Are you ready for the time of your life? Then you’re ready for the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation’s LifeSkills Conference!

The conference is held at the Masonic Conference Center – Patton Campus, in Elizabethtown, adjacent to the world-renowned Masonic Village at Elizabethtown.

This active and exciting conference challenges attendees to develop leadership, respect, relational skills, and personal responsibility through a variety of creative approaches and various media. The program will also include active discussions of some of the toughest issues facing students today: drugs and alcohol, violence and conflict resolution, teen sexuality, and others. This year also brings the return of previous “hit” programs, including a day-trip to a high ropes course! It promises to be an even more exciting conference than ever before!

The conference is open to youth between the ages of 12 and 16. Attendees must be sponsored by a Masonic Youth Group, a Masonic Lodge, or Masonic relative. Registration priority will be given to registrants with Pennsylvania Masonic sponsorship. Only 100 registrations will be accepted for the conference, so register early.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 LifeSkills conference has been canceled. We look forward to bringing the program back in full, July of 2022.

General Information

So, what’s it all about?

LifeSkills is an active, creative, experientially-based week of learning and relationship building with other young people and a talented staff of professionals and volunteers. Through a variety of hands-on sessions and tasks, participants reinforce the foundational principles of LifeSkills:

RESPECT for yourself and others.
RESPONSIBILITY in actions and decision-making.
RELATIONSHIPS with your peers and mentors.
VALUING others and operating by common ground rules.
CHOOSING your personal level of CHALLENGE.

Who May Attend?

Maybe you!

The Conference is open to Pennsylvania youth who are:

  • Between the ages of 12 and 16 years.

And any one of the following:

  • A member of a Masonically-sponsored youth

  • A member of a Masonically-sponsored group

  • A close relative of a Mason

  • A youth sponsored for attendance by a Masonic Lodge

  • Ready to invest in a fun and challenging week of New experiences, new ideas, and new friends

How do I qualify for the Conference?

All applicants must indicate how they qualify for the Conference. Do one of the following:

If you are a member of a Masonically-sponsored Youth Group (DeMolay, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow … ), you may indicate that membership to qualify. Your registration request must be signed by an advisor of your group, indicating their approval of your participation.

Find out if you have a close relative (such as father, grandfather, uncle, or brother) who is a member of a Masonic Lodge. If so, they may act as your “sponsoring organization” on your application. Give full contact information for your Masonic relative.

Contact a local Masonic Lodge or other Masonic Organization to ask them to sponsor you for the conference. Be prepared to explain the conference to them, and why you wish to attend. They may or may not pay part or all of your registration. Their recommendation is all that is required. If you don’t know how to contact a local Lodge, you can use the PA Grand Lodge’s Lodge Locator.

If you live outside of PA, you may still be able to attend. Call us to find out more.

LifeSkills is for …

First-timers – “LifeSkills Classic” continues to be refined and revised to give all conferees the best possible learning and growth experience. You’ll never forget this week! First-time attendees will receive registration priority up until the registration deadline.

Returnees – A limited number of repeating conferees will have the chance to re-experience some of their previous LifeSkills week, and to add to their knowledge and confidence with new activities designed especially for them. Due to increasing demand, however, you may only repeat the conference one time.

LifeChangers – Youth 17-21, including LifeSkills “graduates” may apply to attend this “next step” program, where participants will continue to develop their proven leadership potential, and will learn to teach others the LifeSkills principles of respect, responsibility, and relationships.

Counselors-In-Training – A few youth between 17 and 21 are invited to serve as associate staff for the week, and to further their leadership experience. The C.I.T. program is by invitation only. C.I.T.’s are generally selected from among the attendees and graduates of LifeChangers

Adult Staff – Our adult volunteers tell us they’re sure they get more out of the Conference than the youth possibly could! Whether that’s so or not, we know that adults who volunteer once usually ask to come back again. If you’re over 21 and interested in working with youth, contact us about how you might become a LifeSkills volunteer. We’ll usually ask you to come and visit a conference for a few days prior to volunteering for the whole week, so you’ll know what to expect if you volunteer full-time the next year.

If you are having difficulty determining whether you are eligible for the conference, contact the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation.

