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youth

Young people need the attention and leadership that Masons can provide. Youth thrive on the encouragement and acceptancy by adults. They respond to those who care about them. Young people need the help and motivation from adults to find and seize the opportunities to grow and develop leadership skills.

The Pennsylvania Youth Foundation brings youths together with Masons, giving the brethren and their lodges unique, fulfilling ways to serve the fraternity and the community. Those brethren who give of their time, talent, and concern find their efforts satisfying and serve because of their own special motivation.

Some serve because of their own experiences with youth groups. Robert R. Nye, Jr., a Senior DeMolay and a Mason in Abraham C. Treichler Lodge No. 682, Elizabethtown, said "... the enjoyment I received from being a DeMolay member provided me with unbelievable memories, valuable leadership skills, and lifelong friends."

Some see their involvement as being important in the proliferation of the fraternity. Kurt J. Duryea, of Tyrian Lodge No. 362, Erie, explains, "Masonic youth can be the link that provides our most vital resource -- Blue Lodge prospects ... people who would never have any contact with Freemasonry if it were not for the Masonic youth programs." Jeffrey R. Koyton, of Monongahela Lodge No. 269, Bethel Park, and a Past Patron of Carrick Chapter No. 231, O.E.S., adds, "To make our fraternity grow, we must give to our youth and show them how to be better people."

There are brethren who became Freemasons because of their associations with youth. Christopher M. Brumbach, of Chandler Lodge No. 227, Reading, said, "I actually got involved in lodge... (because) one of my friends invited me to help coach the DeMolay basketball team. Less than a year after my initial DeMolay experience, I requested a petition for lodge -- and the rest is history."

For some, "it's all in the family," like Dennis Snedden who said, "I got involved through my girl friend 16 years ago. She's now my wife. We chose Rainbow as the one community service we do together.... I know that we make a difference for all of our 'adopted daughters.' For a few, we are just drivers; but for most of the girls we are good examples, if not role models."

Kenneth Harms, P.M., Perseverance Lodge No. 21, Harrisburg, said, "I have always felt, as a parent, that I should be involved.... I quickly found that advisors can have as much fun as the DeMolays."

Perhaps the most over-riding reason might be what is almost a spiritual experience as expressed by James A. Ray, P.M., Hiram Lodge No. 81, Chestnut Hill. "The first time a young person laughs with you, or talks excitedly about getting a driver's license, it's a lot of fun. But, when they share their fears about starting life, then you realize the awesome gift you have been given. Advisors have the fortunate role of imparting Masonic principles to young people who are seeking order among chaos and finding a path in a life that surrounds them with mixed signals for choices that are not always the best...."

The reason doesn't really matter. Serving Masonic youth is a duty that all Masons should fulfill at some point in their Masonic careers. The Pennsylvania Youth Foundation is committed to helping every Mason perform that duty.

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