you prefer.  

Thank you "Dad" Swift for your contribution to the blog. Which franchise do you prefer: Star Trek or Star Wars? Voting ends February 1st so act quickly. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Be Different Spotlight: Friendship-Bray Chapter

The following post is part of a series entitled the “Be Different Spotlight.” This post will display a chapter’s effort to grasp the concept of the theme for this year. Each chapter was challenged by the State Master Councilor, Adam Pritchard, to “Be Different.” 

Challenge Accepted! This is the story of how Friendship-Bray Chapter embraced that challenge...

On Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 members and advisors of Friendship-Bray Chapter visited Baldi Middle School in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia. The event, which was organized by FBC advisor and Fox Chase Elementary School Principal “Dad” Rob Caroselli, was a first look at DeMolay for many young men in Northeast Philadelphia and the surrounding communities.

Young men and parents were invited to a question and answer session about what the organization has to offer. While the young men were excited to hear about events like Operation N.A.S.H.V.I.L.L.E. Training Weekend and Laser Tag, the parents were thrilled to hear that DeMolay and its advisors strive to help make its members better sons and good upstanding citizens. The Chapter was prepared with brochures provided by PA DeMolay and personalized for our specific Chapter and events.

Four of the seven young men present received their obligations January 3rd and will receive their complete degrees at Patriots Class on February 13th. Two other young men who have attended a few of the recent Chapter activates will also receive their degrees at Patriots Class.

The new members have already talked about bringing their friends into the Chapter after the amazing time they had at Operation N.A.S.H.V.I.L.L.E. Training Weekend. We expect the size of FBC to double in the coming months.

Friendship-Bray continues to stand out and BE DIFFERENT. On March 6th at the stated meeting of Friendship-Bray Chapter, the members will kick off DeMolay Month by hosting dozens of visiting Masons including several District Deputy Grand Masters. This exposure and excitement will undoubtedly continue the resurgence of the once again Mighty FBC! Here we grow again!

This blog post was written by Friendship-Bray's Chapter Advisor, "Dad" Dennis Hunter.. Thank you "Dad" Hunter for your contribution.

Friendship-Bray Chapter has completed the challenge to “Be Different.” What has your chapter done in order to change things up a bit? Send in program details or write a post for your chapter and send it to me at

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Make Yourself Feel Distinguished!

Have you done a lot of work for your local community or taken an active role within your church? Do you continue to get good grades in school and help out with responsibilities at home or in DeMolay? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was some type of recognition for all of this hard work? Well there is, and it has always been available for any DeMolay who wants to earn it.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding overall service performed by a DeMolay member. The areas of service include religion, community, DeMolay, education and home, among others. A jurisdiction can award two recipients per year, one for each half of the DeMolay year. The award is typically awarded at the annual convention; however it has been awarded at other events at the Executive Officer’s discretion. For example, since I couldn’t make convention, my DSA was awarded to me at the 2008 Basketball Tournament.

This sounds great, but how do I apply? There is no formal application for this award. Rather, the applicant, working with the Advisory Council, will need to assemble a package of materials demonstrating his service in various areas. The Advisory Council generally assists in soliciting recommendations from individuals who have worked with the applicant in various areas of service. The nomination for the Award officially comes from the Advisory Council, though a member may apply for his own nomination through his Advisory Council.

The Distinguished Service Award has not been awarded in Pennsylvania since 2013, meaning for two years no one has applied for this award. If you know someone that is eligible for this award, click here for the list of materials needed to apply.

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Be Different Spotlight: Carlisle Chapter

The following post is part of a series entitled the “Be Different Spotlight.” This post will display a chapter’s effort to grasp the concept of the theme for this year. Each chapter was challenged by the State Master Councilor, Adam Pritchard, to “Be Different.” 

Challenge Accepted! This is the story of how Carlisle Chapter embraced that challenge...

When our State Master Councilor challenged the chapters to one, do something new and different that we had never done before, and two, approach membership in a new light, many Master Councilor’s racked their brains thinking of what to do. Carlisle Chapters newly elected Master Councilor Brian Martin was no exception.

He reached out to the members of the Chapter for inspiration and ideas. Many ideas were tossed around but the Chapter weeded out the impossible options and focused on the ones that were the best. After much planning and with approval from the Advisory Council many new events were added to the term plan; a service project involving donating gifts to less fortunate households right before Christmas, a very successful Gettysburg Ghost Tour, plans to donate lap blankets to a local retirement home, and plans for a trip to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Along with all of these brand new events, they took the initiative to start their very own Sweetheart Program which began with the installation of Carlisle Chapter’s 1st Sweetheart, Mary Lichtenwalner, in early October. Plans for even more prospect parties and recruitment ideas are still being tossed around and are sure to bring in even more new members.
Way to go Carlisle Chapter for "Being Different!" Keep up the great work!

This blog post was written by Pennsylvania DeMolay State Scribe Aaron Muldowney. Thank you Brother Aaron for your contribution.

Carlisle Chapter has completed the challenge to “Be Different.” What has your chapter done in order to change things up a bit? Send in program details or write a post for your chapter and send it to me at

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Be Different Spotlight: Reading Chapter

The following post is part of a series entitled the “Be Different Spotlight.” This post will display a chapter’s effort to grasp the concept of the theme for this year. Each chapter was challenged by the State Master Councilor, Adam Pritchard, to “Be Different.” 

