Thursday, July 28, 2016

Films Every DeMolay Should See: A Man for All Seasons

As many of you may already know, State Master Councilor Eric Dye chose the year's theme to be "Lights, Camera, Action: DeMolay Goes Hollywood!" With this in mind, Past International Master Councilor and frequent contributor to the PA DeMolay blog, Peter Brusoe has shared a film that he feels all DeMolay's should see. Thank you Pete for your contribution to our blog.

At KeyMan University we introduced a “Films Every DeMolay Should See” course.  We screened a few films that may have fallen out of our shared cultural awareness, or zeitgeist. One film that was on my list but did not make the final cut was “A Man for All Seasons.”  If you get a chance I think it is a film that every DeMolay should see. The film dramatizes the final years of Sir Thomas More, a personal hero of mine.  The film won six academy awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, and features performances from  stars like John Hurt, Vanessa Redgrave, Susannah York, Paul Scofield, and Orson Welles. (Please google them if you don’t know who they are)

Some may have heard of Thomas More for being the author of Utopia, or have seen a dramatization of him in the Tudors or Wolf Hall on PBS.  Or chances are you may have never heard of the man.  A Man for All Seasons is a good introduction to the person and his strength of character.

Thomas More was an exceptional man for his time.  In an age where education was generally limited to men, he ensured that his daughters received the same education that his son received. A successful lawyer, More served his country in a number of different capacities including positions in parliament (the legislative body of England), and a confidant and advisor to King Henry VIII.  In 1529 he assumed the role of Lord Chancellor of England. In this role, More was in charge of the courts the great seal of England, and the chief advisor to the King of England.  While there is no functional equivalent in American government to compare the position to, perhaps a combined position of Chief Justice and Vice President of the United States. Needless to say the man had arrived at the pinnacle of power and influence for a non-royal.

King Henry VIII sought a divorce from Queen Catherine of Aragon.  In those days, divorces required approval from the Church, and while Henry requested it the church was not willing to give it.  Historically this was known as “The King’s great matter.” Eventually, the King decided if the church would not give him his divorce, he would assume control over the church. More vehemently disagreed with King Henry VIII and resigned rather than do something that would violate his personal conscience.  Hoping to retire from public life and spend a life of studying and writing, the issue kept coming up and the King forced Sir Thomas More to swear an oath that he did not believe in.  Though his friends and fellow ministers of state urged him to give in, More refused and was charged with high treason. He still did not recant. A trial was held which included a panel of judges that counted among themselves the Father, Brother and Uncle of the newly made queen.

After 15 minutes of deliberation, the judges found More guilty. He was originally sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. The King commuted the sentence to simple beheading, considered a more humane form of capital punishment.  History holds that right before his execution More exclaimed “the king's good servant, but God's first.”

The film is a great re-telling of the story and has some pretty good quotes in it and some case studies of where power may tempt people.  As you watch the film think about the different characters in the film. Which ones do you admire? Which ones do you resemble the most?  What life lessons do you take from it?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Use PokémonGO to Recruit for Your Youth Group

Today, we have a guest blog post from the original writer for the PA DeMolay blog, "Dad" Seth Anthony. Thank you "Dad" Anthony for contributing to the blog.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve probably heard about the new social sensation PokémonGO. Marketed as an augmeneted reality game, PokémonGO uses the real world as part of the play experience. Players collect Pokémon characters by walking around their local areas. In addition to the creatures themselves, players can also interact with points of interest as determined by the game, such as statues, parks, memorials, and yes, Masonic Lodges.

Many Masonic Lodges have been tagged by the game, either as Pokestops, where players can earn power ups and experience points, or as Gyms, where participants can train their Pokémon and battle other players. This has resulted in increased traffic around many Masonic buildings and brought new light to the fraternity as players discover our meeting places for the first time. This includes teens and tweens who are seeking out our facilities for their in-game benefits.

And therein lies the power of the game! With all of these new people visiting your building, what are you doing to market Masonic Youth to them? Picture this – a group of teens hanging around outside our Masonic building, battling their Pokémon. You already have something in common with them and a great conversation starter to break the ice! Ask them what team they are on and start up a conversation. Then, transition into talking about how you’re at this building a lot because your youth group meets here. Discuss what you do and how your members are also playing the game. Instantly, you’ve made a connection and found a potential member!

Perhaps you can take it one step further. Why not set up a booth and welcome players? You could even make it a prospect party event, especially if your Lodge is a Gym. As they approach your building, provide them with a grab bag that includes a healthy snack, some information for your organization, and other promotional material. Have your members battle it out and challenge visitors to a battle! Don’t forget to chat with the parents; this is a great chance for advisors to meet prospective parents and build their advisory councils as well!

