PA DeMolay Convention 2014 is in the rear view mirror and we couldn’t have celebrated 90 years of DeMolay in Pennsylvania any better! Held at the Inn at Reading in Reading, PA, DeMolays from all over the Commonwealth converged for one heck of a weekend.
The event started on Friday afternoon when DeMolays arrived and immediately headed over to the Reading Museum and Planetarium. This wasn’t just any visit though; attendees got to check out some of the coolest exhibits ever, including arms and armor, ancient civilizations, and a brand new one on electricity. Once members took in the sites at the Museum, they stopped over at the planetarium for a special show on the science of one of the universe’s most mysterious objects – black holes. It was an awesome afternoon of fun, with some learning mixed in for good measure.
Everyone then returned to the hotel for a fantastic summer BBQ dinner before departing for the Works at Wyomissing – a massive entertainment center with plenty of video games, food, and activities. Every participant received a game card that allowed them to play an unlimited number of video games as well as a $5 gift certificate that could be used anywhere in the facility. To say the guys had a blast is an understatement; popular choices included four-way air hockey, duck pin style bowling, and plenty of racing games!
Saturday morning came all too quickly with an early breakfast buffet followed by the start of the real work – the annual business session. Elections were held for the six PA DeMolay Elected State Officers as well as for State Sweetheart. You can view a complete list of our new Elected and Appointed State Officers over on our Youth Leaders page and the State Sweetheart page.
Following the elections, several presentations were made. First up were the PA DeMolay Yearbook rebates, given to Chapters for selling ads in the PA DeMolay Yearbook. They included:
- Carlisle DeMolay: $535 in Sales
- Chester Pike DeMolay: $895 in Sales
- Elizabethtown DeMolay: $2,875 in Sales
- Erie DeMolay: $1,235 in Sales
- Freedom DeMolay: $250 in Sales
- Friendship-Bray DeMolay: $250 in Sales
- Lorraine DeMolay: $755 in Sales
- Pilgrim DeMolay: $1,395 in Sales
- Reading DeMolay: $735 in Sales
- Westmoreland DeMolay: $400 in Sales
- Elected State Officers: $1,850 in Sales, which goes to their travel fund.
DeMolay International Communications awards were given to the following Chapters:
- “News from the Asylum” from Allentown Chapter
- “News You Can Use” from Elizabethtown Chapter
- “These Times” from Lincoln Chapter
- “Lorraine Legacy” from Lorraine Chapter
- “Pilgrim’s Progress” from Pilgrim Chapter
The Community Service Award was presented to Allentown Chapter for its March Highway Clean-Up that was a joint activity with members of Jordan-Martin Lodge No. 673 of Allentown. The service report was prepared in a creative fashion by members of the Chapter who participated in the project.
The Most Visitations Competition recognized the Chapter that makes the most individual visits to other Chapters during the competition year, with a maximum of three visits to any single Chapter. With 13 Visits, First Place in the competition was Westmoreland Chapter.
The Chapter Webpage Competition recognized the Webpage that exhibits creativity, timeliness and youth participation in the development and upkeep of the site. The First Place Certificate and check went to Elizabethtown Chapter.
The Chapter Facebook Competition recognized the Chapter that has a presence on Facebook that is informative, educational, and inviting with a creative use of photos and reports on activities past and future. The First Place Certificate and check went to Carlisle Chapter.
Pennsylvania DeMolay also recognizes other publications that include programs, term plans, special invitations and other printed publications, other than a newsletter, that show initiative and creativity. This year the honor went to Allentown Chapter for its “Saturday with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus Poster.”
Perseverance Lodge No. 21 sponsors the Representative DeMolay Award Competition for Pennsylvania DeMolay. This Competition recognizes the Chapters that have had the most members earn the Representative DeMolay Award during the contest period. Winners included: Second Place with a two-way tie with 3 completed RD’s each:
- Carlisle Chapter
- Erie Chapter
In first place, with 5 RD’s:
George Washington Chapter
Perseverance Lodge No. 21 also sponsors the Representative DeMolay of the Year Competition. This competition recognizes the DeMolays who have submitted the best and most complete Representative DeMolay surveys.
