As 2014 comes to an end, Missouri DeMolay can be proud to be Number 1 in the world for New Membership. Not only did Missouri DeMolay initiate the most new members, but we also have the top three Chapters for new members in DeMolay International - Waynesville, Joplin, and George L. Walters Chapter.
We can be thankful as a Jurisdiction for the opportunities that have been presented in building our membership but the results of merit amongst our Order comes back to the young men and their willingness to dive right in and do whatever they can to advance the interest of our fraternity. We are striving to give the amazing opportunity, which DeMolay is, to all the deserving and right-thinking young men of our communities. We have accomplished so much through our Joining Ceremony Program but the only advancing we can truly do through this method is to have Chapters participate and going forth with the process of building the Chapters and getting more parents involved. The key to this program is to yes- build a Chapter’s membership, but to also meet new and excited parents who want to be involved and an active part of their son’s life.
We can only do so much on a State level - we must have our Chapters retain the pristine of merit. As Jurisdictional Officers, we are here to assist and promote in any and all ways - we will not stand idly by and let our goals shrivel away. Success is the only option - but we are only as successful as our smallest Chapter and we must all focus on becoming one family. Let us lay aside all petty jealousies and ambitions and every petty distinction of official positions. Any young man can bring in a thousand more but it is up to that young man to decide whether or not he cares enough about this great Order.
Your merit will be measured not by the quantity or quality of your work, but by the extent to which you carry into your daily lives the lessons and examples which DeMolay has set before you, and by the extent to which you translate those lessons and examples into service among your fellow. Share this opportunity with others, do not be hasty in your judgment of methods but embrace what has been proven to work repeatedly.
Looking back on my nine years of being involved with Masonic groups, I can definitely say it has become a huge part of my life. This past October I became a Master Mason; this was a time in my life that I had been looking forward to for a long time.
The first time I sat in a lodge meeting brought back a memory from the first time I was in a chapter meeting - the sense of not having a clue of what was going on and everything being foreign to me. This memory was just the beginning. I keep thinking back to experiences I have had in DeMolay but I have realized that DeMolay and Masonry are so similar - same ideals, ritual work, everything is just parallel. I am astounded at how charitable and community oriented this Freemasonry is; how much they give to those who have little to nothing and how much they give the Masonic Youth Groups and how much they support us. I am fascinated with Masonry and plan to continue my journey in the Masonic family, just to be able to give a little more.
In DeMolay we learn how to better ourselves, to prepare for a successful manhood, to be a good citizen and it builds our integrity. But in my opinion it is like a systematic program; Squires pulls you in as a child, it keeps you out of trouble and involved in a wholesome group as a boy; DeMolay teaches a young man the valuable lessons of life and the importance of faith, friends, family, and keeping promises and secrets alike; Masonry takes that man who was shaped in Squires and DeMolay and keeps him true to all of the promises he has made. It gives him the opportunities to be a good man and citizen. This Masonic family is in perfect unison. I hope that each one of you continues your journey and join a branch of Freemasonry - to be apart of something greater.
The Importance of Adaptation
As Installation time starts to roll in and the new corps of Officers in your Chapter begin to plan a new term, the possibilities for improvement are infinite. It is the crucial time to ask a question yourself “If our Chapter is not doing so well, what can do to fix it?” It is common to fall into a bad rhythm of doing things and to not change the approach. We are naturally inclined to stick to what we know because the Chapter has been getting by just fine. As the premier youth organization of the world, we should strive for more than average - we should strive to be the best we can. So push yourself as you are going into the new term and new year to pinpoint the problems and adapt to new methods. Traditions are a fantastic thing to have, and they definitely maintain a certain pride and history in ones Chapter, but some traditions are detrimental to the chapters success, if that is the case, then it is time to adapt to new ways.
