This blog post is from Brother James McKeown, PMC of Friendship-Bray Chapter and Region H Representative for Pennsylvania DeMolay.
My greatest experience in DeMolay was KeyMan 2016. This was my second time at KeyMan and one of the best weeks of my life. This week was not only one of the best weeks of my life, but it also changed my life.
During the summer of 2016, I was going through some changes in my life. I just graduated from grade school and I was preparing to enter high school. I was super hyped that whole summer to finally leave my school and experience a change for once. During that summer, I was also Master Councilor of my Chapter. Leading up to KeyMan, I was going through a midterm crisis. My term as Master Councilor really wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, and because of this I was losing interest in DeMolay. I felt like taking a break from DeMolay once my term as Master Councilor was over. I didn’t really feel like going to KeyMan at the time. I just wanted to hang out with my friends and not be bothered by DeMolay, but I already signed up, so I had to go.
I got to KeyMan and I was still not excited about being there. I was put in the Ritual Track. I already met half the guys in my group because of the Patton weekends, but the other half were all from Canada. The week started out a little slow. I was enjoying the courses and what I was learning, but I wasn’t having a lot of fun. It started to pick up around Tuesday. I started to get to know the people in my group during the activities we participated in, the times we were eating, and the times we were supposed to be sleeping. I was bonding with these people who I just met or only met a few times. I went to KeyMan the previous year, but I didn’t really bond with the guys in my group. We started to work together as a team. I’ve been on a lot of teams before, but not a team that was this close together. Everything we did together was fun. We had to perform the Opening and Closing of a Chapter and The Ceremony of Light for the end of the week project. I’ve been on tons of ritual teams over my DeMolay career, but not a team that worked so smoothly and so in sync. It kinda felt like we could read each other's mind while performing. People say that ritual makes us unique, but it can also bring us together and help us grow. The week came to a close and I made sure to keep in contact with everyone.
The week might not have been the best and most fun week ever, but it honestly changed me. It made me care about DeMolay again and motivated me to finish my term as Master Councilor with a full head of steam. Without this week, I'm probably not the person I am today.