Volume LVIOctober 2009Number 3

Turning It Over to the Youth...It's Really Working!

Following the Pennsylvania DeMolay Convention in 2005, Executive Officer Thomas R. Labagh determined that it was time to give the young men of the organization a larger role in the planning and executing of the $50,000 per year program that brings DeMolays, Advisors and their families together from all across the Commonwealth. Starting with the 2006 Pennsylvania DeMolay Convention, a Youth Coordinator and Assistant Youth Coordinator were appointed. In 2009, the fourth year to have young men in the key roles, the Convention Youth Coordinator was Dan Williams, a Past Master Councilor of Templar Chapter in Pittsburgh, and the Assistant Convention Youth Coordinator was Chad Reichard, a Past Master Councilor of George Washington Chapter in Chambersburg.

These young men, 20 and 18 years of age respectively, were involved with the advance planning of the convention that involves 200-250 people each year, the selection of meals and activities and the structuring and staffing of workshops. Once the convention started, they found themselves interfacing with the personnel of the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel in Camp Hill on room set-ups, media and audio-video equipment and administrative details necessary to keep the four-day program running efficiently. The two were also charged with digital photography, assisting the state officers and presenters with workshop needs and supervising various off-site activities including programs held at Hersheypark and City Island. Brother Reichard has agreed to continue his service to Pennsylvania DeMolay at the 2010 Pennsylvania DeMolay Convention that will be held in Cranberry, just north of Pittsburgh, next year.

Building upon the success of this youth involvement with the convention, the first Youth Director for the Pennsylvania DeMolay Key Man Conference was appointed in 2007. The week-long leadership training program designed for DeMolays, and supported by young men from all across the United States and the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Ottawa, presents a different, but equally challenging, hands-on learning experience for an active DeMolay. The conference is held at the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation - Patton Campus in August of each year. The 2009 Youth Director was Joseph Chubb, a Past Master Councilor of Pilgrim Chapter in Harrisburg. As Youth Director, he was responsible for selecting seven days of meals and snacks for a group of 80 young men; interacting with and assisting a volunteer staff of 23 adults who staffed the conference for the week; and planning a full-fledged, three-hour carnival with games, prizes, inflatable obstacle courses and amusements and carnival food for the attendees and prospective members from the south-central area of Pennsylvania. Joseph also cast, directed, rehearsed, costumed and made-up a cast of 18 DeMolays who performed one of the induction ceremonies of the Order. He assisted with Masonic service projects at the Masonic Villages, including a presentation for the residents of the Village Green Area that featured ritualistic performances and fun-filled skits and providing dance leaders for an hour's worth of wheelchair square dancing for the residents of the Masonic Health Care Center. Jacob Palo, a Past Master Councilor of Erie Chapter and Past State Master Councilor of Pennsylvania DeMolay, has agreed to be the Youth Director for the 25th Annual Key Man Conference that will be held in August of 2010.

One of the most important objectives of the Order of DeMolay is providing young men with the tools, support and inspiration to plan, execute and evaluate their own programs. The Pennsylvania DeMolay Convention and the Pennsylvania DeMolay Key Man Conference provide this outstanding opportunity for the older members who have served their local chapters and are prepared to advance to the next level of learning by doing.

Left: A Masonic service program is included in the Key Man Conference, and a large contingent of the DeMolays spent an afternoon with residents of the Masonic Health Care Center in Elizabethtown and participated in a rousing wheelchair square dance. There was no hesitation at all; the young men knew their responsibilities included transporting residents to and from the Assembly Room, talking with them and participating in the dance. When asked at the end of the week what they accomplished, many of the "Key Man" graduates said something like this: "We made some of the people at the Masonic Village very happy by spending time talking with them."

Below: Key Man Conference Youth Director Joseph Chubb, son of Bro. Gary Chubb of Brownstone Lodge No. 666, Hershey, stands in the center with all of the Pennsylvania participants at the annual conference which also brings in youth from Canada, Utah and several other states. The program is proof that, with proper guidance, the young men can run their own program with great enthusiasm, competence and effectiveness.


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