If anybody has attempted to run something like a Chapter, then they would tell you it isn't easy, but you as a chapter have a lot of help if you ask for it. You have the support of the brethren of your chapter, your Advisory Board, other Chapters and DeMolays, but one form of help that I can assure without a doubt is here for you is the Jurisdictional Officers. Our focus is to help your Chapter improve and surpass even your own expectations. We are making efforts to be in regular contact with Chapters - all Jurisdictional Officers’ email addresses are on the Missouri Demolay website If you contact us, we will help you as soon as possible. We are here to serve you all, to go back into the Chapters and help you all adapt and change the way of doing things so our Order can flourish into what it deserves and is supposed to be.
It is time to get some energy going, to stop accepting the average and just getting by, but to be spectacular and extraordinary. So I urge you to go out and mix it up, try something new, create the Chapter that your members want to be a part of, and show young men who are in need of this Order that your Chapter is the right place for them. Your chapter has all the components and parts to make it work, it just takes being proactive and putting it all together. And let me tell you, when you do it the right way and all those parts fit together perfectly, it is a true sight of pride and amazement.
Kansas City Thanksgiving Ball
Once a year around Thanksgiving, a Masonic body in Kansas City will host a dance - the Thanksgiving ball. It is put on by the Job’s Daughters and they crown a Thanksgiving Ball Queen, Senior Princess and Junior Princess. I have been to this dance every year for the three years I have been in DeMolay and enjoyed it every time with the same enthusiasm I had the first year. It is somewhat special for me because it was my first actual dance. It was also one of the reasons I stayed in Demolay.
This most recent ball we had the state Master Councilor, Quentin Cockerham, and the State Sweetheart, Lydie Drake come all the way from St. Louis to dance and have a blast, so it was a great time to bring prospects and newly initiated members of the Order. It was also a great time to meet brothers and sisters from out of town and make life long bonds.
This most recent Ball had - like all the ones preceding it that I have been to - a wonderful turnout of young men and women. There are usually around a hundred or so people that show up regularly. The majority of the attendance is by Kansas City members and it always encouraged for others around the state to attend - coming and enjoying themselves and meeting new people and growing the Masonic Youth family.
My experience at all of these balls, this last in particular, has been great. The people are nice, the music is great, and the experience is not easily forgotten. All in all it is an event worth coming to and bringing your friends!
Brotherhood is defined as an “association or fellowship,” but our DeMolay brotherhood goes so much farther than just an association. If you really want to know what brotherhood is, you have to break down the word itself.
I have a brother and if you don’t have one yourself then let me tell you, they can be a blessing and a curse. You would expect two people who share a surprising amount of DNA to get along better, but no matter how much we fight and argue, we have each other’s back. I’m sure that if you don’t have a brother then you can find someone who is the same to you. A person who balances on the fine line between best thing in your life and “guy that just interrupted your favorite TV show”. That person who can go from monster to amazing in less than seven seconds. No matter who it is, they are someone that you would stick with through thick and thin because they would do the same for you.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I know and am good friends with every Demolay in the State of Missouri, but anyone who can tell me that they are a Demolay has my unconditional support. I have the back of every Demolay whether I know them or not. If a brother needs my help then it is my duty and pleasure to aid them without asking anything in return. As a Demolay you can take comfort in the fact that you have brothers all across the world willing to drop anything in order to help you in your time of need.
Think of it the next time you’re sitting in a meeting. Think about your Master Councilor, your Senior Deacon, your Chaplain, your Junior Steward, and anybody else in that room. Think about the fact that every person there has your back and you have theirs. That is what brotherhood means to a DeMolay.
Having a Successful Term
The Past Master Councilor Meritorious Service is an award that every incoming Master Councilor should base his term off of to have a successful term. The framework of the PMC-MSA outlines specific items that every Master Councilor can use to build an exciting and successful term. The guidelines help you plan events that include civic service, fund raising, social activity, athletic activity and masonic service. While this seems like a lot, a great way to accomplish the planning is to have your chapter get involved is by creating committees for each category.
