Welcome to PMYF!

The Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation is a charitable arm of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. Its goal is to provide programs and resources for the young people of the Commonwealth through leadership, education, and mentoring.

Founded in 1982, PMYF  continues to support our children into the new millennium  Please take a moment to get to know us and the programs we sponsor. We’re sure that there are activities that any child can benefit from!

Dollars that Make Sense

what-is-a-background-checkProviding a safe and enjoyable environment for our Masonic Youth is a top priority of the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation. Ensuring the children’s safety is the top priority for the Masonic Youth Groups. To that end, the PMYF, PA DeMolay, PA Rainbow for Girls, and PA Job’s Daughters have committed time and funds to performing thorough background checks on all of their adult volunteers. This is certainly a necessary and important commitment, but what does it really mean, in terms of finance and time?

Since the year 2007, nearly 600 adult leaders of the Masonic Youth Groups in Pennsylvania have submitted themselves for backgrounds checks. These checks are extensive and include reference checks, driving records, and criminal activity checks.  Even minor blemishes, such as speeding tickets, are brought to light by these checks,  so our parents and adults know that the persons with their children are as safe as possible.

This isn’t an inexpensive process, however. As part of it’s ongoing mission of supporting the Masonic Youth Groups, the PMYF has been the leader in helping fund this important function. In that same four year period, since 2007, the Masonic Fraternity in Pennsylvania has paid tens of thousands of dollars to perform the initial background checks. This amounts to roughly $45 per volunteer. Each adult leader pays an annual registration fee which funds recurring random background checks on a percentage of the adult leaders and a guaranteed re-check for everyone at least once every five years. But, at the October meeting of the PMYF Board of Directors, the Board voted to cover this additional cost for the year 2015 as another means of supporting the work being done. By providing these checks the Masonic Youth Groups in Pennsylvania are able to continue to offer high quality programming at an affordable price – all thanks to the support of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

This is a program provided by you, the Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, and we bet  you’ll agree these are “dollars that make sense.”

 

How do they pick them? – Part III: DeMolay

With each Masonic organization having its own methods for picking leaders, it can quickly get confusing how a person might become the head of body. Add to that mix the Masonic Youth groups, with all of their titles and responsibilities, and even more confusion prevails. This series of articles will detail each of the three Masonic Youth Groups in turn, and provide a little bit more information on how their leaders are chosen. For the final article we will be focusing on Pennsylvania DeMolay.

Bro. Isaac W. Holtzer, 80th State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay
Bro. Isaac W. Holtzer, 80th State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay

Pennsylvania DeMolay has had 80 State Master Councilors (highest ranking youth leaders) since its inception. Also serving the jurisdiction are 5 other elected officers; Deputy State Master Councilor, State Senior Councilor, State Junior Councilor, State Scribe, and State Treasurer.

To be permitted to run for State Master Councilor a young man must have served at least one year as an Elected State Officer and attend an interview session with a panel of peers and advisors. To be eligible to run for any elected office a member must have served as Master Councilor of his Chapter, be a Representative DeMolay (an award which is earned by completing an involved self evaluation), have completed all five lessons of the Leadership Correspondence Course, and be approved by the adult leaders of his chapter. Once a young man has been approved to run, he will participate in the elections held each year, at the annual Convention.

The annual Convention is a meeting of all Chapters that make up Pennsylvania DeMolay. Each chapter selects 5 active DeMolays to be voting delegates to represent them at this meeting. Also permitted to vote are Past Master Councilors, Past State Master Councilors, and current Elected State Officers. These young men then cast their ballot for who they would like to have serve in each office. Most years see contested elections, and some have been won by only a single vote!

DeMolay prides itself on presenting a program where the young men can excel and display their leadership abilities. As evidenced by the lengthy process to attain the Office of State Master Councilor, one can see how much of a leader a young man must be! Check out www.pademolay.org for more details.