PokémonGO is an amazing opportunity for your Masonic Youth Groups to utilize your meeting space to reach out to potential members. Don’t waste the chance to build your membership!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Meet the Candidates: Caitlin Gresham

Convention is right around the corner, which means it will be time to vote for PA DeMolay's Elected State Officers. This series will introduce you to each candidate as they prepare to run for office. This time, we take a look at our State Sweetheart Candidates. They were asked for a biography and an answer to the following questions on their application. Here are their responses.

Hello Pennsylvania DeMolay. My name is Caitlin Gresham and I am running for State Sweetheart. I am a former Chapter Sweetheart of Steel City Chapter and will be representing Templar Chapter going into Convention. This September I will be a Freshman at Elizabethtown College where I will be studying Early Childhood Education and Special Education. I currently work for Sewickley Confectionery. I am a member of Rainbow, having served as Worthy Advisor for by home Assembly, as well as the Grand Representative for West Virginia and Missouri. I am also an active candidate for the Grand Cross of Color. Along with my many years in the Masonic Youth Groups, I have also been in the Girl Scouts of America, part of the Quaker Valley Key Club and a volunteer with World Vision. In my free time, I enjoy playing softball, volleyball, tennis and cheering for my school. 

Why do you want to become the State Sweetheart of Pennsylvania DeMolay?
I believe that I can broaden my horizons in terms of service and fellowship, while also connecting and making bonds with people from across this state and potentially the nation. With my background in Rainbow and DeMolay, I have an appreciation for all Masonic bodies, however, I think we can all learn more about what we stand for and the way of life that we all believe in. I also want to help strengthen the bonds between masonic youth through various fun and educational activities while also doing more bonding on a deeper level with people that I would not normally get to spend time with. I strongly believe in the great work that we are all capable of and I want to be one of the role models that younger brothers and sisters can come to for help and guidance. When I first joined, I looked up to the youth leaders so much and I would love to be that person to someone else, while also improving myself. This opportunity to work with these young men will open up so many doors for success in my life and theirs as well. 

Although you cannot fund-raise on your own, what fundraising ideas could you bring if a chapter asked you for new ideas?
Many families have loose change lying around their house, sitting in piggy banks, or in wallets that will not be used any time soon. We could do Penny Wars between chapters across the state. We can have a fundraising race between the chapters, and whoever wins by having the most money raised can have a pizza party. We could do a pie throwing contest at a DeMolay weekend and the boys can bring in money to vote for which Elected State Officer they want pied in the face. They could do a spaghetti dinner, blood drive, pancake breakfast, car washes, 50/50 raffles, hoagie/sandwich sales, selling candy bars, carnivals, bake sale, booths at fairs, autumn days, etc. anything of that fashion usually works well.   

What do you know about the Children's Dyslexia Center?
I know that the Children's Dyslexia Center helps children all across the United States who have been diagnosed with Dyslexia. It is a Scottish Rite Charity which is Masonic affiliated and it is found in 13 states, including Pennsylvania, which has eight centers total. They offer services such as tutoring to families free of charge. They have changed the lives of over 1,200 children. The money we raise in DeMolay goes towards helping and improving the lives of many kids who are in need. They have a comprehensive one-on-one program that can be as long as three years, depending on the needs of the student. It costs roughly $6,000 per year to help one child, and with all of our contributions we have helped so many kids, and we will continue to help for as long as possible. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Meet the Candidates: Mary Lichtenwalner

Convention is right around the corner, which means it will be time to vote for PA DeMolay's Elected State Officers. This series will introduce you to each candidate as they prepare to run for office. This time, we take a look at our State Sweetheart Candidates. They were asked for a biography and an answer to the following questions on their application. Here are their responses.

Hello members of Pennsylvania DeMolay. My name is Mary Lichtenwalner and I am representing Carlisle Chapter Order of DeMolay. I will be a Junior at Central Dauphin High School. I am a member of the marching band, concert band, color guard and choir. As of May 3rd, I am also a part of the National Honor Society. I work for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, exclusively at Hershey Park. I am a member of Job's Daughters, having served as Grand Senior Custodian and recently installed as Senior Princess.

Why do you want to become the State Sweetheart of Pennsylvania DeMolay?
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a Chapter Sweetheart for Carlisle Chapter. I also have a friend who has received help from the Children's Dyslexia Centers. Combining my respect for DeMolay and my belief in the work of the Dyslexia Centers is the perfect way to further represent DeMolay as the State Sweetheart. 

Although you cannot fund-raise on your own, what fundraising ideas could you bring if a chapter asked you for new ideas?
A few of the ideas I would be able to come up with include holding a Chinese Auction, movie nights, raffles and even finding a local restaurant that will allow a fundraiser to take place such as Friendly's or Applebees. 

What do you know about the Children's Dyslexia Center?
It was founded by J. Phillip Berquist (a Freemason) with the help of local Freemasons and the Reading Disabilities Unit from Massachusetts General Hospital. It offers tutoring for any age, economical status or whether they have a Masonic relationship or not.