Since 2004 the Masonic Child Identification Program (CHIP) has brought comfort to countless parents who were concerned about the safety of their children. The genius of the program was in its simplicity, where the Lodges acted as a catalyst to get parents and children to talk about safety, and to put the tools for investigative recovery into the hands of parents to provide to police, if necessary.
However, economic reality and cultural changes in the past 12 years have put pressure on the efficacy of the program. Offered as a free service by the Grand Lodge, the program later called for the Lodges to pay for supplies and equipment through donations. The initial volunteers moved on to other programs, and were not being replaced in some Districts. Confusion in the public over the name of the ID program and the state’s Child Insurance Program caused occasional issues. The breakdown and failure of the CD recording cameras over the years, and the greater costs involved with using alternative media, forced many Districts out of the program. Most recently, the pressure to have criminal background checks done on volunteers in all youth-serving programs has added a final layer of complexity to providing this service.
The Board of Directors of the PA Masonic Youth Foundation has determined that this is the right time to close the books on what was a tremendously successful program, and cease promotion and support for it. We regret that we cannot schedule or conduct any further programs as of December 31, 2015.
HOW TO DISPOSE OF REMAINING SUPPLIES:
For those District and Lodge coordinators that still have cameras and supplies, please dispose of as follows:
Continue to use the cameras for Lodge or District purposes. Or sell them and use the small proceeds for Masonic charitable purposes. You do not need to return them to us.
Depending on your time availability, salvage anything you think is usable for another purpose.
Depending on your time availability, recycle anything you can.
Trash everything else.