- The RD of the Year in the Junior Division was Bro. Braedon Swindler of Carlisle Chapter.
- The RD of the Year in the Middle Division was Bro. Anthony Trento of Freedom Chapter.
- The RD of the Year in the Sweetheart Division, was Miss Marian Wiggins of Northeast Chapter
PA DeMolay presented awards to Chapter Newsletters, with the following taking home prizes for their efforts:
- First Place: Elizabethtown Chapter’s “News You Can Use”
- Second Place: Allentown Chapter’s “From the Asylum”
- Third Place: Pilgrim Chapter’s “Pilgrim’s Ponderings”
During the Spring Leadership Training Weekend, Pennsylvania DeMolay held the Obligatory Days Competition, sponsored by the Philadelphia Preceptory of the DeMolay Legion of Honor. DeMolay Chapters observe seven obligatory days annually, and they include Patriots’ Day, Devotional Day, Parents’ Day, My Government Day, Educational Day, Frank S. Land Memorial Day and Day of Comfort. The Chapter selects its top three observances to highlight in a creative presentation to a review panel.
- First Place: Pilgrim Chapter with 171 points
- Second Place: Allentown Chapter with 159 points
- Third Place: Elizabethtown Chapter with 121 points
Scholarship presentations included:
- The Conrad and Agnes Volz Scholarship was presented to Bro. Adam T. Pritchard of Reading Chapter.
- The Charles and Phyllis Schaeffer Scholarship was presented to Colton M. Swindler of Carlisle Chapter
- The Samuel C. Williamson Scholarship was presented to Philip J. Cancilla of Templar Chapter.
After the awards presentations, “Dad” Thomas R. Labagh, Executive Officer, presented a DeMolay International Deputy Membership and Collar to “Dad” Seth C. Anthony, and a DeMolay International Honorary Membership and Collar to “Dad” Russell W. Baker.
Following the session, everyone headed to the Awards and Honors Luncheon. Things moved along quickly as presentations were made periodically throughout the meal.
The DeMolay Month Competition, sponsored by the Grand Council, Royal and Select Master Masons of Pennsylvania, encourages and rewards Chapters that organize, execute and detail outstanding DeMolay Month observances. DeMolay Month is held in March of each year, with a focus on heightening public awareness of the Order of DeMolay. The winners were:
- First Place: Elizabethtown Chapter with 405 points
- Second Place: Erie Chapter with 275 points
- Third Place: Allentown Chapter with 250 points
The Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania sponsors the Leadership Correspondence Course Competition for Pennsylvania DeMolay. The L.C.C., as it is more commonly known, is a five lesson, open book test on DeMolay knowledge, history and administration. The competition is based upon the number of LCC’s completed.
- First Place with 60 Completions: Allentown Chapter
- Second Place with 41 completions: Westmoreland Chapter
- Third Place with 34 Completions: Chester Pike Chapter
The Pennsylvania Council of Deliberation of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite sponsors the Visitation Competition. This competition encourages DeMolays to visit their brethren in other Chapters, sharing fellowship and learning new ideas to help their chapter. It is based upon one point per mile per member traveling one-way to the visited Chapter.
- First Place: with 6,600 points: Westmoreland Chapter
- Second Place: with 4,918 points: Chester Pike Chapter
- Third Place: with 1,642 points: Elizabethtown Chapter
The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania sponsors two of our competitions annually – Membership Recruitment and Outstanding Chapter. The Membership Recruitment Competition recognizes the Chapters that met or exceeded their growth goal for the year and the Chapters that inducted the most new members in the previous calendar year. This year the percentage of growth goals went to:
- First Place: Crusade Chapter with 200% of their goal.
