March 17, 2020
Members, Advisors, Parents, and Friends of Pennsylvania DeMolay,
Uncharted paths do not have roadmaps or instructions.
As leaders in DeMolay, we are tasked each and every day to devise a course for the betterment of our Order. As we walk these new paths, one certainty exists: that we will need to change course when an obstacle appears in front of us. The COVID-19 pandemic is one of those objects.
Throughout our jurisdiction and beyond, school districts are closing, universities are moving to distance learning, businesses are implementing changes, and health care professionals are inundated. Families are faced with difficult decisions as they define a new norm. Economic hardships will have a lasting impact for some time to come. High school seniors are questioning their next steps—the same class that was born into this world on or around September 11, 2001. Along with obvious health implications, these realities—and countless others—are perhaps the beginnings of potential future changes to the lifestyle we all enjoy.
Our decision on March 12, 2020, was a very difficult one as we tried to understand the unprecedented reality we were facing. We believe we made the right decision.
The Pennsylvania DeMolay Executive Leadership Team knows that there are many questions and concerns as we move forward. While we cannot predict when the suspension of in-person DeMolay activities will be ended, we can share with you the following information. (Please know that this is a very fluid time and all information is subject to change should it be required.)
When Will the Suspension End?
The suspension of DeMolay activities will last until at least May 1, 2020. This is consistent with what other organizations that have ceased operations. There has not yet been a determined minimum amount of time for the pandemic to pass. This is the target date for evaluation of the situation and either a return to normal operations or an extension of the suspension of all in-person DeMolay activities.
Financial Report Due Date:
The 2019 Financial Report will be due one month after the date the suspension ends.
2020 Youth Protection First Reporting Period:
The showing of the prescribed first reporting period Youth Protection Module will need to be completed by June 30th and reported by July 15th, unless the suspension is still in effect. Many Chapters have already completed this task.
2020 Convention Yearbook Sales:
The deadline for ad sales remains April 15th. Because of the extensive layout work and tight printing schedule, we are unable to delay this date. Any ad sales that come in after April 15th will be held for use in the 2021 Yearbook with the chapters receiving a refund on those sales at Convention 2021. All ad sales should be done by mail or electronic methods—no in-person sales are permitted.
We understand that several Chapters had Installations scheduled in the near future. The safest plan here would be to wait until the end of the suspension to reschedule these Installations. Identify some possible dates, but don’t make any definite scheduling decisions. Our Executive Team with assistance from our Deputy Executive Officers will help you secure Installing Teams once they have been rescheduled.
Any Obligatory Days that are affected during the suspension should be rescheduled after the suspension.
All requirements for the PMC-MSA will be reviewed. We plan to be as flexible as possible for this, but exemptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Please share your particular needs and concerns with us. The Executive Leadership Team, in association with the Director of the PMC-MSA Program, will develop the fairest and most equitable policies that are possible while maintaining the prestige of this award.
DeMolay Month Modifications:
The completion deadline will be extended for the Chapters that are participating in the DeMolay Month Competition. We offer the following guidelines:
The rescheduling of activities originally scheduled for after the March 12th suspension date can include:
1) Induction of any members who were scheduled to be obligated/initiated (Chapters are on the honor system with this!)
2) Masonic Sponsor Program
3) Senior DeMolay Program
4) Devotional Day Observance
5) Community service project; Masonic Service project; Social activity
6) Presentation of “Hi Dad” book
7) If your visits to governmental bodies for proclamation signing had to be canceled, please send them a proclamation for signing now and reschedule the visit. This is an opportunity to learn about government and thank them for the proclamation in the future.
If your Chapter had a large scale activity scheduled that required a deposit, please approach the business with a copy of the March 12, 2020, Executive Officer’s Letter and request a refund. Please be professional in your approach, and if you have any difficulties please let us know and we will follow up with the business on your Chapter’s behalf.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open:
Chapter Advisors should make a concerted effort to reach out to the members of the Chapter. The Chairmen should reach out to the Advisors of the Chapter. These communications should average once a week—just to let everyone know what’s going on—and that the interest in them continues even though the in-person activities have ceased. Emails, Social Media Posts, and Texts are readily available for easy use. No matter what social media platform you use be sure to practice youth protection and risk management. All posts must be age appropriate, applicable to the DeMolay program, and well-crafted so that a proper example is set for all members and Advisors.
· A simple: How Are You Doing?
· Is anything noteworthy going on in your world?
· Are you keeping in touch with other members/advisors?
· Encourage completion of the LCC Lessons. Need the Lessons? Contact Dad Berry Leaders Resource Guide (LRG) online, click here or it can be downloaded on eScribe click here “Hi Dad” Book. Need a Copy? Contact Dad Berry
· Make a list of prospective members from your friends and acquaintances.
· Come up with a creative list of places to hold future prospect events.
· Come up with an innovative list of future chapter activities such as: Fun Activities; Service Projects; Fundraisers; and many others.
Suggestions Specific to DeMolays:
· Spend some time working on Your Representative DeMolay Award (RD)
Already have it? Are you eligible for the next age category? Need the form? Contact Dad Berry
· Encourage the Junior and Senior Councilor to work on their Term Plans.
· Encourage Every Member to Learn a new Ritual Part or Public Ceremony.
You are permitted to use virtual conference software such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, etc., to hold meetings. If your Chapter decides to use virtual meetings, the following guidelines must be followed:
· Chapter Business Meetings may be held but must be declared open and closed. No ritual is to be used, however, you may use the ritualistic prayers and Nine O’clock Interpolation.
· Advisory Council Meetings may be held, as long as all registered Advisors are informed in advance and invited to participate.
· You are encouraged to use agendas. They should be distributed in advance, so that your meeting will run smoothly and efficiently.
· No induction of new members may take place during the suspension.
· Minutes must be kept for all virtual Chapter Business and Advisory Council Meetings.
Admittedly, there is a lot of information here, and we are sure there is a lot more that you would like to hear about. We will continue to send updates on a regular basis. If there are any topics you would like to have included, please be sure to let Dad Boyce and Dad Berry know.
Thank you in advance for everything that you are and will be doing to keep the flame of DeMolay alive in the hearts and souls of our members and our Advisors. Let us all work together to chart a course that will allow our members to be successful today—and well into the future!
Sincerely and Fraternally,
Dad Rodney E. Boyce, Executive Officer
Dad David W. Berry, Executive Secretary