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!
Every fall, community members, Masonic Leaders and family members gather together to spend time at the Masonic Villages to learn about what they have to offer, and to promote their programs. Food and entertainment are provided to ensure that everyone enjoys their visit.
On September 17th, at the Masonic Village in Sewickley, PA, the Community Day Festival will be held. This gathering helps introduce the Masonic Family to the Pittsburgh community. Entertainment, food, crafts and more will available for a small fee. Members of the Masonic Youth Groups will be present to introduce their programming.
The following week, on September 24th, the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown hosts a similar event called Autumn Day. Members from Masonic Organizations and Youth Groups gather to promote their programs as well. Tables are set up for promotional purposes. Food and entertainment will be provided by the hardworking staff at the Masonic Village. A blood drive will be held for anyone that would like to donate. Food that will be available includes hot dogs, sausage, bean soup, french fries, ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy and much more. Masonic Youth Group members will also be afforded the opportunity to spend time with the residents of the Health Care Center to support the programs happening at Autumn Day.
Both festivals are great opportunities to socialize within the Masonic Community and learn about programs you may not have known about. Everyone is invited to join in, so make sure you’re there.
It didn’t take long for Elizabethtown DeMolay to heed the call for a scan of local publicity received! Check out this well-written article and great photo about a unique activity, published in the Middletown Press and Journal. Dodgeball for Dyslexia – Press & Journal
The Masonic Villages Public Relations Department uses a “news clipping service” to track newspaper articles about a variety of Masonic subjects across the Commonwealth, and they feed the Masonic Youth Group articles to us. Displayed in the picture are just a few of the articles that have recently been seen in Pennsylvania newspapers. The sources of these range from small-town local weekly papers to larger dailies, and a few of the merchant/shopper publications. They reach thousands of people, and often just a photo and a 3 line caption is enough to get a message across. These articles WILL get published almost every time they are submitted IF they are:
1) of general interest to the public
2) brief, or at least, concisely written
3) constructed with proper grammar and punctuation, and
Media editors seem to prefer announcements of upcoming events. Old news, unless it happened in the previous week, is just not timely, and is seldom published. Photos of 2 or 3 people are preferred to large group photos, because when printed, they want the faces to be recognizable. Stage a photo to illustrate an upcoming event. A high resolution photo of 3 or 4 young people standing around a pot on a stove, holding the ingredients to the spaghetti dinner, for example, is fun, and tells the story visually. All that is left is to state the date, time, place and cost. Action shots, if clear, are preferrable to “grip and grin” presentations and line-ups of people posing for a group shot. For example, instead of trying to show the entire corps of officers lined up on the steps in the Lodge room, stage a photo of the presiding officer receiving the gavel of authority, or reading his/her inaugural address, or (if permitted by the organization) taking the obligation at the altar, or being invested with the jewel of office.
Yes, it takes a small effort to get an article in the local newspapers. Some advanced planning will make your articles better, and gives them a better chance of getting used. It doesn’t hurt to have a regular contact at the paper. If you submit something, see how it was edited or changed to meet the editor’s needs. If something doesn’t get used, call and ask for advice on how to provide materials that are better suited for the paper’s purpose. They will be glad to help you help them. You can normally submit everything electronically (often preferred by the editors) and once you understand their schedule, you can become very good at providing the editors what they want and need for their local audience.
The clipping service doesn’t catch everything that gets published, and we aren’t permitted to reproduce what they share with us, but if you clip an article and send it to us, or scan it and email it, we will share it, giving proper credit to the publisher, of course, so we can all see what kind of news is deemed worthy of publication.
One of the things that our Masonic forefathers were known for was the ability to leave their mark. Whether this was the stonemason in the quarry placing his rudimentary signature on a hewn block, or the philosophical Mason giving his signature to warrant a new Lodge, they all had a desire to do something that would be recognized in the world long after their time on this earth has gone. Operative builders erect monuments; speculative Masons create legacies.
We all have this inherent desire to leave a legacy for future generations. For many, it is simply a family legacy of children and grandchildren, to perpetuate the family name. For others, it is a legacy of action and service to others. Sometimes it manifests as wanting to make “your year” as Master one that the Lodge won’t soon forget. It could be shown through a program that your Lodge takes up and continues to support for years to come due to your involvement. Even financial “legacies,” such as gifts to the Masonic charities or endowments to your Lodge can leave their mark on history. Yet, each of us is overlooking one of the easiest legacies we can leave – that of being there for a member of our Masonic Youth Groups.
There isn’t one senior or majority member of a Masonic Youth Group in Pennsylvania who doesn’t have fond memories of the adults who were involved with the organization. From Rainbow Girls who were guided by Mother Advisors, to Jobies who depended on their Bethel Guardians, or DeMolays who learned important life lessons from their Chapter Advisors; the adult volunteers of our Masonic Youth Groups are leaving a legacy bigger than they could ever imagine – that of memories and positive experiences, moral training in Masonic principles, and guidance in the exercise of leadership skills.
Make your New Year’s resolution one that counts – assisting a Masonic Youth Group in 2015.
One of the more popular activities for our youth group members is to play video and computer network games and with the holiday break upon us, we know they will be playing them quite often. Hours and hours and hours of gripping a controller and shooting aliens might seem like such a waste of time. But just as music improves math skills, there are benefits to all this laser-blasting button-pushing!
Video games have been around for a long time, now, and some of you may remember the first Atari or Nintendo that came into your house with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Today’s games require much more sophisticated knowledge of the technology, and often the subject/genre of the game’s context. In a book from the Harvard Business School Press called “The Kids are Alright” by John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, tells us that video games are changing kids for the better! Three major premises suggest that, “Gamers are more social, Gamers are natural strategic thinkers, and Gamers are prepared to be great leaders!” Today’s networked computer games teach teamwork and competition, help develop risk/reward strategies, allow young people to learn resiliency and optimism, and have a measurably broader leadership skill set.
Here are some basic lessons learned by gamers: “Be a hero to get satisfaction.” “Be an expert to be the best.” “Failure isn’t the end of the world—press restart and try again!” “Practice makes perfect is really TRUE!” and “Go global— bond with people who share your experience and interests, instead of limiting your contact along national or cultural or religious lines.” So don’t despair of the “Gamer Generation” and give the kids some credit for all that time they spend in front of the screen— they might actually be learning leadership right in their very own home! And if they invite you to sit down and play— JOIN ‘EM! Everything, in moderation, can be good for you, too. And now, if you’ll excuse me, my squad needs to a point man to run a mission.
Providing 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.”