- Second Place: Chester Pike Chapter with 117% of their goal.
- Third Place: Erie Chapter with 110% of their goal.
This year the Most New Members awards went to:
- First Place: Erie Chapter with 11 new members.
- Second Place: Crusade Chapter with 10 new members.
- Third Place: Lorraine Chapter with 8 new members.
The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania also sponsors the Outstanding Chapter Competition, which recognizes those Chapters that have the very best in programs and activities, with points being earned for support of statewide events, observance of Obligatory Days, efficiency in completing required administrative tasks, membership recruitment and a program that meets the needs and interests of the members of the Chapter. There are three divisions based upon Chapter Size. First place awards went to the following Chapters:
- Small Chapter Division: Carlisle Chapter
- Medium Chapter Division: Allentown Chapter
- Large Chapter Division: Elizabethtown Chapter
“Dad” S. Eugene Herritt, Senior Grand Warden, representing the Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania, presented the prestigious HODEGOS Award to “Dad” Eric Blew of Allentown Chapter. “Dad” Herritt also presented the State Master Councilor’s Service Scholarship to Bro. Matthew S. Maple, in recognition of his year of service.
“Dad” Thomas R. Labagh, Executive Officer of Pennsylvania DeMolay presented the Guild of the Leather Apron to “Dad” Johnny B. Salter, of Erie Chapter. More information on this presentation can be found on the Guild of the Leather Apron page.
The meal ended with remarks from a very special guest – “Dad” Ralph C. Minehart himself! Portrayed by “Dad” Jerry J. Hamilton, Right Eminent Past Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania, “Uncle Ralph” talked to the DeMolays about his life, his involvement with DeMolay, and what he felt was most important in the organization. He then charged the DeMolays to keep PA DeMolay prosperous and well for another 90 years!
After lunch, DeMolays and their Advisors were allowed to dress down a bit for the afternoon workshops, which included a Majority Service and ritual quiz for the young men and an Executive Officer’s Round Table for the adults. Both workshops were well received.
At 4 PM, for the first time in more than 10 years, PA DeMolay conferred the DeMolay Legion of Honor on several men who were nominated to receive it. The ceremony, led by “Dad” Jim Ray, Active Member of DeMolay International and Deputy Executive Officer for PA, was expertly performed and given high marks from all who witnessed it. A total of 11 Legionnaires were made and we congratulate them on receiving such a prestigious honor. Special thanks go out to the Legion of Honor conferral team as well, for an excellent job. The program for the Legion of Honor is available here.
With the work of the day completed, Saturday night had a lot of fun in store. It started with dinner, which was a feast fit for kings, composed of turkey, stuffing, and all of the trimmings. Following dinner, everyone put on their best “Great Gatsby” costume or jacket and tie and headed to the 90th Anniversary Ball. Headlined by the Diablo Sandwich Band, an 8 piece ensemble, DeMolays and their friends danced and partied the night away. At 9 PM, the 9 o’clock Interpolation was performed and the new State Sweetheart, Miss Alicia Daniels of Reading Chapter, was crowned in a short ceremony. Good cheer filled the room and everyone present was proud to say they were a part of 90 years of DeMolay in Pennsylvania. As quickly as Convention had started, it would be over.
Sunday morning arrived and the Installation of Officers proceeded accordingly to plan, being led by “Dad” Jon Yon, PSMC. Bro. Isaac W. Holtzer was installed as the 80th State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay and Bro. Matt Maple was presented with his PSMC’s jewel for his service during the previous year.
Bro. Holtzer announced his program for the year, Take the Risk, and challenged the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, closing out Convention 2014 and starting an exciting year for PA DeMolay!
Thanks to everyone for a great Convention and we look forward to seeing you next year in Gettysburg, PA, for our most haunted Convention yet! Now – let’s check out some photos from the event… (we took more than a 1000 pictures in three days!)