This concludes our three part series on how the leadership of the Masonic Youth Groups is chosen. We hope you found it interesting and educational. If you have any further questions, or would like to learn more, please contact the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation.

How do they pick them? – Part II: Rainbow

Miss Ashley Loeb, current Grand Worthy Advisor for PA Rainbow
Miss Ashley Loeb, current Grand Worthy Advisor for PA Rainbow

With each Masonic organization having its own methods for picking leaders, it can quickly get confusing how a person might become the head of body. Add to that mix the Masonic Youth groups, with all of their titles and responsibilities, and even more confusion prevails. This series of articles will detail each of the three Masonic Youth Groups in turn, and provide a little bit more information on how their leaders are chosen. For the second article we will be focusing on the Order of the Rainbow for Girls. Special thanks to Helen Snedden, Supreme Deputy in Pennsylvania for supplying this information!

The Order of the Rainbow for Girls has a long and rich tradition in Pennsylvania. With recent changes in leadership, and new assemblies opening around the state, Rainbow is experiencing a renaissance within the commonwealth. Leading this growth is the Grand Worthy Advisor for Rainbow in Pennsylvania, but how does a young lady attain this office?

The selection process for Grand Worthy Advisor currently has three steps. Any member of Rainbow, 18 years or older, who aspires to the office fills out an application for the station. The applications are reviewed and approved by the Supreme Deputy. The approved candidates are then interviewed by the Senior Grand Executives, who operate like a board of directors for Rainbow in Pennsylvania. The interviews include: ritual demonstration, term presentation, and answering set interview and impromptu questions. The Grand Executives then meet with the Supreme Deputy and a decision is made. The new Grand Worthy Advisor is announced and installed at Grand Assembly, the annual state convention, held in June each year.

For more information on PA Rainbow Girls, check out their website at www.parainbow.org!

How do they pick them? – Part I: Job’s Daughters

With each Masonic organization having its own methods for picking leaders, it can quickly get confusing how a person might become the head of body. Add to that mix the Masonic Youth groups, with all of their titles and responsibilities, and even more confusion prevails. This series of articles will detail each of the three Masonic Youth Groups in turn, and provide a little bit more information on how their leaders are chosen. For the first article we will be focusing on Job’s Daughters. Special thanks to Jan Harms, Past Grand Guardian for Pennsylvania Job’s Daughters for supplying this information!

Miss Victoria M., the current Miss Job's Daugher of Pennsylvania
Miss Victoria M., the current Miss Job’s Daugher of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Job’s Daughters has three young ladies who serve as leaders for the State. You are most likely to first meet the young lady serving as Miss Job’s Daughter. She is chosen in the spring at the highly competitive Annual Miss Job’s Daughters Scholarship Pageant based on her public speaking ability, knowledge of Job’s Daughters, and personality. Her primary responsibility is to be the organization’s “spokesperson” and attend various Masonic functions throughout the year.

You may also get the pleasure to meet Miss Congeniality. She is chosen in the spring, by her peers, at the Miss Job’s Daughters Scholarship Pageant. Her primary responsibility is to raise money and awareness for the HIKE fund, which helps children with hearing disabilities.

Lastly, one young lady serves as the Grand Bethel Honored Queen. She is chosen each June at the annual Grand Session. She oversees the operation of the statewide Mary Etta Wright Grand Bethel, presides at its meetings, and performs the ritual work in a meeting of the Grand Bethel. The purpose of the Grand Bethel is to promote membership and add another level of opportunity for leadership for girls.

For more information about PA Job’s Daughters, check out www.paiojd.org!

A Summer of LifeSkills

DSC_0193While cold November weather may be upon us, many young people are thinking back to the warmer day so summer and the PA Masonic Youth Foundation’s LifeSkills Conference, held each summer at Patton Campus in Elizabethtown and scheduled for July 19 – 24, 2105.

We all know that the LifeSkills Conference centers its teachings on three core concepts; Respect for others, Responsibility for your own actions, and establishing quality Relationships with others. But how exactly does the program teach these concepts? Through interactive and fun presentations and workshops, that’s how!