As Master Councilor, you should be on each committee to oversee that the planning is happening and make sure the event is executed. You must have certain events that the PMC-MSA outlines such as civic service and fundraising. A civic service event could be a food drive, cooking dinner at the Ronald McDonald or raking leaves for the elderly. This provides the opportunity to serve others outside of our masonic family. Planning a fundraising event could be a car wash or pasta dinner to help your chapter have funds. The most fun part of your term planning can come from social activity - some favorites are paintball, laser tag, attending a baseball game, dances, video game night or playing at a park. As for athletic activity, have your chapter play in a volleyball or basketball league or plan a roller skating night. When it comes to Masonic service, you could perform a flag ceremony or honor guard at your local Lodge, Bethel or Assembly. Helping serve dinner for a lodge or Eastern Star are also options.
There are guidelines under this award where you can create committees to help plan an event in each category but as the Master Councilor you are on each committee so you can oversee the planning and make sure it is carried out. This award is given but you must work to receive it but you will have the fulfillment of knowing you served your chapter well as Master Councilor.
The Relationship with Sports
Sports and DeMolay are not as different as they seem. The hard work and dedication that you commit to both of these are no different from one another. The lessons that can be learned from these activities are good and will help you in life. They will help you in life by being able to dedicate yourself and work hard towards your goals. For example when you want a job, you have to work and practice at it, you can’t always get it all at once. They will also help you make lifelong friendships. There are no other friends like your own DeMolay brothers or your team mates. You can learn so much from both. The lessons and values from these can be life changing.
DeMolay and sports help you develop respect not only for others but for yourself. Building patience is a skill you get from both but not just patience for people but wanting to be better at what you do. Mentoring or teaching those to be better and become great DeMolay or sports is also a parallel aspect.
You also have roles in each. You are never just a bystander - you have to support your brothers and your teammates. There are also the leaders, the ones who have to take charge and lead their Chapter or team to bigger and better things. Each DeMolay and player must support each other to be better. Neither a team or a Chapter can make it without the help of the adult advisors or coaches that help give us the direction we need to be better.
A Well-Oiled Machine
To be a successful machine one must have all the parts and pieces to that machine.
As one knows that without all the parts to the machine it will not properly function and slowly begin to become a lump of metal in the corner of some abandoned warehouse because it could not perform its job. Members of our great order can look at a term plan that way, a Master Councilor is only one piece of the machine - it takes the entire Chapter to perform as a well oiled machine.
The Chapter plays such an important part in a perfect term. Some ways a Chapter helps the cause would be through fundraisers, public events, and even keeping in touch with the Masonic relationships with their lodge. Advice to keep the progress going is to help in the form of committees; these are the most help when having a successful term. It is easy to divide the work and to have another brother of the Chapter help you get over a speed bump when needed. They also help when trying to plan more than one event at a time, so you don't get overloaded with work.
Putting on public events gets the DeMolay name out to your community and presents ourselves with many opportunities to create a growth in membership and making our order better. When using the committees we can plan events for several events at the same time and provide an opportunity for all the young men in a Chapter to have a say in what happens. These committees are one of the best things a chapter can do for its Master Councilor to help have a successful term.
Places to think about
I was sitting in Ararat Shrine looking at the wall of all the past potentates and stumbled upon Dad Land’s photograph and thinking anywhere I go in my hometown, there is something that our great Order had affected in Kansas City. Such as at my lodge, Ivanhoe #446 where Dad Land’s petition is hanging up and makes me think that he was a young man that had petitioned a lodge where he started his leadership.
Taking my Masonic obligations on the same altar as Dad made me think of how much leadership came off that altar. In Downtown Kansas City, Municipal Auditorium is one place where huge DeMolay events occurred - to think of thousands of young men sitting in this huge room is amazing to think that it could happen again some day. Also Downtown is the Kansas City Scottish Rite Temple and to think that Dad Land and President Harry S. Truman would walk down these halls talking about the future of America’s youth and having the comradery that they did, where many DeMolay ceremonies are placed even to this day; who knows, you might just be sitting in a seat that he did, during an Initiatory or DeMolay Degree that had been performed.
Even in the Northland near the airport is the DeMolay headquarters, where you can see Dad Land’s office. There are so many places in Kansas City where you can just see DeMolay and it’s history. I suggest that each time you visit this historical town, to take a moment and think where DeMolay has affected.