In 1999, the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation continued to grow with the expansion and modernization of the Masonic Conference Center in Elizabethtown. Beginning in January, renovations were begun to dormitories and offices of Patton and Ranken Halls. Similar to the work in Memorial Hall in 1998, the renovations included the installation of private bathrooms and improved lighting in all living quarters. By July, that work was completed. In November, more work was begun in Memorial Hall to replace the 72-year-old original gymnasium floor with a maple wood floor and a distinctive floor emblem. The Fraternity now has the finest Masonic facility for adult and youth conferences in the world.
The Foundation continues to provide administrative assistance to the Grand Lodge Committee of Masonic Matching Charity Grants, a program in which so many of the recipients have been young people. That exciting program has brought the Foundation many calls from lodge officers and opportunities to promote PYF while aiding the Matching Charity Grants program.
The web site for the Pennsylvania Youth Foundation at www.pagrandlodge.org/pyf continues to grow as a means to contact young people who are interested in becoming involved with one of the Masonic youth programs. A module on Pennsylvania DeMolay that was unveiled on the web site during the year has already attracted a lot of attention. Rainbow for Girls and Job's Daughters modules are being developed and each group has a committee to oversee its web site. The most popular section of the web site is the complete text of the Masonic Scholarship Resource Guide and the application for a PYF Scholarship. Anticipating significant technical achievements, it is expected that this portion of the site will be even more powerful and exciting in the future.
During 1999, the Foundation presented $48,500 in scholarship awards to 29 recipients. In the Fall, more than 5,000 copies of the printed edition of the Masonic Scholarship Resource Guide were distributed. Copies of the Guide and the application are always available on-line or on request from the PYF office by calling 1-800-266-8424.
The Foundation continues to be concerned about the future membership in the Masonic youth groups. As a Fraternity, we should be spending more time with our youth to build bridges between them and our lodges. They are the most fertile group for developing potential members. Toward that end, the PYF has published two new pamphlets for the leadership of our lodges. What Have We Got to Offer? is a blueprint for the development of a successful Masonic youth program in every lodge, and a Handbook for District Youth Chairmen will help them develop a district-wide emphasis on Masonic youth. Key leaders in every youth program continue to be the Lodge Youth Chairmen, the District Youth Chairmen, and the District Deputy Grand Masters. Their leadership in promoting the Order of the Rainbow for Girls, the Order of DeMolay, and the Order of Job's Daughters in Pennsylvania is greatly appreciated.
Your help is needed, either through volunteer adult service or by financial assistance to ensure that these unique programs continue to teach the Masonic principles of charity, service, virtue, and patriotism to young people. If we, as Masons, don't teach them how to live a fraternal lifestyle in a brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God, who will?