Challenge Accepted! This is the story of how Reading Chapter embraced that challenge...

I am proud to announce that Reading Chapter has successfully thrown their first “Be Different” event. In order to explain the event, we all need some back story. For a couple of years “Dad” Dan Loughin has challenged Reading Chapter that if they can make positive growth, he would allow the members of the chapter who were first line signers to shave his head. Reading has been desperately trying to reach this goal for a while, but have unfortunately come short every time.

However, this year was a bit different. Reading Chapter was able to make positive growth for the first time in years due to the help of state incentive programs and chapter incentives. Now the problem continued: When is a good time to celebrate this auspicious occasion and officially get the clippers buzzing.

Reading Chapter’s Master Councilor Brian Henderson had planned a “Be Different” game night for his term. This game night was newer than game nights that Reading Chapter used to throw in the past, which usually involved card games and board games only. Recently our lodge hall had several parlor games installed in the lodge cafeteria, including billiards and air hockey. For the first time, Reading Chapter was able to utilize these items to take game night to a whole new level.

Members showed up with their families, as well as prospects (thus doubling this fun game night to also be a prospect party.) There were sodas, chips, cookies, pizza and fellowship for everyone. Throughout the night you could hear the constant clanking of air hockey chips as well as the cracking of a cue ball against the other pool balls. Members and friends played doubles so as to include as many people as possible. I sat at a table playing various card games with 3 other youth in attendance. The prospect party did not end there, with the opportunity to play Wii or ping pong still remaining as options before the night was over.

The night culminated in the long awaited and anticipated shaving of “Dad” Loughin’s head. The floor was prepped, the clippers were plugged in, and the members gathered. The first line signers took turns taking swipes across “Dad” Loughin’s head while others watched and laughed. At some point members began to forgo shaving everything off, but thought it funnier to cut irregular tufts of hair off his head, and then began to make fun patterns and unusual shapes. 

The night ended with shaving the rest of his head bald and clean up. Much fun was had and goodbyes were given (especially to "Dad" Loughin's hair.) The event was so successful that several prospects who were in attendance showed strong interest in joining, and younger siblings who came for the fun were looking to continue to be involved in chapter activities until they can join.

To watch the video of "Dad" Loughin getting his hair shaved off click here

This blog post was written by Pennsylvania DeMolay SMC Adam Pritchard. Thank you Brother Adam for your contribution.

Reading Chapter has completed the challenge to “Be Different.” What has your chapter done in order to change things up a bit? Send in program details or write a post for your chapter and send it to me at

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DeMolay New Year's Resolutions

As we prepare to make the best of the new year, January 1st is the time that we set personal goals to help improve ourselves for the future. Every year we set New Year's resolutions that include losing weight, finding a better job and improving our social presence. Although the goals would be different in concept, DeMolay Chapters should set resolutions as well. We should always be looking for ways to improve our DeMolay experience for the benefit of ourselves and the chapter. Here are a few goals that we should take into consideration to help improve that experience:

The organization of DeMolay thrives on membership. Without bringing in new members to share the experience, our organization will cease to exist. Chapter members should think of new ideas that they can use to bring members into the organization. What makes DeMolay appealing to you? What drives you to continue to come back to DeMolay on a regular basis? Share this information with all of your friends that are not in DeMolay and they might be interested in joining. Hold prospect parties that will draw the interest of local prospects of the community. Ask Masonic members if they have a son or grandchild who may be between the age of 12 and 21. Think outside the box and start helping improve our great organization.

Ritual Work
One goal that every member of the organization should consider is to learn a new ritual part. It can be from any piece of the ritual. Chapters may need someone to perform a ceremony for lodges, such as the Flower Talk or Ceremony of Light. You may want to learn a part for the DeMolay Degree, such as Jacques DeMolay or one of the Inquisitors. Perhaps you would like to help chapters with Installations by doing a part in this ceremony. All of these suggestions are great parts to learn and can help make the DeMolay experience better. 

Learning Your Obligations
Every DeMolay should take the time to learn the obligations that they received at the altar. The DeMolay oath and obligation should be important to every member because it is what we as members believe in. Also, learning the obligations will mean that you can help obligate members into your chapter. 

Earn Your Representative DeMolay Award
Six months after joining DeMolay, every member has the opportunity to earn their Representative DeMolay Award. This award consists of a self evaluation that measures multiple areas of life including social, emotional, physical and DeMolay. Our founder, Frank S. Land, once said that "Every DeMolay should be a Representative DeMolay." 

Become a Leader of the Chapter
One of the most important lessons DeMolay can teach is leadership. Become a leader within your chapter. You could start by taking the lead in planning an activity and working with a committee. Once you're ready, go about the process of becoming Junior Councilor and work your way to become Master Councilor of the chapter. 

These are just a few of the common goals that members of DeMolay may look to achieve. Other goals include, but are not limited to, earning merit bars, completing each lesson of the Leadership Correspondence Course and making life long friends. Good luck in your venture to make 2016 the best year of your DeMolay experience.  

Until next time - "Dad" Joe Pullin