Participants in the LifeSkills Conference don’t sit around and listen to lectures about how they should behave and act. Rather they participate in the learning experience by becoming partners in personal growth. A great example of this is the classic “Trust Fall.” In this exercise, participants willingly lose their balance and fall, trusting that their peers will be there to catch them. While this exercise may seem a little cliché, the philosophy is sound. The LifeSkills conference takes this task to the next level though. Falling backward and having someone catch you is one thing, but what about voluntarily falling off of a platform several feet in the air? Would you willing be to do that?

The LifeSkills Conference is more than just a week of pep talks and feel good stories. It’s about coming together as young people in a challenging world, and learning how to handle oneself as a person, and how to contribute back to society in a positive way. These ideas are not new. In fact, one could say they are several hundred years old, being of the same foundations that erected our fraternity. So, have you considered sponsoring a young person to attend the LifeSkills Conference? The ideas of Respect, Responsibility, and Relationships depend on the Masonic fraternity to continue!

Click here for registration information for the 2015 Conference!

 

Wanted: Modern Day Zerubbabel

building_altar_galleryFreemasonry teaches that King Solomon, along with the other two Grand Masters, completed the Temple at Jerusalem, thereby cementing their place in Judeo-Christian and Masonic history. We, as Free and Accepted Masons, venerate the story and legacy left to us by Solomon and his workers. However, as many Masons know, there is another character of singular importance – that of Zerubbabel. It was Zerubbabel who, according to Biblical interpretation, led the rebuilding of the Temple, keeping the dream of Solomon alive. He is often regarded as a builder and visionary, having taken up the banner that Solomon left behind.

Masonry has its Solomons – those people who have built Masonic organizations from the ground up; men like Walter Fleming and William Florence, who started what would become Shriners International, or J. Raymond Shute, who brought several Masonic organizations to America from England. The average Mason, however, is rarely in a position to build a brand new organization. It takes rare individuals to have the drive for building, as was displayed by King Solomon.

That is when we look to Zerubbabel, the rebuilder. Many communities around our Commonwealth have previously had Masonic Youth Groups. Evidence of their presence remains buried in closets, with costumes, regalia, and supplies. This is not all that dissimilar from the way Zerubbabel found the remains of the Temple. He saw a worn down edifice that he knew deserved far better. Now, YOU can be a modern Zerubbabel. All you need to do is look to the Masonic Youth Groups for a legacy that can be built for generations to come.

Have you considered working to reopen a Masonic Youth Group in your area? The Temple of our Youth is ready for another generation; it just needs a Zerubbabel to lead the way.

Contact PMYF today and start rebuilding your Masonic Youth Group!

This article was first published in the September – October 2011 Masonic Youth Minutes

What is bullying, nowadays?

downloadWhen the average adult thinks of bullying, he or she often conjures up images of a playground nemisis, bulky and over developed, demanding lunch money from a smaller, brainy child with glasses and bad acne. The reality of bullying today couldn’t be any further from this image.

Ms. Deb McCoy, the President of Educational Development Services, LLC, teaches workshops, sponsored by PMYF, that address the kind of bullying that goes on today. The titles of her workshops are a great example of some of the issues she discussed:

  • Generation DIVA
  • Digital Drame: Walking Through the Student Cyber World
  • Sexual Harassment, Cyberbullying, and Cyber Shaming
  • Hazed and Confused: Defining and Tracking Hazing, Harrassment, and Bullying

The day to day of what our children face is dramatically different than what cartoons and televisions shows often lead us to believe. Children are finding new and insidious ways to bully each other, often without realizing the ramifications of their actions or the effect they are having on other people. By educating teachers, administrators, and even the students themselves, Ms. McCoy works to combat these problems and makes schools a more welcoming and safe place that is concerned with learning and building up, rather than demeaning and tearing down.

You can read a full description of workshops offered and learn more about our Education and  Prevention Program here.