2012-05-15 / Front Page

Spencer Masonic Lodge Will Host DeMolay Open House Wednesday

Local Chapter Will Be Open To Surrounding Community Members
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

The Spencer Masonic Lodge is opening its doors to young men ages 12 through 21 who may be interested in joining one of the oldest organizations in the world.

The lodge will host an open house for high-character young men interested in becoming a part of the Spencer DeMolay Chapter on Wednesday, May 16. With the closest lodge to Spencer located in Bloomington, the Spencer DeMolay Chapter will be open to young men in Owen and surrounding counties as well.

“One of the things that’s different with DeMolay than with a lot of other groups is, every three or four years you have a new set of members and officers,” Indiana DeMolay Executive Director Jeff Koleszar said. “Most guys join when they are 13, 14 or 15, but when you turn 16, you get a girlfriend, a job or you’re in sports, you tend to spend more time in those areas and less time in DeMolay. It’s just part of life, and the local chapter got to a point where they had a few older members and didn’t have contacts with younger guys to replace them.”

Spencer Mason Stan Frank explained that through hearing his brother in-law Mike Wood speak about his experience in De- Molay, Stan’s son, Michael, is very interested in joining such a fraternity.

“We’re really doing it for the kids in the community, because there isn’t much to do around here. I’ve seen Mike talk about all of his good memories,” Frank said. “I think it’s good for young kids to have something like this. It teaches them leadership abilities, I mean we have a lot of guys who come out of our chapters who are state troopers, a lot of leaders of the community. It teaches them life skills and camaraderie with friends.”

While Wood, an Indiana State Police Trooper, is a product of the DeMolay program, so too is Owen County Circuit Court Judge Frank Nardi and Owen County Sheriff ’s Department Lieutenant Detective Bill Snodgrass.

“It was created in 1919 by a guy named Frank Land. AfterWorldWarIalotof the men were killed, so they created it so guys whose fathers had been killed had some brotherly leadership, an older male role model in their life,” Frank explained. “It’s interesting, there have been a few guys who have said it saved their life, that they would be in a lot different place if it wasn’t for DeMolay. It’s not only you as an individual, it’s the whole group of guys... if one slips, the rest pull him up.”

The fraternity is a positive avenue to create lifetime bonds with people through various activities.

“The biggest difference between DeMolay and other groups is that we talk to the members and we emphasize it is their organization,” Koleszar explained. “We put them in charge of developing their plan for whatever they are doing. If they want to go to King’s Island, we tell them that’s fine, just work out the details. They think, ‘Oh, cool, we get to decide everything and we’re in charge.’ The parents hear that they have to be responsible, they have to develop a plan and they have to figure things out. The guys eventually get to that point, but it takes a while. It’s not just, ‘We’re going to go.’ It’s how are we going to get there? How are we going to pay for it? They can either ask mom and dad for the money, pay for it themselves or raise the money. So most of the time, they work for it, which is good. Everybody thinks it’s hard to get guys to do things, but they will tell you, they have as much fun being together at the things they’re doing, they spend more time having fun with it and that’s the key. DeMolay decides what the chapter does and other organizations already have a structure in place.”

Wood explained that during his time in DeMolay, his group focused on fundraisers, community service and fraternal workings.

“We worked IU football games, we sold merchandise and got money off of that,” he said. “We went to every home game and they gave us a percentage.”

A very serious and formal initiation is conducted for DeMolay members, with absolutely no hazing and talks about the seven core values of the fraternity: love of parents; love of God, courtesy, comradeship, fidelity, cleanness and patriotism.

“When they join, they have the members talk to them about what it means for DeMolay to be polite, not just to people on the street, but also at home,” Koleszar said. “Like cleanness, it’s not just about living a clean life physically, but also mentally with the things you say and what you do.”

Pizza will be served and doors will open at 6:00 p.m. at the Spencer Masonic Lodge, located on North Harrison Street. For additional information, contact Stan Frank at 812-821- 2121, or Don VanDerMoere at 765-418-5773.

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