Volume LIXMay 2012Number 2

Youth Unity Weekend

On the weekend of Feb. 24-26, members of several Masonic youth groups converged on the Masonic Conference Center-Patton Campus in Elizabethtown to participate in the second Masonic Youth Group Unity Weekend. This event aims to bring together five Masonic youth groups operating within the Commonwealth: the Order of DeMolay, the Order of the Rainbow for Girls, the Order of Job's Daughters, the Prince Hall Grand Council of Knights of Pythagoras, and the Ruth Mitchell Tucker Girls Youth Department, O.E.S.-P.H.A.

The youth group members met together in several sessions, learning and applying lessons that were useful to all involved. Topics included charitable giving, appropriate dress for all occasions, Masonic history and time to get to know more about the customs and culture of each group. It wasn't all learning, though! The group also enjoyed co-ed sports and crafting activities, a "Jeopardy"-style game and a dance.

The weekend provided a great opportunity for the organizations to learn and grow by taking the best practices from each group and adapting them to fit their specific circumstances. The sharing of ideas remains an important part of this event, and everyone came away learning something that they can apply in their youth group. More importantly, friendships were formed with a commitment to continue to support each other. A Facebook group was formed just for those who attended the 2011 and 2012 Unity Weekends, and for the purpose of planning for 2013.

HODEGOS 2012 Class Announced

In an effort to recognize the outstanding efforts of volunteers for the Masonic youth groups in Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania created the HODEGOS Award in 2005. Administered by the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation (PMYF), the HODEGOS Award recognizes truly outstanding adult leaders of the youth programs.

The award takes its name from a Greek word hodegos, meaning "a leader, a guide and an instructor of the inexperienced." It is awarded to volunteers who have a minimum of seven years of service to a Rainbow Girl Assembly, a Job's Daughter Bethel or a DeMolay Chapter in Pennsylvania.

The award consists of a solid gold oval pin or necklace charm drop bearing the word, "hodegos," written in Greek. Its simplicity and uniqueness is designed to be elegant and eye-catching, so that recipients will wear it in their daily activities. It is intended that they will have the opportunity to explain the youth program sponsored by the Grand Lodge when the inevitable question about it comes.

Since the inception of the award, there have been 50 deserving recipients, and the class of 2012 includes four more outstanding youth group volunteers.

The DeMolay honoree this year is R.W. Grand Master Jay W. Smith, who has been an Advisor for DeMolay for 28 years and will receive the HODEGOS Award at the Pennsylvania DeMolay Convention in York in July.

The 2012 honorees for Job's Daughters are Mrs. Deborah Ehrhart, with more than 20 years of service to Bethel No. 1, York, and Bro. Andrew Freiberg, Brownstone Lodge No. 666, Hershey, who has had 12 years of service to Bethel No. 17, Hershey. Mrs. Ehrhart and Bro. Freiberg will receive the award at the annual Grand Session of Job's Daughters in York in June.

The 2012 honoree for Rainbow Girls is Bro. Donald P. Line, St. John's Lodge No. 260, Carlisle, who has 35 years of service and is a Senior Grand Executive for Pennsylvania Rainbow for Girls. He will be presented with the award during Pennsylvania Rainbow's Grand Assembly in Altoona in July.

HODEGOS nominations will be accepted from the youth groups for the 2013 class through the submission deadline of Oct. 15. A maximum of two volunteers per organization will be selected. The Masonic Youth Leader Recognition Committee of the PMYF will review the nominations. Their selection will be based upon the record of service provided by the nominees to the youth groups and testimonial letters submitted as part of the nomination process. At least one of these letters must come from the youth members themselves. Full details on the nomination procedure are available on the PMYF web page, www.pmyf.org.

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