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.)

PMYF Assists with Masonic Youth Exhibit

Grand Master Smith, assisted by representatives of DeMolay and Rainbow for Girls, cuts the ribbon at the new Masonic Youth exhibit at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA.
Grand Master Smith, assisted by representatives of DeMolay and Rainbow for Girls, cuts the ribbon at the new Masonic Youth exhibit at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA.

The Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation is proud to work with the three Masonic Youth Groups in the Commonwealth – Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay. Bro. Jay W. Smith, Right Worshipful Grand Master, has been a strong proponent of our Masonic Youth during his term and has actively sought ways to increase the visibility of these groups. Earlier this year, just such an opportunity came about.

The George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, VA, is known world wide as a model of public outreach for the fraternity. When the Memorial Association contacted Bro. Smith about having the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania assist with the Masonic Youth exhibit, he couldn’t have been happier. A request was made to the Board of Directors of the PA Masonic Youth Foundation, which was quickly approved, to help finance and construct the display. This gave Pennsylvanians the unique opportunity to help mold the content and message of an exhibit that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people in years to come.

On August 26, 2013, Grand Master Smith, accompanied by several Past Grand Masters, representatives of PMYF, and leaders of the Masonic Youth Groups, attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Memorial to mark the opening of the new exhibit. Masonic leaders from all over the country were in attendance and many remarked at how professional and well done the display was.

This is just another example of Pennsylvania Freemasons leading the Fraternity, not just in the Commonwealth, but around the country!

Don’t take it for granted!

One of the newest programs offered by the PA Masonic Youth Foundation is the Masonic Youth Group Grant Program. Thanks to the generosity of Pennsylvania Masons, and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, PMYF is now able to offer financial grants to Rainbow Assemblies, Job’s Daughter Bethels, and DeMolay Chapters within the Commonwealth.

It’s easy to apply for a grant; just click here and get all of the information. You can get a grant for many different kinds of activities, including membership drives, charitable endeavors, or community service projects. We look forward to getting your application soon!