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!

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.

But, is bullying really that big of a problem?

In a recent issue of the PA Masonic Youth Minutes, we discussed statistics regarding bullying, obtained from www.bullystatistics.org:

  • doc51662338313f32564707731About 42 percent of kids have been bullied while online with one in four being verbally attacked more than once.
  • Other bullying statistics show that about 77 percent of students have admitted to being the victim of one type of bullying or another.
  • The American Justice Department bullying statistics show that one out of ever 4 kids will be bullied sometime throughout their adolescence.
  • 46 percent of males followed by 26 percent of females have admitted to being victims in physical fights as reported in one report of bullying statistics by the Bureau of Justice School.

This is why the bullying prevention workshops that PMYF funds in conjunction with Educational Development Services, LLC, are so important. Since the beginning of 2014, the PMYF Anti-Bullying program has trained 746 educators at seven different locations across the Commonwealth. In nearly every instance, the workshop was sold out, as teachers looked for more information on better ways to prevent and stop bullying in their school. For the price of a small registration fee of $15 (which covers the provided meals), teachers who attend are able to earn Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s) and provide a safer classroom environment year round.

Thank you, to the Freemasons of Pennsylvania, for making this kind of information available to teachers and administrators! You can learn more about our Bullying Prevention Program here.

 

Who Knows About Bullying?

The answer to the headline question is very simple – Mrs. Deb McCoy knows a lot about bullying!

20100924_085059_CYBERTAL1_300Deb has been teaching educators about the problems of bullying for over a decade. Through her partnership with the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation and Educational Development Services, Ltd, she has been able to present to thousands of teachers, administrators, and school officials about how to tackle the problems of bullying in our schools.

Deb’s background is specially suited to dealing with these issues. After graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Rehabilitative Education, Ms. McCoy began work at a halfway house for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. She created a day-treatment program for adolescents at the facility, as well as designing and implementing the local school districts’ Student Assistance Program.

During her years at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Ms. McCoy worked in the Student Services Division as a Regional Coordinator with Student Assistance Programs and Safe & Drug-Free Schools Programs. In that role, she conducted monitoring visits to school districts to ensure their compliance with state and federal regulations in providing a safe environment for all students to learn. Deborah developed a wide range of training programs for educators, specializing in violence and drug & alcohol prevention, creating safe schools, cultural issues, and school policy development.

In her current role, as an education consultant and trainer, Ms. McCoy leads in-depth bullying prevention, threat assessment and violence prevention trainings for educators. Her seminars provide practical strategies and solutions to the problems of bullying and violence among students, so schools can develop effective programs to address these issues. She has also developed an early childhood bullying prevention & conflict resolution training for teachers and caregivers that work with children two through six years of age.

If you’d like to know more about the programs offered by Deb, check out our Anti-Bullying Workshops Page.

(Special thanks to Project Care for the biographical information provided.)

2015 Masonic Scholarship Resource Guides Available

low-interest-student-loansThe Masonic Scholarship Resource Guide (or MSRG for short) is a key resource for any young person attending an institution of higher education. Each year the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation publishes this manual so that young people may discover our fraternity and learn about many of our generous scholarship programs. This one booklet provides students with information on nearly 70 different scholarships, some with awards of several thousand dollars. The 2015 booklet was mailed during the first week of November to each Worshipful Master and Secretary, high schools across the Commonwealth, members of the Masonic Youth Groups, and other young people.

Do you have a son or daughter who could use some scholarship money? Perhaps it’s one of your grandchildren, or maybe a member of a Masonic Youth group who is coming up a little short in these tough economic times. This is their opportunity to secure funds towards college. At the same time, the Fraternity has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people.

Click here to download a copy today!

PMYF Hosts Masonic Youth Group Unity Weekend

2014 Masonic Unity Weekend

The PA Masonic Youth Foundation directly supports three Masonic Youth Groups – Pennsylvania DeMolay, the Order of the Rainbow for Girl’s in Pennsylvania, and the Order of Job’s Daughters in Pennsylvania. It also provides programs and assistance to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and Deborah Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, PHA, with their Masonic Youth Groups – the Knights of Pythagoras and the Ruth Mitchell Tucker Girls Youth Department. These five Masonic Youth Groups get together several times throughout the year to share ideas, discuss projects, and plan activities together.

On the weekend of April 25 – 27, 2014, the PMYF hosted the five Masonic Youth Groups at Patton Campus, in Elizabethtown, PA, for a Masonic Youth Unity weekend. The event, planned by the Youth Leaders of the groups involved, covered important topics such as membership, understanding each organization, and planning joint events. Fun activities were also included, like a talent show and board games. While the young people worked through their program, the adult leaders of the groups also met to discuss best practices and the latest challenges that come with working with youth.

The weekend was very productive and well received by all. Thank you the Masonic Family in Pennsylvania for providing such an excellent opportunity for youth from across the Commonwealth to share ideas.

Special thanks to Mr. Danny Bryant, an adult leader with the Knights of Pythagoras, for taking photos for the weekend and providing them to PMYF for use.