|Volume LIV||November 2007||Number 4|
Turning It Over to the Youth
This transition took place over the past 18 months, beginning with the appointment of a Convention Youth Coordinator in 2006. The coordinator took care of all hotel, meal and logistical arrangements for on-site and off-site events. After the great experience at the 2006 Convention, it seemed natural to do the same thing for the 2007 Key Man Conference, resulting in the selection of a Youth Director for this complicated leadership training program. Not only was the Youth Director responsible for all logistical arrangements at the Masonic Conference Center-Patton Campus in Elizabethtown, he was also involved in all staffing, scheduling and curriculum decisions made for the program this year.
Michael L. Brown, an 18- year-old Past Master Councilor of Elizabethtown DeMolay, and a recently raised Master Mason of Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, was appointed to the position of Youth Director for the Key Man Conference in the Spring of 2007, after submitting a two-page letter of interest in which he detailed his goals for improving the conference while improving his own organizational and leadership abilities. Mike, in turn, interviewed and chose W. Thomas Moyer, a 15-year-old Past Master Councilor of Pilgrim Chapter, to be his Assistant Youth Director.
Along with several improvements made to the schedule and program elements, Mike also developed a comprehensive marketing plan to increase the participation by Pennsylvania DeMolays in the Key Man Conference. A priority was placed on acquiring sponsors to help provide scholarships for deserving Pennsylvania DeMolays who could not afford the $200.00 registration fee. The response was overwhelming, and a total of 23 scholarships were offered, thanks to the generous donations from five Masonic organizations and 25 Master Masons and Senior DeMolays.
The next step was to better promote the program to the DeMolay members. Bro. Brown developed a special Key Man brochure that was sent to all Junior and Senior Councilors-the future chapter leaders who would most benefit from attending the program. The work paid off-the Pennsylvania DeMolay participants nearly doubled in 2007!
With the planning and preparation done under the watchful eyes of adult director, "Dad" Dave Berry, Mike and Tom settled into their supervisory roles for the conference by running the pre-conference staff meeting; daily meetings with the Chapter Advisors and Chairmen for the week; assisting with the instruction of daily classes; and managing the many details that are a part of a conference for 138 youth and adult "students" and 23 volunteer staff members. Imagine these two young men giving advice and direction to a staff that included three DeMolay Executive Officers; several Past State Master Councilors; a Past Grand Master of DeMolay International; and R.W. Past Grand Master Samuel C. Williamson, who conceived the concept of the first Key Man Conference 22 years ago!
They were outstanding leaders, and were accorded the respect they earned by their thorough preparation. When given the opportunity, they took charge and proved to all the skeptics that DeMolay can raise its standards of excellence by allowing youth to lead!
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