Activities

Take Life to A Whole New Level…

Beginning with small challenges and working up, you’ll have the chance to develop trust and leadership skills to the point of passing a big test… working together to conquer a “high ropes” course with your team, and actually jumping from a tree 50 feet above the ground, with teammates “belaying” you with safety ropes from below.

LifeSkills is so much more than just another summer camp. There’s something here for everyone:

  • You’ll have fun with the creative and active learning environment.
  • You’ll love the beautiful top-of-the-line facilities.
  • You’ll think the world of the conference staff (we sure do!)
  • And, by the end of the week, you’ll have something more… we really believe this conference is life-changing.
  • You’ll come away with new friends, new skills, and new confidence in yourself and your peers.
  • Even your family can get in on the fun… The week closes with a family celebration, where you’ll have the chance to put your family “through the paces” and give them a first-hand taste of your week’s experience.
  • So what are you waiting for? Only 100 registrations will be accepted for each week. Click here for registration information, including a downloadable registration form, and mail it today!

You’ll be glad you did!

Rules

To attend the LifeSkills Conference, you must agree to follow these rules:

  1. Rules for use of the Masonic Conference Center
  2. The Full Value Contract
  3. Other rules may be enacted from time to time for the protection of people and property, but these are the major regulations that all must observe while at the LifeSkills Conference.

That’s your first essential LifeSkill — agreeing, with everyone else, to behave as young adults who can be trusted (by us, by your parents, and by each other) to be both respectful and responsible in all relationships at the LifeSkills Conference.

Costs

Kid tested, Parent Approved!

Pennsylvania’s Masons are committed to Pennsylvania’s Youth

The Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation subsidizes a large part of the cost of this conference. The per-conferee cost for the full week conference, including food, housing, and conference materials, is estimated at $600.

But you won’t pay that much… The Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation subsidizes a portion of the conference costs for all attendees. If you are attending the conference for the first time, we will subsidize $300 of your cost. If you are attending for a second time, we will subsidize $150 of your cost. After those subsidies, your registration fee will be:

First-Time Attendee

$400

Second-Time Attendee

$550

Frankly, you’ll be hard pressed to find a comparable program at twice the price!

A typical day’s schedule at LifeSkills

TIME ACTIVITY
7 A.M. Wake up, optional morning activities
8 A.M. Breakfast
9 A.M. Community meeting and large group team building activities
10 A.M. Adventure based life skill development and conflict resolution
12 noon Lunch
1 P.M. Adventure based life skill development / respect for self and others
4 P.M. Fun, fitness, and free time
6 P.M. Dinner
7 P.M. Juggling your way to self esteem / Leading with success for success
8 P.M. Group activities led by your counselor/ Interview and writing skills
9 P.M. Movies
10 P.M. Snack
11 P.M. Lights out

Registration

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Review the rules for the conference, and share them with your parents. Your registration is your agreement to abide by these rules throughout the week.
  2. Fill out the form completely. Be sure to indicate how you qualify for the conference (see eligibility). A representative of your sponsoring organization, or your Masonic relative, should sign your form in the sponsor section, and provide contact information.
  3. Have your parent or guardian sign the form, indicating their consent for you to attend.
  4. Mail the form, with registration fee, to the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation, 1244 Bainbridge Road, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Your space cannot be reserved without payment. The PA Masonic Youth Foundation will notify you, within 3 weeks of receiving your application, whether you have been accepted for the program. The PMYF will send further information to you by mail, if you are accepted. Medical releases and other forms will be required before final approval of your attendance.
  5. Pack up and get ready for the week of your life!

If you’ve already registered, and need copies of the other required forms, use the ones below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to open these printable files.

Director

Thom Stetcher

Tom StecherThom Stecher is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and educational consultant. He specializes in self-esteem, wellness and student assistance programs. He is one of the original developers of the nationally acclaimed Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program, which has received recognition by both the National Governors Conference as well as the American Medical Association. He has expanded the model to programs at the elementary, middle and high school level. He is involved in training and development of school based prevention and intervention services for “at risk youth” in over 20 states, Canada, Germany and Great Britain. Thom originated the LifeSkills program in cooperation with the PA Masonic Youth Foundation. You’ll rarely meet anyone with a more gentle and encouraging spirit.